Walking and Walking: YUL to ATL to PHL/PHL to IAD to YUL

Inspired by David Kanigan, I thought I would write a “Walking” post. Because Lord knows I’ve walked in the past eight days! Of course, mine won’t be as sophisticated as his. I don’t have some cool reference to the latest book I’m reading, inspiring me. No, no. Mine is the Good Gawd Version.

It all started with a decision to go hang out with my fella… Justin opened up the border to the Yanks and I just had to wait until Joe did the same for us. But he didn’t. Damn him! So, arrangements were made to fly – destination Philadelphia followed by a short drive to Delaware, just for the hell of it.

I did the necessaries, i.e. get a proper Covid test (the US, while not open to us Canucks, are less demanding of which test was needed). Found me a drive-through and was planning on getting tested on the Saturday, August 21, on my way up to Yvon’s funeral. It only takes 15 minutes to get the results. However, I decided to follow my sister Tracy’s suggestion that I not wait till the last minute. So I went on Thursday after work, enduring traffic to and fro. But all good. Negatory, so I was set.

Why, pray tell, do we have to present ourselves at the airport three hours prior to boarding when there is no one officially working until 5:30? My flight was at 7:30… There was one woman who was asked to come in early so she dealt with as many as she could, including me, before the rest arrived… And then? Great, she checked us in but the security isn’t open until 6:30? What in the eff?

There is a screen between the cow chute and the agents…

Sunday morning, I was on my flight to, get this, ATLANTA, as a layover to Philadelphia. Nuts, I tells ya. Nuts. I have gone to Florida, to the Dominican Republic and my layover was IN Philadelphia. Now that it was my destination? No, no. we can’t have us no direct flight. Let’s send you for a ride!

Blue skies over fluffy white clouds – gonna be a great week!

I won’t complain too hardily as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a beautiful place. I mean, if you are to have a four-hour layover, this is a grand place to have it. I’d get my 10K steps easy-peasy! I arrived in Concourse A and walked around there, not quite knowing how to get to the other concourses. So I took the train to T and walked all the way back to E. And back. Wow.

Concourse T to A contains a series of Zimbabwean sculptures, each one so beautiful. I took ’em all but won’t torment you here!

Concourse A to B has a rain forest theme, including the sounds of tree frogs and other beasties. So cool.

Between Concourses B and C, you find a serious history lesson. Along the walls the images take you from 11,000 BC to today.

There was nothing special after that that. Was more straightforward.

My flight was on time and it was off to Delaware for a week of reconnection, rest and relaxation.

Fast-forward to Wednesday. I had a Covid Test to take. This time the PCR one. Thanks to my co-worker, I knew that Vybe Urgent Care took appointments and gave results in two hours. Woot! (Booked it on Monday,) Off we went, I took the test and then we walked around South Philly for a few hours. Picked up the results. All good. I was negative.

Friday afternoon, I receive an email from Air Canada telling me my flight next day’s was cancelled. For weather. What? What weather? There was nothing in Philadelphia. Nothing in Toronto (my connecting airport) and nothing in Montreal. What in the blessed eff? Sonova…. They give me my new flight for SUNDAY at 8:30, with a connection in Dulles, Washington. An eight-and-a-half hour layover. Oh. Em. Gee… No matter how much I searched, unless I was Croesus, which I am not, there was no way I could change this. Double Damn. Thankfully, we were able to stay at our joint for another night.

Saturday morning I wake up with a start. Aaaarrrggghhh! My Covid test is now no longer valid! I call Vybe and am told that “sorry, we cannot fit you in”. I call elsewhere and hit a wall. I call back the first Vybe – which is the closest in Ridley and basically beg. Successfully. We have to leave immediately, so off we go.

As expected, it took less than five minutes. So I treated us to breakfast in a diner (meh) and we then walked around until the paperwork was ready. Yay. Negative again (like… of COURSE).

