What a difference refrigeration makes to cottage life. No more fishing semi-identifiable foodstuffs out of coolers filled with half-melted ice, no more convincing yourself that room-temperature dairy is perfectly edible. It was worth transporting that mini-fridge 1,110 kms across three provinces, particularly since Canadian Tire money was used for the initial purchase.
Every pilgrimage we make to the Money Pit sees us spending our time there in increasing luxury. Even the two-pail toilet system feels downright civilized.
We spent a couple of days unwinding, staring at the water and erasing the yellow highway lines from the inside of our eyelids, until it was time for the Spousal Unit to hop a float plane to a northerly fishing lodge. While he combined working and catching trophy fish, I made the 400 km trek to my sister's cottage, wondering all the while if it was really all that necessary to make the province so damned big.
Their cottage is pretty much the exact opposite of ours, but both places fill a place in my soul. Where we have isolation and tranquility, they have a bustling little lake community. Where they have a roadside store with a internet cafe and a hula hut across the way, we have a government dock with a biffy and an abandoned barn. Where we have a new house on an alfalfa field that's just itching for tree planters, they have a cozy cottage nestled amongst mature poplars. Where they have a vast expanse of sandy beach, we have a bug-filled riparian zone. Their place is what ours will be in 20 years.
It was a trip filled with family visits, which is always the best kind of trip. The youngest family member has moved past the baby-sniffing stage into the making each other laugh by waggling eyebrows at one another stage. He and his expressive eyebrows win that contest every time.
I made more trips into Winnipeg during a five-day span than I have in the past ten years. Along the way I was introduced to an Italian grocery store that has been a landmark forever, but at which for some reason I have never before shopped. I can't believe that I survived all this time without those dried olives and that prosciutto salami.
We cut our trip short by one day, both of us being exhausted and missing the Slightly Retarded Kitty, as well as skype sessions with the OFKAR. Ten days is a long time to be away from home, even with the peace of mind that comes from having a house sitter. You will, of course, be thrilled to know that we set a land record on our return trip - 9 hours and 39 minutes, including three bathroom breaks and a half hour at the Burger King in Swift Current.
One of the first things we did upon our return was rescue a cabinet out of the garbage behind the Lawnmower Kids' place. It has joined the pile of cottage furniture in the basement, waiting patiently for spring.