Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Pen Is Mightier...

Last month we took an epic trip to support my wife’s epic trip. She took part in the Friends For Life bike rally. A biking adventure that would take her from Toronto to Montreal, two cities separated by about 600 kilometers and a real gap in the quality of bagels. During this trip she persevered through rainstorms, heat, mornings without coffee and one knitting needle punctured air mattress. At the end of this trip she achieved an incredible feat, and managed to raise a phenomenal amount of money for a good cause.

But enough about her, this post is about my incredible journey. One fraught with whining, attempting to order Tim Horton’s in French, and air conditioning that I just couldn’t get quite right. I drove with my two kids to meet her at the finish line. I hope to write a few posts about this miraculous trip I took, but I might just get fucking tired and not. We’ll see...

This is me well rested

The midpoint of the trip was in Kingston. Ontario, not Jamaica. I mean we all get lost sometimes, but don’t be ridiculous. We met my wife there and headed to a friend of the family’s house for some snacks. Each year this woman opens her house to the weary bikers; offers food that doesn’t have to be shoved in pockets, seats without pedals attached and showers.

You haven't lived until your partner has told you how to use this stuff. Then you haven't showered enough to get the icky feeling out of your head.

When we arrived there was no less than two giant tables filled with every imaginable food stuff. There was multiple salads, sausages, chicken, cut vegetables, cupcakes, a basket of full sized chocolate bars and tons of soda and beer. My wife’s team consisted of over twenty riders. We showed up to find three riders, and one rider’s mother already having arrived. I asked someone when the others were to arrive. He answered everyone was there. This woman’s generosity is huge. The thing to remember is that these riders are all rail thin in order to cut down on wind resistance. It took two Smarties to fill their tummies. For those American readers that don’t know what Smarties are, I guess the comparable thing in your country would be heroin, based on how my children consumed them.

Eat the red ones last because they are filled with powerful Hallucinogens

Anyway, very quickly after eating the riders needed to have a nap. Being that the opposite of nap is a five and a two-year-old child in an enclosed area, I took them for a walk.

The house was not far from a playground, which was not far from Kingston Penitentiary, a notorious high security jail where some of Canada’s worst offenders are housed (read: people who actually say “no” instead of “maybe”). I guess the American version would be Alcatraz, but with more politeness, “Thank you for my savage shower room beating, you are very skilled with a broken broomstick.”

After a few days of single parenting and sleepless nights I sat there in that playground and looked up at the jail. I imagined an inmate peering out his thin barred window and spotting me sitting there. Simultaneously we both think, “I wish I was that guy”. I could do time easily. Think of it, no cooking or cleaning, the peace and quiet of solitary confinement, a bed that no child would climb into, and all that time to read.

"That's not fair. That's not fair at all. There was time now. There was all the time I needed...! That's not fair!"

Downside: The rape. Otherwise the scales tip pretty far on the jail is awesome side. 

After getting tired of being asked for the umpteenth time to “be the monster” since there were no other kids to play with, I decided it was time to leave the playground. We walked by the jail as my eldest wanted to have a better look at it and robbing a bank to gain entrance was out of the question because there were dinner plans.

We noticed the Kingston Penitentiary Museum across the street and being an education focussed father, and that admission was free, we went in.

The first room was about what I expected it would be, displays of uniforms worn by inmates and guards, the history of the construction of the jail. Then there was two displays of what cells looked like in the past and today:

This is better than my first apartment
"At least I got a window, eat it prisoner in the future"

The next room we visited was the corporal punishment room. Here there were displays of stocks, whips, handcuffs and leg irons. I rechristened the room as “My college dating life.” My two and five-year-old kids didn’t get the joke and after 20 minutes of graphic explanation, I gave up and shoved my eldest into “The Box” for not getting my sense of humour.

In the final room we were greeted by this friendly fellow:

Slightly less affected by tear gas then Mickey Mouse
This room was dedicated to riots, escape plans, and hidden weapons. Hollowed out books housed knives, pipes were converted into guns and lots of things sharpened to nasty points.

And this is the gift shop!

It wasn’t until after we left the museum did I remember the conversation I had with my eldest that morning. She had a nightmare about a man stabbing people with a fork. My response was that people didn’t do that sort of thing and she was perfectly safe. Then I took her to a place that not only proved that people stab on another with forks, but actually sharpen them up to make them more lethal.

The next morning she awoke, and told me she had another dream about the man who stabbed people with forks, but this time she had met his daughter who was “quite nice” and they got along really well. Some people might call what I did bad parenting, I prefer to call it facing your fears.

Besides, after leaving for a snack she wanted to go back in and check out “The Box” again.

We didn't have time to go back, so I bought the home version.


  1. I realize now that the rally was way harder on you than it was on me and jen. Next year we'll swap.

  2. I had a similar problem when i moved to Lindsay and was so confused when the Timmy Hohos didn't understand what a Timmatin was, Breakfast sandwich for those in Ontario :-)