Monday, April 29, 2013

Is it safe to put away the Winter boots?

What a wonderful weekend we had here in Southern Ontario!   Spring has FINALLY arrived....isn't it interesting how when that happens, the daffodils and tulips suddenly appear overnight,  the buds are on the trees, everything seems ALIVE!

My weekend started early, Friday was a PD day for Limefreckle Jr. so my close friend and her son, who is LJ's best buddy, went out for a hike in a local park with lots of squirrels, birds, swans, etc.  It was so nice to breathe some fresh air and get out into the sunshine!!   We hiked for about an hour, then had a quick lunch and headed to see The Croods at the theatre.  Cute movie.

Can you believe these 2 are only 8 months apart? Limefreckle Jr. is a Giant!!

Saturday my same friend and I, along with another girlfriend, headed over to Niagara on the Lake, had a fancy lunch at a local winery, then strolled around the shops, poking around and just generally enjoying more nice weather.  We spent the night at the Marriott in Niagara Falls, and enjoyed some much needed girl time.  Walked down to the falls and did the tourist thing, had a drink on a patio, enjoyed some nachos and Margaritas at Margaritaville, then went for a later dinner at Ruth's Chris.  (I've never eaten there before, I can say with certainty it was the best steak I ever had in my life!)

We were back in our room by 10:30, we aren't really "casino" people, and we are way past the "clubbing" years, which is pretty much the main entertainment in Niagara Falls at night, so we just flaked out and enjoyed our room.  We had a lot of laughs, caught up, we are all moms of kids on the spectrum, we all met when our kids all attended the same school, and I consider these girls "my people".  They "get" me, they've had similar experiences to me, and they are my biggest support.  It's wonderful to have friends who you can be totally "yourself" with, who know your flaws, your insecurities, your "things" but love you anyway. 

enjoying the sun on a patio -- so good to have best friends to spend time with!

On Sunday morning we had planned to have a quick breakfast, then head home.  Just as we finished packing up our bags, the fire alarm went off!  And here we were, on the 15th floor.  We walked out into the hall, there was a family with 3 small kids and 2 strollers, the Mom looked completely stressed, people were milling about, we tried to ask a couple of hotel employees where the stairs were, however they couldn't speak English.  We found the stairs, headed down, and on my way down the stairs....I started to stress a bit.  I suddenly started to think about the recent terror attack in Boston, the recent THWARTED terror attack in Toronto, and suddenly my mind was filled with doubt.  "What if this isn't just a false alarm, what if something is wrong?"   "We are in Niagara Falls after all, this is a major tourist destination".   It was such a weird feeling, but for a moment it completely overwhelmed me, so much so that I started to tear up when we reached the outside of the building!  The feelings really sort of overwhelmed me, my friends were of course supportive and understanding, I felt a bit silly, and really had no idea why this simple thing affected me so much!

We talked about it on the drive home.  I worked for many years in an office building, on the 19th floor, in Downtown Toronto.  We had COUNTLESS fire drills and false alarms which I would usually just work right through, or begrudgingly complain when we had to hoof it down all those flights of stairs.  NEVER did I EVER consider that anything serious was going to happen.

Then September 11th happened.  I was home at the time, Limfreckle Jr. was just 5 months old, but I vividly remember the day, I was talking via email to a former coworker, I was imagining, like the entire world, what I would have done if something like that had happened in my building.  The thought that people were told to stay in their offices haunts me to this day, I would NEVER again stay in a building when an alarm was sounding.  I realized on our drive home that this would be the first time SINCE 9/11 that I've been in a public building when a fire alarm went off.  Maybe that is why it affected me as it did.  My reaction scared me - I don't want to live in fear.  I hope that if this does happen again, it doesn't overwhelm me like it did (I would like to think that on the whole, I'm a pretty rational and calm person, but sometimes I wonder!)

Our car was waiting for us at the valet parking when we made it to the bottom, so we were fortunate, we didn't get delayed in any way, the fire trucks were just pulling up as we pulled out of the hotel parking lot.   Probably it was just a prank by a kid, a false alarm.  We headed off to ihop and the end of our vacation.  But the incident was a reminder that the world has changed, will continue to change.  There are some very scary people out there whose mission it is to cause us harm.  But my most important lesson to take away from my experience is to work on not letting fear creep in and take over. That would be the real tragedy. I never want to be a person that can't put myself out there because of fear.  That would be no way to live.

Linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans

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J and A said...

Looks like a beautiful and fun weekend!! I HOPE we can finally put our boots away!!

Alicia said...

I love Niagara Falls, its so beautiful there. I would love to go back its been about 6 years since the last time. Pretty scary stuff with the fire alarm going off, I think I would of reacted the same way. It's hard not to be fearful but with school shootings and bombs, it's hard not to think the worst. I'm happy your weekend wasn't ruined by it though.