Did you ever meet someone in real life that you had 'met' online and find yourself with nothing much to say because the person was so much different than you were expecting?
Yeah, well neither of those things happened last week when I got together with Josie (No Internal Editor) and Jen (Jen on the Edge) and her wonderful family. The girls and I had the BEST TIME in Toronto at Miniblogstock 2008. Jen and Josie are just as funny and sarcastic and great in real life as they are online. Jen's girls are lovely. And Jen's husband Pete makes me wish that human cloning was further along than it undoubtedly is. I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to post about it -- I needed some time to recover from 11 hours of driving in two days followed by a two-day end-of-season soccer tournament and a sleepover play date I had scheduled at my place and then promptly forgotten about so it was a bit of a surprise when I got the call asking what time they should drop off the girl. Yeah, advancing maturity sucks, people.
Now where was I? Oh yeah. Toronto. I got up at quarter to four in the morning and finished loading the car, got the girls up at 4:30 and we were breakfasted and on the road by 5:15. We made good time except for a half hour detour in Belleville to find some ibuprofen for Leah who had decided to run a fever. And after reaquainting myself with Toronto traffic and driving manners (I've gone soft living in polite Ottawa for so long) we finally arrived, after circling the hotel like vultures for about 15 minutes due to one-way streets and no left turns and met everyone in the lobby of the Sheraton.
Talking non-stop, we walked down to Union Station and jumped on a streetcar for Ontario Place. The girls bonded instantly with Jen and Pete's two daughters and we spent a wonderful afternoon at Ontario Place, which was full of fanciful sculptures which are lit up at night for the Chinese Lantern Festival. Check out this one, my favourite -- it's a huge temple made entirely of dishes:
The girls spent almost an hour running around a play structure that looked like a cross between a McDonalds playland on steroids and a Habitrail.
We did the bumper boats (word to the wise, don't go on the bumper boats if you need to use the ladies' room. All the water splashing around will be a test of willpower, and with all the water that ends up inside the boat under your bum, you get all the discomfort of actually peeing your pants, but none of the relief) and the Wilderness Ride -- a log flume ride that was pretty good, but wet.
We saw an IMAX film called "Adrenalin Rush" in the Cinesphere, which was about skydiving and base jumping and was very exciting. Too bad the guy introducing the movie seemed to have mainlined some valium right before the performance. His monotone voice was truly mind-boggling, and had Josie and me in fits of giggles. It felt like high school again. But in a good way.
We ended up back at the hotel relaxing in Jen and Pete's room, where Pete took a picture to
Then it was down to the pool for the girls to have fun.
And finally, to bed. Where Leah found out that the Tooth Fairy can still find you in a hotel. (And I nearly had an aneurysm trying to stay awake til the girls fell asleep so's I could slip some money under L's pillow for the tooth that fell out in the car on the way to Toronto.)
The next day dawned a bit foggy and rainy, but off to the CN Tower we went. This is the CN Tower as seen from our hotel room:
My pictures of the girls standing on the glass floor didn't turn out as stomach-churningly as Jen's did, but Leah gamely posed for me suspended over a horrible drop:
(Josef Karsh I ain't.)
We made it back to the hotel with Rachel whining all the way, and after some restorative ice cream, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Ottawa, where Max was very glad to see us.
If you ever get the chance to get together with bloggers that you read and admire, just DO IT. It's a wonderful experience. Now if I could just have some luck getting the Ottawa blogging chix together for another drink...