Vive le Montréal!

by The Mayor!

Interesting, no one fessed up to the whole trashing & towel stealing….but just so you know….

Stalking funny image quote 

Montreal! 2010

My daughter didn't know how to set her date stamp!

I’m just sayin’! In the meantime, now that I have gotten settled back in from MY incredible road trip, & have a moment or two before my own stolen towels need to be tossed in to the dryer, I know you’re all anxiously awaiting the results of my cheer weekend…right Cheryl??!! Surprisingly, despite living a mere 4 or 5 hours away from Quebec my entire life, it has only ever served as a means to an end…I have to drive through it to get to the east coast! Which I have visited more than a few times, & was even a homeowner in Nova Scotia briefly. But aside from my Gr. 8 trip to Quebec City (which I loved for the history, even at that age!), it just never held any real appeal for me. For those who aren’t aware, Canada has spent many decades dealing with infighting amongst ourselves, with Quebec fighting for the right toMontreal! 2010 stand alone. I had numerous preconceived notions about what to expect from Montreal, including my inability to speak the language. I was pleasantly surprised to have them all shattered after an amazing weekend in La Belle Province!

What I Learned:

1. As an ever so helpful friend pointed out, after the fact when it mattered not thanks for nothing, Montreal is very bilingual, thus I did not make an ass of myself being lost in translation!

2. I have retained a surprising amount of my “holy crap, I can’t wait to be done Gr. 9 & never have to take it again” French.

3. Having my subconscious mind hammered with written French on a daily basis in my own province actually made it possible for me to muddle through most of the signage…at least well enough for a “best guess”….& to ensure there were no parking tickets!

4. My kid doesn’t deserve his A’s he’s always getting in French if I was the one doing most of the translating.

5. Quebec, much like me, prefers to do whatever the hell it wants. Which includes only having French on any & all signs, over the required bilingual signs throughout the rest of the country. It also includes choosing to ignore Victoria Day in favour of their own Montreal! May 2010 088holiday, Saint-Jean Baptiste Day in June.

6. Habs fans may be more die hard than Leaf fans, with the city awash in a sea of red as we wandered past The Bell Centre a mere hour before the puck dropped, & fans spilled out in to the streets from every bar & pub in the city. Of course, we may never know since the Leafs don’t seem to ever be IN the playoffs….

7. My illegally obtained back alley weapon meant to protect us from said hockeyMontreal Crowd control! fans was unnecessary, with police on high alert, visible on every street corner & patrolling on horseback, which was a sight unto itself!

8. There’s an entire city under the city, five levels & blocks worth of shopping.

9. DKNY is outrageously expensive….thankfully, five levels down & 6 blocks over, Montreal! May 2010 089we found a Dollarama.

10. My kids don’t give a sh** about shopping…but glass elevators & fountains begging for every coin in my purse apparently rock.

11. My son is officially a man…as evidenced by this statement, “Dad, please tell me why there aren’t chairs outside of stores for guys to sit in while they wait for the girls to shop?”.

12. Despite not being much of a shopper, & just as happy as the rest of my family to say, “Alright now we can say we saw it, let’s get the frik outta here!”, Mommy still gets excited to find something she loves for a really great price….& came out very happy with a beautiful littleMontreal! May 2010 313 cocktail dress off the clearance rack for $15!

13. When you wander aimlessly underground for blocks on end in a strange city, you will be lost when you find your way back up to the surface. But if you DO meet someone who doesn’t speak English, they will happily engage in a ridiculous combination of hand signals & shouting, (because a foreign language is more easily understood when screamed??) on a busy street to help you find your way. Though for all I know, she was really waving her arms at me yelling, “You f**king tourists are idiots!”.

14. Old Montreal is an incredible place, with charm, atmosphere, a million & one things to see & do, as well as the nicest people I have ever come across. It is now one of my all time Montreal! 2010favourite places I have ever travelled to. Admittedly, I haven’t travelled much outside of North America, but still…

15. I have a really hard time controlling my emotions when it comes to my kidlets….nerves on edge, as I anxiously awaited their arrival on stage Saturday morning to see if my injured girl had joined her team ….bursting with pride & blubbering like an idiot all at the same time to see her burst through that curtain….& me without my Valium necklaces. The girls? Cool as a cucumber…brats.

