Aug 04

Hello from GLORIOUS BRITISH COLUMBIA!!!

*I STOLE THIS FROM MRS. BIRDMAN’S BLOG POST TODAY*

fromthedesk

Most of you know that our moving date for going out west has come and gone. I’m here to report that we made it, safe and sound. The only casualties were a long-suffering fan on a stand, and 3 out of 4 panes of glass inside our hutch. Not bad, eh?! We headed west exactly one month ago, in a converted school bus that carried the four of us, all of our stuff, our dog and our dreams for a new future. I have been thinking and preparing for the move for the past year, but I couldn’t have guessed how well our journey would go. When we told people we were moving out west in a school bus, we definitely got a lot of strange looks, but it was a fantastic journey. Our friend Dan helped us pick out the most mechanically sound bus we could find, and then we began the process of ripping out the seats and preparing it for our trip. When the seat removal was complete, we had a huge tin can on wheels, ready for our adventure. We began moving our things onto the bus in what can only be described as a real-life game of tetris. There was not much space that went unused, floor to ceiling. Eventually, the bus was packed to the roof, with a retaining wall that separated us from the stuff. We were 4 people and 1 dog on an EPIC CROSS COUNTRY ADVENTURE! The first hour was spent crying. All of us. It was a pretty miserable place for a bit, but after a good bawl, some hugs and some snacks, life seemed cheerier and we were on our way. As we drove, the scenery got more scenic, and we became settled in our spots on the bus. If you’ve ever driven from Ontario to Manitoba, you will nod knowingly when I say that Ontario is a big place. It took DAYS to get out. While we were making our way across our native province, we saw a familiar site in our side mirror.

D’OH!!!!

We drove over 4,000km in that bus, and this was the only time we got pulled over. I think we were both surprised, since we figured we’d be getting pulled over a lot. The officer was very nice, and even though I was very nervous about being stopped, we were found to be in compliance with all vehicular laws governing Cool Bus operation. Woo Hoo! Score one for the weary travelers. He gave us a souvenir of his visit. 🙂

Officer Friendly leaves his autograph

While we traveled, we were on the hunt for any ‘Giant Stuff’ for my sister-in-law Katie, who loves all giant fruits, furniture and animals she encounters. We were not disappointed. Here’s a selection of just a few of the giant offerings. Not included are the giant snowman, groundhog, UFO, and other assorted things that didn’t make the cut.

There’s a LOT of weird, giant stuff out there…

There were a few provinces to get to after we finally made it out of Ontario. Manitoba was one of my faves, probably because I drove all day through it. I loved being the pilot on the Cool Bus. There was one small domestic that threatened to break out during my time at the wheel, but after I promised not to enter any more curves at breakneck speed (his opinion!) we were back on track. My basic impression of the provinces were that Ontario was huge, Manitoba was flat, and BC was a welcome sign to get to after 5 days.

Been there. 🙂

At night we were treated to endless sunsets of blue, pink, purple and orange. The windows of the bus allowed a huge, technicolor display that kept us impressed, province by province. I spent most of my time in one of the two remaining seats on the bus, so I could take advantage of the scenery. If you get a chance to cross the country in a motor vehicle, I do hope it’s a cool bus, with the kind of spectacular views that I saw.

Just one of the beautiful nights on the Cool Bus

Just one of the beautiful nights on the Cool Bus

I snuck this one in here, but fellow Ingress players will appreciate the milestone I reached on our last day of travel… #vivelaresistance

Us at Kakabeka Falls, Thunder Bay Ontario <3

We made a lot of memories. The kids were amazing. They didn’t complain about the drive, or the vagabond lifestyle. We had a life-changing, family-bonding experience. I could never explain what happened to us as we moved across the provinces, but it was pretty great. Eventually we landed in beautiful HUDSON’S HOPE, BC!

It’s really, really beautiful here.

Our home is warm and cozy, and our yard is absolutely gorgeous. We have a large covered porch that runs along most of the side of the house. Our bus even fit in our driveway! After several weeks of cleaning, unpacking and sorting, we are finally home.   I really like it here. It felt like home as soon as we arrived. I’m really, really happy.         If you want to keep in touch, you can find me on Instagram ( missclicks ). Or you can email. Or text. Or send an old fashioned letter. Or hop on a plane and visit. I’ll pick you up at the airport. Cheers from glorious BC! Gerri

Jul 23

Stray Cat Strut

Sometimes you agree to do things that you almost immediately regret.  Maybe you are not that kind of person, but I most certainly am.  A little more than a year ago, Dora asked me to join her and Swiper’s ball team to round out the list of required ladies.  They were in dire need of another member with two X chromosomes, and apparently no other qualifications.  They were happy to take on Birdman as well, but it was Mrs. Birdman who was going to make the team legal in the league.

