Happy New Years from beautiful Montreal, where it's a balmy minus 18 degrees Celsius, with around 10 degrees of wind chill.
Before I go any further, let me try to explain this mysterious "wind chill" to those of you who don't live in near Arctic climes, because it was a baffling concept to me before I experienced it in the flesh.
Wind chill is precisely that - how cold the wind is. Now, the wind chill can't really be measured by a thermometer, because it only has an impact on one thing - human flesh. So, take today for example. Now, the thermometer says it's minus 18 degrees. That's fair to fucking cold, in my books. This is not a warm day by any stretch of the imagination!
However, and here's where it gets ugly, when I stepped outside the back door this morning for two minutes in my pjs and bathrobe to toss out some trash, the wind cut right the fuck through me and chilled me to the bone. That's wind chill! It may be minus 18, but it feels like minus 28!
To experience this phenomenon for yourself, if you're fortunate enough to live somewhere where this is merely an abstract concept (like Australia), here's what you do - open the freezer door. Find a nice big thick patch of frost. If your freezer is frost free, a slab of frozen whatever will do.
Place this directly against your skin. Leave it there for two minutes. That wicked ass cold, stinging, frozen sensation? Imagine that on any exposed flesh. And, in lesser degrees, on anywhere on your body not protected by a down jacket, Thinsulate gloves and winter boots. Wind chill will cut through jeans or even thick sweatpants almost like you're not wearing them.
Now, imagine that this sensation hits you, not after two minutes, but almost the moment you actually step into the cold outside.
Welcome to Montreal in winter! -snickers-
So, let's recap since my last update.
Christmas was huge. And more than a bit stressful. My FIL has some Clark W. Griswold-type qualities about the perfection of holiday celebrations. And he gets cranky when things don't go his way. He also can't cook with anyone in the kitchen. Which meant being banished from there for two days. Sheesh!
Luckily, I had Valium - thank you Valium!
The actual celebration was great - the kids were thrilled with the gifts we got them, thanks to hints from their parents. We also hit the nail right on the head with the gifts we got for the adults, which was a bonus.
Hubby was thrilled with the Montreal Canadiens jersey I had personalised for him, and the illustrated history of the team, which celebrates 100 years this year. And he is saving up his Turtles and Toffifees for Australia, since we can't readily get them down under. He got some computer games from his father and brother as well.
It doesn't sound like much, but he and I have been shopping for ourselves virtually since we landed, because things are so much cheaper here than they are back home. So he also has probably another ten games, a new joystick and game controller, a new pair of dress shoes and assorted other bits and pieces as well.
I was very spoiled - hubby bought me the most exquisite Bulova dress watch (this one!), which had to have two links removed because it was too big. You have no idea how much I loved that! ;-) And a gift box of my favourite perfume, Shalimar by Guerlain.
FIL bought me a bottle of the finest maple syrup produced in Quebec, and a little jewelled pill box in the shape of a cat. And MIL found me a cute little squirrel for my desk at work! Hubby's brother and sister in law went all out - she makes handmade soaps and creams, and I love that stuff, so I have a truckload of the most gorgeous smelling soaps to take home!
Hubby's sister really went all out though - she stopped at Tim Hortons on the way to Christmas dinner and picked up gift packs of coffee, which she distributed from a borrowed garbage bag. -snickering- Makes me kind of glad we didn't buy her husband a gift card from tim Hortons as a gift, which we'd been thinking about!
I don't really mind - I do love coffee, and that will last me at least a year, since hubby doesn't drink it! ;-)
But in addition to all that, I also bought CDs and movies for myself (20th anniversary edition of The Princess Bride and the extreme version of Blade: Trinity!), and books, andd gel pens (my weakness!). And a whole bunch of new clothes, which I know I said I wasn't going to do because I'm still losing weight (lost over 6 pounds on this trip, and dropped another size I think, because the clothes that fit me before we left Australia no longer do, as in too big!). But this place had summer clothes on sale and I just found so much lovely stuff that's fitted and makes me look even slimmer that I couldn't resist! Can't wait to show them off at work!