It was great to have an extra day of vacation but the running around necessary? Not so much. Plus, now I had to leave at 8:30 instead of 10:15 yet another early start!

So. Here I am. In Dulles. It ain’t no Atlanta, is all I’m saying. But now I have to distract myself for eight-and-a-half hours. After a lickety-split flight from PHL to ATL (arrived early, of course). I thought I’d be seeing this spaceship (please, take me away!) over and over again but no. I found other places to get my steps! Not too exciting.

I walk from one end to the other and back. I see there is a Bar Symon and I think, that will be a great supper. It’s in Gate B and I still don’t know where I am leaving from. By 10:30 my 4 a.m. bagel is no longer sustaining me so I decide to have a Five Guys burger – a small one. Thank goodness!

Walk some more and wish and wish I could find some place to lie down. All the damn benches have armrests! What is it with this well-maintained airport already? I could like on a wooden bench like some rubby (homeless Canadian drunk) – right the middle of the hallway…. or maybe this cushy one, also set up in full view. I keep walking and find this overpass between Gates A1-A5 and A6-A-whatever)… Dang. That would have worked

Too late. I sit down in my empty gate A5 and start to write this post. I realise, as I am looking for deets, that I cannot find my blue travel wallet. What the? Wait. Oh man. I think, when I took my laptop out of my bag at security in Philly, it fell out. Never saw it. It contained all my paper proof of vaccination, tests, etc. Thank God I had it all digitally but I knew it would make my life easier to have the paperwork. Could this day get any worse?

Why yes. Yes, it could! By 4:30 they call us to verify our vaccine situation and test and all that schmegegge and tell us… hey… by the way, let’s delay your flight by an hour! Sallamabeetz…

Papers verified, I look around. I am NOT taking the chance to walk over to Michael Symon’s joint and find a nearby pub called Firkin and Fox. Imma have me a Yuengling! And a “turkey” (pressed meat) avocado club sandwich. Was edible and quenched my thirst. All for the measly sum of $30. Gotta love airports, eh?

Return to my bench to finish my post and accidentally flush it. Had to start the whole damn thing over (I think this version is better, though still way too long!)

Oh… that a boarding call? Not quite yet as, well, there is something they need to look at…

Le Trois Fait le Mois

Le trois fait le mois, si le cinq ne le défait pas

                                ~ old proverb

It means:  The third determines the month, if the fifth doesn’t reverse (or undo) it.

I can’t explain why they use this particular expression, especially in March, except that this is the craziest month of the year. Don’t try to talk me out of it!  It’s like a teenager with all their hormones outta wack.  Monday, March 1st, was a glorious day, here on the south shore of Montreal. Meltage was happening, mini lakes were forming, the temps were above freezing.  You could smell spring was in the air.  Of course, that also meant lots of muck! But it was a wonderful 4ºC (40ºF) – now, to some of you not used to this, you might think it’s cold. Nay. Not to us.

And then, that very same night, just as I was heading for bed, the winds picked up ferociously.  Things were banging on the roof, against the house – I was sure I was going to wake up to a yard full of debris.  Nope.  Just my shovels in the middle of my driveway.  But boy did that wind bring a bitter, go-to-your-bones cold.  What in the blessed fuck?  The type of cold that makes your jacket crinkle, your nostrils stick together and you wonder if you’ve been teleported to the South Pole. Or North Pole. Both – at the same time. (Yeah, I stole this from you, Marc 😉 ).  I dunno what happens to the human body.  You get a couple of mild days and suddenly you turn into a solid wimp when the temps dip down to -28ºC (-18ºF).

By the way, it was too damn cold to take a picture, so these will have to do!  (Friday’s moon)

Wednesday morning dawns (and this was the day this post was to go up because it was the third, but yanno… life and all that) and it’s snowing. But not just any snow. The snow globe kinda snow.  So Zeke and I took a morning before work walk.

