I followed 20 out through Watertown to I95, then took it up to I93 north. Stopped at the liquor store just over the NH border and was able to find the table wine that my aunt, uncle and I had imbibed at our dinner at Legal Seafoods. Grabbed a bottle of that as a thank you for having me over, and continued up through NH. The leaves were gorgeous, though they got scarcer as I went north. I was going fairly fast, keeping an eye out for troopers, since I just really wanted to get the visa stuff over and done with. Turned more directly north in Vermont to hit the Quebec border on this side of Lake Champlain, and managed to roll up to the booths at 12:30.
I explained to the woman at the window that I was going to loop back around to get my visa renewed and then come back again and through to go up to visit my aunt and uncle. She wave me through and I found my way back to the US border building, going through the check point with the statement that I was here to do visa stuff. Parked in a parking lot designed to make one feel vulnerable - under the eye of the border guards, the customs house, and the immigration office, no barriers around it to guard your car from the people speeding away from the check point. Gathered my papers, and tucked them inside my coat, since at this point it was raining yet again. Sun and rain and wind dodged the whole trip, all that was missing was solid precip. No wait for an INS agent, I think I got the nice one again. He gave me a couple of bad moments by saying that I was out of status and should have come up as soon as I was laid off from my previous job to clear things up, or gone home!, and that the much sweated over letter didn't clearly enough lay out my position. Eeep. But he let me through, I handed over the cash for the I94 and the stamp, and then he paused a moment. "You don't mind if I go over this again to show this border patrol officer, do you?" Dammit. Of course I agreed pleasantly, and stood around being nice for another 15 mins while he went over the whole application process.
Finally, I was done, and free to loop back around to Canadian customs and immigration, and the woman waved me through, w/o even asking if I had anything to declare. Hrmmm. In any case, 55 up to 10, and then managed to successfully navigate construction and heavy traffic through downtown Montreal, my eyes firmly fixed on signs for 15 north. Made it up to Val David w/o once glancing at the map, the way is apparently imprinted on my brain from all the trips we took when I was young, and pulled up at 3:30. The car was so quiet that my uncle, trying to rake the leaves in the high wind, didn't hear me until I honked. He helped me bring in my stuff, settling me in the upstairs spare bedroom. They built the house themselves, taking 30 years to do it while working in Montreal, and retired once it was done - but it was designed for large family get togethers. They'd cleared a lot of the land so that it was tons more open than the last time I'd visited, as I found out when I took a tromp through the plot of land it was built on. The view across the valley (it's midway up the slope on one side of the valley) was a mix of flame yellow leaves, bare branches, and evergreen swaths. It was a nice relaxing afternoon, I read, wandered outside, took a walk to get the mail up the road with my uncle, and listened to CBC radio and classical CDs. We had a nice dinner, and I had a tiny bit of the wine that I'd brought, and then I took advantage of the dry sauna that they'd incorporated into the upstairs bathroom, and it worked out the knots that driving had given me. I was in bed fairly early, knowing I'd have to be up at 7 the next day.
Took the bus to Harvard Sq, Red line to green line to blue line to airport shuttle. The check in line was huge, split by the entry doors, but I got into it just before it surged up in size. Took me an hour and a half to get through it, but I'd left 3 hours before my flight, so I was calm. Until they started pulling people out of line who hadn't left enough time before their flights, and taking off people working the check in counter. Grrr. I managed to check my bag finally, and made it through security no problem. So of course I had 1.5 hours before my flight, and the concourse was packed. I found the food court, which was slightly less busy, and had dinner, before making my way into the crowd to find a seat near my gate. I read for a bit (a book which I can't remember right now, but I'm sure I shouldn't have been tempting fate with it) until boarding started. They were spot checking a few people before they got on the plane, but I wasn't picked. We were a bit late getting off the ground, and a quick flight didn't quite overcome the long taxi at the other end. C&I was easy this time, but my suitcase was 20 minutes delayed. I was fretting at this point, since Dorothy was waiting to pick me up. She was still there when I made it out and put up with my babbling and somewhat confused directions to get us downtown to Pauper's pub to meet up with our henchmen. It was nippy out and we dashed from the public parking lot into the pub and started poking around for our group. Found them in a little side room, which they'd filled to bursting. :) I'm sure I'm going to forget names but: Greg and Sheryl, Lee, Axel, Trevor, Siobhan+2 friends, Casper, Liz and Ray I think, Steph and Martin, Matt and Alison, Dorothy and I were all crammed into the alcove.
