It’s not like fire doesn’t cut down on humidity.

I’m a huge fan of garage sales. Even if everyone else here seems to pronounce them “guh-raj sales” instead of the obviously correct “garridge sales”. I love finding affordable (dirt cheap) pre-loved (used) goods that hopefully still work. Hell, free shit is some of my top tier favourite stuff in the multiverse. It doesn’t always pan out (the broken microwave I carried about a kilometre that had a working light, but no heat, comes to mind), but sometimes it pans out entirely literally (the curbside cast iron frying pan for instance. Spent some time scrubbing off the rust and now it’s A+. Not even a nuke could ruin one of those babies). Throwing a few bucks on top of that can come with massive rewards. I had a $2 backpack that I used for about a year, some $4 pants that got a couple of years’ use. I mean, our bedside lamp, blender, large pan and food processor (to back up the blender’s blind spots) collectively cost us under $50. So much value I was in total Rapture.

Yesterday I found a great buy at a local (in direct line of sight from our place) garage sale. I mean, the place was swarming with neat stuff. There was a preserved scorpion paperweight, tons of old cameras and camera technology, clothes and books, etc. Then I saw an item I’d been thinking about for some time: A dehumidifier. We always grew up with one. It was a sturdy machine with a computerised display on the top. My favourite feature hands down of this old dehumidifier was the whale on the computerised display. A goddamn whale. This animated whale was an indicator of the humidity levels of the surroundings. If it was too humid, the whale made a frowny face with “x” eyes. If it was neutral, it had dot eyes and its mouth was pulled into a tight line (like thus: “-“). If the area was at low humidity, the whale would be stoked, mouth pulled into a huge smile with big smiley eyes. PLUS A BIG FUCKEN SPOUT OF WATER ON ITS BACK. I loved this whale possibly more than I loved the dehumidifier itself, even if the logic of it was pretty peculiar. Shouldn’t the whale be stoked with humidity? It lives in the ocean, basically the most humid place there is. I don’t know if this is one of those great white voluntary sand whales I’ve often heard tale of. Whatever it was, it liked its atmosphere like I like my gingerale: dry. Also maybe with whiskey, I’m not sure. It was a two dimensional whale, whatever its liquor preferences were, it was tight lipped.

This garridge sale didn’t have a whaleriffic dehumidifier, but it did have a $10 one. A bargain by any other name wouldn’t smell as cheap. Metaphorically. This thing had no particular odour. Frankly with a dehumidifier I’d take that as a warning sign. I asked the guy holding fat stacks of cash in his hand (I assumed he was one of the people running the sale) if there was anything wrong with it. According to him (and who wouldn’t trust a white male flashing large quantities of dollars?) it worked fine, they just upgraded to a bigger model for the family home. He said he was so sure that it worked that if I took it home and it didn’t work, I could bring it back and he’d swap it for his other one. Sounded completely un-suspicious. I bought it and carried it the 20 metres or so to our front door.

It worked. I plugged it in and it happily (I can only assume. No whale, remember?) did its thing. Within an hour or two, the humidity was down to the requisite level. Soothing. Later that evening I looked up the manual online to see if there was anything I needed to know about the unit. Googling the model number, the first couple of results were the same. PRODUCT RECALL. The model number was one of the many models recalled for potential fire risk. They’d apparently had some cases of the dehumidifier super-heating and exploding. DOUBLE PLUS UNGOOD. I wondered to myself, was it worth still running it? I asked my girlfriend, who was fine with taking a chance (humidity being the moral enemy of virtue, of course). I also thought, how much would they pay for a recalled unit? I had no proof of purchase and the recall was a few years ago. Still, could I get more than the $10 I paid for it? Would this be one of my many lucrative get rich quick schemes that didn’t pan out (curbside cast iron pan notwithstanding)? Or was the best option to keep using my cheap dehumidifier and turning it off once nobody was in the house? Thus preventing it from overheating after, I dunno, 24 hour use or something? Would you dice with the devil? Or go for the Faustian recall deal? The devil you know or the one you don’t?

Sounds like what we bought was really… a dehumidifire.

If we did crash, I would have been most useful as kindling.

Oh wow, is going on holiday ever a reminder of how miserable my job makes me? Screw that, let’s pretend even if for only one more day that I’m not getting my soul systematically sucked away in a cubicle.

