Father's Day, Assembling a Barbecue, and Whistler

Today I severed the last vestages that tied me to my birthplace. This morning, I went to the local CAA chapter (known as BCAA), and turned in my car’s license plates. I thus separated myself from the suit-and-tie ideals of Toronto, and became fully enveloped by the sandal-wearing hedonism that thrive here on the west coast. I guess I am truly now a British Columbian.

On the weekend, Allison’s parents came out to the Lower Mainland for Father’s Day. Originally, Allison and I were going to Vancouver, but Allison wasn’t feeling well enough to travel, so her parents offered to come over.

They came over Saturday morning, which was when we had decided we were going to make a couple of purchases. We got up early (for a Saturday morning after a Friday night where we stayed up late cleaning up) and headed to IKEA and Home Depot. The idea was to purchase a table and chair set (which IKEA sold for a surprisingly low $229) and a barbecue. We needed both, since we were currently using Allison’s card table for a dinner table (and while it was a nice card table, it wasn’t terribly strong), and, well, hey — everyone needs a barbecue!

But it took us too long. I ended up having to drop off Allison at the Patterson SkyTrain station so she could meet her parents downtown, while I took our newly-gotten booty home and into our apartment, followed up by a very hasty shower and shave.

I was five minutes late getting downtown, something I owed to the plethora of red lights I kept hitting on the way.

We went to Granville Island, home of the freshest food available in the Lower Mainland. We bought all the food that would go into our dinner (after having a quick bite to eat), and returned to our apartment.

I decided that it might be a good idea to put the table, chairs, and barbecue together, since I didn’t really feel like eating at 21:00. As I began to piece together the table, Allison’s father sat down next to me and began to help. At first I was about to shoo him away, telling him to spend time with his family, but I quickly realised that I was going to need some help.

The table was a snap, we had it assembled in a few moments. The chairs took a bit longer (and it didn’t help any that I got two chairs assembled incorrectly), but soon were usable. The big problem was the barbecue. Bad instructions (Step #3 should have been explained before Step #1) led to a longer job. But soon it was perched on the balcony, awaiting a full gas tank to bring it to life.

Having wasted most of an afternoon putting things together, I suggested that we go outside for some air. Allison suggested that we go to Burnaby Lake, which we hadn’t been to before.

This was considerably harder than it sounds, especially when we didn’t know exactly where it was. (I know, I know — how to you not see a lake?) We ended up almost in Coquitlam before we realised that we’d missed it. So we broke out the map (which was in the trunk, which is why we didn’t look at it right away) and followed some rudamentary directions.

It turns out that Burnaby Lake is a protected lake — no-one’s allowed to swim in it, and the only place you can really get near the lake is at the rowing course that was built a few decades ago. It was the first time that I had seen lilypads in more years than I could possibly remember, let alone count. It’s about a kilometre long and about 300 metres wide, and ringed completely with marsh. Only the centre of the lake is exposed, which is where the rowing course is.

After that, we decided to hunt down Deer Lake, which is a slightly smaller, but more publicly accessible lake. (It’s rather interesting that both lakes are within 20 minutes of our apartment.) The area around Deer Lake is a park, and has some very interesting and very expensive buildings surrounding it. I don’t even want to know what the property prices are.

After visiting Deer Lake, we filled the new propane tank and returned to the apartment to have dinner. This was slightly more difficult than I had originally hoped … I couldn’t connect the tank. It seems that a couple of years ago, the Canadian Propane Monopolies decided that they weren’t making enough money, and changed the attachments for the propane tanks. This, of course, required you to either get a new barbecue, or get a $20 piece of metal that would allow you to attach your tank to your barbecue. I’m still annoyed that no-one at Home Depot warned me. Argh.

So Mr. Collins and I had to make another run to the nearest Home Depot to pick up an adapter to allow us to cook dinner. By the time we returned, dinner was ready to go on. After dinner, we watched Toy Story, which neither of Allison’s parents had seen before. I still don’t know if they really liked it or not.

The next day, we went to Horseshoe Bay to drop off Allison’s parents at the ferry. We had lunch at Troll’s, a local legend and location of the best fish and chips I’ve had. After dropping off Mr. and Mrs. Collins, I convinced Allison that we should go to Whistler. Neither of us had been there before, and it sounded like fun.

A lot of people complain about out-of-province drivers. “They go so fast!” “They’re dangerous!” Let me tell you something — all the cars tearing up and down those twisting mountain highways were bearing BC license plates. There was the odd out-of-province. And, brother, those were some of the most psychopathic drivers I’d ever seen. And whoever that moron in the red Dodge Pickup, license BE 5889 — if I catch you pulling the same shit you were with me, I’ll have your license revoked permanently!

Anyway, Whister was nice. Creepily nice. And clean. Deathly clean. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Colorado Springs (see [[Road Trip of the Southwest United States, Thunderstorms, Kansas, and Colorado Springs]]). I figured that it was the tourist dollars being put to use keeping the city clean.

It’s expensive there, though. A two-bedroom apartment sells for at least $200,000. Condos are worse. Especially if you’re near one of the ski-lifts. The clothes weren’t cheap either, but then again, this is one of BC’s biggest tourist destinations. So I guess it goes without saying that the prices will be higher.

Following dinner at the Olde Spaghetti Factory, we headed home to Vancouver. Both of us had to be up the next morning.