Saturday, July 14, 2007

Everything Has Its Price: Good, Bad, Beautiful

Oh, I'm back from vacation and you know how that is: in order to go, you have to earn it and when you come back, you have to pay for it.

The entire Dept. packed up and went to Canada, specifically Niagara-on-the-Lake (what a bitch to type that is) for their annual Shaw Festival. We saw two plays (Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke and George Bernard Shaw's--for whom the Festival is named--The Philanderer), walked about the quaint downtown area for lovely shopping, and visited nine wineries along their famed Wine Route for tastings and purchasing. In addition some nice meals were eaten, Niagara Falls was visited, and I took a great deal of heat regarding the five pairs of shoes I packed for our Tuesday through Thursday (plus Friday for driving) excursion. I am absolutely justified in all five pairs; I am sure each and every one of you would agree.

Having said all of that, upon returning to NE Ohio I have fallen into a somewhat snarky and reflective mood. Do allow me to share.

~#~ Before we left, TravisCat was having some, er, difficulty using the litterbox consistently. As in, he would make eye contact with me, maintain it, then saunter over to the corner by the fireplace windowseat and water the carpet. As you all know, I am not entirely attached to either of the cats, so I immediately went ballistic and informed him that he would be traveling to Dr. Miller for the needle, i.e., to be put down. I barricaded the corner, sprayed it with a variety of products, and basically lost my mind. Finally, I took him to the vet--he needed his shots anyway--and long story short, he has a kidney or urinary tract infection which, I guess in cats causes this issue. I proceeded to feel immensely guilty about threatening a crazed-by-illness animal with The Death Penalty. Until I got the bill. For over $125. And he is a bastard about taking the medicine. I will not elaborate.

~#~ In Canada (or as my children like to pronounce it "Canadia") I was continually struck by the overwhelming friendliness and routine courtesy of every single Canadian we met. Now, it was not lost on me that the people we had dealings with were in the hospitality or tourism business, so that was pretty much their job, but time and time again, each and every Canadian was warm, friendly, patient, and pleasant. This is not the case with all U.S. Americans with whom I've dealt in the hospitality business all over the country as I have traveled. There was only one exception to this, and I will discuss it next.

~#~ I wholeheartedly recommend vacationing in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is lovely, and I especially recommend visiting the many wineries. The wineries post a tasting charge, but the majority of them, especially the small, family-run ones, don't charge a thing. They are regulated strictly and may only pour 1 ounce, but that's per variety you taste. I won't list all the ones we visited, but will note that we especially liked Caroline Cellars, Frogpond Farm (an all organic vineyard), Reif Estate, Hillebrand, and Jackson-Triggs (their tour is very interesting--start there.). The only place we did not like was where we encountered the very unpleasant and off-putting Canadian, a woman who looked like a younger version of Joni Mitchell. I was, however, quite mellow from all the other tastings at the more pleasant wineries, so in that state of largesse, simply left without comment or purchase.

~#~ Jared had taken along his laptop. On Thursday, he received a Breaking News Email from CNN and shared it with us: Al Qaeda is stepping up efforts to sneak terrorists into the U.S. and has rebuilt most of its capability to strike here, an intelligence estimate states, according to The Associated Press. All I could think of was, 'Hey! I thought the Republicans were constantly telling us how it was they who were making the U.S. safer from terrorism. How the Democrats were soft on terror. And hasn't the Angel of Death been saying for years that "we're fighting them over there so that we don't have to fight them over here?" And didn't he also say awhile back that he hasn't given Osama much thought? What the heck!?' And then I got back home and saw the devastation that had been wreaked anew upon my backyard by the goddam moles. And I realized that the moles are part of Al Qaeda. That they have stepped up their terrorist efforts. That no matter what I have done or will do, they simply rebuild their network and strike--again and again and again.

