Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Vacation to Montreal - Recap

Part of what's really making us smile is that the train station is a block from our respective places of work.
This was us on the start of our trip to Montreal on October 6, 2013.  We haven't even left Moncton when I took this picture.  Look at us.  So young.  So naive about what life in the big city will be like.  So full of excitement about eating a meal on the train.  

This was what our first night looked like in Montreal:

Did you know you can buy wine at the grocery stores in Quebec?!  That wine may look fancy, but it came from a juice box.  I, of course, am having a Coke (chilled, no ice).

Boom, we are wild and crazy.  For those of you who might be counting, that is the same glass of wine.  It's my second Coke though.  Shortly after this picture was taken, we opened up a bag of Doritos.

If you could pan down, you'd see a woman in her housecoat and a shower cap standing on a plastic chair on her balcony, cleaning her windows.  It was less exciting than I'm making it out to be.
This was the picture I took about an hour before I wrote my last post.  I was going to upload it when I started my second post of our trip, which was tentatively titled "Montreal - Day Two".  I am not always an imaginative man.

About thirty minutes after I hit submit on my previous post, we got a phone call that has changed our lives.

My Lovely Wife and I have been on the adoption waiting list for a while - years in fact.  We have waited for that call for so long... it's really hard to describe what it's like when it finally happens.  Relief, excitement, joy, panic.  I imagine everything that everyone who has ever had a child feels when they hold their baby for the first time, only without the months of prior knowledge to get ready for that moment.

At 9:35 AM, we got the call from our social worker that we had been chosen by the birth parents to adopt their beautiful baby girl.  That call lasted 4 minutes and 3 seconds.  It was followed by about twenty minutes of just full out crying and cheering (cheerying?).  I had enough presence of mind to take the following picture:

You can barely see my other arm holding the camera.

Because we had taken the train to Montreal, and thanks to the budget cuts from VIA, the next train home wasn't until the next day.  We were not going to wait that long.  So we bought tickets on the first available flight back to Moncton, which didn't leave for another 6 hours.  We spent the intervening time calling family and friends.  If you didn't hear the news from us directly, don't take it personally - we had 2 years to put together a phone tree for just this situation and we didn't get to it.  Then, when we couldn't stand to stay in the hotel room any longer for fear that we might burst, we went for a walk.

When we finished walking and buying the few souvenirs that we would end up purchasing at the paper store, we high tailed it for the airport.

Ironically, since we were now leaving Montreal, the weather improved dramatically.
Nothing against the airport in Montreal, but there was nothing there that was as exciting as the news that we kept repeating to each other. This was the view from our gate as we waited for our flight.  We talked to a couple of nice ladies who were both returning from Alberta, but I don't really remember anything about either of them.  Come to think of it, one of them might have been a guy.  No, wait, they were both women.  I'm 50% sure.  They were both nice though.  If I could pan the camera to the left, you'd see them both.  But I can't, so you won't.

I don't have any pictures of Wednesday, because that was full of running around trying to find things for an infant.  Things like a car seat/stroller combo unit.  Who would have thought that there'd be so many options?  Who would have known that every option that we wanted was out of stock, not available, or discontinued due to safety issues?  We did get one, and we're happy with it, and I'm only a little disappointed that it didn't come with an MP3 player, shock absorbers or satellite radio.

But then the most important part of all was actually meeting our baby girl.  It's a picture that has made it's way around Facebook, so you may have seen it already, but I like it enough that I'm using it again.

She's pretty incredible.
I managed to get almost all of this written while she was down for a nap.  Right up to this last picture.  But now I have to go entertain a no-year-old with funny faces and weird noises.  I'll also be making funny faces and weird noises.  (See what I did there?)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Montreal - Day One

For our anniversary, My Lovely Wife and I took a trip to Montreal.  For those of you that have never been here before, Montreal is like the Canadian version of Paris.  It's just foreign enough that you'll be in awe of why everything is different - but not so different that it gets weird, you know what I mean?  Also, there's a lot of old stuff around here and chicks love old stuff.

To make it doubly romantic, we took the train to get here.  My Lovely Wife had some VIA rail points from a previous trip she'd made that allowed us to get her ticket for basically half price, so that made it cheaper than flying.  We had done the train before, and it was super nice and way romantic.

I'm going to go on record as saying that the romance of the train is in direct proportion to your position relative to the sleeper cars.  More specifically, cabin in a sleeper car = super ultra mega romantic; economy seat = not romantic at all.

And thus we spent our anniversary on the train.  For some reason, My Lovely Wife found it easier to sleep with the sound of other people snoring and farting in her general vicinity.  I asked how she could possibly have slept through all of that.  She said she was "just lucky, I guess."  I think there may be more to the story, but twelve years of marriage suggest I will be happier leaving it alone.

We got a taxi to our hotel, and wow, are we ever happy we found this place!  We're staying at L'Appartement Hotel, which if my high school French is correct translates to Hotel Apartment, so chalk one up for the Language Laws there.  We have a suite with a bedroom, kitchen, and living room that is not significantly smaller than our first apartment, and is in many ways, much much nicer.  First of all, there is a cleaning staff.  Come to think of it, there doesn't have to be anything else on that particular list.

We did a little bit of a walk around the two or three blocks of our maison away from maison (that would totally count as bilingual in Moncton, by the way).  We found a stationary store that My Lovely Wife fell in love with immediately (from across the street even - it was like watching the first thirty seconds of a romantic comedy, stars in her eyes and everything).  The owner/manager was pretty awesome too.  We had a really interesting ten minute conversation about pens.  I'm not even being sarcastic here.  If you get a chance to visit the Papeterie Nota Bene on Parc Ave in Montreal, do so.

At this point in our day, it started to pour so we bought a few groceries and ran back to our l'Appartement.  We elected to spend the rest of the day inside and out of the rain.

Looks like a great day today!

I am aware that there is nothing that incredible about this picture... but you know what?  It's not the view of the grass that I left unmowed or the leaves that needed to be raked up, so that makes it pretty damn romantic to me.
Still to come - the Biodome (just like France loves Jerry Lewis, the Quebecois feel the same about Pauly Shore - I'm reasonably sure that I'm the first person to ever make that joke), the Planetarium, a subway ride or two, and possibly I learn some more ways that talking in French leads to conversations in English.

EDIT:  9:35 EST - Montreal, you've been great.  It's not you, it's us.  Moncton, see you tonight.