Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2005
Dear Diary:

At one point on the 1000 km drive to my niece's wedding this weekend we passed a car on Highway 401 that had been totalled in an accident. Not far from it, also encircled with crime scene tape, was the smashed corpse of a chicken.

That could have been us. We could have been motoring along on the highway minding our own business and out of the blue been attacked by crazed poultry with a Rambo complex. Take it from me, you don't really savour life until you've looked death by chicken square in the eye.

Oh, the things we do for family.

I drove the first leg of our trip, which took us across northern Vermont and New York state to Cornwall. The spousal unit took us for a while on Highway 401 which is the equivalent of an American interstate. We stopped to gas up and he asked me to take over for a while. I've never driven on 401. The spousal unit assured me it would be a piece of cake, because, after all, hadn't it been relatively painless for his leg of the trip?

Of course it had been. The kamikaze lane jumping speedsters and the enormous trucks had all been waiting for me to take over the driving because it was me they wanted to kill.

I sweartogawd I wasn't on the highway for more than ten minutes when suddenly enormous convoys of semi-trailer trucks came hurtling over the horizon and immediately boxed me in. The posted speed limit was 100 Km or 62 mph. No one was doing any less than 110 Km per hour and people were driving terrifyingly close.

I live in the country. I drive dirt roads and two lane blacktop. It's been a heavy traffic day for me if I see three cars on my way to the gym. I don't normally face homicidal trucks.

When the trucks would get tired of toying with me, suicidal drivers intent on accomplishing 42 lane changes in less than two minutes would weave around me.

Oh, the spousal unit got his break alright—if gasping, waving your arms around and barking instructions can be called a break. He took over the wheel to get us through Toronto, an experience that left him white-knuckled and breathing shallowly.

Throw on that temperatures that soared to the 40C mark or well over 100F and you have a party in a can. When we pulled up at my sister's house 13 hours after we'd left home I could barely pull together a coherent sentence, which, come to think of it, is my normal mode of conversation so my sister probably didn't notice any change at all.

Our trip was big news at the wedding the next day. People looked at us as if we were Radisson and Groseilliers or Lewis and Clark.

"One day they'll be singing songs about us," the spousal unit joked.

Yep, by the end of the evening all 150 people at my niece's wedding knew we were the couple who had travelled over 1,000 km during freakishly hot weather in a car that did not have air conditioning. Apparently that feat is only slightly less inspiring that Shackleton's attempt to cross the Antarctic.

Who knew?

I would have laughed but it was so stupidly hot that I needed to conserve energy and precious bodily fluids so I could blink my eyes from time to time. Don't ask me how hot it finally got the day of the wedding. I stopped looking at thermometers when it went over 40C.

We had one day to recover from the wedding festivities and then it was another 1,000 km drive home again in conditions that made the thought of swimming in a river of lava actually appealing.

But it was totally, totally worth it.

When my brother married he got a stepdaughter in the bargain, a child who had been raised by a single mom and doting grandmother with a tendency to spoil her.

During her teen years he and his stepdaughter had a very, very rough time of it as he imposed limits on a child who hadn't experienced a lot of limits. When her 20's rolled around and she became a mother herself, she realized what a commitment he had taken on in raising her. Fences were mended between them and things have been good for years now.

Have I told you lately that I love you?When it came time for the father/daughter dance, the DJ announced that Michelle had picked the song for the dance herself. I would like to say that there was one pair of dry eyes in the house when my brother and his daughter danced to that old Rod Stewart song "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" because I know and you know that song is stupidly cheesarific.

Sadly, not only were my eyes stinging with tears, I was sniffling audibly because apparently my resistance to the cheese is embarrassingly low.

Can I blame it on my ever advancing years?


PS—Carrie's son Logan has been diagnosed with autism. She asks if any of my three loyal readers are parents of autistic children and would like to share their experiences of what has and hasn't worked, she'd love to hear from you. You can also e-mail her at carrie[at]cuinn[dot]net

PPS—I read all your comments but right now between work, family obligations, my gardens, fitness goals and helping the spousal unit with his projects I don't have time to respond. I apologize, because it's fun to hear from you.

Mileage on the Marnometer: 696.39 miles. 10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duckhalf way smooch Half way there. Oh, man, please let this be over

Goal for 2005: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers

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