Happy Birthday!!

17 09 2012

Madison ( middle) at her graduation with her friends Mackenzie and Nicole

Yes, the rumours are true. I know it is hard for you to all believe because of my well maintained youthful appearance (thank you Arbonne) but today I am the proud mother of an 18 year old. I remember this day 18 years ago vividly. Thirty four hours before I gave birth I was sitting in a Taco Time having a soft taco because I had been told that Mexican food could cause you to go into labour. I had been told that castor oil works well also but with my easily triggered gag reflex this was not going to be an option for me. I ate my taco and prayed to the labour gods to please make this happen quickly.  I remember going to bed that night feeling that tonight was going to be the night. I was had an uneasy feeling (not just heartburn, I had already downed half a bottle of Gaviscon to alleviate that issue) and could not sleep. I had been having troubles sleeping lately because that is when the munchkin inside of me liked to play (still a night owl) but this was different.  I just lay there waiting for the labour to begin!

Low and behold at about midnight I felt a pain I had never felt before. It was an extreme tightness. Not the type of tightness you feel when you first put on your jeans right out of the dryer but a feeling you would get if your body was trying to expel a melon from your insides. Then it happened again and again and again. Oh crap!! I remember thinking. I am going to have this baby!!

I called my mom and girlfriend who were both accompanying me to the hospital and remember thinking (while rechecking my hospital bag for the millionth time) that when I arrived back home with my little bundle of joy (I did not know what was I was going to have) that I had to write a thank you note to Taco Time and suggest that they promote their soft taco’s as labour inducers.

Off to the hospital we go. I was well prepared. I had two of everything all of the guides instruct you to bring in your bag. That is one thing I can say for myself, I am well organized and always have a plan. I had a plan for the birth of my baby as well. I would arrive at the hospital with my hair done perfectly and with my make up immaculately applied. I was going to dilate at mach speed and have an easy labour with no tears, tears or tribulations. This was going to be one of those births where you tell your story at a baby shower about just how easy the whole process was for you and all the other women who had less than a wonderful experience look at you with daggers shooting from their eyes and call you a bitch. I wanted to be an “easy labour bitch” if I ever had to be referred to as a bitch at all.

Well, right from the start my plan was off course. Because it was just after midnight when the first labour pain hit and I was a little panicked at the idea of the labour being real. I had to settle with my hair being quickly touched up. The makeup was not perfect at all but since I had not taken the time to remove it before I went to bed I simply removed a smudge or two and was on my way.

Checking in was a breeze because I had done all of the pre check in paperwork through my pre natal classes and now I was raring to go and wanting to use every single breathing technique those classes has taught me.

They wanted of course to check out what was happening inside and I was more than willing to let them because I was sure by the sheer agony of the pain ripping through my body that they were going to say “Well Cheryl, You are 10 centimetres and fully effaced and you can start pushing now!! I was sure to be on the cover of Parenting Magazine as the woman who had the perfect birthing experience.

I of course was stunned when the nurse said “you aren’t even a full centimeter”.  You have a long way to go my dear!!” “We will see about breaking your water”.

Now for those of you who have not had the experience of having your water broken in a non natural way I will tell you that although I was not impressed with them putting what resembled a very large crochet hook inside me to break the membranes I very much enjoyed the feeling of the warm fluid. When I am not feeling well I like to have a bath and this very much felt like that. It was warm and comforting and I would have been happy if it flowed during the entire labour.

About24 hours into this whole wonderful, amazing, life changing experience they sent a specialist in to examine me and just as he was about to check me my male bff who had come to support me says “hey doc, before you go there can you help me out with this crossword”? What’s a 4 letter word for a medium used for growing bacteria in a lab?    The doc without hesitation replied” AGAR”.  I will never ever forget this because it put me 30 seconds further away from having my baby and trust me I wanted this child out of me more than I ever had.

