Sunday, 3 January 2010

487,000 miles of travel later...GO SENS, GO!!!


And a good evening to you from the frozen tundra in the Great White North that is Ottawa, Canada. That's right, folks - some cats go to the Caribbean in January. Bear Grylls goes to Siberia. But the Taylors, tough as nails and clearly with only half a functioning brain between them, tackle Canada's capitol on the first week of the year. And in case anyone's scoring, it's currently -14 Celsius (and has been snowing ALL DAY). But I get ahead of myself. Let's recap the New Year's celebrations and the journey that brough Muffin Puffin and I to the GWN.

New Year's Eve was a blast. JT and I met up with Dad and Alice at their place, at which point we rolled over to Chuck Carter's, an old friend of the family. We had a blast watching the Vols (even if they did get OBLITERATED), drinking some Magic Hat (and KJ - I finished off the last of the Terrapin!), and catching up with some folks that I hadn't seen in a long time. There was enough food to kill a small horse, and since we'd eaten just a scant 3 hours earlier, I vowed to not eat ANYTHING. But honestly, who can say no to Domino's pizza? Consequently, 2 slices of 500 calorie-a-slice Meat Lover's went down my gullet (HEALTHY....).

Also, we watched the ball fall (skipped the anti-climatic Travis Pastrana thing) and shot off some SERIOUS fireworks (becuase, well, it's legal in TN and that's what Tennesseans do), which I celebrated by eating 5 sugar cookies. Honestly, it's a minor miracle I can still fit in my jeans(but only because I haven't washed them in a month). JT didn't feel great, so we rolled out around 12:30 and passed out at the Mountain Fortress.

New Year's Day was the epitome of sloth, and it was PERFECT. We watched 5 bowl games, and Jenny was pretty sure she got bed sores from sitting on the couch all day. And whilst I did nothing but gain weight that day, it was EXTRA AWESOME.

2 Jan was QUITE the experience. We woke up at 7:45 AM to finish packing, drink a last cup of coffee with Mom and Steve (Elf Nog was the mix of choice), and bit them a tearful farewell. Guys, Jenny and I had SO MUCH FUN. Thank you for making this one of the best Christmases ever. We miss you and can't wait to see you again soon!

We were on the road at 9:15, cookin' with gas in the Victory Van (Bob and Jan's 2000 Honda Odessey, complete with a leaky transmission). Bob - I know that you were worried I'd go Baja Rally in that puppy, but Jenny can attest that I was gentle as a lamb (right, muffin?). Cruising along (and encountering an hour of snow around Asheville), we made GREAT time and got to Charlotte Douglas at 1:45, where we met Jenny's folks, said bye to them (and Setta), and then checked our bags. Leg 1 of the journey was complete...and so we celebrated with bottomless chips and salsa from Chili's (I feel God in this Chili's tonight - it is the NEW boardroom according to "Small Businessman Magazine").

Then things took a turn for the worse. So, a little backstory here - there are NO direct flights into Ottawa from ANYWHERE close to us, meaning that you have to fly into Hell (at least once) to get there. For us, the journey was this:

1. Charlotte to Norfolk

2. Norfolk to Chicago

3. Chicago to Ottawa

4. Ottawa to REI to buy a lifetime's worth of parkas

We knew we were in trouble when the flight was 30 minutes late boarding. We knew that we were in bigger trouble when they held the flight for 6 standby passengers. We knew we were SOL when we sat on the taxiway for another 45 minutes. Needless to say, we landed in Norfolk (or Nor-FORK as the flight attendant said about 37 times) 4 minutes before the flight to Chicago took off. However, given that the wind above Nor-FORK was akin to Hurricane Andrew, we figured "No problem! Everyone has to be delayed!" Oh no, not the amazing flight crew of 2404 to O'Hare...

As fate would have it, the ONE FLIGHT Jenny and I have been part of in the last SIX years that left on time was the ONE FLIGHT that we needed to be delayed. Couple that with a stress fracture, sub-zero temperatures, and the shocking revelation that, in order to get to the other flight, you have to LEAVE SECURITY, GET NEW BOARDING PASSES, GO BACK THROUGH SECURITY, AND WALK THE OTHER CONCOURSE made both of us less than happy. However, to the credit of the nice folks in Norfolk, they booked us a free hotel room at the Holiday Inn Select (too bad it wasn't the Express or I'd feel really smart today). Consequently, Sam and Jenny, world travelers and international people of mystery, spent last night drinking Amberbock at a 4 seat hotel bar in Hampton Roads, VA, talking to a cat from Louisiana that looked as if he was quite the voodoo practitioner.

Frustrated, fat, and sleepy, we sacked out at 9:45, popping up at 3:45 this morning and heading back to the airport. Our 6 AM flight to Chicago (check out my breath on the tarmac in O'hare) was 40 minutes late(again, they waited on 12 passengers...what did last night's flight crew think Jenny and I were - lepers?), but we did get there in time and landed in Ottawa on time as well. However, the baggage ramp was frozen due to the cold (it was about negative 6 BILLION degrees this morning), so it took awhile to unload bags. We were out by 12:15, and by 12:35 we were at the Sheraton.

The day then turned bright, as we hopped a cab and rode the 40 minutes to Scotia Bank Place, home of the Ottawa Senators, baby! We had the box for the game against the Flyers, and it was EXTRA AWESOME! We had SUCH a blast, and Jenny was treated to her first poutine (that's the Canadian "delicacy" of fries, cheese curds, and gravy in case anyone's scoring)!

Also, I will get yelled at if I don't mention that Carrie Underwood was there. Personally, I wasn't too excited. However, Megs and Jenny went papparazzi meets stalker and took about 700 photos. Too cute, pumpkin...

After the game, we checked out a sports bar called McClaren's. The 10 minute walk to and from was NO JOKE, and I think my toes are still thawing out. All the same, no complaints!

Time for this cat to call it a night. It's GO LIVE week in Canada - Game Face on! YEAH, BABY!!!!!

Also, in case folks wanted to see it but didn't, my "2009 Year in Review" blog is actually dated for 19 December, so it ended up posting out of order. In case anyone's curious, you'll need to scroll through previous posts to find it.

Also - Mirza - West Ham ROCKS - Arsenal is nothing but a conundrum of posers and wannabe Hammers.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and (a passed out) Jenny

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