The cost of a pair of shoes

My husband and I rented a family cottage last month, about an hour away from home. It was a lovely spot and our children and grandchildren took turns coming up to enjoy the water and tranquility.

After 3 weeks of rest and relaxation we began the process of packing up. My husband was responsible for packing up his clothes, books and personal items. I did everything else. I packed up all the food from fridge, freezer and pantry, all the childrens water toys, organized the garbage and recycling, changed all the beds, washed the linens, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, and helped load up the car. Despite the fact that all he had to concern himself with was his own personal things, he still managed to forget his shoes. (men are quite incapable of multitasking it seems)

The town near this cottage is quite lovely so I (stupidly) told him I’d go pick them up, and recruited a friend to accompany me. I thought we’d get the shoes, browse the shops, have lunch, and make a day of it, and she eagerly signed on.

It dawned a lovely sunny day and we enthusiastically hit the road just after 10:30 in the morning. About half an hour in we stopped on route at a frequent haunt of ours for some retail therapy, and after 30 minutes or so we resumed our road trip, packages in tow, unaware that our day was about to be severely interrupted.

No sooner did we get back on the highway when we came to a stand still and from this point on we moved at a crawl. It was painfully hot and humid so the air conditioning was going full blast guzzling gas by the second. Traffic for the next 90 minutes was backed up in front and behind. There was no option to turn around or pull over, making me seriously regret chugging that litre bottle of water earlier, and we were starting to get hungry.

By the time we finally approached our destination almost 31/2 hours had passed. We’d run out of conversation, our bladders were ready to burst, and we were starving. My friend made a point of saying “Boy, he must really like those shoes”  We decided to get the shoes first since we were late already, then relax somewhere for lunch, so we drove through the town pinpointing a lovely little restaurant right on the water we could return to later to eat. (Who knew this would be a mistake?)

On the road to the cottage we encountered city maintenance crews trimming the branches that hovered over the power lines. Now anywhere else this would be an efficient exercise, but in Nova Scotia road maintenance is painfully inept. After crawling along (again) for another 30 minutes we came upon 3 city vehicles that had blocked one of two lanes. Three workers stood along the roadside guiding a young girl, who was in a bucket high in the trees, clipping branches with what looked like regular garden shears. (At this rate they should be done by next February) We eventually got through this delay regretting now that we hadn’t stopped for lunch first because we knew the only way back to the little town was through the same route. We arrived at the cottage just after 2:30, 21/2 hours later than planned.

I got the shoes, thanked the owners, (silently cursed my husband) and got back in the car for the 35 minute drive it would take to go the 10 km back to town, passing the road crew (who’d made little progress) and eventually the charming little restaurant on the water, was in sight. Buoyed by the thought our ordeal was finally over we both perked up at the thought of a leisurely lunch on the ocean. We parked and walked up to the patio only to see a hand written note on the door that read “Closed due to the intense heat”. (Only in Nova Scotia)

Deflated we returned to the car still hungry and still in need of a bathroom. We drove through the little town until we spotted a lovely little patio restaurant, delighted to see they were open and had a table for us. I didn’t even really care what they served. My first goal was to find a bathroom, of which they had only one. I ran over and pulled the door shut only to hear a loud crash on the other side and found the doorknob in my hand. Recognizing opening the door without a doorknob would be a problem, I weighed the priorities and quickly determined it was more important that I relieve myself of the litre of water I’d been carrying for the past 3 hours, then deal with my confinement.

Fortunately a kitchen helper heard the crash and came to my aide eventually freeing me from the washroom. (Who could’ve foreseen that after 4 hours in a hot car I’d end up locked in a public bathroom)

By the time we sat down at our table to order it was 3:18pm. (We left at 10:30 am for what should have been a 1 hour drive) I can’t remember what we ate but I do know we had a large alcoholic beverage first and by the time our food came we were feeling more relaxed.

No longer interested in browsing the town shops we decided to call it a day and head home. Traffic was still seriously backed up but travelling in the opposite direction our trip home, while slow, was tolerable. At this point neither of us cared, we just wanted to get this day over with.

After dropping my friend off at her house (I think I saw her drop to the ground and kiss her driveway) I made my way home, arriving at 5:45pm.  Later in the evening I would reflect on this day and I came to a few conclusions.

  1. I’m pretty sure this friend will never sign on to a casual road trip with me again.
  2. The next time I assign my husband a simple task I need to follow up (or the next days headlines will read “Man beaten to death with his own shoes”)
  3. It cost $70 for gas, $45 for lunch (which my friend paid for cause I think she felt sorry for me) and I lost an entire day of my life…..for a pair of shoes that were old and cost less than $40 when I bought them 3 years ago. Boy, I sure know how to shop a bargain!