Now, this doctor, the specialist just happened to have the largest hands I had ever seen on a man. All I could think about was where they had to go and I remember whispering to my girlfriend that small hands really should be a pre requisite for being and obstetrician. I was however, willing to endure almost anything at this point because after 22 hours of my labour pains progressing but my insides not I just wanted this over with. “Well my dear” he said after the examination “you are not quite over one centimetre dilated”. “I have good news and bad news he said.” The good news is that we will put you out of your misery and order a epidural for you, the bad news is that your baby is in some distress because it is trying so hard to get out and can’t so we are going to order a caesarean section so that you and your baby don’t have to suffer anymore.” He said that there weren’t any anesthetists available at the moment so he wanted me to try the laughing gas to labour with and that I was next on the list for an epidural.

I swear that my brother who had also joined my ever growing audience heard nothing about an epidural, caesarean or the baby being in distress because he was way too excited about the laughing gas. He in fact took the first hit of if before handing it over to me. I think he became more annoyed at my contractions than I was because when I had one he had to hand the mask over to me.

An hour and a half later I received an epidural. The most painful 45 seconds I have ever endured was when they first injected the painkilling drugs into my back (via a fine hollow needle) into me but I would still recommend it as the rest of my labour and delivery was pain free.

It was shortly after receiving the epidural that they prepped me and took me down to the operating room.  This was a harrowing experience for someone who before becoming pregnant would feel faint at the thought of even receiving a needle. I was happy to see the same specialist and the anaesthetist who had administered the epidural in the room with me. I opted to have my girlfriend in with me as well and she had planted herself firmly up by my head. I was all ready to go!!!The
one thing I can say without a doubt about my mother is that she is an
attractive woman. I have had men inquire about her before but I never expected
the anesthetist to inquire as to whether my mother was single or not. He was
quite taken with her and so I agreed that if he continued to keep me topped up
with the pain killing drugs that would ensure that I felt no pain I would see
what I could do about setting him up with my mom. I also had requested that he
serenade me during the surgery. A girlfriend of mine who had experienced a
c-section told me that she had heard sounds of the scalpel during the surgery
and I knew that I could not endure that. I would of course be listening for those
sounds now that I knew that they could exist. The anesthetist was more than accommodating
and did his best rendition of all of the Elton John favourites that I had
requested. My child had listened for nine months in uterine to songs like “Tiny
Dancer”  so it was only appropriate that
he or she hear something familiar when first emerging into the world


Fifteen minutes later I heard the words that I had been dying to hear.  “You have a beautiful baby GIRL”. My Madison Lily Jean was finally in my arms. I had not used any of the breathing techniques from pre natal and I definitely was not going to be on the cover of any magazine portraying the perfect labour but it was over and I had the most precious gift I could have ever asked for.

Happy 18th birthday baby girl. You have been worth every stretch mark, labour pain, grey hair, argument and sleepness night. You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you!!!!

Arnold Churgin

13 09 2012

From the moment I saw you I wanted to be inside you. I love your smell, the way your tongue feels, the way you tighten and loosen as I move-mmmmm I love my new shoes!!!!

Aw a one week in Calgary. I had intentions of calling all of my cousins and aunts and uncles and arranging visits. I had my list of names and numbers all ready to make some calls and set up lunches, dinners and coffees where time permitted. I had seven days in my second favourite city and thought for sure that I would be able to fit in a lot of visiting time. Problem is, that I was staying with one of my best friends who I very much love spending time with and I really needed a week to just relax and escape the craziness of my life back home.

I had two musts for my trip! One was to visit the zoo and see the new addition of penguins and the second was to go to my absolute favourite shoe store- Arnold Churgin. I found myself being way too comfortable just hanging with my bff that all of a sudden it was the last day of my visit and I still had not made it to visit any of my family or to the zoo. I was disappointed in myself for not really giving my friend an answer when she kept asking me what day we were going to go to the zoo but it just means that I will have to go back to Calgary to visit the penguins. The one thing however I was not going to allow myself to miss was the 0opportunity to visit my favourite shoe store.

