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February 17, 2020

We celebrated Elizabeth's birthday with breakfast (well, okay - brunch). We had Lorianne, her brother Caleb and his girlfriend Anna, Chris and Yukiko and Mary, Dave and kids, Grandma J, Rachel and Creighton, our family and Janice. We confused everyone by trying out one big table in lieu of a "kids" table because Elizabeth thought it would be nicer not to have a kids table.


Caleb and Anna became best friends with the kids especially Theo. (They were really good sports.) I accidentally only put seven candles on the birthday cake. In my defense I have had practice with seven candles on cakes lately... Anyway, Elizabeth didn't notice but I did so we relit four and I made her blow them out again. She alternated between clapping and blowing. I'll have to make sure I get the right number on her real birthday!


After brunch (and presents) we took the snobus to go and see ice sculptures before it was too late. Some of them were badly melted as feared as we've had a number of warm spells but there were still many in good shape. Not that many from the competition though; perhaps they've dismantled those that melted and replaced. They've moved to a format where they make new ones every weekend in addition to the competition to try and avoid disappointment. At the snobus stop we checked to see when it was running until. 4pm - well we need to be back before then anyway because the middles have music, so no problem, right? Spoiler: it was a problem.


The ice sculpture plan seemed like a good idea but it wasn't at all clear to us where the sculptures were this year. There appeared to be quite a lot of people at Confederation Park so we got off at that stop, only to discover that whatever winterlude type activities had been scheduled there were superceded by a Wet’suwet’en protest. Then I remembered that sculptures had been moved out of Confederation park last year into the Byward market. So we started walking that direction and luckily for us it turned out that this year they were on Sparks Street. Honestly, I did look at the website and I didn't find it very clear about where to go.


Anyway, we wandered up Sparks Street and we enjoyed the sculptures and the strange spinning things but about a block into it Michael decided he was done. As in I'm just going to scream inconsolably done. Partly he was tired (no nap), partly he had a foul diaper and apparently rookie parents who forgot to bring any kind of diaper, and partly (we discovered later) he was cold. In any case it was about 3pm and time to head back. So we headed back to the snobus stop. It was not exactly easy to locate but we did find a sign and duly stood in front of it. After about five minutes, this guy shows up and starts physically dismantling the bus stop sign. Weird, right? "Excuse me" I ask "Doesn't the bus service run until 4pm?" "Oh yes" says the man. "So there's still a bus expected to come to this stop?" "Oh yes" he says. Then he packs up the bus stop and leaves. Spoiler: the bus stopped running at 3pm according to the website. The 4pm physically printed on the bus sign at Dow's lake was the time the bus got to the other end. (Also we must have JUST missed the last bus or else it was early, because we never saw it). Anyway, after we waited another fifteen minutes with an increasingly hysterical baby we finally thought to check the website and figured it out. Luckily we did have some cash with us, although I did NOT have my presto card. Unluckily downtown Ottawa is a wasteland when it comes to OC Transpo these days. We were passed by about 50 out of service busses. We walked by 5 out of service bus shelters (some of which apparently are part of the LRT detour network but it wasn't clear if said detour was currently running). We walked from Elgin up to Bank and then down Bank before a bus came. Then we overpaid for a family pass (no exact change). We made it home around the time that Amelia's piano lesson started in Alta Vista. Nevertheless I grabbed piano books and kids and stuffed them into the car thinking well at least she'd get 5 minutes, leaving screaming baby behind with Daddy and Elizabeth.


And then I suddenly came to my senses. "Forget music!" I told the kids. "I don't want to drive halfway across the city to barge into class late. We're going to have a movie night instead!"

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