Squamish and Comox, 2010

I had two vacation days left over at the end of the year and spent them to go visit my family for Christmas. The stupid high cost of the plane tickets led me to get my sister to pick me up in Vancouver and take me over to the island when she went over, but this led to an overnight visit to her house in Squamish instead of a direct airport-ferry trip.

Thursday December 23, 2010

I decided not to bring my skis with me, but packed my ski boots and gear in a roll aboard suitcase, arranging to borrow poles from my dad and rent skis if we ended up going to Mount Washington while I was out west. This made it much easier to take the T to the airport in Boston, I did the whole bus to subway to bus thing and got there in good time. I had a four hour layover in Toronto, so I had lots of time to get through Customs and Immigration (the woman didn't talk to me at all, just stamped things and let me through). I was under the $60/item limit on all my gifts, that probably helped, but I didn't have to list them, just check a box on the new forms. I was almost done my book (Luck in the Shadows) when the flight from Boston landed, and I ran through the book stores I spotted trying to find the next in the series, but no luck. I finished it up while eating at the pub near gate 141 where I was to board for Toronto. I just had time after the slow service to run to the rest room and then get in the boarding line. I'd not picked up the free headphones on the previous flight and they were $3 on the flight to Vancouver, so I just napped and read.

Sue was waiting for me with a slice of take out pizza when I came out of the secure area at YVR. It was a wet drive through Vancouver and up the Sea to Sky to Squamish. We did a quick stop at the grocery store to get me some more food (I didn't buy anything on the plane and wanted some fruit and granola for the next day as well) and then I dropped into the Shoppers Drug Mart in the same plaza to get my favoured shampoo and allergy pills. I also picked up a travel sized bottle of vanilla body wash since I couldn't resist. :) We dropped of Jake's cell phone at the ambulance building and then headed home. I snacked a bit, then took a quick shower and was in bed by 10pm.

Friday December 24, 2010

I woke up hearing the shower across the hallway, but didn't get up until 6:20am. Had a quick breakfast and then helped Sue pack the car with skis, presents, my stuff, and their stuff. Jake called as we were finishing up, he was off duty at 7am, and we went to grab him and hit the road to Horseshoe Bay. The rain was still going, there were flood warnings and high wind warnings and we weren't even sure if the ferry would sail. Luckily we got in the line for the next departure at 8:30am and everything went off with only a short delay. The announcement once we were out of the dock scared me: no walking around, no going outside, parking brakes on. Sue and I both took gravol to ward off seasickness, but it ended up being unnecessary as the crossing was only plagued by gentle rolls. More rain on the island and high winds, and part of the old island highway were flooded, luckily the new one was clear. We stopped at the liquor store and I finally picked up a bottle of Amarula after seeing it in duty free stores on my last three trips. I popped over to the gas station next door to grab some scratch and win lottery tickets as well. Finally pulled up to my parents house in Comox, my brother and his wife had already arrived. I finished up wrapping my presents and got them under the tree (mostly just needed to put names and ribbons on the fabric bags). I settled in with a book and got some reading in as well. It was a bit of a shock to be dumped into a house with 6 other people plus a dog after having had a few days on my own after Cris left for SF, so I'd occasionally retreat to my room for some quiet. After dinner, Sue and Jake and I went for a walk to the Leeward liquor store to get me a bottle of gin, since I thought she'd brought some but it actually done. Three women behind the counter assured us that they'd be open 11-11 the next day as well. Mt. Washington was reporting blizzard conditions and close to 5m of base snow.

Saturday December 25, 2010

Breakfast, and opened stockings. Made myself a cup of the new tea (Okanagan blend roobius that Marc and Katherine gave me) and managed to crack a glass mug that I thought would deal with the heat. :/ Loved the dark chocolate orange that I got in my stocking, plus the plethora of books. The stuff I got people from Argentina was appreciated, I sat for a while with Dad going through the picture book I got him. I got sucked into the Star Wars movie marathon on the Space channel, found when I was looking up the info for the Doctor Who xmas special (it was on Boxing Day). Dinner was good, had some red wine with it. I was pooped though and left the family playing board games and went to bed at around 10pm again. I asked Dad to wake me up an hour before he'd want to leave for skiing, if we were going to go.

