What I Did on my Summer Vacation (2015 edition)

Last year, the theme for my Summer Vacation post was: Soccer. This year, the theme will definitely not be: Soccer. Things started out soccer-ish. I had tickets to go to some FIFA Women’s World Cup games with my dad and eldest daughter. Unfortunately, we discovered just how difficult it is to get around Commonwealth Stadium when you’re on crutches.

See, in an early-season soccer game, my daughter was brutally tripped by an opposing player. It was either a malicious act, or one of sheer clumsiness; either way, the referee should have taken some action, but he didn’t. You know what they say about mama bears and their cubs? Well, don’t get between a papa bear and his cubs, either. Grr! (No, I didn’t commit any physical violence--but I did get this year’s soccer fees refunded. And EMSA sent her a box of chocolate-covered strawberries. ) My eldest daughter was on crutches for a month. Not only was she out for the season, she doesn’t want to play soccer again. Ever.

And then the Canadian and German women's soccer teams crashed and burned, so yeah. Not the summer of soccer.

What we needed was a nice vacation. Like, going to Jasper National Park maybe? That sounds relaxing. But no camping; I don’t do camping. The first day, things started off promising--we went to Pyramid Lake and rented a paddleboat, then the kids took a dip in the lake. That’s when things started to go downhill. My youngest daughter stepped on...something. Poison plant? Black fly? Radioactive spider? She got a severe allergic reaction on the bottom of her foot. This prevented her from walking. It’s pretty challenging to be on vacation in the mountains if you can’t walk.

On subsequent days, I had to stay with her in the vehicle as the rest of the family went to Mount Edith Cavell to see the Angel Glacier. I had to carry her to the Columbia Icefield (where we waited 4 hours to get on an Ice Explorer. You suck, Brewster Travel Canada. You suck.). And then I got a gash in my arm from an overenthusiastic spring-loaded outhouse door at Patricia Lake. Great. No more carrying anybody.

Blurry, dark blob.

Four days into our trip, at Lake Louise, the clouds opened up and it poured rain. We did manage to go up the Lake Louise Gondola without getting soaked, and we did see an actual grizzly bear (see blurry, dark blob in photo). But we decided that we had had enough vacation; we would cut our trip short and go directly home. And then, on a stretch of highway 11, 50 km west of Rocky Mountain house, where there is no cell phone reception, we hit a deer.
Front-end damage.

Fortunately, aside from the deer and my wife’s van (which I was driving) there were no injuries. A good Samaritan named Kelly Black took my family into town while I waited beside the crippled van, its radiator leaking fluid. Somehow, we got the van and ourselves to, um The Town That Shall Not Be Named In Front Of My Children, extending our vacation by another miserable day. Red De--, er...this city had just suffered a major hailstorm which damaged most of the vehicles at the rental car place, so our only options were: a Lilliputian Kia Rio, or a gargantuan Dodge Ram 1500. The Rio could have fit in the bed of the Ram. We opted for the truck, which made us feel nearly invincible. However, our luggage had to go in the bed of the truck, which got rained on as we drove home.
Guts. Glory. RAM.

The summer wasn’t all bad. My cousin Martin and his family from Germany visited us, which was nice. (They also gave us gummy bears and chocolate which was really nice.) My youngest daughter had a dance recital. My eldest daughter built and flew her first model rocket. And we went to the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre. (Fun trivia: the Atlantic #3 well that burned spectacularly in 1948 was drilled on my wife’s grandfather’s property!)

Atlantic #3--on fire!

It wasn’t all fun and vacations: most of my time was spent working and on improving my courses. And I also spent weeks working on a major project, an Instructor’s Resource Manual for new (and “old”!) instructors in the Department of Psychology. I took this project on a year ago, and dedicated myself to finishing it on time and on budget. (Budget: $0. It was a “service,” or volunteer project.) Sorry I can’t show you the manual; it’s locked inside the department’s intranet. So instead, here are pictures of deep-fried Twinkies from K-Days, and a blueberry pie I baked!

How was your summer?

Why aren’t you studying?


Anastasia said...

I moved in with my boyfriend. Which finally tipped him off that we're dating.

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