16. My girls are awesome little athletes, & The One I Butt Heads With much tougher than I give her credit for….despite being in pretty good shape for Saturday & all of us being so thrilled to see her come out & compete, by Sunday she was in rough shape again after so much activityMontreal My beautiful cheerleaders! the day before. Worse, during their performance, I saw her go down, & the tears flowing down her face as she powered through the rest of the routine….as I watched through tears of my own, fighting the urge to run up & grab her off the stage. They carried her out to me, ice on her knee, right after they got off…she was still crying. That kid totally took one for the team!

17. Despite the injury, & all the stress & worry to get her on that mat, it was worth every moment to see my beautiful cheerleaders & their team win SILVER MEDALS baby! In all of Canada!! Second place, Canadian Cheer Nationals! They totally rock…& I should’ve Montreal Silver baby!shoved a box of Kleenex in my purse for all the tears of love & pride I spewed that weekend! I don’t even begrudge the early morning call times, given that it gave us most of the day for sightseeing.

18. Despite the fact we were clearly NOT Quebecois, we were greeted with chatty, friendly people who were more than happy to engage us in conversation as we wandered this fabulous city. Our hotel was wonderful, an extremely reasonable deal for booking through our cheer club, yet fancy enough to impress even The Diva. Kind & generous to a fault, we were treatedMontreal welcome plate for blog like royalty throughout our stay, with my name written in chocolate as a welcome greeting, that the rug rats promptly fought over to lick up, fresh flowers daily, that the rug rats promptly fought over to pose with, free internet, that the rug rats promptly fought over with me as I tried to keep apprised of my all important Facebook, & an amazing full breakfast buffet every morning, as well as extra perks being slipped to Montreal! May 2010 039us regularly. Admittedly, having a gaggle of disgustingly cute little girls in tow always helps, despite the sullen tween boy dragging behind us. Mostly we chose to pretend he wasn’t ours. Plus, kids can frikkin’ swim for hours without getting bored….while my eyeballs are bleeding from the fake smile pasted on my face & the constant string of “Good job!” coming out of my mouth.

Montreal! May 2010 211

That's her, in the purple top! LOL!

19. The Diva is far too inclined to a life of luxury, as we were greeted at the hotel by the chocolate plate, the fresh flowers arriving daily, dragging her out of DKNY by her ear, & chasing limos down the road yelling, “Wait, that’s my car!”….all of which she takes in stride, like she’s entitled somehow, whilst the rest of us feel kinda silly & uncomfortable by such unnecessary extravagance!

20. People look at you funny when you clean your own hotel room for 4 days & tidy & bus your own table in restaurants….don’t they know I’m a Mom frik?? It’s just what I do….can’t help myself…& kinda feel ridiculous about having some other poor schmuck have to clean up after my brats….is it just me, or are the rest of you like that also??

Montreal! May 2010 293By the time we began to meander our way home again, after one of the best trips the Griswold’s have ever taken, & a pit stop to spend a gorgeous afternoon along the St. Lawrence, we were jubilant from our win & exhausted from long, busy days. Without a doubt, my kids are fabulous little creatures…despite the boy seeking to annoy 24/7, having to piggy back, carry, & tend to The One I Butt Heads With, The Diva with her sense of entitlement, & The Baby having a few cranky fits with the heat & all the walking. But to see their faces as they ran through the square,Montreal! May 2010 109 doing cartwheels, dancing with the performers, getting balloon animals from the clowns, bartering with the vendors along the cobblestone streets for their souvenirs, taking photos of their own, & marvelling at all the sights & sounds of a beautiful city that they too had fallen in love with, made it a trip none of us will soon forget!

Signed,

The Mayor!

Montreal! May 2010 152

Montreal! May 2010 197

Montreal Silver!

My hero! Who asked to sit for this pic because she couldn't stand anymore!

Montreal! Silver!

And my disgustingly flexible Diva!

*Their uniforms are actually quite modest, thankfully the season is over because they both outgrew them over the year!  But the rules actually state “No bellybuttons should be showing”….one of the things I have always appreciated about our governing body, they are very careful to keep the younger teams modest & appropriate!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

The Empress May 31, 2010 at 12:36 am

LOVE #12 and #16.

In fact, I’m going to kill you over #12.

Sleep well….if you can.
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Cheryl May 31, 2010 at 12:52 am

What a sassy little dress, you minx!

Glad it went well. I am also an emotional wreck about my kids. Sometimes I think I might die from the cuteness.