Sunday December 26, 2010

I half woke to hear Dad moving past my room at around 6am, I guess he went to check the web cams on Mt. Washington. He went past again without knocking so I went back to sleep. When we were all up, Dad said that he'd be willing to leave at 11:30 and try for an afternoon on the slopes. Then we checked when the afternoon lift tickets were good for, and finding out it was noon threw us all into a tizzy. Mom was making soup, I'd asked if it could be ready by 11, but it was delayed to 11:15 and Sue wanted to eat. I scarfed some down as well, but Dad was semi-pacing after eating a big apple.

Driving up, we went from rain to ice to snow, and Dad had to turn on four wheel drive as we started slipping in the transition period. Dad pulled up to the drop off area in thick snow, and after some debate it was just me willing to ski (the wind was flapping the flags but I was inured to wind after surviving Patagonia, plus I could see far enough to ski at a comfy speed). Dad pulled out to look for parking, but then I asked him to drop me so that I could get my rental started while they parked. He circled back to the drop off and I jumped out, after getting my ski boots on in the front seat of the truck. I borrowed Sue's poles, and got my helmet etc. on. Went in to the rental are to get skis, it came out to $87 with half day lift ticket. I went outside with the skis and then went back in to get the tie to attach the lift ticket to my jacket. I carried the skis up to the just visible lift and was off to the top on the Eagle express. Gah, it was pea soup at the top since the clouds had engulfed the peak. There were lots of ridges in the fresh snow from other skiers and boarders. At one point I slid back and tipped over since I couldn't see that I'd stopped on a slight back slope. I took it slow, and gave it one more shot, going up Whiskey Jack chair this time, which let off lower on the mountain. I was better there and I dropped over to the Sunrise chair and it was lots better there. I stayed there until it cleared, a beautiful pink light on the snow covered trees. At 2:30 I went back to Whiskey Jack but found the lift too slow, and went up the express again. The cloud came back in a blink at the top, but it was my last run before the lift closed at 3:30pm. I took a bit of a wrong turn and to not go to Sunrise, I had to go over deep powder to get to the right base. I had to back my ski out of a drift and put it on top, but made it. I returned my skis and combed through the lodge looking for Dad and Sue. They went above and beyond the call of familial duty, waiting in the lodge for me to finish the whole time. Back down the mountain, passing the tunnels dug out for cars that had stayed up there for the full 15 feet of snow fall.

I was back in time to set up the VHS to record Doctor Who and watch the first bit. Had supper and went back downstairs to keep watching it, but then Sue and Jake pulled me out to go to Crown Isle for drinks with Cathryn. They had gold plated fire hydrants in that subdivision, it was kind of eerie. Huge xmas tree in the lobby and a collection of classic cars in the basement - Jake and I both agreed that the Corvette Stingray was the nicest one. :) We had a table right by the fire. I had a lemon drop and then a polar bear (they made it with coffee first, but Jake ran it back for me to get one with hot chocolate as per the menu). I was a bit tipsy by the time we got home, but finished watching Doctor Who after packing for my stupid o'clock flight the next day.

Monday December 27, 2010

I spent the whole day, up until touching down, unsure if I'd make it back to Boston. A huge snow storm had landed on the north east, and Cris had already been delayed two days. Got to the Comox airport early, my fligth out was delayed, but I had a big buffer in Vancouver. Bought a hot tea and a Nanaimo bar at my gate in Vancouver, and bought a chicken and black bean with rice bowl for the trip to Toronto. It was pretty much on time, and I ended up napping most of the way, then reading. It was a smooth flight, and I got through Immigration no problem (gazing wistfully at the Nexus kiosk as I went through the fast moving line). Lots of stress in the line as bags were delayed in the transfer area. The immigration official didn't talk to me at all again, very odd. Went to Tim Hortons and got myself soup and a tea biscuit for supper. Delayed a bit for de-icing, but no threats to cancel us. Bumpy descent into Boston and miserably cold and spitting ice, but I made it! Took the T home and collapsed after a hot shower. Missed Cris since he was supposed to be home already but wasn't coming in until his red eye landed the next morning. My present to him that I'd ordered had arrived, so I was able to wrap it and leave it at his place at the table at least. :)

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