For some reason the short-ish drive completely wore me out.
Crossing into Canada was uneventful. Spectacular scenery continues. Weather is cooling, some (why is it still 80 degrees F this far into October, this far north? I'm confused.)
Toronto has a freeway system that makes sense: every so often a set of collector lanes turn off from the express lanes, and then the on/off ramps access the collector lanes instead of just dumping straight onto the freeway. Takes up more space, the the traffic, even at 5:00, was moving briskly.
Debs lives in a corner apartment over a beauty salon. She is just marvelous, just marvelous. A songwriting friend from February Album Writing Month, we'd never even spoken on the phone, let alone met. That's always a little nervy, meeting someone for the first time like that, but once again it was even better than expected.
We had an excellent dinner of lentils and brown rice with a super salad with homemade dressing (I'm looking forward to eating at Debs' again!) While Sue and I showered and puttered and got settled, Fiona terrorised Debs with talk and music and playing and it was wonderful. Debs clearly loves children; you can't 'put on' the kind of fun they were having, the genuine interaction and interest. (The shortest route to our hearts is to be kind to our little girl; Debs went straight to the head of the class.)
We played music. We played a card game called Mille Bornes which I haven't played in 20 years, and ended in a perfect tie which was fluky and fun. Debs gave up her bed for Sue and I, and she and Fiona slept on couches in the living room.
After scrumptious oatmeal in the morning we had to leave. Fiona always cries when we leave (another reason for spacing out our driving; it's hard on us seeing her so sad five days in a row) but this time she was more distressed than she'd been since she said goodbye to her older sister in Roseville.
We've made some special friends this trip. There's still a world of difference between chatting online and watching someone have a silly conversation with your daughter.
Just before we left, as Fiona was playing with the little green ukulele she hadn't put down since we arrived, Debs said "Fiona, would you like to take that with you?" So guess who has their very own ukulele now? (Tip to parents: the ukulele is a very pleasant delicate sound; infinitely more fun coming from the back seat for the 5-hour drive from Toronto to Ottawa than, say, a recorder flute, harmonica, or other portable instrument.)
Leaving now for our last stop on the road, another online associate I finally get to meet in person.