(Super) Northern Living

 

 I live in the north, or so I thought until my brother decided to move to the “super” north. Okay, so it’s only about 1.5hrs north of where I live, but it’s far for my standards and remote enough to make my Caledon country lifestyle look like a crowded cityscape. However, since he has a beautiful home, and I happen to be very fond of him, I plan to visit often. And with these frequent trips, I figured I should devise a plan for survival.

Tips for Surviving the Super North

1. Indoor Plumbing

There’s just something about the open wilderness that makes you forget about the worries and stress of the city/ my life. That is, of course if this wilderness included plenty of sunshine and indoor plumbing. Living like the first men who walked this earth might sound like a party for some people, but I am not one of them. There’s no sense in kiboshing your hard earned relaxation with the thought of when your next hot shower will be…or cold one.

2. Have a plan-of-action for your long drive.

I’ve decided that I’m good to drive about an hour north. Once I pass that one hour mark and have another half hour of driving through empty fields, I get a little stir car crazy. This often involves a lot of shouting and contemplating abandoning my car on the side of the road and taking a nap. So far, I’ve chosen to power through the drive. To avoid this car fever, it can be helpful to bring a friend along for the journey. I also try to break up the drive with rest stops. You wouldn’t think that a rest stop is necessary for what some folks might consider a seemlingly short drive, but you would be wrong. Fortunately, my route is filled with several conveniently located Starbucks to choose from. I also find that jamming out to some good ole country tunes helps me to get in the small town country mood. 

3. Take the time to fully explore the small-town nuances!

The local paper is a goldmine for neighbourhood gossip and local events. Fun fact, there’s an upcoming Butter Tart Festival that’s sure to be a sweet hit. They also include a two page spread highlighting garage sales in the area so you can plan your Saturday morning accordingly. And don’t forget to take a trip to the local Walmart. Oh sure, it’s just Walmart. I’m sure you have one in your town. Wrong! Here, people walk around unironically wearing cowboy hats. 

I Got Jury Duty…Again

This is the second time I’ve been “randomly selected” for jury duty. Surprisingly, it’s not as exciting as TV would have you believe. It’s a lot of waiting and standing around. If you’ve ever wondered what jury duty is like, it’s basically like waiting at an airport terminal for a plane that’s delayed, indefinately.

Most people tell you that as long as you present a half-decent reason, they’ll excuse you from jury duty. These people are wrong. Even if you work at an institution that works heavily with lawyers and your boss tells you that as long as you tell them what you do for a living, they’ll excuse you. He’s wrong. However, these people aren’t monsters. If you have a legitimate excuse, they’ll let you go home. Make sure you check your mail, though. Your deferral letter should arrive within the next few weeks.

The first fun-filled jury duty activity is the informational video. This video is filled with people telling you how much they love jury duty and how it’s a priviledge to be chosen. They also lay on pretty thick how it’s the most wonderful legal system. Don’t worry, they chose the best actors for this video. They’re very lifelike and convincing. “Even though I didn’t get paid, I would jump at the chance to serve on another jury. It gave me a deep appreciation of our legal system.” Yeah, okay… And now the video’s playing in French. Oh right, this is Canada.

You always can pick out the veteran jurors by their big books. They’re not fooled into thinking they’ll be in and out in 10 minutes. Speaking of long waits, “They’ll  be with you shortly,” has lost all meaning.

A Polite Ode to Canada Day

great_white_north_1Today is Canada Day. For you non-Canadian readers, every July 1st, Canada pauses to think about what truly makes us Canadian. We celebrate that fateful day where the Britain politely asked us if we wanted to be an independent country and we said sure. To commemorate this polite entrance into independence, most of us head up north, sit on a calm lake (or the dock in front of it), and think to ourselves, “It’s nice I didn’t have to go to work today.”

Unfourtunately, this year, Canada Day falls on a Wednesday. So unless you have some vacation time stored up, it’s back to work tomorrow. Needless to say, there’s not a whole lot to do with one day off in the middle of the week, especially when everything’s closed.

Right now, I’m sitting on my front porch watching the neighbour’s dog chase a fly. Some dogs are brighter than others…So maybe my dog’s not the sharpest tool in the shed (she may have tried to run through a sliding glass window), but she doesn’t chase flies! And there she goes. Master calls. Oh look, it’s starting to rain. I wonder how long it will crawl up those steps before I have to go inside. There it goes. Well, that didn’t take long.

Ok, so we’ve moved inside. Sorry, as I was saying, Canada is a pretty great place to live. Where else can you drop your wallet in the subway, have people help gather your things and not steal anything. Yeah, I checked.

Sure, Independence Day is flashy and full of heave ho (I assume), but sitting calmly and being politely grateful is kind of nice.

To check out a few more reasons why I love living in Canada, click here.

Why I Don’t Live on a Beach

IMG_2123I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Miami filled with beautiful beaches, warm sun, and not a care in the world. Sadly, my brief somewhat tropical escape had to come to an end. I landed in Toronto, stepped out of the airport, and BAM!! The 50 degree (Celsius) drop in temperature hit me in the face like a sack of potatoes. I thought to myself, “Why do I live here?!”

Canada is a lovely place. I live in Toronto, and while we do have beaches, they’re not quite the ones found in sunny Florida. There are no shells, the sand’s not very white, and I don’t recommend swimming in the water. In Toronto, cloud-free days are few and far between. Even in the summer there’s no guarantee. You’re better off investing in a toque than a bathing suit.

So, why do I live in frostbite central? Yes, I was born here, and yes it would be a huge hassle to immigrate past the lines of my home and native land. Nevertheless, I live in Canada because it’s great. Just to prove it to you (and myself), here are three reasons off the top of my head.

1. A Sorry At Every Corner

Sure, some countries may gawk at our politeness. Personally, I like living in a place where people apologize when you bump into them. You read that right. Canadians (often) apologize for getting in your way. Some people think this is weird. I think it’s nice. It’s better than an enraged lunatic screaming your ear off for getting in their way. Yes, these are the options.

2. Unlimited Freezer Space

In Canada, there’s never a lack of freezer space. Let me paint a picture for you. You’re having a party. The standard freezer space in your fridge is filled to the brim with frozen treats. There’s nowhere to store the surplus of party beverages you purchased for your guests. In the southern most parts of the world, this would be a disaster. You’ll become an outcast forbidden to throw dinner parties for your social circle ever again. For Canadians, it’s barely a thought. Just stick it in your garage. Garage is full? Just stick it outside. Problem solved.

3. Night Driving

Driving in the snow at night can be dangerous. Even if you have a vehicle well-equipped with snow tires and four-wheel drive, there’s always a chance that some less than prepared idiot will turn your day, and possibly your car, upside down. However, if you find yourself driving down an empty country road during a snow storm, it’s actually pretty cool. All of a sudden your car is an X-Wing Fighter barrelling through space at warp speed. Engage hyperdrive!

Regardless, I say bloom where your planted, even if the ground is frozen.