Where’d the water go?

For the past 20 years that we’ve lived in Atlantic Canada I’ve struggled to find a cottage rental that is on a fresh water lake. Growing up in Ontario, where there’s nothing but fresh water lakes, it’s a comfortable swimming hole for me (I love to frolic)  and I love salt water to swim in, don’t misunderstand me, but I also like a body of water that stays where I left it.

About 3 years ago I finally found a rental that I thought would suit. It was on the ocean, so salt water was a given, and that’s fine, but the pictures showed a beach that looked perfect. The photos even showed young families frolicking by the seashore, so I booked it.

My daughter and her 2 young children came up to stay and we wasted no time getting our beach adventure underway. The shoreline was across a narrow country road and through a field of tall grass but it was a short walk so we packed up our picnic and donned our inflatable toys and started through the grass. When we emerged onto the shoreline we were shocked to see the beach was gone. The lovely lapping shoreline was about 200 feet away and the ground in between was mud. Ahha,,,,,, so I didn’t factor in tides.

We walked along the muddy under-beach for a bit but as it was too wet to sit on our towels and too muddy to play we soon trudged back to the cottage. I found a sprinkler in the shed and we turned that on for the children to play in, and while they seemed no less content, I felt short changed (where’d the water go?) And how’d they get that picture in the advertisement, night cameras? Who frolics in mud?

I noticed a poster on the wall in one of the main living areas that listed tide levels and schedules and realized, only for the first time, it was going to require some strategizing to coordinate our ‘frolic’ time with nature. (I hate a holiday that’s work)

Interestingly I found over the next 2 weeks that tides really don’t care about frolic time – they do their own thing. And because the timing for our beach adventures had to work around nap times, we really didn’t see much ‘beach’, accept from a distance, so while we ended up having a wonderful vacation (it’s all about the people) it wasn’t the seaside holiday I had envisioned…..so my search continued. (and I had my work cut out for me) They don’t call Nova Scotia “Canada’s Ocean Playground’ for nothing, because despite the fact that there are fresh water lakes inland, they are largely uninhabited and those that are built up are carefully guarded.

It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to find a cottage rental that’s on a fresh water lake and I can hardly wait because this time I know when I go to the beach each day, it’ll be exactly where I left it, and that’s how it should be…..stupid tides.


I’m not a big sports fan (course you’d never know it by my monthly cable bill) but because my husband is we subscribe to a number of sports channels, so I get my fill of sports, like it or not, and some are easier to take than others.

Golf, tennis; these are gentlemen’s/gentlewomen’s sports and certain ‘behaviours’ are expected. Protocols require that the spectators remain quiet while play is on. You never make noise when a golfer is in his backswing, and during a tennis rally the only sound heard is the grunt of the players as they whack the ball. Seems like these are the sports for the more refined in society?

Football, hockey, soccer, baseball, on the other hand, are the sports for the masses, Crowds are loud and unruly any time, all the time, and players spit and scratch themselves without a care about how it looks or who’s watching.

I watch some sports half-heartedly largely because I can’t keep up with what’s going on. Football never seems to have more than a minute of play  before they all pile up on top of each other and a whistle blows. How they accumulate the eventual score is a mystery to me but I suspect it might have something to do with how many guys end up in the pile and who’s on top.

Hockey is hard to follow only because the puck moves to fast, and just when I think I’ve got it in my sights it disappears across the ice, but that’s ok cause fans can be distracted by the players who’ve thrown off their gloves and are pounding the living daylights out of each other (apparently that’s part of the sport?) and the crowd goes wild.

And baseball is just boring. Too much time is spent watching the guys in the field (those are the ones scratching themselves) and when play is interrupted again, for God knows why, cameras move to the dugout where we can watch the benched players chew their cud and spit,,,,pretty.

Basketball, volleyball, badminton; these are sports that require cooperation. Teamwork is vital and violence is not tolerated the way it is in hockey, but these sports too are somewhat monotonous. Too much back and forth.

Now I know I am in the minority with such opinions because fans and sponsors pay ridiculous sums of money to watch these players and that’s where I take real issue. The money paid out to these sports superstars is staggering,,,,,and embarrassing. A top notch scientist researching life saving cures that directly impact humanity will clear a couple of hundred thousand a year, but some uneducated kid from Nowhere Indiana shows a flair for baseball and he’s offered $50 million dollar contracts and hero worship. What are we thinking?

Sometimes it’s not just a walk in the park

I’m an avid walker. In fact, I walk every day and hike once a week, weather permitting. For the most part I walk alone but every now and then I find a friend willing to keep up with me (apparently I walk too fast)

This past Friday was forecast to be lovely and spring like so my husband caught me by surprise when he suggested we do a walk together. (He walks regularly with his golf buddies but rarely walks with me because he prefers a slower pace) He suggested we walk the golf course – it’s a pretty setting, quiet….good idea….or so I thought.

