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Ontario Visit Part two

August 28th, 2023

Monday morning, the kids left to go back to Mom’s and Josh was off to work before we arose from the basement.  After our morning routine, we spent time online (don’t get much of that when the kids are around).  The air mattress seemed to be ever so slowly losing air again so we took it back out to the backyard pool but could find no additional leaks.  Maybe it’s just temperature change?  We pumped it back up and we may have to do that every couple of days.

That afternoon, we walked over to the Conservation Area campground and spent an hour or so visiting with friends, Kim and Pete who are on their third seasonal summer here (we met them back when we spent the summer here in 2021).  Pete advised that the seasonal price has not been raised much in the past two years and they have actually extended the season a few week as well as allowing seasonal campers to come in a few days early.  They have also added additional 30 amp sites and are building a new bathroom and shower block. We think we could easily spend another summer there one day down the road.  It was nice to catch up and see they are doing okay.

Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent at Josh’s doing routine stuff.  We did walk over to the new A&W in town for frozen root beers with Josh the day he worked from home and took a break.

That night after sunset we all went out to see the Super Blue Moon.  At first we couldn’t see it at all but could see a brightness coming out of the clouds; Josh went to bed around 9 and before we went to bed at 10, we went out on the front stoop and the sky had cleared nicely.

This moon was 222,043 miles away from Earth—tens of thousands of miles closer than its average distance of 240,000 miles.   The name may be deceiving, but a blue moon isn’t actually blue. The idea of a blue moon stems from the 16th century; the term was used to describe something impossible. It went through much iteration after that, but the phrase eventually made its way into the Maine Farmers’ Almanac, where the name for a month’s second full moon became solidified. 

In addition to being a blue moon, the Aug. 30 sight will be a super moon — a name reserved for a moon that’s close to Earth, and appears around 16 percent brighter than average.  The next super blue moon won’t grace our skies until 2037.

We took a couple with a regular lens:

and then one with a blue hue to it:

Next morning on his bike ride into work, Josh took this shot:

Thursday, Fran took the car into Bolton (about a half hour south and where Josh works) to go shopping and get a haircut.  While yesterday was quite cool and cloudy, it’s cleared up and is warming up towards a hot Labour Day long weekend; from 16C yesterday to 33C on Monday (that’s  61F to 91F)! The final summer heat wave has begun but you can also see the maple trees beginning to change colour.

Kids arrived late Friday afternoon as usual and lots of outdoor stuff began.  That evening and the next day we played a lot of games outside which was great exercise for everyone; baseball, Frisbee, scoop ball with Monkey in the Middle and swing set fun.

Saturday, it got pretty warm but Sunday and Monday even hotter so outdoor stuff began to dwindle due to heat and humidity.  That night we had a “raclette” dinner – a kind of a fondue thing.  The pot in the middle has melted cheese for dipping and the griddles on the side allow you to cook/warm up other things.  There are also little “pans” that sit under the griddle for warming. We enjoyed beef, veggies, fruit, cheese, bread, pepperoni, ham, shrimp and potatoes that we cooked up/warmed up each ourselves.

Sunday morning we all went for a bike to a different playground than usual for a while before it got too warm.  We played “hide daddy’s keys” for a while.

That afternoon Arya went in the pool and next day both kids got in; the water was too cold for the adults though – just barely above 20C / 70F.

Also that afternoon Josh made a fire in his fire pit in the back yard to try and make cinnamon rolls over a fire to practice for a cub camp.  It didn’t go well but he cooked he rest inside in the oven and they were delicious!

Before dinner the kids wanted to watch a movie and had enough “screen time” to do it.  We watched “Wreck it Ralph”.

That evening we again walked down the park at the end of the street (a cul de sac) and played scoop ball in the shade.  They only have three “scoops” we adjusted the game to be monkey in the middle scoop ball.

Monday, (Labour Day) we walked over and took the family out for lunch at the new nearby A & W, did some outdoor stuff and continued to play lots of cards and board games. In the afternoon we drove over to a large playground for a while but it was far too hot to stay out of the shade so that didn’t last long.

When we first got into Canada with the Honda, the AC didn’t seem to be working at full capacity, so we arranged with Amanda and Kevin (the couple who store it) to get an appointment to have it looked at; we figured it probably only needed a Freon top up.  Well today, it seemed to be dealing with the high heat and humidity just fine and we also figured that since the  next time we’ll need it is December, why fix it now as it will just continue to sit and not be used.  So we’ve cancelled that appointment and they offered to have it looked at when and if we return next summer.

We finished off the day with kids making their own sushi rolls and we enjoyed caramel lava cakes for dessert.

Tuesday the kids left and Josh biked to work.  We did our usual daily stuff and watched a movie with Josh that night enjoying fresh hot air popcorn.

Fran saw this bunny on her walk today:

Wednesday, Josh usually works from home but a client was coming in for two days so he went into the office.  Doug took his last marathon walk up to Alliston and Fran took the car and got some groceries and ran errands.  It’s still quite hot and humid out.