Because I am the type of person who was rarely picked in any team sport, I was thrilled to be included, and jumped at the chance to join the ‘Stray Cats’ in the Castleton 3-Pitch Sports Club.  I say jumped, because i literally jumped up and down in excitement.  I wasn’t really thinking about how I was going to actually have to play ball, but more that I was finally part of an actual team that wasn’t forced to pick me!  Yayyyy!

Luckily my lady let me put some pics in. You’re welcome.

It was around the first game when the most severe case of nerves struck.  I came to the ball field, suited up in my favorite biking shorts, a shirt and my runners.  My brand-new ball glove probably still had the tag on it.  I was so green it hurt.  I had to face the fact that I had not played any type of organized sports in more than 25 years.  I truly wondered what had possessed me to think I could join a team of players that had been playing together for years.  The sheer, unparalleled fear that overtook me was hard to ignore.  I had a queasy, rolling stomach at each and every game we played.  Going out to bat was torture.  I could barely hit, and when I did, I was easily thrown out at first or second.  In addition to having a less than mediocre hitting prowess, I couldn’t run OR catch either.  I spent most of the first season waiting to be purposely benched in favor of faster, more agile, and better-looking players hitting the field to defend our honour, but that never happened.   Shockingly, they let me play every time.  The team even let me kick one of our ladies out of the coveted bat-catch position, because truly, there isn’t too much damage that one can do behind the plate in 3-pitch.   I rarely had any opportunity to do anything but watch the plays, and return the ball to the pitcher when required.  Easy-peezy.

I have to admit…eventually my fear turned to anticipation.  I started to really enjoy playing ball, and I really enjoyed the members of my team.  This awesome group of friends made us feel like part of the team right from the first day.  I learned later on that ours is one of the most fun teams in the league, and we seem to have just about as much fun as you can have with a ball uniform on.

Swiper’s business sponsors the team, and he is the best short stop around.  There is rarely a ball that can get by him, unless he’s got an injury or he’s been hitting the beer cooler too hard.  Even then, he’s 100x better than I’ll ever hope to be.  He can pitch, hit and catch, and he’s hell on wheels when he gets rounding those bases.  When he was out with a knee injury last year, we didn’t fare that well without him.  Luckily, he came back early (not recommended) to help us fight back (very recommended) and regain our mid-level standings on the field.   His lady, Dora, nicknamed ‘Scrappy’, is a fiery ginger.  Legend has it that she was front and center in an epic ball-brawl at a tournament a few years back.  It was quite a melee, and there are still people who don’t speak because of it.  (So sad I missed it!).  The good news, is that Dora, like Swiper, can hit, catch AND run.  She’s a triple threat on the field, but a sweetie on the bench.

Slugger is married to Shifter, and she’s a swinger with a heart of gold.  She can hit.  I mean, she can really hit, and she’s one of my favorite athletic supporters on the bench.  Shifter is in the executive for the club (yay for POWER!) and he’s our trusty 3rd baseman.   Rounding out the rest of our roster, is Skye (2nd), Jamie, Jeremy, Mel, Wes, Ange, and Handsome Kenny, all fabulously fantastic people, and the funnest ball team in the history of the universe.  I say this with utmost confidence.

It’s fantastic to be part of a team again.  The Stray Cats are full of fun, support, encouragement, and occasional naughtiness.  There will always be someone to slap your back (or your butt cheeks), congratulate you on a great play, or console you when you didn’t quite make the grade.  I have come to look forward to Sunday ball, and gathering with this fantastic group of friends.  There is something about the feeling of belonging that they give to me that makes it irrelevant that I am never going to be a decent player.  I feel like a part of the team, and I know that when they are playing without us, they are feeling our absence.  I hate it when anyone misses a game, not because I think we can’t be without them, but because I miss them when they are gone.  I love what this team has done for reminding me what teamwork and effort can truly achieve, and how great it is to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Tonight it looked like we were going to get our asses handed to us by the Hot Shots.  They had us down 7 runs in the first inning, but by the end, the score was 10-9 for them.  Sure, they beat us, but they definitely didn’t spank us.  We pulled up our orange, stripe-y socks in the second inning, and worked hard to bring it back.  We played together, and worked together, and had a great game.  We laughed, and we cut up, and we may have even done a few Stray Cat Struts.