There is just something about Arnold Churgin that has always excited me. I am pretty sure that my mother brainwashed me at an early age that it was the be all, end all of shoes. My family would visit my grandparents in Calgary as often as we could and every trip always included a trip to visit Arnold. I know my mom used to disguise the trip to the mall by offering to take my Grandma to Sears. Grandma loved Sears so my mom knew it was a slam dunk. Grandma would be happy going to Sears and my mom would say at the end of the trip that she just wanted to pop into Arnold Churgin to see if there was anything that she could not get back home in Victoria. I think my mom’s pure excitement (she is not easily excited) made me excited and so the annual visit to this particular shoe store always left me with happy thoughts.

My recent trip to Calgary just could not end without a trip to see Arnold. I was on the hunt for a pair of boots that were the same colour as a purse that I have and the matching wallet that my bff had given me as an early birthday present. I didn’t have to trick my friend to take me there. I probably could have if I needed to by asking her if she wanted to go to Starbucks but it was not necessary. I mentioned the words shoe shopping and she has purse in hand and was heading to the door before I finished my sentence.

We took a trip to Chinook Center where I visited Arnold Churgin as a child and where I expected it still to be, tucked into an obscure corner of the mall. I think my heart skipped a beat and I felt an anxiety attack coming on when I saw that the door was locked and all the windows were papered so I could not see in. It was gone!! My favourite shoe store on the entire planet was missing. I was panicked for a minute. What was I going to do? The thoughts raced through my head. Would I have to change my favourite store to Town Shoes or Aldo? No it couldn’t be!! I want to have my fav store be a store that is not everywhere.  Remember when you could only shop at Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch if you were lucky enough to have your parents travel to the US? You would have clothes that not everyone had. You felt special if you have a Hollister t-shirt. Now they are venturing in to Canada and have a strong online presence so everyone is wearing their product. It is just not special anymore.

Don’t get me wrong Aldo and Town Shoes have nice shoes but you are bound to run into someone in your city that has the exact same shoes. I love having unique shoes that no one can buy in Victoria!! There is nothing worse for a woman to hear than “Oh I have those shoes, aren’t they great?”

Honestly what was I going to do? I looked at my bff in a mad panic. I felt my blood pressure dropping and my breathing getting shallow. I swear I was about to faint when I heard her say “the sign says they have moved to South Center Mall.” What???? They moved Arnold Churgin??? Why would they move Arnold Churgin?? Hmmm quite possibly I thought that perhaps they wanted more room. More room meant a larger store and a larger store means……..MORE SHOES!!!!!

Off we went at mach speed out of Chinook Center and back into the car and headed to South Center.   My friend had me google the store on my phone and call them so that we could find out exactly where in the mall they were so we could park strategically!! In case you are headed to Calgary and want to check them out they are on the second floor just outside of the entrance to the Bay.

When I saw that wonderful back lit sign with Arnold Churgin written ( not printed)  in the font that I love so much I felt my heart racing but this time out of sheer excitement. I entered the store and saw that it was indeed it was larger and a very beautiful store. I was overwhelmed by the spectacular leather smell and all of the choices. I took a stroll throughout the entire store first so I could take a look at all of their stock and then strategically chose two pairs of boots to try on. I was approached by a clerk named Anna Lee and told her what size I required. By the time she returned with them I had 6 more pairs that I wanted to try on and off Anna Lee went to collect those for me as well. I honestly felt like a child in a toy store when they are overwhelmed with all of the choices and just don’t know what to choose when their mother or father tells them they can only go home with one new toy.

