Friday, 3 October 2008

Life sans vehicle

Generally I'm pretty easy-going with my vehicle-less life. I walk everywhere. Our house is less than 10 minutes walking distance to pretty much everything (except friends' houses). I have a good pair of running shoes and a plethora of devices in which to bring along my kids (including but not limited to 4 different types of strollers, a wagon, a push car, a tricycle and numerous baby carriers). We also love to take the bus, even on those few days when we've missed the last one and end up walking much further than we intended (our bus stops at 6pm)

But there are some days that just try my patience. Yesterday was one of them.

The morning started being picked up by a friend at 9am for a community activity. This isn't a terrible thing - I have some fantastic friends who are really great about picking us up for things like this.

We arrived back home at noon. As soon as I opened the door a waft of gas engulfed us. The gas stove had accidentally been left on all morning (5 hours) and the entire house was awash in the fumes. I opened all the windows, but decided we should probably vacate for a bit to let the gas dissipate. We had no car, it was lunch time and then naptime by 1pm, but we had to go.

So I packed up a quick lunch (crackers, cheese, fruit and veggie slices and a juice box), plopped the kids in our double stroller and hightailed it up to the Early Years Centre. As I neared, I remembered starting yesterday they were closing Thursday mornings until 12:30. I prayered fervently for the doors to be open early, and thankfully they were.

We ate, had a quick play and hurried home just before 1pm. I got the boys down only 15 minutes late for nap.

After nap James took Colin for an overnight trip to London to see the grandparents, so it was just Caleb and I. I had plans for the evening, so I called my babysitter and made sure she could make her own way here, called the host for the evening event to find out who was attending, called a friend also attending to see if she could not only pick me up and bring me home, but also give my babysitter a ride home, too.

Then I flipped open my cookbook to see what delectable treat I would bake to take that evening. I decided on a quick and easy squares recipe I have, but for which I didn't have all the ingredients. It would require making two stops in the complete opposite direction, but with 3 hours until I had to leave, there was more than enough time for an afternoon walk.

Cold and crisp weather meant bundling up both Caleb and myself. I packed a snack and made my way down to the main street. On the way to Bulk Barn, I passed by a second-hand shop that had a fantastic toy for $2! I've been looking for large weather proof toys to put outside to encourage Colin to play out of doors more, and this was perfect. I opened the door and called inside to the shopkeeper (not a stroller friendly entrance!) She came out, I paid, but then asked if I could pick it up on the way home, as it was large, cumbersome and wouldn't fit in the bottom of my stroller.

I continued on my way to the first store, picked up the items I needed, and made my way back to pick up the toy. Using garbage bags and string, we rigged it to the stroller to help in carrying the huge thing home. I remember vaguely wishing I had the car.

I made a quick stop at home to drop off the toy and pick up warmer jackets and an umbrella. The weather had been crazy all day, changing from blue to grey sky every 10 minutes or so, and had included a hail storm from a cloudless sky earlier in the afternoon.

We then hiked up to the grocery store. By this time Caleb was getting fed up with the stroller (unusual for him) and so I had to carry him, wrapped in blankets while pushing the stroller (not easy to navigate in this way!) I cajoled him back into the stroller on the way back from the store by providing him with my wallet to play with (his favourite toy). As I neared the exit of the store it was as dark as dusk, and only 4pm. Rain was imminent, and not the light drizzle of earlier in the day. I considered briefly hopping on the bus , but I saw it whip by as I came out the doors, so that was a no-go.

So I bravely opened my umbrella and started off. Yes, the heavens opened and drenched the world around me - gratefully my umbrella held out and the cover to the umbrella protected Caleb.

I arrived home, made my squares, fed Caleb, tidied up, ate some cereal for dinner and off I went with my ride. I was a little nervous as the evening went on, that my ride wouldn't be ready to leave for the time I promised to be home for my babysitter. But the evening wrapped up and home we went, and off went my babysitter.

Ahhh. That's my little tired sigh even now as I recall yesterday. I love walking and enjoy being outside, as do my boys. And one big bonus of all the walking is that my pregnancy pounds just melt off almost instantly after having kids. Plus I save money on a gym membership and stay fairly healthy and fit and do a bit of good for this world in which I live. So for all the adventures of living life sans vehicle, I'm not really complaining all that much.

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