~#~ At one point in our travels, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand to get some cherries. Sam began eating them in the car. Soon, we heard a low moan followed by an exclamation of profanity from the backseat: he had gotten a smear of cherry juice on his pristine white polo. I urged him to just take off the polo since he had a perfectly acceptable tee underneath. "Mom!" he sighed. "I have to have an undershirt on underneath it. And I'll mess up my hair. How far are we from our hotel?" Lucky for him, we were only about a mile away. We stopped back so he could safely change and everyone could make a pit stop. Jared, feeling a bit of urgency, pounded on the bathroom door, "Sam! Jesus! Come on!" Looking wounded, Sam exited and used the other mirror to apply the finishing touches to his hair. Jared was in and out in a flash. Disgustedly, he looked at Sam. "Come on, Paris," he said.

~#~ So, now I'm home. Boy, is vacation over. Sam's car has been to the repair shop; Jared is (very vocally) trying to navigate obtaining a student loan; the carpet had to be shampooed; there are no towels, yet the boys tell me they have none upstairs in their room at all; I had to go to the grocery store; the pond developed string algae while I was away; I'm so behind on everyone's blogs.

See? That's how vacation is. When you go, you have to earn it; when you come back, you have to pay for it.
Last Year at The Dept. of Nance: Everyone Needs A Hobby


  1. I'm very happy your kitty is on the road to wellness, for both of your sakes.

    No one is allowed to give you even one raised eyebrow over the number of shoes you pack, when they make that kind of fuss over a cherry stain and the potential of mussed hair!

    I got to read about Jackson-Triggs twice in one day, your blog and the Barenaked Ladies blog. Small world.

  2. Sounds like you had a pretty good time while away! I'll definitely keep Niagra-in-the-Lake in mind for vacation...someday!

    Also, I'm glad you got the problems with TravisCat hopefully worked out. Even if it did cost too much.

  3. There were pleanty of stray cats in Istanbul wandering around. If you have to get rid of TravisCat, it would be more enjoyable to sneak him onto a plane and dump him there than it would be to stick a needle in him.

  4. I'm glad you had a good time Nance! Did you bring any wine back?!?!?!

    "I realized that the moles are part of Al Qaeda. That they have stepped up their terrorist efforts."

    LMFAO!!! It's a conspiracy!! That explains those damned flying ladybugs (that bite) that swarm near my windows and patio!

  5. Welcome back Nance! I've been meaning to thank you for the Tie Report Archives! My Christmas in July wish! ; ) It's great to be able to look back and remember those ties of days since passed. LOL! And you're right about the one from yesterday being the same as my sneek peak! We must be on the same wave length.

    I'm so sorry to hear about TravisCat being sick. Is he better? Your vacation sounded great! Nine wineries! Wow!

  6. J.--The Niagara region is perfect for vineyards. Jackson-Triggs makes a wonderful Chardonnay that we can't resist. Last year we brought home a case of their reserve, and it's aging nicely. And, of all the shoes, I wore 4 of the 5 pairs.

    jen--travis is still having some issues. yesterday, he wouldn't stop yakking up. finally, a huge hairball made an appearance, so i hope that was the cause. but we had to skip a dose of the antibiotic. so far today, nothing. but he hasn't tried to eat or drink, as far as i know, yet. and i've been afraid to dose him.

    i.h.--more fun, maybe. more cost-effective, not.

    tera--yes, we brought back almost a case in total by buying a bottle or two here and there.

    anali--i knew you'd be happy with the new Tie Report Archives Blog!! I just realized that saving my daily reports to a Word doc. on my own little computer didn't protect them much if I had a crash. Also, Ortizzle had mentioned a few times trying to go back and search for a particular description or word or tie. I thought, 'what the heck.' It was actually not too hard to do!

    I still have my eye on Travis. He and EmilyCat are also supposed to be taking kitty glucosamine. Emily needs it for her arthritis--for godsakes!--and it is also supposed to help regenerate the health of Travis' bladder, but neither of the cats can stand it sprinkled on anything. Wet food, dry food, people food, nothing. They both went on a hunger strike for a day when I tried to outlast them. More money down the drain on these two. sigh.

  7. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Jared and Sam seem to share your fashion sense. Poor Rick. How does he ever get y'all out of the house?