Our last day in Montreal was basically set to be a wrap up day. Were there any spots we had yet to hit? Was there anywhere we needed to give a second glance? What did we have yet to eat? Could we accomplish all of this before our 4pm departure? First off, we didn’t leave the house until just before midday, so the answer to most of the above was a resounding NOPE. We shouldered our bags, packed up the pork leftovers from Friday night’s Liverpool House experience and hit the road.

My girlfriend had hoped to get back to a certain boutique, so we opted to get back to Le Plateau-Mont-Royal one last time. First up though, we stopped off at a heavily recommended patisserie: Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann. Thing was, a few friends had steered us towards it, but hadn’t mentioned what exactly we were supposed to try. They didn’t offer a ton and their house special (the Kouign Amann for which they’re named) was half an hour from being ready. I’ve never been hugely into buttery pastries, so instead I grabbed a small blueberry cake. It was soft and sweet, with a faint trace of almond paste (like you’d find in an almond croissant) inside. It was… fine I guess? I dunno, I love baked goods, but found myself kind of underwhelmed. Perhaps the place had been built up too much. It was reasonably priced and I’d happily eat something like it again, but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

We wandered the area seeing if anything would newly catch our eyes. A café, Dispatch Coffee had previously stuck out with its stark, minimalist interior. Very European, seating was a bizarre assortment of tiered concrete steps and flat wooden benches. The staff seemed to really know their shit, calmly measuring out each shot and composing each drink in a way that skewed both mechanical and artful. Using a mocha as my common litmus test, it was decent but not spectacular. Perhaps on the fluffier side than I’m used to for a latte style drink, but the coffee itself was nice.

My girlfriend popped into her boutiques and I walked around a little. I circumnavigated the block, making a point of checking out the alleyway behind. As I’d suspected, there was a ton of awesome street art. My girlfriend disappointingly didn’t have a ton of luck in finding anything new. Liking the clothes, but not loving the fit, she resolved to only get something she fell in love with. Marie Kondo would be proud. She salved the sting by getting a delicious and moist balsamic chocolate brownie and a hot chocolate (that ended up being literal melted chocolate. Holy shit the small size was a self-contained heart attack).

The time had come to transit further out of town and meet our rideshare. We hopped on the metro and arrived at the Harveys parking lot right by the Namur station. Realising time was rapidly dwindling, we bathroomed in that same Harveys, then pulled our leftover pork in the parking lot. There we were, scoffing down the leftovers of a $68 pork dish in a parking lot that seagulls used as a toilet. If a trip needs a signal that the holiday is over, that was ours. We awaited our ride home, hoping that our driver wasn’t a murder enthusiast.

As luck would have it, she turned out to be great. She had a roomy SUV and was fine with us eating our leftovers en route. She’d been in town visiting her long distance boyfriend. Oddly enough, our fellow passenger was visiting his long distance partner too. My girlfriend and I felt so left out of the club. She was a Toronto based teacher and our other passenger was a traffic engineer. More than once I wondered how we’d fare if our car crashed in the wilderness and had to survive through a combination of shared skills and teamwork. The drive back was great. Everyone was friendly and open. We had in depth chats about all manner of subjects: Society and privilege, changing generations, concepts of gender and sexuality, global acculturation, plus a ton more. By the time we’d arrived home in Toronto, it almost seemed like we’d made new friends.

So the holiday may be over, but at least we’ll always have memories of snarfing down expensive leftovers in the parking lot of a strip mall. Montreal, it’s what you make it.

A more accurate summation of our time here would be “Porkfest”.

Our third day in Montreal was, well, halved. We didn’t wake up till at least 11:30am. Our plans for the day were to check out this NDG Porchfest near Monkland Village. First though, we had to clear the hurdle of getting out of bed.

Monkland Village itself was quaint but not altogether exciting. We were on the lookout for coffee and options were abundant. There was a Second Cup on the corner across from a Starbucks. Any number of pâtisseries, bakeries, frozen yoghurt/soft serve stores or cafés offering free flowing caffeine. In terms of viable, good options however, there were very few. We found a little Korean dessert place that seemed like they might know how to make an alright latte which turned out fine. They had Propeller beans, the benchmark for reasonable coffee.

