Karaoke, Toronto Islands and more

Being not able to get very far on my own or being able to handle the bumps and jolts of every sidewalk crack, Thursday and Friday were pretty quiet. This must be what it’s like for parents with children, having to choose carefully what you’re going to do, weighing up all the effort involved and knowing you can only do one or two things.

Thursday

Thursday I stayed in Julian’s apartment while Glen went off to the hospital to catch-up with people. Then he returned at lunch time and we went to Firkin on Bloor to meet Cam and Vincent for lunch. It rained while we were there, even then it wasn’t much.

We caught up, entranced at times by the National Spelling Bee which as screening on ESPN. It was, after all, a sports bar. We caught up on all the usual things, again getting the feeling that we were seeing them as per usual, that we had only seen them last week and not many months ago.

After lunch, Glen and I returned home. I think he had a nap while I sat on the couch. Glen found it much easier to give into jet lag than I, mostly because even if tired, I can go to bed and still lie there wide awake for hours. I can’t remember what I did. I probably watched tv.

In the evening we met up with Nathan, Tyler, Adam, Kevin and Julian for dinner at Salad King before heading to Bar+ for karaoke. We had two years to go to karaoke in Toronto, something we said we would do but never got around to. Well, we made up for it on Thursday night.

We took over a room that I’d booked for an hour and a half, thinking that would be long enough for seven people singing karaoke. However, when the time was up, we moved to a smaller room and saved there until half-past midnight. There were lots of drinks, yet even more songs.

I’d had my doubts, as I always do about karaoke, that people will feel comfortable about joining in and that everyone will get a turn, or, if they don’t want to hold the microphone, will at least not feel like they’re being shouted down. The evening worked out a treat though, singing many a power ballad including Let It Go from Frozen. (Of course, we had to sing it!)

I dare say we could have continued on for some time longer but common sense kicked in and we headed for our beds, getting in at around 1:30, our throats a little worse for wear but nevertheless happy with our many renditions.

Friday

Friday I spent most of the day inside again, seated on the couch, filling my time. Julian went to Mexico and we moved our stuff up to his place. Glen went off to the hospital and talked with more people about research projects and catching up on the goss. In the evening, Nathan came over for pizza and drinks and we whiled away a few hours in his company.

Saturday

We had planned to have a big gathering on Saturday, bringing together as many of the Torontians as we could, however, a poor showing on Facebook prompted us to cancel and go do our own thing. We came to the conclusion that one-on-one is probably better and we’d aim to do that next time.

Instead of sitting around at home for another day, and risking my sanity, Glen bit the bullet and drove Julian’s car in downtown Toronto. In the two years living in Toronto, I’d done most of the driving. Not that there’d been much in the city itself but in general I had taken the wheel (ha ha). Now, he was forced to do it. And he did really well. We went down to Harbourfront, parked the car and he wheeled me around.

The paths were so much smoother down here so it was much easier to be out and about without causing pain. There was meant to be a Barbadian festival on that weekend but it was still being set up at midday on Saturday so we didn’t see anything. We walked along the waterfront then finally saw the wave installation which I’d wanted to see when we were here last. It’s not as impressive as I was expecting, a series of wooden waves of different heights that have been fitted with railings to stop anyone on wheels from having a good time. Honestly, remove the railings!

We then decided we’d make the effort and go across to Toronto Islands. It was perfect weather and going back inside seemed like a sin. Glen wheeled me over to the harbour and we lined up for tickets. I asked for two but was rebuffed. Apparently, being in a wheelchair exempted me from paying anything. Works for us!

We caught the ferry across then headed to the beach where we sunbaked for a few hours. We had to revoke our Australian cards because we didn’t have any suncream. They didn’t even sell any on the island which seemed like a missed opportunity to me. After a couple of hours we knew we were burnt (though, for me, it only stayed red about a day and I’ve gone a light olive colour) and headed back to the ferry and then the car.

Glen wanted to go to North Standard, a clothing store on Queen St W where we’d bought singlets and other clothes from before. It was near our hairdresser’s so it was a bit comical to be walking backwards past his window. We waved to each other; he laughed.

North Standard had increased their range so Glen went crazy buying a lot of singlets. We should be well supplied now to last another year at least. (However, Glen is waiting for their Pride-themed one to come out soon so he can add to the collection.)

We then drove home, had a rest and then went to dinner at Ur and Israel’s with the rest of the gang for dinner. The food was great, the company even better. Again, that feeling of not having gone anywhere yet knowing we had, when greeting them at the door. Hadn’t we just seen them the other day? We stayed until around 11:30, not really talking about what had been going on in our lives, but just the general chat of friends, of things going on that we can all share in. Such an odd feeling, this disappearance of distance.

Sunday

Sunday morning Glen drove us to Rosewood on Dundas St for yum cha. Cam and Vincent met us there. Driving through the deserted Sunday morning streets surrounding Queens Park (Ontario’s parliament) was surreal.

Even though it’s a busy, crowded city, there was still this time of respite at 10am when the streets were nearly empty of traffic. It didn’t take us nearly as long to get to the restaurant as we expected and it was definitely less stressful.

Glen parked in front of a fire hydrant though luckily Cam came over and pointed it out to us so Glen moved the car. Yum cha was the usual affair it always is. We ordered a lot of food, this time the waitress even understanding – though, as always, surprised – when I requested boh-leh tea. We stuffed ourselves and continued our chats from the other day.

After this early lunch, Glen and I went home. I vetoed a visit to the AGO. Instead we went home and watched episodes of Dickensian, which I’d downloaded on Nikki’s recommendation, what with Orphan Black being unavailable on Canadian Netflix.

In the evening we went for dinner to Scaddabush with Bec and Al, again, nice to be out of the apartment after a moment of seclusion. Dinner was very nice, catching up on everything even better. We talked about their upcoming wedding in Geelong, and the economic state of Western Australia. You know, the usual things.

Afterwards we drove to Bang Bang to get ice-cream but the line outside was ridiculous so we kept driving, in the end foregoing ice-cream entirely and going home instead. I enjoyed being driven around Toronto streets, to farther reaches of the downtown core and seeing the light fade during this time of daylight savings. Again, it’s a city that slows on Sunday, not as much as Perth, but still a noticeable slowing as people prepare for the work week ahead. I just loved seeing the streets again.

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