The Turkey & The Hurricane

Last Friday, the Button family went on the road trip of a lifetime.

We just didn’t know it at the time.

1. The Hurricane

It was a dark and rainy morning. We had the next 4 days off work, because we’re in Canada. And instead of celebrating the domination and desecration created by that Columbus guy, we eat turkey while knowing little to nothing about Sir Martin Frobisher.

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We left our house around 6am, so it was still dark. For the next 3 hours, we were blindsided by driving rain, gale-force winds and nasty-ass dog breath.

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The weather was actually a little scary. Our little car tried to leave the road several times.

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Thankfully, Steve was the one driving.

Later, we would turn on the news radio and learn that an event called Hurricane Oho was occurring off the Pacific coast, and we were literally feeling the after-effects of it in the middle of British Columbia. Steve quickly coined it Hurricane Uh-Oh, and I quickly coined us Bill Paxton & Helen Hunt.

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^^^ Dat’s us. #DriversAndSurvivors

2. The Never-Ending Ride of Burgers, Weed & Sh*t

Hear this: I love coupon day. I love opening my mail box, and seeing those shiny red papers filled with pictures of food I want to eat and money I want to save.

No more.

We brought all of our coupons for the road trip because #poor, so we basically ate burgers and potato-related foods, all 3 meals, in the span of 14 hours. Sure, we saved money, but by the end of the day when I could no longer poop, I found myself wishing they made coupons for organic salad.

Oh yeah — we were in that car for FOURTEEN HOURS. Because the freeway between Hope and Vancouver is bat-shit crazy on a good day, and we were there on a Friday. On a holiday weekend. And while the Fraser Valley has many lovely qualities…

Smelling good is not one of them.

I know they *say* marijuana hasn’t been legalized in Canada yet, but in that valley, it might as well be. Also there are cows and mushroom farms and lifted trucks that are singlehandedly putting a hole in the ozone.

Did I want to poop? Did I want to throw up? I couldn’t tell anymore.

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3. The Golden Anniversary

But the reason we drove (besides turkey) was well worth it. It was the 50th anniversary of my mother-and-father-in-law.

And they didn’t know we were gonna show up.

I was a little nervous; I hadn’t seen them since we moved away a year ago, and I feel like a golden anniversary is kind of a big deal. I wanted it to be memorable.

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I found this beautiful British-style teapot awhile ago, with them in mind, as well as some loose-leaf earl grey tea that could be used to fertilize Mum’s garden after they were diffused.

To me, it was meaningful on many levels.

To them, it was too.

But that wasn’t the only surprise of the night.

4. Poppy vs. The Pool

It was dark by the time we arrived at the house, and we thought Poppy should explore her new surroundings.

I didn’t see any of this happen, so this is how I understand it.

Poppy was busy sniffing the backyard by the light of the back deck, when she suddenly came upon a strange new surface. It was blue, kinda wet and level with the ground.

It was the tarp cover on the swimming pool.

She quickly realized she’d made a terrible mistake, and tried to swim her way to the sidewalk. Instead, she started sinking.

Very calmly – like Jesus, one could say – Steve reached in and pulled our Precious out of the pool just as the cover was starting to blanket her.

And since she’s smart, she remembered and avoided the special blue ground for the rest of the weekend.

5.The Guardians of the Toy Store

We’re nerds. Straight up. We collect Funkos from multiple fandom’s, and our Christmas tree looks like the entire pop culture from the 1970s-now threw up on it.

So when Steve showed me the newer, much bigger location of our favourite toy store, I nearly had a heart attack.

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Ewoks on a tree bridge over the toy shelves! #UhhhhCha!

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Treebeard & Gollum creepin’. #We’reTakingTheHobbitsToIsengard

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Completed by the best: Groot & Rocket extending hands of friendship to yours truly. #WEAREGROOT

And finally…

6. The Darla Effect

Have you read Darla Halyk, from New World Mom?

You probably should. She has amazing stories, from comparing herself to Amy Schumer to her literal, actual, text-the-Vatican miracle baby.

I had no idea, until recently, that she lived near Vancouver her whole life – up to and including the time I lived there. When I think about the coffees and laughs and sisterhood wasted, I wanna cry.

Because I got to meet with her for approximately 90 minutes before heading back north, and you guys.

She’s amazing.

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We hugged upon meeting, because of course we had to. She drank out of a coffee cup the length of my forearm while we talked non-stop about writing and our pets and her kids and food and it all ended too quickly. She is the Real Deal, from her sweary-mouth to her sparkly eyes and again to her fierce love for life. I can’t wait to hang out with her again.