We quickly realised that we were a bit far from the real action at Porchfest, so we tried a side street. There were ~20 people standing on the sidewalk, parents with their toddlers, watching a cute three piece indie band playing a couple of tunes. A couple of kids were selling lemonade and there was a garage sale down the road. It was swell and 100% suburbia. A noticeable element (once we logged into the handy Google map) was the distance they’d put between all the acts. It was a rad way to combat noise pollution, increase the spread of the event and get more of the community involved. We followed our ears down to Sherbrooke Rd where there was some neat gypsy style band performing. Lots of audience participation, vocal percussion, clapping, dancing and stomping around. There were little kids going hard and people all around really getting into it. We caught a couple of tracks before their set finished, then wandered the area.

For all our intentions of trying to get around and catch various bands (a vocal pop ensemble, Radiohead tribute band, all kinds of Klezmer groups), we ended up mainly checking out local stores and foraging for vittles, as is our way when on holiday. I’d been pretty tempted to grab a beer from a depanneur and drink while watching a local band. After our experience getting ticketed in New York last year however, I wasn’t too confident. We devised a scheme whereby I’d purchase one of those insulated coffee cups from Dollarama and fill it with delicious craft beer. We stopped off at a little vegan co-op where my girlfriend got an affogato. I found a fruity dark ale I’d had my eyes on earlier. All I needed was some way to open the beer.

Thing was, we were hungry. Beer could wait. As we walked around looking for a BBQ place we’d seen earlier, I noticed the number of people either unsubtly cradling drinks inside plastic bags or even brazenly chugging back cans of Steamwhistle on the street. My high level deception was unnecessary. I decided to drink after lunch. I had a succulent beef brisket sandwich loaded with all the fixings, a side of baked beans. Jeez those beans were sweet and tasty. Loaded with spices, I’d never tried any of their like. My girlfriend had ribs and fries, slathered in Texas barbecue sauce. After such a massive meal, I didn’t really have the stomach for my beer. My girlfriend still had her eyes on ice cream, so we went across the road and she picked up Kahlúa flavoured soft serve with a cherry dip. Being on holiday has no time for trifling moderation.

A mere few hours later (after stubbornly drinking my beer out of the sippy cup at home), we went out for Lebanese with my Aunt. I don’t know if either of us were that hungry, but the food was delicious. A platter of skewers, baba ghanoush, hummus, fatoush salad, fries and rice. There was more than too much to eat, so we did as well as we could. More importantly it was a nice way of saying thanks to my Aunt for hosting us and an excellent way of learning more about her. It’s a change I’ve noticed in recent years, that meeting relatives who were always adults while I was sub ten years old is now interesting. Being an adult (kind of) myself, learning about their upbringing and lifestyle through different decades is fascinating. Hearing first hand ruminations on a world I never experienced allows me to get a better idea of not only how things have changed, but how it felt at the time. I had a top notch time being present with her and, fat and happy after a solid meal, my girlfriend and I had our first early night since we’d been in Montreal.

Last day. I wonder just how much we can eat before 4pm.

Then ironically on our trip home, we paid a laissez fare.

Sometimes on holiday everything clicks. Your plans all slot together like a jigsaw puzzle and you flow through an endless series of perfect experiences. When it comes to holidays, I prefer to be a lot more laissez-faire (which seems on theme here in Montreal), so my days instead are disjointed like someone’s taken to them with a jigsaw power tool. For me it’s a release. In my quotidian existence back home there’s endless structure. I get up at a certain time, start work at a certain time, leave work at five on the dot. Yadda yadda yadda, badda bing badda boom, yabba dabba doo. So when I vacation, it’s not just my city I like to leave behind, it’s my habitual lifestyle. On holidays, I go with the flow. If things happen, great. Getting everything done can be for someone else. I instead prefer to enjoy what I happen to do.

It’s a nice way of saying that fuckups do happen.

