Greetings! I am writing to you from the first day back at work from vacation, which is always a bit of a letdown day, but it is sunny and warm outside and I am drinking a strawberry-basil smoothie (an odd but tasty flavour combination) and things don’t feel impossibly Mondayish. Our vacation, which might be more aptly called a “mini-break” to use British terminology, could not have been better timed, because the week before we left, the whole family came down with fifth disease. (We all managed to follow along okay, in spite of never having had diseases one through four.) Apparently this is something that most people get as kids, and for some reason is more unpleasant in adults — the kids were a little bit miserable, but Mike and I were a LOT miserable, suffering from joint pain and the worst headaches we’ve ever had. Every time I sneezed or coughed, I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. Two days before we were meant to leave for the week, Oliver managed to escape again (it sounds crazy, but we are pretty sure he opened the front door and let himself out while we were at the park, since neither of us remembered leaving the door ajar and it has the same kind of doorknob as the door to our basement, which he can operate on his own, in spite of having no opposable thumbs) so generally it was not the least stressful week on record.
Thankfully we were all feeling much better within a few days and our neighbour once again caught Oliver and returned him to us before we left for Ottawa, where Mike was attending a conference and I was reprising my favourite role: Conference Wife. I swam in the hotel pool, I ordered room service breakfast one morning, I explored Byward Market, I allowed people to call me Mrs. Mike’s-Last-Name without correcting them. On our last evening we partook of RibFest and lounged on the lawn at Parliament Hill for a while, and I got the same rush of patriotism and gratitude I feel every time I remember that we live in a country that is safe enough that people are allowed to play frisbee in front of our government buildings.
On our way home, we drove past signs for two local landmarks, the names of which were … not at all inviting: Hell Holes Nature Trails, and Salem Woods Trailer Park. Come for the ambiance, stay for the natural horrors and/or kidnapping! Survive one night and the next one is free!