So, I am very thankful. I made it to my 28th birthday with little mental breakdown, I ate turkey dinner twice, laughed at YouTube videos with my sister-in-law until my stomach hurt, made great memories with friends & family, and I survived a hurricane.

But above all, I am thankful this picture exists. Because we’ve had enough of Sharknado to last a lifetime. Haven’t we earned…

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…Turkeycane???

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Her Name Was Lola…

Is it weird to write a love letter to a car? Oh well.

Dear Lola the Corolla,

4 1/2 years ago, you came into my life freely, without expectation or guile. You were a surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I had not been able to drive.

4 1/2 years, a lifetime of memories, experiences, and “firsts” in my early 20’s.

And yesterday, you retired. Not to a junk yard, thankfully. You probably have at least 100k left in your hearty soul. But my mom really needed you, so I gave you back to her. A surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I hadn’t been able to take care of her.

I remember the day I drove you for the first time. It was a bitterly cold January day, but I didn’t care. I was warmed from head to toe by the freedom of the open road. Granted, that “open road” was actually the Prince George highway full of snow, ice and hidden craters. But as far as I was concerned, anything was possible now. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-11.png Although you were almost 20 years old, you were immaculate. Your pure gold outsides were as clean as your insides; your standard shifter as smooth as Sinatra and your brakes as abrupt as Snape. I tried my hardest to keep you that way. But you see, I have no depth perception and I’m clumsy, awkward. I’m sorry. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-47.png As a Thank You, I want to share some of my favourite memories.

Spring 2011

My mom visited us again, and she decided that we should go for a drive to downtown PG. I was eager to show her how I’d learned to drive Lola with ease. But in a moment that could only be described as movie-perfect, I took a right turn down a street that neither one of us was aware was a one-way street.

When we saw 3 lanes of traffic rapidly heading toward us, we figured it out pretty quickly.

When I saw that a cop car with flashing lights was at the very front of one of those lanes of traffic, I knew I was about to get my first ticket. Damn.

He waved me into a parking lot; I started trembling and overheating. He was an older gentleman; he probably could have done time as a mall Santa with his white hair and near-jolly spirit.

“Clearly, you weren’t going the right way, eh?”

“No, sir. I didn’t even see a sign for a one-way street! I’m so sorry.” He looked at my license, saw that I was a learner, and traveling appropriately with an adult. He did a slow circle around my car (the worst!) and came back to my window.

“Are you aware that your L is missing?” (For those not Canadian, new drivers start out with a Learner’s, and it’s a red magnet that goes on the back of your car with a big L on it. When you graduate to Novice, you get a big green N magnet. Kids these days call them Losers and Nerds.)

In shock, I stepped out of Lola, ran to the back and sure enough! No Loser.

Tears started to clog my throat. “I HAD it this morning, I promise! Look, you can see the dust outline where it was!” I outlined the empty square with my hands for emphasis.

I *think* my cop was trying to hide a grin. “Well, at least let me see your companion’s driver’s license.” I sighed with relief. She was my mom, she would be able to set this whole thing straight somehow.

Mom riffled through her things for a moment. “Huh. I must have forgotten my wallet back at the house.”

My heart sank. Three strikes; I would definitely be out.

“I see.” The officer started writing furiously in his notepad. Minutes passed. I kept my head down, waiting for the verdict.

“Well, your ticket would probably be around $450. But today, you get to go home.”

My head snapped up in disbelief. “What?”

“Your mother can drive you home, just don’t get pulled over again. Get another L and watch out for those one-way streets. See you later.”

I stared.

He leaned down into my window sternly. “Get outta here.”

Feeling like a prisoner on death row just given parole, I thanked him over and over. As we were leaving the parking lot, another car turned erroneously down the one-way street, and my cop just waved them on into my old “parking spot.”

To this day, we have never gotten a ticket.

January 2012

I discovered how much cargo Lola could carry when my church had a Young Adults weekend retreat, and I was everyone’s “Friend With A Car.”

Lola seats 5 full-grown people almost comfortably. So once we loaded the trunk with 5 sleeping bags, 5 pillows, and 5 suitcases, we piled in. Oh, did I forget to mention that one of my friends was responsible for the food for everyone for the entire weekend? Let me rephrase: we loaded 5 sleeping bags, pillows and suitcases in the trunk, stuffed food in any cracks available, got in the car, and arranged food carefully around each one of us in a delicious pyramid, from head to toe.

When we drove up Connaught Hill, my friend with the *full license* had the pedal pressed to the floor and we went a slow but steady 50km/hr all the way up. I pretended we were the Flintstones and tried to make the car go faster by shuffling my feet because I’m a nerd.