Yesterday we were prepared to try brunch at Le Passé Composé. A friend had raved about it (and the Fois Grois eggs benny in particular). I was intrigued to get amongst a sophisticate French take on common brunch (and try fois grois for probably the one time). When we got there, the line stretched out the door. Obviously its splendor was well known. My girlfriend put our name on the list and they informed her it’d be at least half an hour. We chatted to some people in line who mentioned it’d be closing at 2:30pm. It was 1:30pm at the time. I did the math and figured that if it took half an hour at least to get inside, we’d be rushed through our meal in order to turn over service. It seemed less than optimal. I suggested to my girlfriend that perhaps we’d have an easier, quicker and less stressful time going somewhere else. Besides, we were by the gay village. I was sure we could find a cute little brunch spot there.

As it happened, the village was kind of a tourist trap (though a very pretty one) and most of the restaurants looked simultaneously cheap and overpriced, if you catch my drift. After roaming for nigh on 40 minutes, we ended up going to one of the few places that looked marginally okay, but more expensive than it should’ve been. We underestimated it on both accounts. The food was phenomenally mediocre and the prices were equivalent to an upscale Toronto brunch place. We were informed that food would take at least half an hour from our time of order. We very quickly realised we should’ve just stayed put. The service was atrocious, enough that we’d both independently considered a dine and dash approach. With that being villainy slightly beyond our reach, we settled for leaving a 10% tip. What can I say? We’re softies.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty great though. We roamed Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, stopping in at a bunch of cute stores and boutiques. One spot had printed Space Jam socks, which truly tempted me. If not for the $24 price tag (steep for socks) I would’ve been all up in them. My girlfriend had a specific Montreal boutique she’d ordered from online that she was raring to check out in person. It was packed, so I left her there to geek out over pretty dresses, rather than stay there myself to be permanently in the way of customers. I further explored Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. My kind of borough, it had a few vintage stores, higher end places and a ton of bars/restos. I saw the lines at Schwartz’s and thought better of it. I kept walking. I discovered that some depanneurs stocked the original 11.9% Four Loko and almost shit myself. Instead, I went to a President’s Choice supermarket and shit there. Almost as embarrassing as the mediocre brunch was the fact that the shit of that same mediocre brunch clogged the President’s Choice toilet. Thanks Obama.

After my girlfriend’s new favourite boutique closed, we hung out at a cute ‘lil resto lounge and had a drink or two. We grabbed some chips in the park and wandered the neighbourhood. There was a cat cafe and gorgeous French Canadian architecture. Wrought iron stairs and all that jazz. Not to mention the mindblowing street art. Montreal, you certainly are a pretty one. We met up with friends and grabbed a deli dinner at Main’s across the road from Schwartz’s. Don’t worry, it was equally Jewy, but without the huge line up. My ribs even came with sides of liver steak, a hot dog, coleslaw and a kosher dill pickle. I’m surprised the waitress didn’t come over to tell us we were nothing but skin and bones and hadn’t eaten enough.

Our friends had recommended Majestique, a cocktail/oyster lounge. It was only a couple of minutes up the road, so we figured why not stop in for a digestif? The four of us came in and the server let us know there’d be a little bit of a wait, but he’d try and grab us a good table. He had his eye on a table of four ladies who seemed as though they were about to settle up. So we waited. And waited. Eventually one of our friends left and we let the server know we were down to three people. In the meanwhile, groups of two and three were being seated before us. Three, four, five groups got seating while we stood like unnecessary dildos at the front of the bar. My girlfriend had a word with the server, irritated that all these people had been let in while we’d been waiting. He apologised, saying that he’d been saving the good table for us. He came over a few minutes later with glasses of champagne on the house. We got seated ten or so minutes later (after perhaps half an hour of blocking the front entrance). We ordered cocktails and desserts, which were surprisingly intricate. We lounged about chatting, staring at the bizarre collection of junk lining the walls. It was like walking into your weird uncle’s basement, but with better booze.

After saying goodbye to our friend (who had an early morning) around midnight, my girlfriend and I were left to our own devices. We wandered the neighbourhood potentially looking for another place to drop by. As we walked, the streets became increasingly littered with club detritus. Twenty year olds lining up outside an assortment of generic establishment promising loud music and readily available booze. We both decided that five years ago we’d already been way tired of clubbing, but weren’t opposed to finding a quiet little nook to grab a nightcap. Then we saw it: Bootlegger l’Authentique. A whiskey, beer and cocktail bar with a prohibition theme. Bullseye. I’ll put it this way, it was a bar that served strong cocktails in ginormous glass boots. I don’t know if I’m ever going home. It was a fun, chilled atmosphere with neat mis en scène. The stage, while filled with instruments and old school mics, was devoid of musicians. Two well-dressed gents behind the bar slung glass boots and an assortment of liquors. The whiskey menu seemed nigh endless and the prices were crazy reasonable. We sipped away at our tasty cocktails (mine was a combo of Jack Daniels, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and what seemed like an entire mint plant), had a lot of laughs, danced a little and walked off into the night.

