(note to my sister: you should go register this domain name and use it)
So on Monday, Jupiter and I left to go visit Montreal for a couple of days. I've done this trip several times in the last 10 or 15 years and was feeling pretty confident about it when we left.
10:15- We get in the car.
10:20- We get in the ATM line at the bank so I can deposit US cash and then withdraw Canadian cash at the ATM in Montreal.
10:25- We fill up the gas tank at the corner gas station.
10:30- We're on our way.
10:50- Jupiter asks if we're there yet. We're still in the next town over.
12:00-We make it to New Hampshire.
12:15- I think I missed the turn for West Side Rd. I'm not sure how I missed that.
12:20-I take a turn for the Kancamangus Highway.
12:23- I see a sign that says no gas for 32 miles. I turn around and go back.
12:30- I decide that the road I'm on goes west, and will undoubtedly intersect with I-93 at some point, since I-93 runs the length of the state.
12:55-I see a sign for I-93.
1:15-No I-93 yet.
1:20- Another sign for I-93. Indicating it is about ten miles away still. Whatever. I take the turn. We get to see Lake Winnipausakee.
1:35-It's a miracle. I found I-93.
1:37- Littleton is 42 miles away. That road that was going west...also going south. Very south. We should have been in Littletown over an hour ago. I am an idiot. I envision the Family Circus cartoons were the kids run in random patterns all over the yard or the block. I have just done this in NH.
1:50-We drive through Franconia Notch State Park. We see a license plate that says Lina-D. Jupiter is pleased.
2:12- We make it to Littleton (finally) and pit stop at McD's. Jupiter eats chicken nuggets.
2:35-We get back in the car.
3:32-I hand documents to the Canadian Customs officer. I don't give him Jupiter's passport since I determined the night before we left that it expired in March. He checks them out and asks me to lower the back window so he can see the child. I lower the window and he says "Bonjour, Galina!" with a big smile. We have a brief discussion about Jupiter's parentage. He finds the spot on her birth certificate where it states "sole legal legitimate parent" and sends us on our way. He doesn't even ask if I'm bringing in any guns, mace, or pepper spray.
4:15- I can see a thunderstorm headed towards us. Excellent.
4:25- The thunderstorm is closer. It's raining.
4:27- Is that a funnel cloud to the south of us in that big cornfield over there?
4:32-The storm hits us with a torrential downpour. The people in front of me turn on their hazard lights. I turn on my hazard lights. I follow a little green car blindly through the storm.
4:35-The green car and I and a few semis pass a bunch of people who were smart enough to pull over and wait for the storm to abate.
4:45- The storm is abating. We all turn off our flashers.
4:59-We're coming up on a potential rest stop. I ask Jupiter if we need to stop to use the bathroom or if she can wait a half hour. She says she can wait. I plug in the garmin in case I need it to find the hotel. Maybe I should have used it in NH.
5:15-We're about 4 miles from the hotel. Traffic slows to a crawl.
5:30-We're three miles from the hotel. Traffic stops.
5:40-We watch the lightning from the next approaching storm.
5:45-The storm hits us.
5:53-Jupiter sees a Walmart on the other side of the six lane highway and wants to go there to use the bathroom. Unfortunately, the Walmart might as well be in Kansas for all the good it's going to do us.
5:56-Traffic is now crawling. People coming from some other road are merging in on the right hand side, managing to get in front of all of us who have been sitting on the road for 40 minutes. The garmin tells me to take the exit in half a mile. I follow another car accross two lanes of traffic to get in the right lane.
6:00-We take the exit. We're actually moving again. Which is good, because I really need a bathroom.
6:05- I take the exit supposedly for the hotel. I end up in the metro station parking lot driving in a circle. I'm confused becuase I know the hotel is next to the metro station, but I don't see a hotel. I see a big condo building labeled Petit Frere in big red letters, half of which are burnt out. I try to follow the garmin, get confused, and go in a circle. Garmin recalculates.
6:10-We drive around the metro station parking lot again. I try to go a different way. We go down some side streets while Garmin recalculates our way back to the metro station parking lot. I yell at the Garmin. I drive past the line of taxis and do the circle again. This time I see the orange sign indicating a detour for the hotel. I miss the detour.
6:15-We drive past the taxis again. When I get to the detour sign I try to remember which option I tried last time.
6:20-The road is different. That's a good sign.
6:21-Wait, there it is! I cut a sharp turn into the parking area and inform the booth attendant we have a reservation at the hotel. He gives me a punch card and tells me to keep it on the dashboard.
6:22-I pull in the first available parking space.
We check in and ride the elevator to the 12th floor. Jupiter gets first dibs on the bathroom. I look out the window at the Montreal skyline on the left side and on the right side, a big condo tower that says Petit Frere in red letters, half of which are burnt out. I couldn't see the hotel because the big condo building was in the way. Now, from the 12th floor vantage point, I can see where I was, where I am now, and the back entrance to the hotel parking lot which was inaccesible due to the road closure.
Since the plan to ride in to the city for dinner is shot due to our late arrival, we walk accross the parking lot to the metro station and shop for dinner in the mini mart. Jupiter gets a cinnamon roll and a drinking yogurt and I get cheese, crackers, and grapes. Then we hit the hotel pool which is stuffed full of people. When we go back to the room it's getting dark. I educate Jupiter on the importance of closing the drapes when one has condo neighbors accross the parking lot at the same level. She absorbs this information. She very much likes the view from the 12th floor. She does some homework and goes to bed. She won't let me turn on the tv while she's going to sleep, and I didn't get to go to the bookstore yet since we were so late, so I have nothing to read. I fall asleep too.
1 day ago