“Is it tomorrow today?” the boy asked me when he burrowed into our bed Sunday morning. When told that yes, it was tomorrow, he cheered. He’d been looking forward to the housewarming party for a week.
Our house has been thoroughly blessed by friends, laughter, children playing, good food, and not one but three rainbows created by the on-again off-again sun and rain. There were about forty people here, and I don’t know if I got to talk to all of them. We gave everyone free rein to wander through the house, and the general feedback was that it looked like we’d been living here for ages. That’s just what we do: we move and we set up immediately, otherwise we’d go insane. There were still some small boxes here and there on lower shelves and in the corner of my office, and we didn’t get the photo collage frames up in the hallway, but in general things were done, and we were happy. The boy’s best friend from preschool was here and he was in absolute heaven playing with her, as well as all the other assorted children. The play structure was a huge hit. His preschool educator and her family attended as well, and we enjoyed seeing them talk with our parents. We got to see people we hadn’t seen in person in a while, and it was splendid. I was deeply grateful for the food everyone brought, because everyone ate and ate and ate! Sign of a good party, I suppose: everyone mingles and chats and eats and enjoys. It felt wonderful to be able to show the house off to everyone who has supported us through the househunting, the sale, and the move.
[Notes to self: We can have forty people over for a party so long as the weather allows half of them outside. The kitchen is fine for one or two people, but with the entrance to the backyard being one of the kitchen walls, it gets clogged up very easily. (Not setting the kitchen table up as one of the food stations may help with this.) The house provides good flow for movement and various places to gather and chat. Thumbs up for the space as a good one for entertaining.]
The only real drawback to the day was the upstairs bathroom sink clogging up. It started getting slow as the party progressed, and it wasn’t draining at all by the end. HRH went at it with a coat hanger, some Draino, and the plunger after everyone was gone, and all’s well again. We suspect the angle of the faucet, which sends the stream of water right into the drain and creates bubbles, and the lack of cross-piece to trap detritus are the culprits: the bubbles get forced into the drainpipe and the air creates a blockage for dirt being washed down.
My parents arrived in town on Saturday afternoon and they came over for dinner. Things got a bit tangled up schedule-wise because HRH went out Saturday morning to bring plants back from the old duplex and plant them here, and he ended up digging an entire new garden in front for them. While he was digging them up in LaSalle I wiped myself out scrubbing the bathroom and the kitchen, two things that needed doing but I misjudged my energy reserves badly, and so once he was back I couldn’t take the car and the boy out to do the groceries on my own. The garden ended up taking much longer than anticipated, and then HRH had to brace the play structure, and by then my parents were in the area, so the groceries got rescheduled for Sunday morning. The boy requested pancakes for dinner, so I ended up feeding everyone pancakes, sausages and bacon, fried potatoes, and scrambled eggs, which was fun although not overly formal and nothing like the original plan.
On Monday we left HRH at home to do absolutely nothing. My parents took the boy and I on a lovely drive through the Eastern Townships to Farnham, where my mother grew up. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and clear with a good breeze. We stopped at the old station and let the boy climb all over the decommissioned diesel and caboose there, then stopped by the railyards to see a couple of different engines, and had lunch at Chez Roger, the patate frite place that is a traditional stop for everyone in my mother’s family. I remember Chez Roger as a tiny building with a window through which things were served. It’s now a huge place with seating, and it was mobbed. The boy threw himself all over the great play structure in the playground beside it, and taught himself how to slide down the fireman’s pole in the centre of one of the climbing bits while we waited for my parents to bring lunch out. He chased a seagull, explored the rock and iron goose sculpture nearby, and then my mum took him to walk on the old train tracks across the end of the park that led to the train bridge across the rapids of the Yamaska river, the other end of which connects to the street my mum grew up on. The tracks went right along her backyard. The boy reputed got a bit nervous when they went into the trees, because he said, “Mama can’t see me any more” (thumbs up, kid, for remembering you’re not supposed to wander away out of our line of sight, but if you’re with Nana it’s okay) and again when Mum started leading him onto the bridge to see the water ( “But a train might come,” he worried, at which Mum reassured him that she would never take him onto a train bridge if there were trains that might be using it). I remember I was too scared to cross it as a kid, even though I knew my mother had done it when she was a child herself (and this when it was in regular use, too).
Then we drove out to the graveyard to check on my own Nana and Granddad’s grave. This was the boy’s first time in a cemetery, and as I expected it was just a big playground for him. He ran through the grass, read headstones, looked at the horses on the other side of the fence, and only asked once (and cheerfully) about the bodies in the ground that were no longer needed because the spirits were in the Summerland. Kirkwood is such a lovely little graveyard, so very peaceful and bright, full of the Scottish immigrants who came over in the twentieth century and settled in Farnham. It always feels slightly odd that I enjoy my visits there so much.
We drove home along the old highway, through Sainte-Brigide and Saint-Jean, as the sky grew darker and we passed through the odd light sprinkle of rain. We’d hoped to pass a roadside stand selling apples, but alas, none were to be found. The boy fell asleep on the way home. It was a wonderful, wonderful day out with my parents, with no timetable, just the general idea to wander about as we liked and to explore the old places we knew. When we got home we discovered that HRH had mostly rested, but had decided to trim the wild cedar hedge out front while we were gone, one of the tasks that got dropped off the must-do list before the housewarming.
We had a light supper of shrimp en brochette, with a warm potato salad en vinaigrette and raw veggies with dip. The boy had built a wooden plane with my father earlier in the day, and had coaxed HRH into honouring the promise that they could build his Lego Millennium Falcon “after the housewarming”. He almost made it to the end, too, but was yawning and becoming clumsier as bedtime arrived, so we told him he had to finish it the next day. There were a few tears, but he was tired enough that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We said goodbye to my parents until our trip down at Thanksgiving, and waved to them as they pulled away.
It was a wonderful weekend. We’re blessed indeed by such wonderful friends and family. It was a lovely way to formally launch our life here.