Then, having missed subway service, had an ordeal and a half going home. A combination of night bus-ing, wandering through weird byways and underneath a dodgy looking bridge at 3am, then dealing with a dysfunctional uber trip. We slipped into bed sometime around 3:30am, happy to be home.

They don’t call them cocktails for nothing.

Bounjour tout le monde et bienvenue à Montreal! I apologise to the nation of France and province of Quebec for the atrocities of grammar committed in the preceding sentence. Just be thankful I didn’t say it in my atrocious accent. You know those old Animorphs covers? My French accent is one of those unholy middle transition stages between my New Zealand accent and how French should actually sound. You know the bit on that link when her head starts looking conical? That’s how I sound when I try speaking French. My accent comes straight from the Uncanny Valley region.

Being in Montreal means I get to torment my girlfriend with one of my favourite bits. Intentional mis-translation and fake facts. It’s a wonder I didn’t awake to find myself hanging from the ceiling by my open entrails. Fortunately she doesn’t seem to wear long socks, otherwise she’d have my guts for garters. It’s the best (worst/blurst) bit. We’ll arrive at Bonaventure station and I’ll proclaim “ah, that means ‘good adventure’.” Major side-eye follows. “Oh, we’ve arrived at Vendôme station. Named after the famed action hero Jean Claude VenDome.” I become relieved she’s not holding any sharp objects. “Plamondon station? It’s so huge, much like its namesake, the ancient French dinosaur: The Plamondon.” I think the only reason she hasn’t left me for some handsome Québécois is that I hold the only house key.

Before we left we took recommendations from friends on places to eat/drink. Why else would we be on holiday but to eat or drink as many delicious things as possible? Last night we began making good on those recommendations. Turns out people know what they’re talking about. Our first stop was Bar Le Mal Nécessaire: a Chinatown tiki bar. Sold to us as ‘a place where you can get flaming pineapple cocktails’. What part of that doesn’t sound amazing? Turns out the place was a rock solid call. A super loungey basement vibe with big cushy seating lining the sides of the room. Pineapple (this shit was ananas) imagery everywhere. There were literal pineapples hanging in cradles from the ceiling, pictures of pineapples about the place and ceramic pineapples (one in a cage) above the seating area. We were seated and handed thick tomes containing a ton of cocktails with an ingredients list, pricing and a picture of the style of glasses in which they’d be served. The set up behind the bar was rad. There were platforms suspended from the ceiling containing all the bottles, with garnishes and syrups on the bar. The bartenders seamlessly moved between the upper and lower levels to create these amazing cocktails, often with three or four drinks on the go simultaneously. It was rad to watch.

Me: Look at these guys shaking all these cocktails. You’d get super jacked doing that all the time.
GF: Oh yeah. Like a shakeweight. I bet you’d get really efficient at jacking off.
Me: I’m not sure about that. I feel like the range of motion they’re using wouldn’t help for personal use.
GF: I guess that’s true.
Me: But they’d for sure be able to jerk off like three or four dudes at once. Skills for sure.

I got their signature cocktail, Le Mal Nécessaire, while my girlfriend had… geez, something else. They were heaps boozy and halfway through our first drink we both realised they were hitting pretty hard. The music was great and the vibe was awesome. It made me rue (it means “road” in French) the fact that I’d never a) lived in Montreal for a period and b) that my parents didn’t have a sleazy 70s basement with shag carpet. We paid up and headed off for our 9.30pm dinner reservation at Liverpool House.