Thursday, the countdown to our return to Europe began in earnest as we had to return our Honda to Buffalo.  We do this by both of us driving down, Fran in our car, Doug in Joshua’s.  We do the “shut down” items like car wash, fill the tank, add stabilizer, pump up the tires, take out anything we want to take with us before dropping it off at Amanda and Kevin’s for storage.  Amanda had a few packages for us, we chatted a bit and then drove back to Josh’s.  The whole thing took about seven hours as we had a few things to do while there (some shopping for Josh and Doug needed a bit of internet time on US soil).

So the Honda is back safe and sound and we will pick it up again in December when we return for Christmas with the grandkids.

It was a humid, on and off rainy day today.

Sidebar:  Not sure if we mentioned this in the spring, but Fran learned from some friends when they went out to Sooke on Vancouver Island in May that her dad’s bench on Whiffen Spit was missing!  Fran had reached out to the Sooke Council and was told a number of the benches had been destroyed or washed out to sea over the winter, and her dad’s was one of them.  They were going to replace them at no cost to us over the course of the summer.  Unfortunately, it was AFTER we were there in June. 

When we were in Buffalo, we got our mail there was a letter from them, showing what type of bench was being used, that the plaque was being remade (they had photos) and that once all the benches had been placed, we’d receive a map showing its new location.  We have the “spot” leased until 2029 (Sooke gave us lots of extra years after the initial ten, because they cannot decide what to do about leases which terminated).  So guess we’ll have to wait until we get out to BC again before seeing its new spot. 

Also in our mail were our new airplane pillows:  Sleeper Holds.  Doug had seen these in a Kickstarter offer and ordered a set so we’ll see how they fare on our long flight to Athens (via Lisbon and Rome) on Saturday.

We are so rarely able to sleep on planes…..fingers crossed, these help.

Friday we awoke to cloudy and cooler skies.  Fran went for a pedi at a nearby salon that just opened four months ago.  It was very good and Chantelle does waxing too so she’ll check it out again when we come back.

After Josh got home from work and the the kids arrived around 4:30, we went to the park for a while to play games:

we used this dome as a soccer net for three teams: Daddy was one team, Grampa another and Grammie played with the kids.
Arya tries to race Daddy

Saturday was our last day at Josh’s and we spent some time outdoors and in playing game with the kids.

Arya and Daddy had gone for a bike ride in the morning and she bought a foam airplane for 25 cents which they wanted to try out:

It was back to the swings for their fave game:  they swing and Daddy or Grampa walk past and they try to kick them:

We played soccer again at the larger park and then it was Daddy throws the ball and the kids see how far they can kick it while swinging:

Then we tried soccer for a while – the game was Daddy and Grammie kick the ball up hill and the kids ick it back down:

Next day was our last day here; we went to two different parks, played board games and enjoyed our last day.  Fran did a final laundry in the morning, we took apart our bedroom, packed and around 6:30 we used Josh’s car to drive to his office in Bolton to catch an Uber to the airport.  Where Josh lives in Tottenham, Ubers are a little harder to come by and more expensive.  Josh will ride his bike to work on Monday anyway.

We got an Uber immediately and were at the airport shortly after 7:30 and luckily the TAP Portugal check in counters were open.  We dropped off the two free suitcases (one each) they allowed and when the agent saw how large one of our carry on bags was (standard size but quite stuffed) he offered to check it free!  So we went to the gate with only our backpacks and one not full duffle bag.

As we were early, we went to have a final beer in Canada but there did not serve ANY Canadian beers so we chose a Mexican one as Fran does not like many American beers.

We grabbed a slight snack around 9:30 and our flight departed only slightly late just after 11 pm.  We each had aisle seats which we like on long flights and tried to get to sleep as soon as possible using our new Sleeper Holds.  Doug managed to sleep but Fran never did.  It seems to keep  your head steady but also means you can’t change your position and the worst part about trying to sleep on a plane we think, is not being able to put your feet up.  This flight was about seven hours.

Good morning Lisbon:

We arrived in Lisbon more or less on time but our flight to Rome was quite delayed.  That leg was nearly 3 hours and it too landed late and we thought we’d miss the connecting flight to Athens but it was right at the next gate when we entered the airport.  It showed an on time departure.

Of course, that didn’t happen and we thought that might be a good thing as there would be a better chance our bags would also make that flight.

Well, naturally, the flight was in fact delayed over a half hour.  It was about a 95 minute flight and we waited anxiously at the baggage carrousel for our bags around 10:30 (75 minutes later than our originally scheduled arrival time), one showed up and then the other two.  Phew!

We called an Uber and were at our hotel (Psiri Hotel) before midnight.  We had a brief glimpse of the Acropolis enroute and hope to experience that longer on our return to Athens in October.  Doug had arranged with the hotel for us to stay the night again in October on our return from Cyprus and they would store two bags for us for €15 for the next four weeks.

We reached out to Christine and Mark who had arrived in Athens the day before and joked about  meeting for a beer but they were exhausted after their long day of sightseeing around the city and we were wiped anyway.  We pretty much went straight to bed with a 4:50 am wake up call for the next day.

We had an early morning flight (7:30 am) to Crete.  We will be meeting up with Christine and Mark on Mykonos on the 19th and hanging with them most of the next 12 days.