Some of us have been getting together to practice outside of our regular games.  It’s not so much that we feel like we have to practice (although we definitely do), but more because we love running around together, working up a sweat, and spending time as a team.  It seems there are not enough hours dedicated to our Cats in the week, and we feel the need to find a few more.  So in that spirt, I’ll see y’all again next Thursday, and Sunday, and any other day you want to get together as a team.  I’ll be there.  🙂

I’m flat broke but I don’t care, I strut right by with my tail in the air.

Mrs. Birdman

Jun 12

How I missed my wedding rehearsal dinner and a lesson on perspective…

Hello Kittens,

I am sorry we have neglected you this past week.  Things have been so very busy, but we have so much to report, and today you are getting the first leg of the wedding story of The Bird and The Bee.

Things were coming together beautifully Friday morning, a mere day before our impending nuptials.  I had my hair, nails, and other beautification rituals performed throughout the week, and all that was left was my Friday morning pedicure with Holly at Polished Esthetics.  I was due to head out the door in less than 10 minutes when I received a phone call from Cindy, the mother of the friend that Olivia had a sleepover with on Thursday night.  Cindy is a really laid-back, relaxed kind of person, and never really seems to let anything bother her.  I got scared when I heard her voice on the phone, definitely shaken, and telling me to meet her at the hospital because Olivia had been bitten by a dog.

I can’t describe the horror and anguish that went through me when I heard those words.  I feel sick to my stomach even just thinking about that moment, and I never again want to get a call like that in my life.  Chris and I ran to the van and flew up to Cindy’s place, where we met their van coming out of the lane way.  I jumped into the van, terror gripping my guts, and fearful of what I was about to see.  When i saw the scared, blood-stained face of my oldest baby, I thought i was going to be sick.  She had been attacked by a neighbors dog out in the street of the cul-de-sac.  The dog, completely unprovoked, grabbed her by the pony tail and pulled her to the ground.  He then began dragging her into the ditch where he tore into her ear and bit it off.  Her very brave friend, Joey, was punching and kicking the dog, in an effort to pull it off of her.  What happened next is really a miracle.  Joey’s mom, Cindy, just happened to have decided to go out for a walk at the exact time the attack began.  When she heard screaming she ran the 30 seconds to the cul-de-sac to find the dog on Olivia, and Joey trying to get it off.  She launched at the dog and dragged him off, while telling the kids to get to the house.  Olivia got to her feet, and then realized part of her ear was on her own shoulder and she was covered in blood.  Cindy’s husband dragged the dog back to the owners home, while Cindy packed the ear in a bag and rushed everyone into the van to get to the hospital.

I have photos of the injury, and I debated putting them up, but I have decided against it.  I can tell you that the injury was so disturbing that it’s hard to look at them, knowing the sweet little girl who was the victim.  I understand that there are much worse things that could happen to a child, and I know that if Cindy wasn’t there, things would have been much worse, but this happened to MY child, and it was horrific.

We spent the rest of the day at hospitals, first Cobourg, where the wound was cleaned and prepped for transport, and then to Peterborough where Olivia saw one of the best plastic surgeons around.  The injury was assessed, and Dr. Hamilton arranged for her to be in surgery within the hour, where the amputated portion was re-attached.  Olivia came out of surgery around 4pm, and was released from Peterborough after 6pm.  We didn’t get back to the barn, where our rehearsal (which didn’t end up happening) was to be held until after 8pm.   My huge ‘To-Do’ list for the day before the wedding was accomplished by our amazing friends who picked up all the slack and got everything done for us, while I waited with Olivia at the hospital for the day.

So far we are watching and waiting, hoping the surgery was a success and that the amputated portion will not reject and have to be removed.  My sweet, brave little girl will now face more plastic surgery because someone with a dangerous and aggressive dog didn’t tie it up.   My beautiful baby has to choke back 2 disgusting antibiotics three times a day to avoid infection in a surgically reattached ear that she had no business having.  My lovely daughter had to face 200 people 24 hours after surgery with a brave face because she wanted to walk her mother down the aisle at her wedding.  I can’t imagine the pain and horror that she endured because i wasn’t there.  I know there’s nothing I can do about it, but I will never erase the guilt of not being with her when she needed me and was scared and hurting.

