Weekend Pictures Here
What can you learn of someone within 3 minutes? 30 minutes? 3 hours? 3 days?
This long weekend, we ventured up into the Gatineau area to visit SharkBoy’s “Summer Place” – Notre Dame Du Pontmain to be exact.
It’s a tiny village nearly smack dab in the middle of a massive amount of small lakes about an hour and a bit north of Ottawa, in the Gatineaus. NDdP makes it’s living on the one hotel, the one depanneur and one boat launch and a lot of video rentals. I’ve never been before and I hope I go back. A lot. Mountains rise up out of so many lakes it’s like visiting BC but without the weed. Every morning and evening the sun puts on a display of colours you become drunk with the spectacle. Deer peer at you with those creepy eyes from the sides of the road. Bears have been seen. It truly is one of Quebec’s hidden treasures from the English.
We left late on Friday night to a wall of traffic that spanned downtown Pickering to Brockville, where after 6 hours in the car at 2am, we desperately tried to look for a hotel. All the details of the travel can be found on Sharkboy’s blog. One thing I did enjoy was playing “Senator and the Hooker” in the divey-est hotel on the outskirts of Ottawa that had stucco swipes as wall decoration and other 70s Swiss Chalet motifs (“Spank your bottom? That will be $5 extra, Senator!”).
On the drive we talked a lot about family. The one we started ourselves (cat included) and the ones I was going to meet. As usual, but not so much this time, I felt the apprehension of meeting up with the in-laws and not being able to communicate as much as I’d like. But that always disappears within moments of getting past the front door because SharkBoy’s mom is always so welcoming and friendly (inbetween the “tabanac” and “câlisse”) and we generally communicate in elaborate hand gestures, drinks and the odd translation assistance from SharkBoy’s sister, Syl.
We did eventually meet up and make our way over to SharkBoy’s uncle’s extremely secluded compound after a long drive up, down, through, along swamps and riverbanks. Oddly enough we could see the house we were staying at from his dock, which would have taken 1/100th the time it took to get there if we had walked directly from door to door. Unfortunately the two places are separated by a large river, so unless you’re Jesus, that’s not possible. Visible but secluded. For a reason. He owned the entire mountain behind his house.
Leasing the road to the top of the mountain for a cell phone tower, he’s sitting on a developer’s wet dream of prime cottage land that overlooked the lake. But he wants to keep it to himself for now. That kind of power you don’t come by easy. As we were to learn when the pictures came out. Images of SharkBoy’s dad and his two uncles were presented in all their black and white glory and I got to learn how Romuald became the person who gave me SharkBoy. We also learned of some other stuff that I will respect a certain person’s embarrassment due to certain childhood behaviour, but let’s just say that it involved a chicken and a horse.
Later, SharkBoy’s cousin and her girlfriend piled us into their lesbian truck (who knew it was rampant in his father’s side?) and took us 1/3rd the way up the mountain on the maintenance road to the cell tower. Then we walked the rest of the way. Nearly straight up. For a solid hour. That’s right, this fat, office cube chubbo walked up the side of a mountain to get utterly drenched in sweat (thank god they’re all family now). I also got to spend my first really private moments with Syl and we discussed ex-boyfriends and how sometimes a family’s responsibility is not to mention that we’re dating a jerk. Nothing new or shocking but she managed to make me feel like a brother in those few moments. I also snapped a few shots:
After bombing around on ATVs, we went tubing. First time for me behind a boat where I didn’t fall down within the first couple of seconds of it taking off (I suck at waterskiing).
That night, after saying our bon soirs, we discovered that seclusion has a price: the road back to the highway was washed out in a freak flash flood that came down from the side of the mountain after a short rainfall. Who knew that a mountain could “retain water”? This is where SharkBoy’s family shone: they all came out to the site on their ATVs and trucks to see the damage and within an hour, we had “rebuilt” the road, moved a down tree and scouted ahead the 3 miles to the highway on the ATV to make sure that the road was clear. It was an adventure, to be sure (we could have been at that part of the road during the flood), and his uncle and cousins were actually apologetic for the delay.
The next day the “kids” (without Sharkboy’s mom and aunt) set out to discover the waterfalls at Windigo, a swanky time-share like resort that I’d love to spend a week at some summer time (hint hint). There I saw a frog. Hold your Quebecois jokes. But before leaving, I was struck with the biggest stomach pain right between breakfast and the time we got into the car, which I kept mostly to myself until it started to subside. I wasn’t too chatty that morning. But it passed and I don’t blame anyone’s food…
At this time it was becoming quite evident that one of the guests was not feeling the same emotions for being away for the weekend and would not put down their cell phone for all the texting that was going on. I kept on remembering that when I was their age, I was yearning for not being at family outings either, and would sulk annoyingly over in some corner with a comic or tv show. Kids today (ugh. shoot me. I just wrote “kids today”) have better ways of sulking the fun from the moment by tapping messages to their friends on a small keyboard. I wanted to take them aside and tell them that family time is extremely precious, especially at 40something, and that they should savour the time they have. But of course, I kept my nose out of it. But I did felt old remembering how I behaved exactly the same (sans electroniques). This led to the weekend being cut short by hours (thankfully not by a day) and we managed to get back to Toronto at an extremely decent hour, so thanks teen angst!
In all, a good weekend. I’d love to go back again!