Sage went to watch our neighbor (who does competitive cheer AND cheers for her high school) and came back saying she does not want to be a flier, she wants to be a base. SO glad we got that settled!
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The Mayor! May 31, 2010 at 1:16 am

LOL! I know right, not only is a fabulous little dress, but it’s all the more exciting to brag about how cheap I got it for! Better yet, I think I’m going to wear it to our year-end cheer banquet tomorrow night, AND a bridal shower next weekend!!! That dress will take me places baby!! :-D

Cheryl, TOO funny, my Diva is a flyer, & LOVES it, NO fear on that kid! But I have had a FEW heart attacks with some good spills, even though SHE gets right back up there with nary a tear! My older girl is a base, & the bad knee made her stunt she was holding fumble because she was weak, but she recovered & they got it up…thankfully, it wasn’t the stunt she holds her sister up for LOL…BUT, she, as the base, is the one who got hurt doing the stunt, because the flyer scraped her neck with her shoe, & she had a nasty mark for a few days!! And I’m so glad, ladies, that I’m not the only Mom is a blubbering idiot out there in the audience! My video from day 2??!! When I saw her knee go, & the tears & pain on her beautiful face, all you see is shaking camera because I was crying & scared for her, & yet so proud she kept going like that!! One of those….I want to save her, she’s hurt, but OMG, I am so proud of her for pulling through it, I never knew she was so strong!!!

Hi, I'm Natalie. May 31, 2010 at 10:32 am

Am drooling. ‘Visit Montreal’ is on my bucket list. That is one beautiful city.
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J May 31, 2010 at 11:22 am

I must get around to visiting Canada one of these days..looks beautiful!

I can’t stop laughing at your daughter chasing down her limo! A girl after my own heart! <3
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Pamela May 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm

So glad your trip was a success! I love love love Montreal! We used to go at least once a year & as cold as it gets in the winter, that’s my fave time to visit. Old Montreal is just so pretty & quaint.
Such cute pics of the kiddies too – looks like they had a blast:)
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Marilyn May 31, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I am so wanting to visit Quebec. If our frikkin country weren’t so damned big I’d have visited already. The cost to get there though from Vancouver is pretty mental.

It sounds like an awesome time. And although I’m not normally a woman who freaks over a dress – I love your cocktail dress! For $15 I would have bought it in a heart beat too.
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Lanita May 31, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Great pictures and the children are adorable. I would expect nothing less from the Mayor. But I have one confusing question. If all of Canada is required to post all signs in English and French, why is Quebec not required to be bilingual in their road signage?
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Allison May 31, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Great week-end. Cute kids (what broke your moratorium on pictures? Did you get round-the-clock bodyguards?). That dress rocks. Coincidentally I was just writing today about trying not to over-identify when they’re in a sporting event. Because I’m easily overwhelmed. And not flexible at all.
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The Mayor! May 31, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Ahhh, Lanita, therein lies the rub! They are the only province in Canada with the right to be unilingual, while having fought tooth & nail for the rest of us to be bilingual. As I said, the infighting & politics are very involved, & have led to some animosity between “them” & “us” LOL…which is why Quebec never really made my list! But I WAS pleasantly surprised to feel so welcome, & realize that it’s not as tense as it was even a decade ago. I think for the most part, the country has settled in to acceptance of each other now LOL!

Allison…I’m not sure, I think it’s because a) I was so proud of them, I just wanted to show them off lol, & b) in the 6 mnths since I started, I haven’t actually had any negative experiences nor heard any horror stories from the rest of you, which has allayed my initial concerns, & now that I feel like I know all of you, & everyone is always so wonderful I don’t think I need to worry too much! They ARE all over my Facebook after all lol!

:-D

natalee May 31, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Your girls are sooo beautiful..the trip sounded great.. i love Quebec.. I would vacation just outside at Ste Anne De Peupre every year with my family. my God mother a USA (New Jersey) girl married a French guy…LOL!! i chuckel about your sons fRench grade..LOL …hugs my friend
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Tracy May 31, 2010 at 9:12 pm

I’m so glad everything went well! Fantastic about your girls winning silver!!! That is awesome!!! I’d love to go to Montreal someday….looks beautiful!
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One Love Mama May 31, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Your children are soooo cute it hurts my eyes! Your Husband must be over the moon to have another man to commiserate with LOL! Congratulations on the medals and having an excellent trip :)
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