That would mean that it is Christmas Eve, just FYI.
I, for some retarded reason, aspired to get up at 7. My alarm went of, and then I aspired to get up later. That is exactly what happened. Bec woke up 2 and a half hours later, which means that I woke up two and a half hours later.
Waking up at 9:30, also means that we have only got half an hour to get down and tuck into breakfast before breakfast is finished. What was the highlight of breakfast, I hear you ask? I am glad you did ask, cos I was wanting to tell you that making your own waffles was the best part of Breakfast. There is just a pump with the batter, which you pour into a cup and then pour that cup of batter into the waffle press. Flip it over, and you have got yourself a breakfast of champions, and a breakfast of champions is what we had.
We don’t have to be anywhere until later afternoon, so we pretty much have got the whole day free to explore Jen’s old stomping ground. We have been told about this epic bookshop that is hidden away in Niagara, and there is every book that one would need in this shop. We walk in, and straight away, we get it. It’s just a monstrous room littered with all sorts of books that you could imagine. Most of the books here are pretty relevant to today.
We linger here, but this isn’t where the goods are. Jen asks the owner if we can head to the basement.
This is where the action is.
We walk down stairs, and it’s the sort of thing that you wouldn’t want to be entering if you were the main character in a horror movie. It’s a sure fire death trap.
We are greeted with bookshelves that are bowing under the weight and time of the books. And by bookshelves, I actually mean planks of wood and bricks. It’s just bulk books everywhere you look. There are just endless books, and the rabbit warren goes deeper and deeper, the longer you search. There are books from the 50s and earlier in here. Books that I doubt you would find in many other places. You can definitely tell that this is the place that books go to die. All the relevant books are met on the first level, and the basement is where people come to have a giggle at the books people have actually written over the course of human existence.
We head back upstairs, and find out that there is more to explore.
If you go up a level, then you have a whole other world at your fingertips. The owner proceeds to tell us that there are real instruments up here that he expects people to take the liberty of paying, if they know how. This also includes a xylophone. We round the corner at the top of the stairs, to be greeted with a baby grand piano and a drum kit. Ben, being the muso that he is, gets the proceedings underway. Banging out a smooth rhythm or two, we all enjoy his contribution to the atmosphere. However, by getting things underway, we also invited the younger members of the family, with considerably less drumming skills to participate.
This was less than ideal.
I mean, we’ve all been there, and its great when you are the one making all the loud noises. But Oh Lord, I completely understand those around me when I was younger, telling me to cut it out before they cut me out now. Ben’s a champ. He laughs like it is nothing, but you can see there is a degree of “No more thanks”, hiding inside there.
The kids disappear, and end up completely heading home.
I jump on the keys, Ben jumps on the kit.
We spend a cool couple mins just jamming away. We don’t really gel, so whatever. Its time to move on.
We all pile into the car and try to think of something else to do. Jen read about this guy who is convinced that Jesus is returning at goat island, and has set his house up as a warning for anyone who will listen. Have yourself a gander.
We’re all like, “What a head case”, but we also all are kinda like “Yeah, but what if he is right?”. Ben says what we are all thinking. “It would be the biggest ‘I told you so’ ever”.
Confused and impressed, we head off to see the American side of Niagara falls. We saw the Canadian side a few weeks back. That was seriously impressive. The American falls are preceded some brutal rapids of the highest order, and whats more is that at the bottom of the falls, there are jagged rocks that nobody could dream of surviving. We don’t really wanna pay for parking, and Drew and Jen have seen it all before, so they just end up cutting laps of the island until we are done.
We wander over, and as we are headed to the falls, we spot the little squirrel on the handrails. All the other squirrels we have seen won’t let you come within a good 10m of you.
This guy though.
This guy is a legend.
He’s chilling on the hand rail, and we’re expecting him to just leg it out of there, and nothing really happens. We get closer and closer, and still nothing happens. He’s just getting more and more curious. He’s obviously very well accustomed to having people around, as he is not phased in the slightest. We all start thinking, “Man, we might be able to pat this thing”. Little did we know that that is exactly what would happen.
He’s real curious, and nobody wants to reach out to hold him, cos rabies and stuff.
I get tasked with the job, so I tuck my hand in my sleeve, so as to avoid possibly catching rabies, and inch my arm closer to our new mate. As I get closer, he leans further out to greet my arm. As soon as I am within a safe climbing distance, he reaches out and climbs up onto my arm. It’s actually the coolest thing. But! That isn’t the coolest thing. Bec is already loosing her mind cos there is a real life squirrel hanging out with her and not playing coy.
Then out of nowhere, the squirrel, after running around and saying G’day to everyone else, just decides to run straight up Bec’s leg. Bec looses her mind, and we don’t really get the trust of the squirrel back again.
They are pretty much amazing.
Then it dawned on me. We are at one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, and the squirrel takes the show. That is both sad and hilarious.
Admittedly, you can hardly see the falls due to the spray from the water, so we kinda just move on. There really isn’t much more for us to see on this side. We head over to the American falls, and again, we can’t see too much. But! What we can see is a brass statue, which looks as though it pretty much has been used as a scout-location since day 1. There are a few clearly polished from people’s asses.
Other tourists have already paved the way for us.
Our time is now.
