Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | April 20, 2014

April in Alberta: A Whirlwind Weekend #1

Well, it’s been  a while since I’ve posted, because I haven’t taken much in the way of holidays for a while.  I’ve been saving them up for a very, very big adventure I had originally planned for May.  That has now been pushed to October given some work requirements (long story short: the Northwest Territories devolved power from the federal government to the territorial, which in turn meant half my team devolved, and when a maternity backfill found something permanent, taking a month off in May became impossible).  The thought of not getting out of Yellowknife until the fall made me  a little crazy, so I booked a trip on points to visit friends and family in Alberta over the Easter long weekend, meaning I could get out without using any of my carefully saved holiday time. It’s a short trip – I came in yesterday (Friday) afternoon and am leaving Monday morning, but it will hopefully tide me over a little while.

This is what the weather was like not all that long ago - is it any wonder I needed out of Yellowknife?

This is what the weather was like not all that long ago – is it any wonder I needed out of Yellowknife?

The trip got off to a rough start, I’ll admit.  Though I am not a nervous flyer, I like to be at the airport and through security early, because once I’ve done everything in my power, I relax and am able to travel smoothly.  With that in mind, I checked into my flight Thursday night, then called a cab almost an hour and a half before my plane was to leave.  Yellowknife is a small town; usually my cab comes within five minutes, and I’m at the airport within another 10 minutes, tops.  Though I was told my taxi would be there right away, I waited a good 15 minutes before I called, when they indicated they were short of drivers because it was Good Friday, but  a cab was on it’s way.  I wasted another precious 12 minutes waiting before I threw my bags in my car and had to drive myself to the airport (my friends and family had brunch plans or church). At the airport, there was absolutely zero parking. After circling a good fifteen minutes I couldn’t afford, I finally parked in front an electrical box outside the parking lot and raced inside.  I could hear them calling pre-boarding as I raced to the counter. They’d already stopped taking checked luggage when I arrived at the counter.  I was near tears, explaining there was no parking and my cab hadn’t come, at a loss for what to do. Thankfully, the West Jet staff are amazing and kind.  The lady at the checkout called and was able to arrange for  me to check the suitcase as oversized, so it made the plane.  They also took my keys to security for me, so I could call my brother and beg him to leave his brunch with his hockey team to get my car before it was towed.

I managed to reach my brother from the line, and even though he told me to relax and breathe and that it would all work out (and it did, he was right), it was still an anxious flight where I imagined my car getting towed and that expense, as well as all the other bad luck I’d encounter on my trip. Once I was in the Edmonton Aiport with cell phone reception, I was able to confirm my car was safely in my brother’s care, and that leaving my keys with strangers had not been the stupidest decision I’d ever made.  I am going to continue to use West Jet, since they were (and always are) so nice and helpful (those commercials are right!), and I’m going to program the other Yellowknife cab’s number into my phone, and make them my default instead.

Once in Edmonton, I picked up my rental car at Enterprise.  I like using them – they always upgrade me, and even though my boxy Kia model (I forget which) is kind of a homely looking car compared to my beautiful Ruby Blue at home (a 2008 Chevy Cobalt in Victory Red), it has lots of trunk room for my suitcase) and is also red – my favourite colour.

Though my family sometimes feels like a zoo, this is actually at a real soon.  Lucy the Elephant is out for a walk at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

Though my family sometimes feels like a zoo, this is actually at a real soon. Lucy the Elephant is out for a walk at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

This trip, I am staying with my cousin and her family, since I like to stay different places so no one tires of me and I get to spend time with different friends and family each time I come here.  I stopped at a Safeway on my way to Leduc, and picked up dinner ingredients, since this time I’d be doing the cooking.  I made sweet and sour meatballs from scratch, along with stir fry and rice, and it turned out quite well, in my opinion (even if I did get distracted chatting with my cousin and let the sweet and sour sauce boil over and set off the fire alarm not once but twice).  After dinner, I visited with the family for a while (her four year old is very excited that I’ve over for “three sleep overs!”) then we went out for a few more groceries and wine, so the grownups could have dessert and drinks before heading to bed.

