…That night in Toronto…

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I’ve got to start off by saying that I’m turning 31 this year. Over the past few years, more and more of our friends are getting married, and more frequently these days, they are going forth and procreating! Congratulations go out to the latest couple to tie the knot, Greg and Alyssa. The actual wedding took place a little while ago in Panama, but not everyone was able to make that trip. As a result, they threw a reception in Toronto, and a good contingent of the Ottawa fiends (yes, fiends, not friends 😉 were invited, and subsequently made the trek. Although the marathon is only 3 weeks away, that didn’t prevent us from partying like the old days! As can be evidenced by the numerous pictures (and several that we haven’t shared), we still know how to get up to no good. I’ve got to say though, as much as I love an open bar, they really slay me. I’m quite sure LI would have fared far better had I not been subjected to the ‘last call’ rush. The result was me skipping my final 32km training run of my program on Sunday. uckily, I’d already done 2 – 32k runs and a 30k run in the past month and a half, so I’m gonna guess I’m good to go. We only went down to Toronto for a single night, so we really had to make it worhwhile. I headed down with Alix and Jody, and once we arrived there, met up with John, Dana, Rachel, David, Kevin and Amy. Our car arrived around 12:30, and we were lucky enough to get checked in at the Delta Chelsea right away, even though check-in isn’t officially till 3pm.

Before getting to the reception, I should share a short tale about parking garages and kayak racks. They don’t always mix well. This was the case at the Delta Chelsea. You see, I have my kayak rack mounted on my roof for the summer, and I’d left it on for the trip. Luckily, I had the foresight to bring a pair of pliers such that I could remove it ‘Just In Case’. Well, that was the case. The height marker said 5’6″. Whoa! That’s low. I decided to risk it. We banged the rack on the swinging warning marker at the gate, but I kept going, driving slowly into the belly of the beast with my head out the window to watch the rack. We cleared the first level by a very narrow margin. Whew, I thought things would be fine. Well, they weren’t, the next bend was a very steep pitch, with a very short ceiling at the end. I could see it would be tight. When we finally got to the ceiling, I could see it wasn’t tight, but “not gonna happen”. Unfortunately, at that point, we were committed. I couldn’t back out, as I was quite a ways in. We were on a very steep incline, just after a 90 degree turn. I had to get Alix to direct traffic around me, and to warn them of my car in the way. Luckily, there was room enough for 2 cars side be side, so other people could cautiously pass while I unceremoniously removed the offending rack. Yup, I’m a moron, but at least I was a prepared moron. Once the rack was removed we slipped into our $23 parking space, and headed up the stairs to check in…

Once we got to the room, I sent the ladies out to shop. Both Alix and Jody had cleverly “forgotten” some key things, which had to be purchased. I think we all know they just wanted an excuse to shop. Lucky for them, the Eaton Centre was just down the block, and they had 2 hours to power shop. I figured that would keep them happy. While they did that, I hopped on an elevator for the 27th floor, the health club. I did a brisk 16k run in 1h 15mins. After that, a nice stretch and shower, before the fun began. Our next outing was set to be a brewery tour of Steam Whistle, at 4pm. I had planned on us leaving the hotel around 3:15 – 3:30. Long story short, we didn’t leave till 3:45, and it took us well over 30 mins. to walk the 2.9k to the waterfront. However, it was a gorgeous day, and I didn’t really care. The brewery would be there, we just wouldn’t get the tour. As it turns out, that worked out for the better. As we arrived, there were crowds of drunken buffoons that had emerged from the Jays losing game at the SkyDome (aka Rogers Centre), and sought to drown there sorrows with beer. Apparently, the 4pm tour had like 50 people in it! I’m glad we missed it. We got to chat with some of the brewery employees, and had a good time anyway, enjoying a couple samplers, and scoring cool bottle openers. I also picked up a suitcase 12 of delicious beer for the pre-reception embibing.

We hiked back to the hotel, rather uneventfully, to get ready to enjoy some of the amenities, such as pools, waterslides and hot tubs. Time wasn’t really on our side unfortunately, so we tried to make the most of a quick swim, many fun slides down the corkscrew (cool waterslide that goes outside the hotel and back in, but pitch black!), and a quick hot-tub excursion by John, Kev and I on the 27th floor. By the time we wrapped that up, it was already 7pm, the start time of the reception! To get things going quick, a couple of us ducked out quickly to pick up pizza slices (from Big Slice)for whoever wanted them, while they got ready. Then, it was just a matter of primping and preening, while having a couple cold beers. In the end, we didn’t get to the actual reception site till just around 9pm! Oops. We knew that was not so cool, but that’s what happens when you’re herding cats right? Luckily, we did make it in time for all the speeches, and well before the true partying started, so that was good. I was probably best that we didn’t hit the open bar much sooner anyway, as that would have ended poorly I guess 🙂

The reception itself was fun. We were in an old school house that is now a reception hall, the Enoch Turner schoolhouse. There was lots of yummy finger foods, cheeses, crackers, etc, as well as a nicely stocked wet bar for us to enjoy. The first little while was pretty tame, with the DJ playing more jazz standards and such, at low volumes. However, as the night wore on, and people starting slipping out, the music got louder, the guests got rowdier, and the bartender starting recognizing our faces much more. By last call, things were getting old school cool. The ties were on the heads, everyone was best friends, and the worst songs seemed like the best ever. I can’t say I can pinpoint exactly when things wrapped up, but there are pictures of me at a piano, which I was apparently kicked off of twice, and I was patted down by one of the caterers while being accused of stealing a bottle of red wine. I was innocent, and I led him back to where the wine was stored, and showed him exactly where the bottle was (1 shelf below the rest of the box). I had merely looked at it, and put it back. I knew I didn’t need any more. Then, back in a cab to the hotel, where Kev crashed our room for another beer (the only soldier left looking for more beer!). I worked hard at kicking him out, since I needed to “rest”. (ed. note “rest” may have several meanings, not all of them pretty…). Apparently, Kev tried to get in the pool on the 27th floor after that, and I’m guessing it’s a good thing he didn’t make it. The night was officially over.

The following morning was slightly painful, as was the drive home. Luckily, we went to Fran’s Diner for some delicious breakfast (and great crayon colouring too I might add). The grease nicely coated my stomach so I could rest easy in the car. Driving was not in the cards for me. I was semi-prone the whole way home, trying to read the DaVinci Code. We made one stop, where I picked up some dirty bird KFC, and the rest of the drive was uneventful. Once home, I fiddled a bit with the bar (after learning Matt had ‘broke’ it earlier), and basically lazed around. All in all, I’d say it was a spectacular trip, and we’re all looking forward to going somewhere as a group again.

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