    Now that I'm in America, I've finally watched Brian Williams on the air. I haven't studied his ties because I'm distracted by his eyebrows. They always look like they're ready to slide off his face when he's talking.

  8. v-grrrl--Sam, definitely. Jared could not care less about fashion. Now that you're in the USA and can watch BW LIVE, how can you NOT look at his ties??!! You disappoint me terribly. I thought for sure you'd be my backup color commentator.

  9. And now you need a vacation from your vacation. You could come to Jersey! I'll roll out the welcome mat. And the vodka.

  10. HEY!!! I commented on here yesterday...I swear! And it's nowhere to be found...hmmmm.

    Anyway, I'm glad you had a nice trip. What could be better than vacationing while wine tasting? Sounds like the perfect mix to me!

    Poor Travis kitty. You were going to kill him and all he needed was a bit of medicine. Just teasing! I went throught the same thing a few months back with my Lacie dog and I felt AWFUL when she got better.

  11. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Ah, you taunt us with your tales of relaxation (if you can actually have that, with family in tow!) and vacation. The vay-kay sounded wonderful... hope you're all caught up with catching up!

    Cactus Flower
    (aka Self-Fulfilling Fortune Cookie)

  12. Anonymous6:07 PM

    We were leaving for Florida one Winter's day and were going to be there for one week. I absolutely killed myself matching shoes with various outfits."Hmmm..lets see, the beige shoes will go with the green and beige dress and the white ones will be saved for evening and will be worn with the blue and white dressy dress.'etc".
    Finally I was satisfied with my choices and they were packed in their five boxes and tied with heavy string. I asked my youngest boy to please put them in the car and he gladly did. It's just that he put them in the wrong car and I never noticed until we got to Florida and they were not there. I had left home in a pair of black keds and that's what I had to wear all week because no one wanted to shoe shop on their vacation.
    Too bad they don't have wineries in Florida. I would have gone there every day in my black shoes and sampled every variety one ounce at a time until I didn't care what shoes I had on.

  13. brookelina--haven't been to NJ in ages. almost lived there, in piscataway. my sis lived in basking ridge for years.

    nina--i wonder if blogger had issues. i'm missing some of my regular commenters, like the lovely Ortizzle. at any rate, so glad to see you here! travis seems to be better, although he is such a baby about this medicine. i wonder if dogs are any better.

    cookie/cactus flower--i'm caught up on blogs, but am still catching up on home stuff. the grocery store was the worst.

    nancy--oh, i'm sorry, but the shoe shopping would have been PRIORITY ONE and that is that. no one should have been forced to wear black keds with everything. i would not have been buried in them.
    and if there are no wineries, no problem. just go to where they sell wine, buy several bottles, take them back to your accomodation, and conduct your own tasting. from the bottles if necessary. certainly having to wear black keds unceasingly would have been motivation enough.
    poor darling.

  14. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Well, poor cat, although I would have been ready to lambaste him, too, LOL. How's the medicine taking going?

    The rest of your vacation sounds great, especially the wine-tasting. That's my kind of vacation. (Of course I would need a designated driver, LOL.)

  15. I have found overall that Canadians are MUCH nicer than Americans.

    And you get to pack as many shoes as you darn well want.

  16. ortizzle--the medicating is going absolutely awful! he's becoming really belligerent now, and has started just throwing up shortly afterward. we're down to giving it once a day now, and i'm sure that is diminishing its effectiveness. would you, by chance, like a large, tigerstriped cat with green eyes who likes to cuddle but is ambivalent about the litterbox?

    gina--so glad you found the Dept! I've been enjoying your blog immensely. i'm recording your shoe packing vote along with the others.

  17. Yes we genuinely ARE all spectacular and patient and kind up here.
    The one bad woman that you encountered can't have been a native.

    BTW, I just read "The Jane Austen Book Club" on your recommendation. Thanks, I loved it!

  18. princess o.u.--i wondered when you, a native canadian, were going to weigh in on this post!!! you know, i almost asked that woman if she was a native, but knew i couldn't do so without sounding snarky and sinking to her level, so i refrained. and i'm glad you liked TJABC.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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