Lunchtime came around and out I went again because steps to be had!  The sun was shining and the temperature was just right.  I made my way down to the Parc du Bois de Brouage to “my” river.  I stepped as close to the little bridge-like stone walkway as I felt was safe, and clicked away. And then it wasn’t.  Through the crust I went. Up to above my ankles… and I was wearing hiking boots – that go up to your ankles. Boot full of water. Cold water. Friggen cold water. Turns out it was time to turn back home anyway… a twenty-minute walk.  OY!

Not one to cry over things, I sloshed-stepped-sloshed-stepped my way home, changed my socks (amazed I could still feel my ankle) and made myself my lunch. I didn’t quite have my steps come five o’clock so closed up the work computer and back out I went! The sun was such a show-off and turned Zeke golden! He’s been loving the fact I bring him out twice per day for short walks.  Those hips are not getting any younger but his enthusiasm is still there. For short wslks, anyway.

What did Thursday bring?  More cold. More wind. Ugh. I did manage to get out there for a morning and after-work walk with Zeke and at lunch, it got cut short when I ran into a friend and we jibber-jabbered.  It wasn’t as horrible as Tuesday but far from lovely like Monday.

Yesterday? Cold. More cold. -7ºC – feels like -15ºC (19ºF feels like 5ºF). As a native Montrealer, this is not really that bad. But for some strange reason, after the mild that we had?  It feels so cold! Plus the wind was rather not fun and tried to pierce through – nothing like Tuesday.  Still, optimist that I am, I did enjoy the blue of the sky and captured the noon moon.

Which brings us to today.  March 5th.  Seems like we have a cold month ahead of us if we believe that old proverb mentioned at the top.  Went for my morning walk with Zeke. -11ºC feels like -20ºC (12ºF feels like -4ºF).   And it’ll only warm up by a couple of degrees come time for my noontime walk. Sigh.

Even Zeke is discouraged.

I hate March.  Only good thing about it, is the last day… coz that’s the day Iain came into the world.  The rest?  The cold, the muck, the cold, the major snowstorms – ever notice some of the major doozies happen in March?

 

 

My D’oh! Moment, Times THREE

So… my buddy Marc and I have taken to challenging each other once per week with a Daily Fitbit Challenge.  Two weeks ago, he must have been feeling lenient and giving this newbie a chance to beat him by 104 steps.  Last Wednesday, despite my 19,217 steps, he whupped my butt by 5K+.

Circumstances were in our favour to do our challenge today rather than tomorrow.  So, once my meeting with my mortgage broker ended some time around 2:00 pm, I started to get ready for my walk with Zeke.  As usual, I open the door to let him out as he drives me nuts while I tie my boots, and lock it because I’ll go out via the garage so I don’t have to carry my keys.

Open the door and see if the Zeke-Meister is there, and of course, he is!

Gather my stuff and out the garage I go.  Close the garage by pressing the button and take a few steps.  Hmmm… Methinks it might be colder than I thought, maybe I should get a light hat to protect my ears.  Punch in the code and.  Nothing.  Punch it in again.  Nothing.  Shit.  Try one last time and still.  Nothing.  Now I’m thinking that the other button mighta been pushed by accident, thereby blocking the keypad from working.  Why didn’t I check before leaving?  The green dot flashes when it’s locked.   D’oh! number 1

Start walking and text Aidan – “Locked out, blah blah… What time do you finish school?”  Get the response:  “last class is at six”.

Text Iain, who is also at school:  same blah blah as to Aidan plus, “let me know when you can come unlock the door.” Get the response “bruh.  I have a break at 6 and I don’t  have my full set.”

Text my sister, “Any chance in hell you have my house key?”  Get the response “I’m not home right now, and I’ll check but I doubt it”.  So did I.

More exchanges with the boys.  I keep walking because I might as well get my steps in since I can’t even get into the house.  Have an ah-hah moment.  Wait!  I betcha Mick gave a key to Robert for ‘just in case’…. text Robert:  “Hey you!  Any chance in hell you have a key to my house?”  Get the response:  “I think yes”.  He then calls me and tells me he will call me when he gets home to confirm.