At Arnold Churgin as always I received the personal touch. Anna Lee put every pair of boots on my feet herself. She was very knowledgable about every single pair I tried on. I modeled all of the ones I was interested in for Anna Lee and my girlfriend. I was amazed at Anna Lee’s patience. I probably drove her a little crazy that day. I kept trying on and taking off the same pairs of boots 3,4 and 5 times. I wanted to make sure that I made the right decision. If I was in Aldo or Town Shoes I  could change my mind the next day and return them to the store but I did not have that luxury so I had to make sure my decision was the correct one. I finally narrowed it down from the 16 pairs I eventually tried on to two pairs and with much encouragement from my friend and Anna Lee I decided that I would take both!! I informed Anna Lee of my decision and she quickly disappeared into the back and came out with a smaller box and pulled out a pair of very nice flip flop sandals. She slipped one on one of my feet and asked if it fit. I was puzzled and said yes and she said “my gift to you”. She was probably just so excited that I had finally made a decision and was rewarding me for it.  I felt a little bit like a puppy who had finally shaken her paw and was rewarded with a tasty morsel. My tasty morsel being a free pair of flip flops.

When we arrived up at the counter to pay we saw a sign that was offering a free pair of flip flop sandals if you purchased two pairs of shoes.  Aw, she was not rewarding me for my decisiveness she had to give them to me. I would have been appreciative either way and was happy with them as they were pretty cute and they bear the Arnold Churgin brand logo.

My trip was finally complete! I could now head to the airport knowing that my trip had been exceptionally successful! Thank you Arnold Churgin for another fantastic experience!!

You can find Arnold Churgin at several locations in Calgary.

Downtown:   227-8th Ave and in both Market and Southcentre Malls



15 08 2012

Aww Facebook, most love it or hate it. I am somewhere in between but I am leaning more towards the love it side. I will openly admit that one of the first things I do when I get up in the morning is to take a glimpse at it on my phone and see whose statuses have changed since Ipeeked at it before I went to bed the night before.  I use facebook as a way to keep in touch with friends and relatives. I agree that it takes away from the personal touch of picking up the phone to have an actual conversation with people but I think I keep in better touch with people because I can quickly send them a little note to say hi without trying to figure out when I can fit in the time in my crazy busy life to sit down and have an honest to goodness conversation with someone.

I love it when my sister- in- laws post new pictures of my nieces and nephews. It is not easy to hop on a plane to England or drive to Alberta to visit the ones who are not local. Lord knows that even though you constantly hound them to send pictures and they promise to do so that an envelope containing actual printed off pictures is not coming until you are lucky to find one in the yearly Christmas card and that is if your store bought card isn’t replaced by the e-card which is growing in popularity.

Facebook is quickly becoming the modern woman’s therapy. I am curious as to whether or not psychologists and therapists are arranging symposiums on how to overcome the phenomenon of Facebook. Seriously why pay $100 an hour when you can post your problem on Facebook and have a plethora of comments offering suggestions for whatever problem you are experiencing in your life. People feel better about what they are going through just because someone clicked like on their status.

Facebook is way more informative than the newspaper. For instance I glanced at my Facebook when I woke up this morning as I usually do and so far I know that the local lacrosse team lost in overtime last night, that my cousin in law has heartburn ( she is pregnant and I struggled with that during my pregnancies so I will probably offer a suggestion to her ), my cousin’s girlfriend is excited about seeing her niece this weekend ( that will get a like), and I know what awesome items will be arriving at my friends yoga wear store this week (Breathe Athletic – best store ever).

I know from a friend that has taken a look outside her window already that the sun is shining (again it will get a like), It is Buddy from Cake Boss’s sister and nieces birthday, It is friendship week, a realtor that I follow has a new listing ( Ian Jules)  and I know what another friend had for dinner last night (this may prompt a heart burn status from her today as well).

Facebook reminds me of birthdays I would have forgotten had they not posted them for me. The trick with Facebook birthday reminders it to actually text Happy Birthday to the person so that they think that you genuinely remembered their special day instead of sending them a message with the 105 other people who posted a Happy Birthday message on their Facebook wall.  Just wait however until you see a few other Happy Birthdays go up and the birthday girl or boy post a thank you. It is ever so embarrassing when you wish someone a happy birthday based on a Facebook notification only to have them send you a message back saying” thanks auntie but it is not actually my birthday. Since I am under 18 I had to make up a birthday”! Seriously kid why would lie about the day and not just the year. Do not fall in to that trap that I did!!