I ordered a pint of cider, but ended up sipping slowly and talking, playing musical chairs so that I could talk with everyone. I popped out to get my suitcase from the car when Dorothy had to leave to go and pack some more. Various bits of the party left to wander over to clubs, and eventually Axel, Trev and myself took off for their place. Luckily it wasn't all that far, and the suitcase decided to roll nicely. Elvis was rearranged on the porch so that he could keep an eye on the street. I'm pretty sure that we just dropped off my suitcase and headed down to the Bovine to meet Lee. It was packed, so we jumped over to Savage, just missing Matt A. Waved hi to Dylan and Stephan but lost them in the crowd. Danced once I think. Yes, it's a blur, I was up at 7 and it was now around 2am. Left just before the lights went on, and a group came back to Axels to drink a bit more. Casper's pseudo stalker came with, not quite sure how that happened. Lee was looking extra toasty by this point, and I was way tired so we eventually kicked everyone out.
So, in one day, I'd managed to hit Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Mass., and Ontario. Not bad.
We walked over to Blue Moon and settled in with hot drinky treats, and a wedding in the intersection to keep us amused. Steph arrived a bit late from her hair appointment, but was nicely widow-peaked. I indulged in a cup of Monk's Blend tea, one of my staples from my frequent trips to Nine of Cups Cafe - no Victorian Garden though. We browsed the shops, being forcefully reminded that it was the Saturday before Halloween by the crowds, trying to build up 80's night ensembles. I passed on some cheap crinolines which I regret now. It was getting close to sushi time, though we had a reservation at Sushi Place. ;) We walked down to Queen St. and claimed the table and waited a bit for everyone to arrive. We couldn't handle it any longer once most of the group was there, and ordered. Matt and I shared a sushi pizza yummmmm, and I had the middle sized combo to refuel me. I handed off the boots to Steph finally at this point. After dinner, Axel and I headed back to his house to get ready for the list meet at Wheat Sheaf and the 80's night at Reverb.
We considered napping for an hour, but decided that it wouldn't do much good. Axel took a while to get tarted up, but the results were worth it - old school 80's goff, with original clothes from that time period. *wolf whistle* We called Sio's place and decided to head over there since the bottle neck (Casper was teasing up his hair and hogging the mirror) was going to delay us enough as it was. Taking the secret ninja back route to Roxton Manor, we arrived just ahead of BC, who seemed quite amused by the primping and preening going on. Axel borrowed her fedora and Sio's concho strap, as well as some scarves from Alison, to top off his outfit. *swoon* We bundled up and started the hike down to the Sheaf, with me being hard pressed to keep up to the power walkers, my foot still not 100% better and my stompy boots adding some weight. Got there eventually, the last party to arrive, and boggled at the outfits present. Louise was a very creditable Boy George and lisiblac was just jaw droppingly 80's. Matt A. had missed us the night before. Tetsab got a drink bought for her by a guy who decided that her costume was the best. We trickled over to Reverb in groups, and found a spot in the chill out room to settle in, after taking advantage of the guest listing. I ended up keeping my sun glasses on, since there was a strobe right near us. Martin gave us an explanation of his future performance art pieces (he's a sick boy). I occasionally ventured out into the main room but it was too fucking loud[tm] and I kept retreating. I did come out near the end to mosh a bit with Trev and Axel. Saw bathory and Klaus very briefly, the latter's Columbian necktie costume was far too authentic looking. Dorothy didn't make it, and I didn't make it over to Savage at all that night. I think this was an earlier night, since I was pooped by this point.
I was leaving to get there about 3 hours before my flight at 9:30. Grabbed the TTC down to the Royal York hotel and caught the airport express bus over to Pearson. Tried to do an express e ticket check in and was foiled. Turned out that they'd removed the flight I'd booked from their schedule. Travelocity had rebooked me, but I'd not had a chance to confirm my flight before leaving. Big mistake. Last flight to Boston that night was 6:45, and at 6:15 I was too late to make it. Panic. Talked to customer service agent, who rebooked me on a flight to Providence with no charge. There was a woman at the station next to me with the same problem, also starting a job at 8:30 the next morning. Got through immigration, after a chat with the officer about my hair style (he asked why I had it that way, I like it, I said, he then started going on about his being the shortest it's ever been, but I just couldn't deal with the delay and rushed off to the customs check). Had forgotten my suitcase at the e ticket baggage check in counter, since I was flustered and forgot that I had to have it with me going through customs. Luckily they didn't blow it up or search it when I popped back out to claim it and bring it in with me. I ended up getting shuttled over to the tiny ancillary terminal for the Providence flight. They had business work stations and I settled in one to call my room mate to try and figure out how I'd get home from Providence. I knew he was gaming in our living room with a group of friends and I hoped one of them might know bus schedules. No luck, but he said he'd come get me anyway. He's amazing. We got cut off, but not before I gave him my flight info. I kept trying to call back, on the fancy phones and the pay phones, but apparently the TD bank machine network wasn't the only network down and I could not get through. It ended up being a smaller plane but a shorter flight, no idea how. My bag came through fairly quickly, and I wandered trying to find Q for a bit before calling his cell. He was in the terminal, we were just cut off from each other by a staircase. Loaded things into the car, and an hour later we were home. Threw dirty clothes in the hamper, packed for my first day of work the next day, and fell into bed.