Liverpool House seems to be the sister restaurant of an ultra decadent French restaurant named (believe it or not) Joe Beef. Joe Beef is the kind of place where you need to grab reservations months in advance. Liverpool House we booked hours beforehand. It was sold to us as a cute, romantic little place with excellent food. It made bank on every one of those attributes. I can say hands down that it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. Everything that came out from the kitchen smelled amazing and had immaculate presentation. Their lobster spaghetti seemed to be a signature dish, but we saw plenty of oyster plates, deep fried clams and steaks making the rounds. Upon heavy recommendation from our server, we ordered one of their specials, a shareable pork plate for two. It was gargantuan. We were hungry after cocktails and the repeated delectable scents wafting around the restaurant. We still only finished maybe half of it. We decided it could’ve easily been a three person meal and possibly even four. Unbelievably succulent. The tender flesh melded perfectly with the soft marbled fat. Served in a shallow pool of rich jus and draped in a flavourful parsley and olive medley. The polenta on the side was admittedly a bit dry and gritty for our tastes, but drastically improved with a healthy dose of jus. Our server recommended a lovely wine on the side that tied it all together. She seemed genuinely pleased with how much we were enjoying our meal. As she said, it was an amazing dish made from the restaurant’s personal farm stock. They were grain fed to be extra fatty and, for some reason, people rarely ever ordered it.

There was this nice moment towards the end of the meal when my girlfriend and I recognised that it was okay to have nice things sometimes. Both of us make a point of trying to live within our means, enjoying experiences for what they are, knowing that we’re pretty fucking lucky to have each other and the lives that we lead. We don’t have room or tastes for a ton of extravagance in our lives, which means that when we do something nice, it’s wholly appreciated. Liverpool House was one of those experiences that will stay with us for a while. The staff were warm and welcoming. The food was phenomenal. The atmosphere was upbeat and enveloping. Plus we may not have a literal ton of leftovers, but we may have a pound.

Au revoir.

If flowers are thanks then I’m A Bouquet right now.

*** Possible Master of None season two spoilers to follow. Proceed with caution and I’ll try to signpost as best I can.***

In solidarity with the new Facebook flower “like”, I’d “like” (in a flowery fashion) to talk about some things I’m thankful for in this moment.

***Master of None season two is one of my favourite things this week. I feel in love with the first season instantly. Funny, sweet and intimately relevant to modern life as a twenty-to-thirty-something, it handled its subject matter with care, insight, nuanced characters and excellent production design. So well put together, relatable and surprisingly insightful for what seemed on the surface to be just another vehicle for a stand up comic (not as if that isn’t directly in my wheelhouse anyway). I’m only four episodes into season two, but in the least spoilery manner I can manage, here’s some stuff I’ve enjoyed:

  • Giving development to Arnold’s character: Most of the friends in the first season weren’t simple caricatures, but neither were they well fleshed out. I’m hoping to see the rest of the gang given similar treatment, but it was wonderful to look under the hood a little with Arnold and see him as more than just a big loveable goof.
  • The use of Italian: It wasn’t something that seemed shoehorned in. Rather it felt pretty natural, especially the flow between the two languages.
  • The flow of episode four was really compelling and superbly executed. A total joy to watch.
  • The treatment/representation​ of religiously conservative characters in episode three was outstanding: Hollywood has this habit of resorting to simplistic and reductive stereotypes that presuppose that deep religious belief invalidates the ability to also have a personality. Faith as a plot point so often results in one dimensional characterisation as a boring cardboard person, which is stupid. A belief in a higher power is not mutually exclusive with being interesting or inquisitive in other areas of your life. As someone not remotely religious, it’s still of importance to me that characters aren’t reduced to stale strawmen. Thanks Master of None.

My girlfriend and I made late game plans to go to Montreal this upcoming weekend. I’d put a hopeful enquiry out to an auntie to see if we could stay with her to cut down on costs. She’s a lovely woman who put me up on my way through Canada first time around. She’s one of those “take my key and come and go as you please” kind of people, understanding that being on holiday means being out and about constantly. Ironically, this kind of attitude makes me more likely to want to spend time with her. I’ve felt guilty for a while over not keeping in touch, because to me that seems mercenary, as if I’m using her for what she can give me instead of the wonderful person she is. So of course when we sent out our last minute request to lodge with her, she agreed without question. Because that’s who she is. It’s gonna be a busy weekend, but I’m really looking forward to my girlfriend getting to meet my dad’s sister for the first time. I’ve always had a lot of affection for her and it means a ton for my girlfriend to see why she’s so special to me.

