Day 157 - 9-11 in 'Murica

On the Road Again
September 11th, 2015

Warning call from Steve and Adeline, his fiancĂ©, that they would be arriving at my place at 10:30am. I was told 11 the night before, and was groggily rolling around in bed. As stated in the last post, I’m trying out the slow carb approach to eating once more. Eggs and lentils for breakfast, how appetizing! I'm not sure how well I can stick to it for this weekend. We shall see.
They arrive around 10:50, closer to the planned time than the updated time, which is partially what I expect given Steve’s past of, uh, less than perfect punctuality. Then again, who’s on time all the time?

20 bucks for a Mason Jar of "Moonshine!"
We’re heading down to Silver Lake, Michigan for Steve's weekend retreat/bachelor party at a cottage. That's right.. We're heading to the US of A on... SEPTEMBER 11TH! Since I don’t have a car, they volunteered to drive an hour in the wrong direction just to get me. What good friends! On the way back down to Windsor, we caught up, and eventually played the Insta-speech game that I mentioned before. 1 minute speech on any topic they choose, and you have less than 10 seconds to prepare! We all took turns, with the previous speaker choosing the topic for the next one. My favourite one was Pumpkin spice, which went something like this:

You know, some people think that pumpkin spice is the white girl's drink. I don’t know about that, but it is mighty popular. Pumpkin spice, of course, reminds me of pumpkins. How can it not? I really love pumpkins because they have this whimsical property to them. They’re vibrant orange, only here for one special, transitional season, then fall completely out of popularity. There’s a song by Bruno Mars, Billionaire,* where he says he wants to make “christmas everyday.” To me, that means you’re destroying christmas because then it becomes mundane, average, ordinary. The same thing works for Pumpkins, which are made all the more special because they’re concentrated down to the Autumn season. There’s also the Great Pumpkin, The Headless Horseman, and other mythologies involving pumpkins. All this is brought to mind whenever I taste Pumpkin spice, and that’s why I welcome this so-called White Girl drink.

At least, that’s what I remember of it. Good game; it forces you to make random connections between topics, and up your wit! Try it... Today!

Cottage from the Back
In Windsor, we meet up with the others. Dan, Steve, Kirk, Johnathan, and I rode together. Dan is the boyfriend of Adeline's sister. Kirk is another of Steve’s long-time friends whom I’ve heard of, but never met. He was much different from the person I imagined, just like Cale. Jonathan is one half of Adeline’s brother twins. We make our introductions and pile on into Dan’s car. Hit the road!

We make conversation most of the way since the radio is being buggy and the FM transmitter is bunk. To me, the 3 hour drive felt quite short, but I think it was worse for the others since they were pressed shoulder-to-shoulder in the back seats. We stopped at a service centre, and I was surprised to see it was simply washrooms and vending machines. Canada has big service centres with fast food, coffee, lounging areas, etc. America, land of capitalism, doesn’t capitalize on this opportunity.

Dan: Master of the Grill
Closer to the destination, we stop to get liquor because liquor is something the US does right. So cheap! 30 cans of beer for $18! Then again, my idea of liquor prices is skewed by Australia still, so I have no idea the standard price of anything anymore. We approached the first grocery store, Gales IGA, which gave Steve the creeps. It looked a little run down, but was fine. We check it out, nothing special, and decide to give the other grocery a go. I forget the name of it, but it was definitely superior to Gales.

While perusing the micro brews, a very helpful store clerk helped me decide among the cornucopia of selections. Hard Root Beer is something that’s taking off there, which I had tried my hand at making a couple years ago. Hell yes! Some random woman said it tastes like a rootbeer float if you combine it with Rum Chata. The way this older woman spoke, we had no idea what she was suggesting. With accents or weird speech patterns, I’m sometimes unclear if you’ve never heard of the thing, or if they’re saying something you do know but can’t decipher. In this case it was something entirely new, which the woman led me to find. Rum Chata is cursorily related to Horchata, though I’m not entirely sure the connection or difference. Either way, it’s a cinnamon irish cream-like beverage that kicks the shit out of Baileys for coffee. DO try, Do.**

Kirk and Steve on the 5' Dock
We find our way to the cottage, which is in a dead-end cottage area, complete with a dead-end creek at the back leading to the lake. They have two paddle boats, and a dinghy without oars. Save that for later, we’re busting out the burgers, beers, and rum chata! Looks like slow carb is taking a break for the Bachelor weekend. Word of warning for mixing rootbeer and rum chata: if you do it recklessly, the chata will curdle. For best results, I found no ice, chata first, then slowly pouring the rootbeer so the carbonation didn't muck it up.

After dinner, I sat on the small dock, eating peanuts, watching Kirk and Steve pedal away in the paddle boat for a romantic ride into the sunset. They took a long time. I joined John and Dan inside where they were sleeping on the couch/watching TV. Eventually, the lovebirds returned. I suggested we start a game of Everyone Is John - my first one since leaving Canada.

The game was rocky at first until they got the hang of it, then it went completely off-the-rails ridiculous. Many, many people were killed, lots of property damage, and even some mild molestations took place for our poor antihero. Ultimately, Johnathan won the game because his obsession was so overdone by every character. Also because his name was John. Death toll: 10.

How Romantic!
Look carefully and you can see the
lovebirds in the distance.
Joe, Jonathan’s twin, arrived during the game with their friend, Shikhar. They wanted to join in, but it was almost finished, and probably wouldn’t have worked well. After wrapping up, we drank a bit more before deciding it was a good idea to take the boats out for a moonlit ride.

Steve and I paddled one with Kirk in the back, while Shikhar and Jon rode together in the other. Seems their rudder wasn’t working properly, causing some problems following us. Their boat was faster, but directionless speed do much. We paddled to the island in the centre of the lake and walked around there. Not much to do on a tiny island. We eventually headed back to the cottage to drink the night away. RuuuUUUUM CHaaaaAAtaaaaaaaa!

Editing Music: This Part of Gimme that Ole Time Feel by Confused Bi-Product of a Misinformed Culture

*Apparently it's only featuring Bruno Mars, written by Travie McCoy. Who would've known?
**Seriously. It's so good, I will spit out irish cream in coffee in disgust, making an expression involving all of my facial features brought to a single point in the center of my face, cursing the heavens for it not being Rum Chata. Rum Chata has ruined me, and I am thankful for it. PRAISE BE TO RUM CHATA!

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