Today was Saturday, and this is where the whirlwind truly began. I drove into Edmonton for ten o’clock, so I could be at West Edmonton Mall as the stores opened.  I’d called to book an appointment with my eye doctor for eleven, as the offices are in the mall, and I wanted to get my errands out of the way first.  I made a stop at M.A.C. cosmetics for a colleague, the British Import Store for my best friend, at Ricki’s for my favourite black turtleneck (I’ve worn through two already, so planned to buy two more) with no luck since it is winter wear (I’ll have to try again in the fall, I guess), popped into Quilts Etc and bought new sheets to try (made from Tencel (eucalyptus) fibre, smaller thread count than the cotton I have now but supposedly an upgrade) in the dark golden yellow I’ve always wanted, and then even had time to buy a few DVDs at HMV before my appointment.  There was somehow a mixup and they didn’t have me in the system (they do have two offices in the mall, so I may have booked in the wrong one) but they took me as a walk in.  I hadn’t had my eyes checked in two years, so I needed it done so they would let me refill my contact prescription.  After that, I picked up a Ripped Berry Booster Juice and headed to the zoo.

The Bug enjoyed watching this little

The Bug enjoyed watching this little

I had arranged to meet a few friends at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.  Not everyone could make it, but two of my good friends from Camrose made it up, and my friend J.’s husband L. and their little guy were able to join us (J. had to work). Two more friends were supposed to join, but one accidentally double-booked (nephew’s birthday party is an understandable excuse) and the other one’s baby is making an arrival sometime very soon, so my trip may now include a nip in to see a new little one tomorrow if I am lucky!

The Edmonton zoo is much smaller than the Calgary Zoo (which I haven’t been to since I was small). They are doing renovations, so it will definitely be nice, and April is not really all that warm so many of the animals weren’t out, but I still had a good time.  I got to see the tigers (my favourite!).  Lucy the Elephant was out for a walk, so there was some up close visiting. The seals were fun to watch.  And very neat was also

Shyla the Arctic Wolf takes a walk.

Shyla the Arctic Wolf takes a walk.

seeing the Arctic Wolf out for a walk on a leash like a regular dog.  The Bug, who is now three years old and ALMOST as cute as my adorable nephew, had a good time.  After that, we went to Second Cup for a snack and a break.  I had a sparkling green tea lemonade on a whim, and it was delicious, as was the raspberry chocolate scone. The atmosphere was really great too.  The Bug also enjoyed the tiny rubber snake I bought him. Eighty cents well spent at the zoo for sure. The Bug decided he wanted to go home, so it was just Rubber Duckie, Someshta (who was also at my last Alberta Whirlwind trip where I went to a football game) and I for dinner.  We went next door to the Brewster’s for dinner. It was really, really good.  I was driving, so no beer for me, which was too bad, because even though I’m not normally a beer drinker (it goes right to my head making me look like an embarrassing lightweight), they have a good selection of varieties I’d love to try. Instead, I just had water with my Maple Bacon Bison Burget and sweet potato fries.  Delicious.

After that, Rubber Duckie and Someshta had to head back to Camrose, and I headed to the New Serepta area where I met up with my cousin’s family at her dad’s house, to which I’d never been.  Their garage is amazing – it is a shop where my uncle and aunt keep their skidoos and motorcycles, and do work on them. Many cool tools in there! The house is very nice as well.  Then after all the visiting, we came home.  Tomorrow is Easter day and mainly a visiting, which I’ll probably combine with Monday since the trip is so short (and mainly family-related).  I’m looking forward to seeing what else I cram into this trip, which is pretty full despite the fact that I’ll be home early enough on Monday to make my fencing class!

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