Many would argue (mostly men because they do just don’t understand why women like to be up on things) that Facebook it is all very useless information and it is a waste of time.  I can tell you that it now saves me the $6 a week I would normally pay for a People magazine because I get all of the local  and celebrity gossip all in one place. I knew right away that Jennifer Aniston was engaged and did not have to wait until next weeks magazine to find out.  Facebook may be a waste of time to some who say that all that is on there is useless information but I like it because it is a fun distraction from the craziness of everyday life.

Time to finish up. I just realized that the $6 a week I save from buying People  is $312 a year and I can now afford the new boots I saw on my favorite shoe stores ( Arnold Churgin in Calgary) Facebook page. I am off to do some online shopping!!!

Hachi’s Tale

10 08 2012

Over the years many movies have been recommended to me. Everyone has different tastes so although my friends enjoy a movie doesn’t mean it will be my cup of tea. I have friends who think that Mike Myers is best comedic actor ever and I can’t stand to watch him in anything he is in because his characters quite honestly freak me out.  So when movies are recommended to me I put it away in my brain in my movies to consider file and rarely every seek them out.

An old and very dear friend of mine reappeared from my past recently and in the midst of our reconnection conversation he happened to mention a move called Hachi’s Tale. This is a movie that I have never even heard of so I was intrigued. He said that it was by far one of the best movies he had ever seen.  I was warned that if I was going to watch it that I should have a box of Kleenex ready and that it might be a good idea to watch it alone.

I am not an avid movie watcher and often fall asleep while watching them. I often say that I have watched the first 20 minutes of many movies because if I have to sit still for longer than that then I am often out like a light for the rest of the night. Whenever my kids would ask me to watch a movie I would try to watch while I was tidying up or would watch from the kitchen so I could keep busy and stay awake.  This honestly did not make for quality bonding time but was probably better than the 20 minutes they would get with me sitting beside them on the couch.  This is why I started watching movies in my bed. If I did fall asleep then I did not have to pull myself off the couch to try and find my way to my bed or wake up in the morning feeling like I had just slept on a couch all night long- Wait I had.

I looked up the movie on the internet, researched what it was about and decided that it was something that I would like to watch it so I found it and ordered it from Amazon. Hachi: A dogs tale was to arrive a few days later and I anticipated its arrival.

The movie arrived this morning and I thought that I would take a break from my day, make myself some popcorn and settle in for 93 minutes and watch the movie starring Richard Gere and Joan Allen.

I do not want to give away any details of the movie but I will tell you that this is the best dog movie I have ever seen. It is a true love story between a dog and his master/best friend. It made me think about my commitments with my friends, family animals and my children. It is a heartwarming yet heart wrenching movie that has made me understand and respect more than I did already, the relationships that my friends have with their critters.

I was kept captivated through the entire movie and did not feel my eye lids closing once. This does not happen very often. I am not often affected by movies but I have not had a movie evoke such emotion in me since I saw Schindler’s List and the Titanic.

This is definitely not a first date movie because you will both be blubbering idiots and that wonderful make up job you started your evening with will very quickly disappear. It is however a movie very much worth seeing and I recommend it very
highly. Perfect for that Sunday afternoon where you just want to cuddle up and take in a great movie.


My Friend Rog

5 08 2012

I have always liked the game of football. I had asked early on in my marriage if my ex and I could make our annual anniversary outing a trip over to the mainland to Vancouver to watch a B.C. Lions game. It wasn’t the men in the tight pants that drew me to the game I actually enjoyed watching it. I remember being 18 years old and staying up all night long with a guy friend I had at the time watching games he had taped over and over so that he could explain the rules to me. I don’t like to watch a game if I don’t understand it so an all nighter it was in football rules bootcamp. I don’t profess to know all the rules in fact I probably am a pain in the butt to the person sitting beside me at a game because I ask a lot of questions. Why is that a penalty? Why can’t you grab a player from the opposing teams face mask ? It seems a like a pretty good way to stop a guy by grabbing his mask rather than jumping on him and crushing his bones now doesn’t it?

