More than a nugget of fun in North Bay

Reid and I spent last weekend in North Bay, hanging out with Kathleen, or Kackle as we called her once Reid’s insertion of an extra “a” drove me over the edge. “Kathaleen” must be one of my personal, psychic stones-in-my-shoe. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and enjoyed their pool, hot breakfast (with cinnamon buns!) and mini-suite with fridge and microwave.

On Friday evening, we went for a swim in the pool before heading out to buy a pizza to take to eat on the beach. We got a pizza from Mr Toppers (yum) and found a bench overlooking the bay but didn’t make it to the beach. I’d already warned Reid that we wouldn’t be able to play in the water and Mother Nature backed my up. Despite our 20-plus Celsius (75ish Fahrenheit)day, the water was frozen at the shore and for quite a ways out. It’s good to have Mother Nature on your side. And it’s hard to believe that we’ll be swimming in that same water in a couple of months. The breeze over the ice was chilly but the sun was still strong and you can tolerate more the first warm days on spring than in the dead of the summer, eh?

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Dollar Store for pool toys. I invested about $7 in water wings, an inflatable dolphin, a Disney Princesses ball, goggles and part of what we needed to make a floating chair (of course, I didn’t learn we needed a pool noodle until we were back at the hotel). I got the dolphin and ball blown up for another trip to the pool and Reid tried out her goggles. On the way back to the room, Reid, started talking about “Dave” (the dolphin). I thought it seemed silly to name an inflatable dolphin 2/3 Reid’s size but was soon glad that she’d bonded with Dave when we realized that we’d forgotten Molly, the Care Bear Reid sleeps with most nights. I suggested that *I* could be her sleep toy but Reid was confident that Dave would be a better choice. An inflatable dolphin is about as cuddly as you’d expect but Reid was happy. Dave made a couple of breaks for it in the night. Each attempt at freedom led to me having to walk around the bed to retrieve him. Molly doesn’t get out of bed so often.

We went to the Powassin Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday morning, after a trip to the pool, of course. We didn’t see much relating to maple trees or syrup  but we did see interesting kiosks on the main street and Reid found a lady selling candy kebobs that were beg-worthy. The most exciting activity, though, was the West Coast Lumberjack show. Reid watched, fascinated, as the lumberjacks used racing axes, cross-cut saws and chainsaws in a competition. At the end of the show, Reid was eager to get to the rope between the audience and exhibit area with her hands out for a souvenir piece of cut wood. She planned to bring it home to Ken so that he could build something but later decided to take it to Chris, Kathleen’s husband, when Kathleen mentioned that he would be sad to have missed the competition. Reid is a sensitive girl, you know. We got back to the car just as the first drops of rain began to fall. We looked longingly at the Highland games competitors who were just across the road but didn’t risk the rain. When the skies opened up and the deluge began, we were glad of our decision. Instead of taking the 20 minute highway trip back to North Bay, we drove along the water on what would have been a beautiful, scenic drive except for the rain, fog and wind. Reid slept and Kathleen and I talked, which made it a great drive anyway. We swam a couple more times on Saturday night and ate supper in our room. Kathleen and I had chocolate lava cakes for dessert but Reid chose fruit. I don’t know where Reid gets these crazy tendencies!

On Sunday, we relaxed in the room, swam again and then hit the highway for Kathleen and Chris’ house. During the drive, I asked if Reid had enjoyed getting to know Kathleen better but she ignored me. Kathleen repeated the question and
Reid responded emphatically, “No!” And paused before offering an insulted,  “I already knowed her.” I think she thought we were implying that she was too little to remember previous visits with Kathleen and was offended. Poor kid.

We’d planned on having soup and fruit for lunch but Reid must have heard someone mention grilled cheese sandwiches because she slipped into the kitchen when Chris was in there by himself and conned him into making her one. What a bold child, don’t you think?

After lunch we hit the road for Ottawa. Reid managed to stay awake for only a couple of kilometres and then succumbed to the nap that she needed. We made good time on the road and got back to Ottawa just before supper. It takes about 4 and 1/2 hours to drive from North Bay to Ottawa if you don’t take Highway 7 instead of 17, like I did in August, and worth every minute of it. We’ll definitely be inviting ourselves to visit Kathleen and Chris this summer. The city newspaper is called the North Bay Nugget but that undersells the fun to be had – at least if you’re lucky enough to spend time with Kathleen. And it’ll be that much better if we decide to have boys join us next time. Chris and Ken won’t even have to say a word – Kathleen, Reid and I have that covered ;+)

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