The weather today was a godsend. It’s been a lacklustre Spring to say the least. Cloudy, cold and rainy with patchy sunshine. Today couldn’t possibly have been a more archetypal Spring day. A sunny, cloudless sky with a light breeze rolling through. I took a waterfront run at lunchtime in an ideal 16 degrees. I wasn’t sweating profusely, but neither was I chilly. The waterfront was stuffed with bikes, dogs and other runners all making the most of what’s been a desperate rarity for the past few months. My feet pounding the footpath filled my body with a sense of completion and a lightness of being. As if a missing puzzle piece clicked into place, creating a greater whole. It may sound like flimsy bollocks, but trust me when I say the words are coming from a mouth that was split wide in an involuntary grin.

Should’ve just called it a wetting, ’cause there wasn’t a dry face in the house.

Last night held my first Toronto wedding and holy shit, what a wedding. In advance I’d like to extend my gratitude to my co-author, the thesaurus.com entry for the word “lovely”. It’s pulchritudinous.

I’m a huge fan of weddings. I’m a total sap who gets fully amped when people I love celebrate their love. I also fall head over heels for the notion of a couple adding personal touches to their big day. Going to an event and realising just how much of themselves they’ve put into the proceedings is hugely rewarding. With each little nod or wink the event throws your way, you realise by extension how much you really love the happy couple. The ceremony can say so much about whoever’s throwing it and some couples frankly have a lot to say.

From start to finish, the event was enchanting, engaging and exquisitely put together. Pretty sure my heart grew three sizes enough times that the growth became exponential. By the end of the night I was left ambling around as a big squishy ball of love. They began the event with a few musical numbers performed by friends. Bjork’s “Jóga” was an emotionally compelling open, followed up by a soft ballad (that I entirely don’t know the name of) and a number guaranteed to bring the house down. As an aside, the aisle song at my best friend’s wedding was Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”. Nestled in my heart is this vivid memory of standing at his side as his bride walked the aisle, feeling a huge surge of emotion. The sun shone down and both of us had eyes full of tears. So I’m sure you can imagine my heart skipping a few beats hearing an acoustic performance of that same song as the groom walked the aisle, clutching his mother’s arm. It was far from my last cry of the evening, but it was the one that let loose the dam.

The ceremony was wonderful, with a celebrant who knew what she was doing. Just like the two of them, the vows were intensely personal, funny and undeniably charming. I was overwhelmed with the depth of my love for both of them and everything they’d built together. They’ve been through so much and to add one more straw, the dog they’d adopted together passed away suddenly on the eve of their wedding. Its collar was fastened around the bride’s bouquet and later clipped to the groom’s vest pocket. Just another of my many, many weepy moments from last night.

The table spread was awesome. A huge assortment of cured meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables, crackers, breads, preserves, dips and spreads. The open bar was well stocked with beer, wine, spirits and mixers. The staff- all friends of the couple- were overwhelmingly friendly and helpful. The night thankfully went off stress free and I can’t imagine it going any better. Once we’d all had a bite to eat and a drink in hand, the couple had their first dance. WITH MOTHERFUCKING LIGHT UP COLOUR CHANGE SHOES. Fun, silly and 100% loveable just like them. After a couple more drinks came the speeches. The parents, best man and maid of honour all delivered with hilarious and touching anecdotes. I don’t know how we’re doing with the whole climate change affair after the warmth of that room. I wouldn’t be surprised if the doomsday clock ticked up a few notches. I’d never met the bride or groom’s parents and one thing that shined through was why they’ve become the people that they are. You could really see where their sense of humour, attention to detail, skill with words and generous affection came from. Their parents obviously carried these qualities and passed them on.

The rest of the night was a splendid. With a zero douchebag quotient, everyone was overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming. Guests got their drink on and the dance floor heated up, buoyed by a great playlist the couple had curated. They’re both musical people and it showed, with a mix of fun dance floor classics and newer hits. We all had such an excellent time, plus my girlfriend and I looked babely (as evidenced by the Polaroid we took and pegged to the photo wall). After all was said and done, we stumbled into our front door just after 5am, shocked at how late it was.

Words can’t express how wonderful the wedding was, but just in case I guess you could say it was alluring, captivating, delightful, gorgeous, sweet, dainty, scruptious, pretty, graceful, bewitching and lovesome.