Two days later, Lola brought everyone and everything home safely without so much as a hiccup.

Valentine’s Day 2012

At 8:30pm, instead of being out with someone special, I was working in the coffee shop up at the University. During my break, I checked Facebook and saw that my friend Kim had been in a horrible car accident just outside of Jasper, Alberta, nearly 5 hours away. Her car had been totalled but she was okay.

I started texting her. She had no money left and she was stranded in a bar. Jasper was a big enough tourist place to be expensive, but too small to have a Greyhound bus that didn’t arrive at an outside stop at 4am and then drive away at 4:03am.

The coffee shop was pretty dead (I mean, it was Valentine’s Day) so I texted my boss and asked if I could close up early for an emergency. She said yes, so I began to move like lightning. I had no idea what I was going to actually do, but I couldn’t leave Kim there. Even if she did have money for a bus, it wouldn’t come for another 7 hours and Jasper might as well be the Arctic at this time of year.

When I got home, I announced to my roommates that I would be taking an unexpected road trip. When they found out what had happened and what I was thinking, they all protested. It was after 9pm now; I wouldn’t get to Jasper until after 2am.

There’s a two hour stretch of highway that is literally abandoned wilderness. No gas stations, no houses, no cell service, nothing. Like, if you wanted to dump a body that would never be found, the road between McBride and Jasper is your safest bet. And I would be there in the middle of the night.

But they saw that I was determined to help Kim, so my roommate Alissa offered to go with me. We could take turns driving, and at the very least, not die alone. We would text our other roommates as often as we could, and pray like hell we weren’t making a huge mistake.

Thankfully, we found Kim, took her to the impound, helped her empty what was left of her car (I still feel sick in my stomach when I picture that car in my mind. It was NOT OKAY.), found the only gas station that was open to get some microwave food and energy drinks, and were back on the road at 3:30am. We made it home by 8am, crashed for a few hours, Kim got picked up by family, Alissa and I high-fived our success and went to work for 8 hours. Our good friend was alive, and so were we.

Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Now

Well, now, I say goodbye. Lola, you were the best car a newly legal immigrant with barely a license or experience could have needed. 80,000k in 4 1/2 years; there was nothing you couldn’t do.

And now, you get to rest. Occasionally cruise the open road. Be even more appreciated by someone with actual depth perception. I’ll see you again.

Love, Carly

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make &  model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer. Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make & model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer.
Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

Now it’s time for your Weekend(s) Update! with…

….NOT Seth Myers! Soh-ry.

I may not have a Drunk Uncle or a Stefano waiting in the wings to keep the laughs going, but I do have some pretty awesome stories to share with ya’ll.

We at the Button residence have had not one, not two, but THREE epic weekends in a row. And it’s not over yet. But that’s another story.

May 11/Mother’s Day – Weekend #1

Did you know that sometimes I get overly ambitious with a single idea in my head, that I MUST see it through until something dies or explodes? It all started with an innocent little grocery shopping trip to Wal-Mart – sometimes, that’s all it takes.
I had managed to go through the whole store without wanting or buying anything for myself, but when we got to the check-out line, I found it waiting for me. A Wal-Mart Special Cupcake Recipe Magazine, for $6.00. Six bucks! For such crisp pages and pictures of Strawberry Blossom Cupcakes I coud practically taste! In that moment, I decided that I was going to become a cupcake-maker extraordinaire TODAY. Because fast approaching was my friend M’s birthday party in Vancouver AND my first Mother’s Day with a mother-in-law who deserves treats! Time was of the essence!
Except for a few key elements: my dear M not only likes to live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle by choice, but she needs gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free food by necessity. After some communications with her fiancee about possible baking replacements, I was more determined than ever to make sure that she got at least ONE real cupcake on her birthday.

This is when I learned that Langley grocery shops are really dumb.

After hunting all day for the elusive egg replacer (no, Safeway, NOT egg substitute, which still features egg white as a main ingredient!), I finally decided to just use almond milk and suffer the humiliation of really flat cupcakes.

Oh, did I forget to mention that M really, really REALLY loves Hello Kitty? And did I also forget to mention that I decided to take 12 cupcakes and make them into a Hello Kitty face?
So with a help of a Betty Crocker gluten-free vanilla cupcake mix, almond milk, a little food colouring, some ziploc bags and my indomitable sister-in-law, this is what M got:

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Yeah. Saw it so clearly in my head and yet the execution is not stellar. Good word, execution.

But because M is adorable and lovely and sees a treasure in just about anything, she chose to not be frightened by this display of Kitty-ness, instead celebrating that she briefly had another member in her Hello Kitty figure collection before nomming them all up.