A very good friend of mine Roger Wade is alumni of the local junior football team here in Victoria. He is a city councilman, has a beautiful wife and 3 children as well as his own business, and when he can coaches baseball. Adding the Title of President of the Westshore Rebels to his already crazy life is something that most people as busy as he would not even consider taking on But Roger is passionate about the game and about this team. When the original teams ownership moved the team to Nanaimo Roger worked tooth and nail to put together another team so that Victoria could still enjoy a good game of football.

Roger has been asking me for the past 7 years to join the board of directors and help him with the team. As with Roger I have always worn a lot of hats in my life and don’t like to take something on unless I know I can take the time to do a good job so every year I have turned him down. This fall he asked me again if I would help out and join the board of directors to help get them organized and whip them in to shape and this time I agreed.

When I first met with Roger about the team and what he needed help with he spoke with such passion and it was immediately apparent that the only reason Roger is involved with The Rebels is that he is passionate not only about the game but about every aspect of the team. It is hard enough being the president of any club let alone one that is responsible for giving up to 65 young men between the ages of 18-21 the opportunity at a scholarship or a career in the CFL or NFL. I have known many presidents of associations or clubs that are merely figureheads and leave the actual day to day operations to other board member or simply delegate to volunteers. Not Big Rog, he has his fingers in every single part of this team from the 50/50 sellers to dealing with the local media.

Tonight was the season opener for the Westshore Rebels. It was a 7:00 game against their arch rivals the Nanaimo Raiders. It was still 30 degrees , sunny and hot at the stadium at game time. Most people would expect that the President would be sitting in the Team Suite enjoying a beer waiting for the game to start. Roger was down on the field mic in hand welcoming everyone to the game and thanking everyone who has volunteered and the fans for coming out on such a beautiful night. He stood on the field and watched proudly as the team was announced and it seemed like he felt that each of the young men were his own. Once the game started he was making sure all of his guests in the suite were enjoying themselves, searched for sponsors he did not know so he could introduce himself and personally thank them for spending their hard earned money to support his team.

While I was in the suite I noticed for the first time a plaque on the wall that honoured Rog as the volunteer for the year for the league a few years back. A very fitting honour for a man who gives so much to this team. I am convinced that the only reason he does not receive it every year is that they have to change it up once in awhile.

This is Rogers birthday weekend and I am sure the boys on the field and the coaching staff were hoping to give Big Rog the gift of a win on opening night but it wasn’t in the cards. The boys lost 44-14 but because of my friend Roger Wade hundreds of fans were able to enjoy a great game of football out on the Westshore in Victoria.

Happy Birthday Rog!!

Lake City Inn and Suites -5*’s

30 07 2012

My life as a mom with kids in sports has brought me to many different cities and many different hotels. We have our favourites, where we stay all the time and there have been some where we have only made an appearance once. Our fav’s of course are the ones where they have a continental breakfast so we can send our ravenous kids down to fill up on cereal, fruit and the muffin of the day before we head out to an early morning game. It is hard to find a perfect place where the kids can play outside without having to dodge cars in a parking lot and where parents after a few cocktails do not have to worry about disturbing other hotel guests if they were to by chance raise their voices a little after the kids have gone to bed

The more we travel the more we have stayed away from restaurants and fast food joints. Our kids do not want subway for lunch as much as they used to and ask for home cooked meals instead of going out to a fav restaurant to eat dinner.  The novelty of eating out wears off after many many years of tournament road trips. So when it came to booking a hotel for a 5 night stay  because we were headed to provincials in Vancouver I ( team manager) decided to find a place where we could have all of our needs met.

