We got ourselves together early yesterday morning and headed into Moose Jaw to get our car serviced and some repairs completed, new all season tires...the works! When we made the appointment earlier in the week it was definitely feeling more spring-like out of doors and we had visions of a lovely warm day of bustling about the town on foot until the car was ready to take home.
Everything we planned on came about, except for the "lovely warm day". Oh my...it was cold enough to snow. The howling winds must have been left over from the system that dumped over seven inches of snow on Edmonton the day before because, although we had no snow to contend with, it was freezing cold the entire day. Thankfully we had warm shirts and coats or it could have been a disasterous undertaking.
As it was, we made the best of it and over the course of the day, according to my husband's step counter, we walked for 10 kilometres and burned more than twice the daily calories recommended. GOOD NEWS INDEED!! My ankle held up well in my comfy Naot shoes, even though they are nearly worn out after very heavy use for the past couple of years. Well, they will get a break now because I found a spiffy pair of maroon Wind River walking shoes on huge sale price at Mark's yesterday. So happy my husband needed a new pair of cotton pants because of finding that unexpected pair of shoes that actually fit me and for only thirty five dollars...aaaah, clearance rack, bless you!
As we wandered around the town my husband purchased the rest of the small personal items he will need for his trip next week. He was able to get his international driver's license, his travel size personal hygiene items, the aforementioned pants, a wonderful fluorescent vest for riding his bicycle at night this summer, a long sleeved summer shirt and other odds and ends. We came home with a car full of shopping bags from the various sales we discovered for his travel items. I had no idea he needed so many things JUST for the 4 days in Africa, let alone for the rest of the time in England. I gulped audibly at what it cost us for only a couple of hundred dollars in US funds that he needs to present to the African immigration authorities....I knew the exchange rate wasn't good but haven't kept up to just how bad it currently is. Wow!! I am really behind the times there.
We had a couple of yummy meals out as well, as part of our pre-travel date day. Fish tacos at Original Joes....mmmmm, one of my favourites! The waitress there kept calling us "cute" and bending over backward to tease us about how cute she thought we were. If this is some kind of new approach to seniors in what is essentially a young persons' establishment, well, all we can say is "keep it up gals"! It worked well and we returned there mid-afternoon for some creme brulee!! Different waitress, same sweetly patronizing smile at our continuing "cuteness". hahahahaha We felt like favoured grandparents and we felt like we were about 110 years old, but it was a lot of fun kibbutzing with these young people who are so well trained as servers and who smiled so cheerfully and apparently sincerely during our time there. Not that I want to innundate them with the nearly elderly, but it really is a nice place to eat if you don't mind the pounding music coming through the speakers. We don't, we rather enjoy it.
Dinner was at Rock Creek Grill...another of the newer chains that tries to put together a nicer than average chain restaurant menu. I had a burger with wonderfully hot, charred jalapeno pepper slices on top. O my it was tasty. The salad was huge and fresh. My husband had a pizza that came on a large pita crust. It wasn't a hefty meal as a result, but it was very tasty. They changed out the BBQ sauce it was supposed to have with regular tomato sauce and it was no problem at all to do it. That is a nice change from some of the chains who just blanche at the thought of having to make a change of any kind from the standard menu listings. I shared my large salad with him and it was a perfect dinner.
As we wandered around downtown Moose Jaw in the afternoon, we had some good visits with old friends. First was a long visit with a friend who owns the second hand bookstore. He and the shop are still in recovery from the fire there a year or more ago that took down most of the rest of the block and destroyed the small business dreams of several business owners. It was a learning experience as my husband finally saw for himself the kind of construction that happened in downtown buildings circa 1910: the kind of construction that saw new buildings butt up to older buildings and not put in their own wall between the buildings. They simply chipped out holes in the wall of the existing building big enough to rest the floor joists into (and barely at that!) for the new building, then plastered over it all. When the big cranes came after last year's fire to tear down the remains of the burned out section of the block, they realized just in time that if they took down the remaining wall, it would leave the building beside it with no wall at all on that side!! Oh the legal fun and games of sorting that mess out!! Our friend from the bookstore is also one of the upstairs tenants who was temporarily displaced due to smoke damage. He is back there now that the asbestos team has removed all the ancient asbestos from the suites above the stores and the renovation teams are in place to redo the rest of the suites. Being from AB it is hard to understand why buildings that old and in that poor of condition would be allowed to stay in place at all, let alone have hundreds of thousands of dollars put into repairs....although I am guessing only tens of thousands of dollars will be spent in reality, with only the most minimal of building code standards met. Brrrr....I wouldn't want to risk living in there, but our friend and his wife have renovated their place just beautifully and, understandably, wouldn't want to lose it. My husband learned about that old method of construction when he was in carpentry school but had never actually seen it for himself.
We walked over to our former church and inadvertently interrupted the pastoral care committee meeting. It was good timing though. They were just taking a break and warmly welcomed us in for a short visit and a lovely time of prayer over us as we each prepare to depart on our trips over the next couple of weeks. It seems to have been the missing piece in our comfort level about these travels. After the prayer time we finally feel completely peaceful about going away.
Had a chance for a quick visit with one of my favourite transit bus drivers as well. He pulled into the turnaround with his full 5 minutes to spare before driving on, so we had a good chat in that short time. Always nice to see the folk who transported me so cheefully every day when we lived in Moose Jaw a few years ago.
We had hoped to stay in town for the 8pm Compline service at our former church, but as we were eating our early dinner my husband got an email telling him of a serious computer problem back at the office. We had to skip the Compline and get home. Technically yesterday was a day off, but when he thought about how much he had to do today on top of working in a visit with a friend in hospital, he decided to go into work last night for the computer problem. It is good he did that because it took a few hours to solve.
So happy to have the car all fixed up for the trip back..new tires, oil and coolant, lots of little problems fixed and good news that our brakes didn't need to be done after all. There was a build up of dirt around the brake shoes and once it was all cleaned out all else was well. The ignition problems that have plagued me this week turned out to be the result of a worn out key. I can get a new one cut from my husband's key tomorrow. We know we are going to have to get a different car within the next year or so, but at this point we might as well drive this one until a seriously expensive problem occurs, or until the exterior starts showing more signs of rust and wear.
So it was a grand day away. We spent the entire day together!! Days off are not usually that much fun. We walked and walked, we burned off the calories from our restaurant meals, we had more good news than bad about our vehicle, we saw good friends rather unexpectedly, we got rid of another box of books from our place, we were prayed over, we ate well, we laughed and talked, we purchased everything else my husband needs to travel, we nearly froze but at least we got to be outdoors all day....it was just a grand time together....a nice lead in to nearly 3 weeks apart.