Ben an Lauren assume the position of royal statue climbers, and I assume the position of photographer. Its a great photo. From up there, is the only really decent spot to be able to see the falls from, but to be honest, the Canadian side of the falls seemed a lot more powerful. I mean, the American falls are way more dangerous, but the Canadian falls seem to have a lot more power.
We were meant to meet up with Micky and Damo, but they were with mates in Canada, so we could only really kinda look across the river and pretend that we saw them (we didn’t really see them).
The time to make a move to Aunt Pat’s is getting close.
We ram into the car, and mish it over to Jamie’s place. As we’re pulling up, Jamie is out walking Max, The Potty Mouth Christmas Dog (I have no idea why he is the potty mouth christmas dog, but he is). Jamie has got to be 6ft or more, and he’s got a bit of a hunch in his walk. He looks like a thug with is hoodie over his head and a denim jacket over the top of his hoodie. We’re passing him and he just kinda turns his head and gives us a little smirk of recognition.
He’s a lad.
We follow Jamie to Aunt Pat’s place. Jen gives us the run-down. Its a whole new environment that I am not familiar with. There is this one guy who is a little feminine, but still as straight as an arrow and get really defensive about the fact that he drives a jeep. I’m gonna destroy him, but Drew and Jen both warn me that the the ‘Australia-meets-America’ humour won’t go down so well. I have to bite my tongue.
Jen’s rellies are pretty alright.
Pat is a saint, and can never do enough for you, and norm (Pat’s partner) never leaves the couch and you can count on one hand the conversations you’ll have with him. Bob, who is Jen’s uncle is much the same. I tried to spark conversation with him twice, and both times, he would look over to me, with a look of “What does this have to do with the current NFL game?”, mixed with “Your accent makes it hard to communicate with you”. I mean, he never said those things. In fact, he didn’t say anything at all.
I thought Bob was a bit of a dick, until he came around and just chilled for a bit of a yarn with the rest of the fam. Turns out that he just couldn’t understand a single thing I was saying. Jen did warn me of this, but I wasn’t really expecting it. It was a genuine surprise. I mean, we speak the same letters in the same sequence, it just sounds marginally different.
Jen has got this one relative, though, who is absolutely awesome. She’s a rather large woman, and is deaf. She can lip read like a champ, and sometimes attempts to speak also. More power to you, I say. I kinda giggle inside a little. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.
Now, check this out. The thing that baffles me the most, is that some members of the family can’t get past the accent we carry, but can hold a clear conversation with the deaf aunt who can barely pronounce the words necessary to communicate.
Today is classic.
We open gifts.
We play Epic dutch blitz.
We help plan Jamie’s Wedding.
We get our asses whooped by kids who play more COD than us.
We have a great time.
After everyone else makes their way to church for Christmas. Everyone except us. We’re happy just conking out on the couches and lapping up the laziness, which is Christmas.We hang for a couple more hours, which includes epic games of spoons, where we introduce the Aussie rule, where the spoon has to touch your forehead. Whoever gets the spoon first, isn’t always safe.
This is followed by a sad sad game called Watch Your Mouth, where you insert a piece of dental equipment in your mouth and then try to pronounce words that are damn near impossible. We have laughs, and it’s always at someone’s expense.
Were done at Aunt Pat’s house. We head around to Jamie’s place for an evening of kicking back and hanging out and mild Birthday Celebrations.
The highlight of the night?
The highlight of the night was undoubtably Leelynn, who is Jamie’s youngest kid. He’s a really energetic kid and overtly passionate about Christmas. He must be 6 or 7 years old. We get there, and he is watching this animated feed of Santa flying around the globe, occasionally stopping to drop presents off in some obscure town in Greenland, or flying over Washington. There is a counter in the top right corner, which is counting and flashing numbers on the screen faster than you can visibly see. For some unknown reason though, the number never progresses past 4.5 billion presents.
Leelynn is pumped.
He is super pumped because Santa is real.
I think he is kinda taking the piss, but I am not sure. I can’t say I have ever actually met a kid who genuinely believes in Santa. I have met kids who are skeptics, but not really believers. This is a whole new experience for me. I kinda don’t know how to handle it. I made a few jokes about how incredible it is that Santa is dropping pressies off while riding in the sleigh, and Leelynn is just like “I know right?!”, and now I feel kinda stink.
Alishia (Jamie’s fiancé) lets the kids know that it’s going to be bedtime soon, so with a new sense of urgency, Leelynn runs over and says to me and Drew, who are watching Elf (Only the best christmas movie ever made), and with the widest eyes I have ever seen on a kid, says, “Guys! If Santa comes, make sure you go to sleep. Or at least pretend to be asleep! If he tickles your feet.. Do. Not. Move”. I’m still unsure what to do. I love the enthusiasm, but I don’t know how to handle this. He cruises, and I turn to Drew, “He’s dead set right?”.
“Oh dude.. He’s in for some heartbreak hey?”
“Yeah. He’ll be alright though”
Props to Jamie and Alishia for being able to keep it running. Seriously, I am impressed.
CJ, Jamie and Alishia’s daughter comes out with her double bass, and gives us a damn good little show. Ben and I have a go, but we really aren’t making anything work. Other than smoke on the water, but I would rather drink bleach than desecrate CJ’s double bass with that the most basic line ever created for an instrument.
We spend the night chilling out, exchanging stories and playing games.
It dare say that it was an evening well spent.
Come back tomorrow,