I remember hearing several times about a little motel off the beaten path in Burnaby by the parents of an opposing team. They have stayed there every year while attending a tournament that each of our associations had enjoyed attending (until we went undefeated and ended up in 5th place but that is a whole other story) for years. They said it had everything, a grassy area for the kids to play on, kitchenettes so they could prepare all of their meals at the hotel, an outdoor pool with a great deck to socialize on, a commercial kitchen that they allowed teams to use if they wanted to make team meals and even barbecues that they allowed their guests to use.

I asked one of the dads from the other association for the name of the hotel and he told me. The Lake City Inn and Suites. He said that if was definitely not a place to bring a date but it was clean and perfect for a travelling team.   I immediately googled the hotel. Wow, it looked great. The room on the website was older I will admit, but the beds looked comfortable and it was definitely clean!! It looked like there was a lot of grass, the pool area looked spectacular. I read reviews and the only negative review was from a guest who had said that they noise from a visiting hockey team had kept them up late. Well since we would be the ones making the noise I decided that the hotel was perfect. I immediately called the hotel and booked a block of rooms for our team.  We just had to hope that our team performed well enough to get us to provincials.

Our team won the “Island Championship” to take them off to provincials so off we headed over to Burnaby the night before the tournament began. While on the ferry I received texts from a good friend of mine whose son is on the same team as my son and had already checked in to the hotel.

Friend:  Lower all expectations about hotel. Poop on bathroom floor, dead bugs in room but isolated so boys can play. Bum going through garbage….ask for room close to me.

(I was thinking that maybe this time it wasn’t because we are friends and we like to be close to each other but because she was scared to be alone.)

Me: No, really? I was told that it was older but really clean w a great space for the kids to play.

Friend: Carpet in my room at least 20 years old. No grass near my room, maybe opposite side? I don’t know. My room is pretty gross to be honest. Fridge is mini. Maybe the other rooms are better? Cigarette butts outside both doors. Not very well kept. No joke- poop on the bathroom floor.

Me: Oh god!! I brought so much food

Friend:  Me too, I so regret it. I don’t even want to cook in the room.

Me:  All of the reviews are good except one talking about how a hockey team kept other guests up late with their late night socializing.

Friend: Maybe it’s just my room

Me: No offence but I hope so

Friend: Me too! Its all good anyway, it makes for good stories.

Me:  Exactly

Friend:  We will make great memories but I’m bunking with you if your room is better.

When we pulled up to the motel my heart sank!! It was obvious that a good camera angle was responsible for the appearance of grass at the hotel. The boys in my vehicle asked if this we really where we were staying or of it was a joke.  I immediately prayed that the rooms were awesome and that everyone would think this little diamond in the rough was perfect for our team.  It also ran through my mind that the dad from the association was leading us astray as payback for us always beating their association!!!

I stepped in to the lobby with one of my good friends who was also checking in and ran into a dad from our team who immediately told us that one of the families was thinking about moving hotels.  I felt terrible. I was the one who had booked the hotel so I was the one responsible for people possibly being miserable for a good part of a week.

Checking in was a painful process. The guy behind the desk was useless. It took him forever to check us in. My friend texted me while we were both standing at the counter “I’m pretty sure I could do this faster”. “Maybe I should go behind the desk and do this for him.

Me: This is ridiculous . I need a job. I could do it until Saturday

Friend: LMAO

Me: Do you think we can get this place by the hour?

It was kind of scary I will admit and I was taken back when they made me pre pay for the entire visit up front. It made me very very scared of what my room would look like. Once we were checked in and went to our rooms, I started calling around to all of the hotels that we knew trying to find someone who could give us 18 rooms.  I knew it was a long shot. I called many different hotels and no one could accommodate us. I honestly wanted to cry.

We all resigned ourselves to the fact that we had to make the best of it! I am not the type of girl who insists on a 5 star hotel room every time I travel but this was the worst hotel I had ever seen.

My girlfriend and I took a peek in one of the coaches room and were shocked as his was nice. He had a new bed and his room was renovate. We immediately recognized it as the room shown on the website. A little bit of false advertising I would say if that was the only room that looked half decent.