Day before yesterday we went into Montreal to do the last shopping trip - I was still determined to get the Kane DVD, and the HMV superstore delivered! "Three discs with more than two dozen matches spanning Kane's career along with New and Exclusive Commentary from the Big Red Monster."SQUEEEEEEE!
Also got the three disc set of Hell in a Cell, because it's 'Taker-iffic, and the New and Improved DX box set because . . . well, hello? DX!
Along the way, we also shopped for gifts/souvenirs for my family to take home. Toys'R'Us trip! Where I got myself a toy moose . . . what? He's cute and snuggly! ;-)
The one disappointment was discovering an exhibition in the city of Titanic artifacts just as we were on our way to hubby's brother for a visit. We planned to back tomorrow, but it finished on New Year's Eve. I was a bit bummed, but hey, you can't have everything, right?
Besides, my disappointment was offset by coming home after a fun visit with my brother in law to find I'd made dangerpuddle 's Christmas card list! Thanks, hon - that made my day . . . even if it wasn't a pic of 'Taker and Kane! However, if you found a holiday pic of 'Taker and Kane . . . SHARE! I'm just sayin' is all ;-)
Had a quiet New Year's Eve - it's never really been my holiday. I can count on the fingers of one hand how often I've bothered to sit up and see the new year in. Hubby took me out to a classy dinner, in the freezing cold (more of that miserable fuckin' wind chill!) . . . we went to Wendys! -snickerfits-
Hey, we don't have them in Australia, and I wanted to eat at least one meal of junk food, like how I wanted to shop at least once at WalMart - just to say I did it. It wasn't that bad, although I couldn't finish it - portion sizes here are like crazy big, compared to what I can eat now.
Then hubby stopped at Tim Hortons for a dozen donuts - on the basis that we can't get them in Australia either. So we sat and watched Canadian comedy on the tv and I had a donut. Saw the last ever episode of Air Farce, which is hysterical, and an hour of Ron James, who cracks me up like crazy.
That's when things got batshit crazy though. Brother in law called MIL to say that the babysitter cancelled and could she watch the three kids while he and SIL went to a party. "Watch" as in "have the kids sleep over cos we were gonna be there tomorrow anyway". And he asked hubby to come to the party with them (only hubby, cos there's only room in the car for one adult with all the car seats).
I didn't mind about the party - like I said, New Year ain't my thing - but a houseful of kids? Not my thing. Not that I don't love them, but frankly, there's a reason I don't have kids. Noise and fuss and all that stuff makes me crazy. So I booked - went up to bed before they arrived. Well, retreated to the bedroom and my laptop, anyway.
Even then I wasn't safe - these are kids with no concept of personal space or closed doors. They opened the bedroom door twice before being told firmly not to do it again, and even then they were stampeding up and down the upstairs hallway for what seemed like hours. Then the littlest one refused to go to bed (she's got serious attachment issues to her mother and so I had to resort to headphones to block the sounds of screaming and crying.
Thank the Gods for </a></font></b></a>panthology who kept me amused and sane until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, and then BIL dropped hubby home around 3am (complete with ringing doorbell) and took the youngest monster home with them so we could all get some sleep.
It was unfortunately short lived. I don't know how often the bedroom door was opened before I actually woke up, but I saw it once or twice after I did, before FIL chased them back downstairs again. I don't get what part of "people are sleeping, stay downstairs" they had trouble understanding.
I'm once again hiding - kids take up too much energy in the mornings, even when you've slept. If you haven't - forget it!
This morning, I have browsed dangerpuddle 's Etsy store to look at the pretties, uploaded a bunch of new user pics, and just chilled. I'll go shower shortly, and get prettied up - FIL insists he wants to take family pictures today (he wanted to do it on Christmas, but that got out of hand even before it started so nothing happened).
If that eventuates, I'll share - but don't count on it. I'm seeing New Year's going the way of Christmas at this point, and so I will leave you with my favourite quote from that all time seasonal classic, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: