First off many apologies for not keeping up with the blog, i have missed some pretty significant #cigarSundays, including a lovely homecoming weekend #cigarSaturday with a couple friends of the show Isaac and Alex, a post taking down the pool #cigarSunday and the list goes on. There will be no #cigarSunday for the Halloween week because I worked out a total of 0 times. Not even a sniff of a workout, and its a huge shame as I have a new bottle of Irish Whiskey that is not available in Canada to try and a new glass to christen that was picked out for me by my brother on a recent trip to Japan that she just returned from. Hopefully this week both will be utilized.
But last week there was a #cigarSunday and it was a beauty one!
After my trip to Vancouver, I had a flight back into Toronto, as most flights to anywhere in the world tend to stop in Toronto before flying back to Halifax, i decided to take advantage of this and pause my return home for a visit to family in upstate New York.
This visit was something long overdue and I was really looking forward to getting to spend some time with Daphne's cousin Ailsa and her daughter Piper and son Brooks. These kids are awesome, hilarious and come out with some of the best observations on life and the world that you will ever hear or read. A quick scroll through Ailsa's FB page will have you in stitches with some of the things they come out with. They call me Uncle Sean, one, its way easier to say uncle sean then cousin in law sean and explain what that means, but also because we are godparents to each others kids and that is something we hold very special.
So off the plane I go, it is about 10pm Toronto time, but for me its really about 7pm as I have adjusted somewhat to the Vancouver time difference.
Get down to the rental place, get my vehicle, and my rental GPS. I have never traveled with GPS, but since I was have never driven to the US either, nor have i really driven in Toronto traffic in 20 years I thought it would be a good investment.
Probably should have read up on how to use the damn thing, because I took me about 20-25min of starting and stopping just to get out of the terminal, so i turned on my phone gps also so that I was doubly GPS'd.
After much swearing and yelling at the GPS system for my own failings i was on the road to the boarder.
Smooth sailing all the way there.
So I get to the boarder and I line up behind the only other car there. There are 4 open lanes mind you, but I am starting to get a little punchy. So after about 5 minutes I back up and move one lane over.
I pull up and greet the office with a friendly hello.
This was met with a sneer and you too.
I hand over my visa, and here begins a what not to say lesson when crossing the boarder:
Why are you traveling to the US?
I am visiting my wife's cousin and her family, to see them and help take down their pool for the winter.
Why do they need your help?
I was flying back from Vancouver on business and it worked out in my schedule to pop down for a visit.
So you plan on working?
No, I was working, I plan on visiting and helping?
Where to they live?
Update NY, Nunda, on a farm.
So you are working on a farm?
No, they live on a farm.
Is this your car?
No, its a rental.
Can I see the rental agreement?
(Pass the rental agreement)
If you are going down to visit, why is the rental agreement on your company business card?
I get a better rate if i use the corporate card and account, I will be paying my organization back for the expense.
So this is a business expense?
No, its a personal expense, but I get a better rate if I use this card.
Where do you work?
I am a GM for a University Students' Union
Why are you working in the US?
I am not working, I am visiting.
Hold on one second.
( leaves for 3 minutes)
Sir, please put on your 4 way flashers and drive to that detaining area over there, your name will be called by the officer inside the building.
So its midnight ( 9pm) for me.
I pull up, get out and head to the waiting area. There are about 15 Latino people, a few Asians and me. All of us watching the Blue Jay game. Slowly they are called into a glassed in room.
About a half hour - 45 mintues goes by and I am finally called up to the counter.
The officer looks my up and down and says, why are you here?
I want to say - you tell me - but answer with I am not sure.
He says okay explain to me why you are traveling to the states in a rental vehicle in your companies name.
I go through the story again and he goes, well there is your problem, you should have used your personal credit card and you most likely would not have been stopped.
So thats what I get for being cheap.
He asks to look through my luggage in the car, and i welcome it if it will get me through faster.
About 10 minutes later I am back on the road. So wasted almost an hour of driving, but I am in the US!
So now I a back to the GPS again.
I wish someone would have told me that you should always check the settings, because one of the settings you can check is avoid toll roads. This was checked. I am stunned.
I was WAY out in the middle of nowhere, i was on dirt roads, gravel roads, paved roads, up mountains, down mountains. But I finally landed at my destination around 3am - Midnight for me.
I was greeted by Ailsa, with a hug and a threat - Never Again will you be arriving this late in the morning if you are visiting!! Oopsie.
Some quick chats and it was beddy by time.
I can see why Ailsa was so concerned about 530am maybe 6am but def not later then that, i heard the pitter patter of some little feet. shortly there after I felt a little someone start to cuddle up with me under my blankets.
Then a solid tap-tap-tap on the back of my head. I roll over to see Brooksie staring back at me, and greeted with a ' hello, i forgot you were coming today, who are you again, did you want to come in my room and play, i have to be quiet so i dont wake Piper, Piper doesnt like it when i wake her up, she gets really mad, i have a car that flyies, we can play with that'
So up we get and into the room we go to play with the car that flies and quickly develops into a passing game, with points for catching it.
About a half hour later Piper comes in with a ' Brooksie will you shut up' Hi Uncle Sean, he doesnt have an inside voice and is so loud in the morning'
The next couple of mornings were not much different, but it was hilarious.
The weekend was awesome, Ailsa took me on a bit of sightseeing with hitting up the State park that was absolutely gorgeous, the local liquor store where i got to look over all the awesome spirits we cannot get in Canada, couple trips for slurpies at 7-11; a walk around their beautiful property and a trip to a couple wineries. We got the pool set up for the winter aside from one task, and helped Piper to nail throwing a spiral with the football, and mostly got to have some laughs.
It was tough to leave, but I cant wait to go back and take my family with me.
We finished off the weekend with a #cigarSunday in the hot tub. I need one of these. The beverage of choice this week was an Apple Cider Sangria. The recipe: 1/2 bottle of any white wine, cut up apples, 1 bottle of Angry Orchard Apple Cider, 1 cup of non-alcohol apple cider and a splash of Sprite over Ice. SO GUD!
The cigar this week was a Box Press CAO Brazillian and it was a perfect partner with the sweet and tart taste of the Apple Cider Sangria. I perfect way to spend a full moon #cigarSunday with the gentle bubbling of the hot tube.
The trip back to Canada was uneventful, i had the GPS working properly and cut almost an hour and 20 minutes off my time with the toll roads and bridges. Plane ride a few hours later and back in Halifax and home to Antigonish. Well for a couple days, then its off to Wolfville for a day or so for another conference, but that is a post for a different day.
Sean " BigBoyRunning" Ryan