My girlfriend and I RAN back to the front desk and asked if we could change to a renovated room if there were more that had been spruced up. I am not exaggerating when I say that we stood there for 20 minutes while he continually pressed keys on his keyboard stopping only to glance at a piece of paper a couple of times and then he would type again. I am completely convinced that he was playing a video game and just pretending to be looking into other possibilities to appease us. (We actually tried to sneak a peek of his computer screen through a back window to see what was on the screen).  We wanted a renovated room and he finally admitted that he did not know which rooms were renovated but offered to let us see a room that was available.  We went and took a look and took a look out the back window to see the view and on the roof were pieces of full size poop. Not sure if it was human or animal but we were not sticking around to figure it out.

We ended up staying 4 nights. The beds were horrible, some suites were infested with ants, there was no consistency with water pressure or temperature, the pull out couches had huge stains on the cushions so guests used sheets to put over top. The free continental breakfast that the website boasted turned out to be $3 per person so we opted out not only because of the cost but because of the un sanitary conditions. There were pry marks on the doors, the windows did not lock and each room had its own special aroma. I preferred the odor of sweaty lacrosse gear over the stench that oozed out of some of the rooms.

The one saving grace was that the pool and surrounding area was clean and well taken care of. It was nicer than our rooms so that is where most of the parents gathered. The parents and kids were all great and said that it was definitely an experience that they would never forget but they were all good sports about it. Next year I will most definitely be going with hotels we know!!!

If ever in Burnaby do NOT stay at the Lake City Inn and Suites. Be ware of reviews!! I am now convinced that the hotel clerk was probably the one posting the good reviews!!

The Romance Shop

24 07 2012

I will admit it, this single mom is living her non- existent sex life vicariously through the new Shades of Grey series.  I completely understand now why kids are complaining about their moms not having dinner on the table at the usual time or that their lunches once full of fresh fruit and vegetables have been reduced to a granola bar and a juice box.  Hiding behind the toaster in my kitchen is one of the three books in this ever so popular series. I will not lie. My kids have had to ask me questions one, two and three times before they catch my attention because I am intensely reading about Christian and Ana and am completely captivated by what is going to happen next.  I will honestly never be able to look at a neck tie the same way and handcuffs will no longer take my mind to the thought of someone being arrested.

There are apparatuses described in this series that I never knew existed and honestly as I had always thought of myself as a prude never cared to know about. This series has changed all that. I am intrigued by what lies behind the doors of “The Romance Shop”.  I used to think that people would judge you if they knew you had shopped in a “sex” shop but I no longer feel that way. I was nervous approaching the store. I was a little worried that my sons lacrosse coaches wife or one of my sons friends moms might just happen to be downtown and see me  but then I remembered that it was the lacrosse coaches wife that first loaned me the book and that I had passed it on to other moms on the team.

 Once through the doors, Linda the owner of “The Romance Shop” and her staff made me feel so comfortable. You do not feel embarrassed or ashamed to there.  I felt at ease meandering though the store and will admit that at first I was overwhelmed by all of the choices one has to enhance their sex life.  Asking the first question was the hardest (I will only share with my bff’s what that was but I know understand how a certain apparatus will increase a climax in the opposite sex- email me if you want to know what it was!!!) and once that was over I asked questions in rapid succession. I am sure once I left the store that there was many a joke cracked about the rookie that ventured in that morning.

I was absolutely ecstatic to discover the Christian and Ana packages that very closely resemble the box of goodies that Ana presents to Christian as a gift in book #??( You will have to pick up your copy to find out. )  What a great gift for a husband to give to his wife!! I can guarantee that any woman who has ventured on to reading book number two “ Fifty Shades Darker” will not only appreciate that her husband is paying attention to what she is reading but secretly has been hoping that her husband would express a little more “Christian” in the bedroom.

If you decide to venture beyond the contents of the “box”, Linda and the staff at the Romance shop are the bedroom experts who will happily assist you.


The Romance Shop is located at 2018 Douglas St  in downtown Victoria,  and 89 Cliffe Ave in Courtenay