Michael’s belated Christmas party was on Friday night in the Travelodge in Saskatoon. We got dressed up, offloaded all the children onto Jo Ann, and picked up June, Eddie, Marco, Michelle, Jay and Nikki at their apartment block. There was lots of back-seat driving and advice on how to park, but they all emerged unscathed (by me) and we headed in for our meal and some mystery “entertainment”. Ten of us crammed into a table for eight, and got ready to dive into the buffet when it opened. Surprisingly, the meal was gorgeous. I always expect cold food and wilting salads, but the salads were varied and interesting (raspberries, anyone?), and the hot food was delicious. We piled our plates, ordered more drinks and then demolished the dessert trolley. This was the first night out for Michael and I since we arrived in Saskatoon, and I had forgotten what bliss it is to have a meal handed to you.
The entertainment began. It was a game-show, with each table being a team. We had to pick a team name, so after some debate, we settled on “Team IMMigration”, with drawings of shamrocks and leprauchauns. Four team members at a time took to the podium, with each team competing against three others. Categories flashed up on the big screen and so teams picked questions on topics like Famous Pigs for 4000 points, Things that Begin with Z for 2000 points etc. The men braved it first, and did fairly well, and we thought the women should go next. So Kelly, Nikki, and I went on stage, with Eddie as our token male. “What R is a drink that gives you energy?” “RED BULL” we hissed up the line. Score Eddie. “What Z is a brand of soap?” We looked blankly at each other. “Zoap?” hazarded Kelly to me. “ZEST!” came the answer from the team beside us. Huh. That was a real Canadian question. Anyway, we stormed it. Got a great score and took our seats again. We didn’t realise that there were prizes involved, so when we were awarded second place at the end of it all, we were thrilled to get a $25 voucher for Boston Pizza each. $50 to bring the kids for pizza one of these weekends, happy days.
The highlight of the evening was when the MC divided the room in half, and invited us to sing along with a carefully selected piece of music. The loudest side would get the bonus points. The room fell silent, waiting for the first notes of the song. It was this:
Well. What can I say? A room full of various nationalities, mainly Canadian, all bellowing in their best Scottish accents at each other. A guy from the Other Side strode onto the dance floor and started throwing shapes at us. One of Our Side jumped up to meet the challenge. They circled each other, snarling in Scottish, and attempting to boogey on down at the same time. It was absolutely priceless. Our side won. Naturally.
We spent Saturday running from soccer matches to birthday parties, and Nicholas started feeling unwell by about 10pm. He had a temperature and sore throat all night, so I brought him to the doctor at 9am on Sunday. We got there and realised that it didn’t open till 10, so we went to the blood clinic next door so that I could get some routine bloods done. We sat in the waiting-room with about five other people, clutching ticket number 97. After about five minutes, the door opened, and in came two big prison guards, with a man in chains shuffling between them. Nicholas’ eyes nearly fell out of his head. They sat opposite us, with the prisoner in an orange beanie hat, green trousers, and chains around his wrists and ankles. “Stop staring!”, I hissed at Nicholas with a smile painted on my face. So he pointed instead. “Why is that man…”. I hastily interrupted him – “hey sweetie, what number is on the screen up there now?”. “95, Mammy, but why is….”. The guards gave him the odd smile, but it was like sitting beside a time bomb. “97”, called the nurse, and I leapt up, manoeuvred Nicholas past the intriguing trio, and into the cubicle. Two minutes after I sit down, in they shuffle to the cubicle across the way. Nicholas’ head was on a swivel-stick. “I’m sorry”, I whispered to the nurse, “he’s just not used to…you know…”. “That’s ok, neither are we usually”, she whispered back. We finished up and headed next door to the doctor, who diagnosed him with a viral throat infection, which then transpired the next day to be a strep throat. He’s working his way through a lurid yellow antibiotic and using it as an excuse to eat copious amounts of yoghurt and ice-cream.
It snowed all day Sunday. Enough said.
On Saturday we’re going to our first ice hockey match in the Credit Union Centre. The Centre is celebrating its 25th anniversary, so there’s special offers on hot dogs, pop, and souvenirs, and some raffles and prizes. The children don’t know about it yet, so we’re looking forward to surprising them.
Come on, the Blades!