Hallelujah!

With a much lighter bounce in my step, Zeke and I walk all the way past the Parc des Coutances to the strip of a trail behind the rue de Gascogne, happy that for once I did not drag my big camera.  I am wondering why so many trees were cut down in that strip.  It can’t be to make way for anything other than the pathway that is already there.  Curious.  But not enough to investigate.

On our return, I regretted not having my camera as there were cardinals calling out to each other.  I did film a little snippet because for some strange reason, zooming in on a video gives better results than zooming in for a picure.  Sadly, it just didn’t do them justice.

There were other birds as well but dang.  Robert called to confirm he did have the key but since he was going to dinner at his parents, where did he want me to hide it?  I told him where but just to make sure it was the right key.

He calls me back.  “Um… your front door was not locked.”  D’oh! Number 2.

Good grief.  Really?  I guess when I checked on Zeke’s position, I forgot to re-lock the door.  Bravo.  So Robert locked it for me.

By the time I got home, I figured… lemme check the keypad, just for the hell of it.

You guessed it.  The garage door opened.  Of course it did, Dummy.  You were able to close the damn door with the extra button (the one that usually goes in your car if you could actually put a car in your garage, which you can’t because our stupid furnace is in there so we keep the button on a rack by the door).  D’oh! Number 3.

On the plus side, with all this walking and stuff, I beat Marc by 431 steps.  Mind you, he called it at 8 saying he was charging his Fitbit and putting his feet up.  So, in solidarity, I removed mine 😉  Now, he’s gonna tell all a’ y’all that I was getting a lil cocky to which I replied “A lil bit.”  I’m sure I could have gotten a couple more hundred steps in easy-peasy.  Especially since I was behind by almost 900 at 7 so I danced while I prepared my supper 😀

I know full well that most days he has me beat so I’ll just bask in my lil moment for a bit.

 

 

 

Murphy’s Law

Ya know?  I’m a tad frustrated today!  I always take my camera with me when I go for my daily Zeke walk.  As I don’t want to carry a camera bag, I have to make the decision which lens to bring.  I thought of bringing my zoom then I put it back, hesitated again and finally left with my standard 18-55 mm lens.

Mistake.

(I’ve been on a double mission lately… make that triple.  Get outside and get fresh air, while walking the dog, take great pictures to become the next Ansel Adams (OK, no, not really but I AM trying to improve my photography!) and get my 10,000 steps in.  That last one is hard as I was absolutely convinced my walks covered at least that many…. Hmph!  Nope.  I have discovered the “Walking Mate” app on my phone and have started using it.  My walks average about 8500 steps (about 6.5 km).  Dammit!  Of course if I carried my phone with my while I go up and down the stairs at home, walking around doing whatever it is that I do all day, I may get close to it but I don’t really want my phone attached to my hip.)

Soooo…. yesterday, we walked over to the other side, called de Normandie Park and we were surrounded by the beautiful chirps and songs of various birds.  It was fantastic!  Did I have a zoom lens to capture these beauties up close? No!  Though I did manage to capture this one.

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So today, I decided that for sure it was going to be zoom lens all the way!  Great!

Not.

No birds could be found anywhere!  Seriously! What is UP with that?  I could hear them but they were hiding… I would have thought there’d be as many birds in deBrouages Park as in deNormandie.  Apparently not.

I did manage to capture these ones…

After that, not a bird could be seen!  Oh well, go with the flow, they say!

I ended up focusing on the water flowing in “my” river.  Hard to believe I walked all along this same river just last month!

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I tried to get up close and personal with the flow!

And then thought about how I can’t wait to not have to wear boots and a heavy coat and all the other winter paraphernalia and just sit to enjoy the sounds of the woods.

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Mr. Zeke, on the other hand, is just happy!  He doesn’t give a rat’s behind how cold it is!  He likes to lie in the snow and much prefers winter of the sweltering heat of summer…

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