In honor of Presidents Day on Monday we fled the country. We live a couple of hours from the Canadian border and poutine seemed like a good idea. It turned out that they also had a national holiday on Monday, Family Day, and we think families are worth celebrating.
Heading to Canada also gave us several opportunities to talk about the President on Presidents Day because, and I’m not exaggerating, every single person we spoke to for more than 30 seconds brought up President Trump.
They do not like him.
Everyone we talked to basically expressed condolences, like our uncle had died. Or, I guess, like a crazy uncle had taken over our house. One of those things. We did the best we could. And we luckily live in a place where I’m allowed to type this post on the internet and where we the people get to overthrow the government every four years without shedding any more blood than might be caused by a papercut from a mail-in ballot.
We stopped by the temple even though it was closed. It was gorgeous and the kids thought the angel statue on top looked extra huge because the temple was so small. #FamiliesAreForeverDay
From there we went in search of poutine. This was rough because we actually favor the poutine at the Costco food court, but they were closed for the holiday. Apparently, Costco employees have families too.
A friend recommended a little French-Canadian poutine place in downtown Vancouver so we headed there. They… seemed surprised to have customers. And not a good surprise, like your grandmother taking you to The Care Bear Movie for your 8th birthday. It was more like, “Why are there dirty socks in the cheese drawer?!”
There was a sign as we entered that said, “Please wait to be seated,” but then they seemed annoyed that we didn’t just find our own seat.
Curling was on TV. Thumbs up.
Line cook with an Oilers hat on. Thumbs way down.
I can’t totally describe it. It was just a funny place. It looked super sketchy from the outside and then the inside was just sort of crammed with stuff. People, tables, multiple full-sized traffic lights, nude paintings, some with lift-the-flaps to see the most exciting parts, portraits of drag queens, hockey memorabilia.
The employees were hilariously crusty, like we were being punked, and I did not see one table get the food they ordered on the first try. We sat at our table eating poutine and laughing as over and over the servers apologized for the mistake in a tone that said, “I’m sorry you suck,” and then went back to the kitchen window and yelled for something to be changed.
Our order came missing Laylee’s poutine and Magoo and Wanda’s hotdogs. Throughout the meal, the server kept yelling at the line cook for the two hot dogs. (What can you expect? He was an Oilers fan.) They didn’t come and they didn’t come. All our other food was done and still no hot dogs.
“I NEED THOSE TWO HOT DOGS,” he yelled, “WITH MUSTARD AND RELISH!!”
Wanda was crestfallen. She and Magoo had asked for mustard and KETCHUP. We told her to cut her losses. Then when the food showed up, the hot dogs came with ketchup and relish. Nice.
But the poutine was decent and if it hadn’t taken 15 years to get our food and two more decades to get our check, I wouldn’t have met the super interesting people at the table next to us, a very chatty older French-Canadian man and his friends who had strong feelings about the president, were very passionate about Dan and I taking our kids to Science World, and were giving Laylee the hard sell about choosing a Canadian university.
We tried our hand at 5-pin bowling. It’s something I grew up doing but when I mentioned it to Dan and the kids, they thought I was kidding.
I wasn’t. It’s real.
And it has inexplicable rules. Each pin is worth a different amount of points. Usually you get to roll the ball 3 times but sometimes you get to roll 4 times and you never know why.
The ball is so small that I think it blows around in the wind because it never went where I expected or desired it to go.
Laylee took advantage of the confusion and emerged victorious. She is apparently a Can-natural and I would like to have her try other Canadian sports, curling, bobsled, badminton pronounced correctly.
We rounded out the trip with some sightseeing in Vancouver. It was a city like most other cities but it felt special because we needed passports to go there and because of donuts.
Wanda purchased a stuffed bear-monkey who she named Jeff The Canadian because he “looked like a Jeff” and he is obviously Canadian.
We raided the grocery store shelves for chocolate and ketchup chips and ichiban noodles. And that’s what we eat for breakfast now because we are middle school boys and our name is Magoo.
I grew up 20 minutes from the border (other side of the country) and I love everything about this post. I was a wannabe Canadian for many, many years. I felt like I fit in better there, with the love of hockey and all. I had to settle for working in hockey, which wasn’t so bad. Hockey days now behind me, I make do with a poutine food truck in the summer and a residual rather large stuffed moose collection that seemed to grow every time we crossed the border during about a 10 year span. Oh, and Tim Hortons whenever possible, as we’re lucky enough to have them in town.
Aunt Cheryl says
I am so glad you post. You have a wonderful talent.