As we were preparing to go he advised we’d be going in his car instead of mine, which we rarely do when we go out together. (He drives a honkin’ big ole Buick, the kind you see in southern states that are usually driven by 80 + men wearing Tilley hats and orthopedic sandals. It drives like a big clumsy animal and I have lovingly dubbed it ‘The Geezermobile”) I asked why and he replied, “My clubs are in it and I thought I’d hit a few balls as we walk and you can fetch them”   Ahha,,,,ok,,,,,, no. (If you want someone to fetch balls get a cocker spaniel) Sensing I was not enamoured of his suggestion he pulled my car out and we headed off to his golf club for our walk. Once there we parked and started out on one of the cart paths. There were still patches of snow on the course but the strong sun was rapidly melting it. (Now that should’ve tipped me off)

Eventually he suggested we go off the path and walk on the grass because ‘it was sunnier on the greens’. I thought nothing of it. By the time we hit the middle of the fairway it was noticeably soggy and it wasn’t long before my sneakers were flooded. Great. These are new sneakers and my custom, prescription orthotics aren’t supposed to get wet – but it was too late.  I suggest that perhaps this wasn’t such a great idea so he navigates us to a cart path again but not before I slip on the wet grass and land flat on my ass in several inches of water. (Are we having fun yet?)

We walk in silence (by my choice) staying to the paths where possible but occasionally we had to tromp through snow. Why not…..what’s a little snow in my drenched sneakers?  At one point he advises we were half way (thank God, the end is in sight!) but I still manage to fall on slippery grass, not once, but twice more, and by now I’m soaked from the waist down (If he laughs I’ll have to kill him)  and the last fall was in a patch of grass that was muddy. Nice. (How come he hasn’t slipped?)

By the time our car is in sight we’re walking a good 20 feet apart because I just want to get my soggy ass home and in to a hot shower. I put a grocery bag on the front seat to protect the upholstery then cover that with his jacket and sit on it, mud and all. (OK, ok, petty I know but at this point my pride was as bruised as my ass)

Now I get that it really wasn’t his fault, not all of it, but he should’ve known the grass would be soggy and perhaps advised me to wear  boots instead of sneakers. Or maybe not suggested going off the paved cart path at all? And I’m not impressed that I am I the only one to fall here. (OK, my ego hurts more than my rear) At the end of the day it was not the relaxing walk I had envisioned…… …..had I not landed on my ass in mud three times maybe it would’ve been.

So,,,, note to self. Walk on your own – it’s safer (avoid wet grass) cleaner, and nobody is there to witness anything. And if I do walk with my husband again, I’ll have to remember my hip waders. Until then I’m stickin’ to the paved roads.

Can you hear me now?

Sometimes it seems as though I can’t be heard which is impossible because I’m not exactly soft spoken.  In fact recently I noticed I wasn’t the only one not being heard – most of my female friends admit to being somewhat inaudible. A woman’s voice, it appears, is easy to ignore, more so a mother’s voice. Why is the male voice so revered? When a woman hollers nobody listens but when a man raises his voice everybody scrambles.

I can ask my husband about his day and will listen intently. When he reciprocates the courtesy I’m not 6 words in when I see his eyes glaze over and I know he’s tuned me out. (course it doesn’t help that he’s scanning the tv listings as he listens…..)

I remember when I was a young girl my mothers ‘lectures’, as we called them, tended to be repetitive so yes, I tuned her out. My father, on the other hand, commanded attention, because he so rarely disciplined us. When he spoke sternly to us, we froze.

As children we learn to recognize who the heavy is and in most cases it’s the mother. (as a demographic we mothers are so screwed) Fathers are always the hero. They step in with discipline only at the eleventh hour when all a mothers attempts have failed and he sees that things are spiraling out of control. And even then he only intervenes because the kafuffle is delaying his dinner or interrupting his tv viewing.

My mother used to yell a lot then throw her slipper at us. It was one of those flimsy satiny slippers so it never hurt. On the contrary after she flung it at us and left the room we’d burst out laughing because the attempt was so lame.

Like my mother, I was something of a screamer (preferring to keep my slippers on my feet). It was the only weapon I had – I wasn’t in to spankings, and for the most part screaming worked. My kids maintain even today that my screaming is still ‘scary’  (who said fear is bad?) This is in memory of course because I stopped screaming when they all grew up and moved out (or they stopped listening). Now I’m as mild as a kitten…..ah, but I digress!

My issue here is that we women are still largely ignored. We are seen as the ‘nag’, the one who repeats herself, over analyzes situations, worries too much, asks too many questions (am I missing anything here?)

And yet interestingly enough when the kids are grown and living on their own they frequently call home to check in, get advice, complain about their partners, rant about the job,,,,,,and who is the recipient of this dumping? Dear old mom of course! And suddenly all the ‘nagging’ has become sound advice and welcome information (especially when they have kids of their own) And dear old dad is relegated to being……the nice guy, again. And the kids feel for him because now that they’re gone there’s no buffer for him from mom. Poor baby. Sound familiar?

What are we doing wrong that we are not being heard? Or, what are men doing right, that they are? A friend I knew was a ‘slipper thrower’ like my mother, and she maintained that whipping that slipper at your target of anger regardless of who you hit was good, because even if it missed the guilty party, the recipient was likely to commit an offense sooner or later anyway. Now there’s foresight!

I think fathers push their children and encourage risk taking which can be a good thing when it comes to ambition and confidence. They are also more likely to tease their child building character and a sense of humour. Mothers by contrast are nurturing and more protective, preferring to minimize any risk taking because they don’t want their child to suffer. (And that’s a bad thing?)

Today my children ‘hear’ me, sort of. At least they appear to. And they seek out conversation and advice from me because they’ve come to realize all that nagging had some value after all. And that’s a good thing cause my next strategy was to strap a brick to my slipper before I throw it at you – can you hear me now?