I don’t know what to do with my anger.   Or my guilt.  I tend to them both like unwelcome companions, resentful that they have descended upon me without my consent and despite my best intentions.

I digress.  The point of this blog post, and there is one, is that after my baby was hurt, there was nothing in the world that mattered to me but her well-being.  Not the wedding, or whether or not the centerpieces were going to be okay, or if it was going to pour rain.  None of it mattered.  NONE OF IT.

My beautiful, creative, funny, sensitive and BRAVE little girl made me see that the only thing I needed to focus on was the safety of my family, the joy of loving and being loved, and the celebration of being around everyone I care about in one place.  My wedding was the most joyous, beautiful, MAGICAL event I have ever known, and I know that the past 24 hours had given me a very valuable gift: Perspective.

I spent the entire day cherishing the people I loved, and who loved me, and APPRECIATING the gift of their presence on the happiest day of my life.  I married the man who was made for me in every way, my perfect mate.  I have experienced the kind of joy that is life-changing, and it has made me the happiest woman I know.

Mrs. Bird  🙂

My beautiful, beautiful girls. xo

 

 

Jun 05

Live from Wedding Central ~ 4 Days Out

Hello Kittens!

It’s CRUNCH TIME!  We’ve collected groomsmen from the airport, assigned everyone and their brother a job to do in preparation for the upcoming nuptials.  Things are marching forward and I am caught up in the whirlwind that is the WEDDING TSUNAMI.  (You can giggle all you like,but that’s what it feels like, my darlings!)

I have turned into THAT GIRL.  The one who is freaking out about the colour of dresses and matching tuxes (they don’t match at all, to let you know, and I don’t even care at this point), the logistics of getting around in what may be a grand thunderstorm, and wondering just how big those three teeny, weeny leaks are in the barn roof.  I guess we’ll find out soon!  🙂  The bridal preparations have begun with a fabulous hair colour yesterday, and a multitude of other waxing, plucking and painting of body parts to be done this week.  I will be the most fabulous version of myself that I can muster, and that’s as good as it gets, folks.

I have been talked down from ledges by my favorite ladies, and I am doing my best to keep some perspective.  Who cares if it pours?  Will it matter when I am surrounded by literally everyone I love in the world?  Not likely.  I am going to enjoy every second of it, and I hope our guests will too.

We went to the barn yesterday to see how things were looking, and it is grand indeed.  The ambiance is exactly what I was hoping for, and when it fills up with tables, flowers and people, it’s going to be perfect.  I’m so excited.

It's pretty tall...

Seriously...look at this giant box of awesome!!!!

Our guest/relative/friend Judy and her friend Marli have been working on our table flowers for weeks, and the final preparations have begun.  They have been robbing gardens all over town (sorry Mom!) for just the perfect combination of flowers to adorn our glorious tables.  I can’t wait to see them, and I am so glad to have two of the most creative flower-ladies working on our decor.  I hope they do end up making this some kind of career, because they have the excitement and passion that is totally contagious.  I have enjoyed all of the ideas, and have marveled at what they can do.  I really can’t wait to see it all come together after so much planning and agonizing decision-making!  🙂

I wanted to be sure to post so my friends don’t think I am losing my mind or anything.  I am definitely feeling the pressure, but it’s a good pressure, and it’s all going to come together beautifully.  We have the worlds greatest friends and family behind us and there is no way it can go wrong.  I don’t care if it pours, if the cake slides off the table, if our guests end up making out in the video booth…it’s ALL GOOD!  🙂  (ps. We totally encourage making out in the video booth, if you were wondering!)

 

Mostly, I can’t wait to marry the man that I love more than anything (other than my kids) in this world.  It has been the most amazing ride getting here, and I know the future will be even more wonderful.  I am so looking forward to meeting some guests that have become as ‘real’ as our friends and family, and we already love them.  I also can’t wait to hug everyone, to thank you for coming, and to let you know that I couldn’t imagine doing this without you all.  We are the luckiest people I know, and we will never take that for granted.