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And the attempt at making the Strawberry Blossoms for Mum mostly rested on my sister, so they were lovely and fine. They too were all nommed up while we sat on the couch, feeling like we should be sobbing into our napkins watching Safe Haven but weren’t.

May 17-20th, Road Trip + Wedding + Exhaustion All Around, Weekend #2

Actually, let me back up. This epic weekend began on a Thursday, with a trip to the Yoo-Ess-of-Aye! Let me back up even further.

Two of my dear friends are getting married in Smithers at the end of June. The bride’s family (and one of my dear adopted families) is originally from the States as I am.
As we all know, Canada is the best. But when it comes to food options and financial availability, I have to say the US wins. So when the Bride’s mother asked us to go on a Special Mission to locate and secure 2 cases of Gardetto’s (a very tasty mix of chips and pretzels) that can only be acquired over the border, we suited up and said, “Yes, ma’am!” Since we were getting ready to go to another wedding in Prince George on the 18th, and since the Gardetto-needing Bride and her Mother were going to be in PG on the same weekend, we decided that the only day we could complete this mission was Thursday, in order to make the drop. (Yes, we take our self-appointed name of Agent Button very seriously around here.)

In four hours, we were in and out. It’s a good thing; if we had stayed any longer, I probably would have tried to make a Super Swamp Water Drink with the touch-screen display pop dispenser and let myself eat more than just a sample of that heaven-on-earth known as Cinnabon. Almighty Land of Everything that is Cheap and Ultimately Not Good for You, I wish I could quit you.

Fast-forward: the road trip itself was pretty normal; we were accompanied by our pretty cool friend Eric, who actually kind of forced me to play Zelda: The Ocarina of Time on the DS for the first time. Ever. As in, I had no idea what I was doing, and those skeletons that tried to rape me multiple times in the family tomb will scar me until the day I die.

Honestly, this weekend was such a blur. A great, big, wonderful blur. We saw two awesome friends commit to one another for life…visited like 30 friends we hadn’t seen in 8 months…ate and drank non-stop as a result…caught the new Star Trek (MOAR BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH AND ZACHARY QUINTO PLS)…and just generally became zombies by the time we had to drive back on Monday. It was awesome. Thanks for still being home, PG. ❤

May 25th, Where I Was the Only Girl at a Bachelor Party, Weekend #3

You know, when I started this blog like an hour ago, this is the weekend I wanted to talk about because it JUST happened. Everything else kind of evolved from that. If you’re still with me, thanks for staying. It’s almost over, and the most epic is yet to come. (Let the length of this blog remind me that I need to write more frequently!)

Okay. So. Where do I begin?

A couple of weeks ago, some guys from our church asked Steve if he would be willing to join their cover band as part of a surprise bachelor party. As I’ve written here before, Steve is quite the guitarist and people are starting to figure it out. Thank you, people.

Anyways, Steve said yes, and he started learning at least 10 songs by Weezer. Now, I know of Weezer, have maybe listened to two of his songs on the radio – but now I know more about him than I ever have in my entire life. He’s not half bad!

As time passed, I learned more of what this cover band entailed: these guys wanted to learn the songs in secret, have the groom show up on his bachelor party day to do a “Weezer Jam”, have a great time, send him on his way – and then the REAL surprise was that they booked a gig spot at the Richmond Night Market at 10:30pm, to do an hour-set of Weezer covers featuring the groom as the lead guitarist and vocalist. (Apparently Weezer has two guitarists, hence why they needed Steve to help.) The groom would learn of “his concert” maybe 10 minutes before he was supposed to go on. How awesome and freaky is that?!

Saturday arrived. Steve and I borrowed the work van from Dad to load up all the instruments for the rehearsal in the afternoon, plus taking it out to the Night Market later that evening.

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Roadies have a very intense job. New appreciation for respect and roadies, here.

Rehearsal time! After I helped set up, I ducked out to sit in the van until it was over. I was tired and figured I would hear all the good stuff later.
Half an hour went by, and Steve found me. “You should come back and listen, we’re going through it again!”

So there I was, rocking out and enjoying the fact that, soon, my ears would no longer be able to hear anything else ever again. However, things quickly got…interesting.

I was there, they were playing Weezer, everyone was wearing clothing.

I went to the bathroom.

I came back, they were playing a rock version of “Bootylicious” by Beyonce, the bass player was shirtless, and he was definitely giving Queen B a run for her money in the dance moves department.

At this point, I realized: I am only the girl at a bachelor party, and it’s only 5 in the afternoon. What else am I in for?

I was not even a little bit prepared.

To be continued….