Who’s the lucky girl?  Well it’s me, of course…  😉

“I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been”

Mrs.Birdman  🙂

May 29

Welcome to GDub’s Non-Typical Shower/Bachelorette Party!

I have to admit, I’ve had great anxiety about parties in general.  I’m a terrible hostess, and I couldn’t co-ordinate two dishes to hit the table at the same time to save my life, let alone a dozen, so when it comes to making merry, I prefer to be a guest rather than a hostess.  Luckily for me, my great friend, (and occasional drunken co-conspirator) Penny is a FABULOUS hostess with a home that is just made for entertaining.  As it turns out, the Gadget household was offered up as the perfect spot for the bachelorette party, where all of the food, fun, and frolic would be taking place.

The usual suspects.

My old buddy from university, LaLa (code name as she is a respectable sort of lady, and shouldn’t be associated with these types of shenanigans) came down early Saturday to hang out and eventually attend the party with me.  JSim, my trusty MOH and frequent traveling companion, (we will have to tell the story of blending our shakes at the BK #101618Q drive thru parking lot in Strassburg, VA another time), arrived just in time to hitch a ride to Penny’s.  I will share the textual message correspondence we shared earlier in the day when I got a whiff of the fact that she might not be joining me in some alcohol consumption.

I'm a big one for respecting a persons choice to stay sober. Just not on my bachelorette party night.

So with a tiny bit of arm twisting, I had managed to get my out-of-town girls committed to some serious overindulgence!  Score one for Bridezilla.  🙂

We arrived at the glorious function ready to party.  JSim (MOH) had a pile of Buddha Dogs for our eating enjoyment, which she claimed were the worlds best hotdog’s, or so the makers of these dogs would have you believe.  (They were pretty good, I have to admit).  I did have a photo of one of them, but it was a pretty unappetizing shot, and they really were better than they looked, so I am going to let you run with your imagination on this one.

Anyhow, back at the party things had already started to get jiggy.

We be ridin' dirty by 8pm...

Things just got better and better from there.

There was good food, good drinks, and great entertainment...

There was also some kissin', some dry-tubbin', and some more shots...

We were having a blast.  Things went on like this for a few hours, with the crowd getting progressively drunker (well, most of them), and the party getting louder and louder.

Then there was some more shots. And some more...

So clearly there aren’t too many sober drivers left, but we managed to fill the cars with the drunks in the back and the sobers in the front, and to the old faithful local watering hole we went.

We might have had our way with 'Mater' on our way into the bar

When we walked in, we more than doubled the occupancy, and we completely overtook the back room and pool table.  As luck would have it, this weekend was also the Apple Blossom festival weekend, so we shared our watering hole with the Carnival fellers who were in town for a few glorious days of drinking the local beer and seeding the local women.  I don’t know if you’ve ever partied with carnies, but they are a pretty fun bunch.

We ended up with an epic game of Carnies VS Bachelorettes.  For future reference, never bet against a bachelorette party.

We had our secret weapons:

Denise ‘The Grifter’, Dancing Mel Killman, and JSim’s formidable cleavage.

Our WINNING line-up...Get ready to lose your loonies, boys.

I am really not making this shit up, people...

So in between the carnies, cleavage baring, and pool sharking, there was some more drinking.

I met a new friend. He congratulated me on my upcoming nuptials. I drank his colourful shots, but I was careful not to get roofied

I think there may have been some more shots after that too.

Yep. I thought so...definitely more shots.

I think it's time we wrapped this up. Things just don't get any more sober after this...

So I’ll just tell you that I had more fun than I can remember, and I was surrounded by the greatest group of women that anyone has a right to know.  There was so much laughter that my throat was sore the next day from all of it.  There was so much beautiful, amazing energy in one place, I am sure that everyone who was there that night felt it.  We started out by ourselves but by the end of the night, most of the bar had shuffled our way, and we had a blast.  I want to thank you all for the greatest Non-Typical Bachelorette/Stagette party that the world has ever known.  You are all so amazing to come out for it, and to help me celebrate my wedding to the most incredible man I’ve ever known.  My cup runneth over.  Thank you all.  xoxo

Mrs. Birdman in 11 days!!!!

PS.  Did I mention that Lady Kenny Rogers was there?  I am blessed indeed.  🙂

PPS.  In case you haven’t had enough of the party pics, feel free to creep the slideshow below.