I’m up early, need to find a mechanic, need to find parts, need to figure out a plan. But then I remember it’s Sunday and there ain’t nothing happening on a Sunday. The best I can do is to call the emergency number on the door of the Bay Marine Service, right next to our marina, and leave a message in the most impassioned, desperate voice I could muster. I even consider crying a bit, but consider that may be a bit too pathetic, so I leave my message and contact number and then we have a family meeting to decide what to do today. It is gorgeous outside - clear skies, warm, and with a nice northerly breeze, so we decide to do a little shopping trip in the morning and then return to the marina for some pool time this afternoon.
We first wander over the the park near the marina as we hear music and see cars pouring into the area. We wander in and realize it’s a massive evangelical church thing with thousands of people and the pamphlet that was shoved into our hands tells us that we’re just in time for a giant baptism ceremony and worship service. We turn tail and head straight out as our plan for Sunday does not include baptism or hymning.
Ana swipes up an Uber and three minutes later our car arrives and whips us over to a TJ Max in a big commercial plaza. The ladies hit the racks while Magnus and I walk over to Ollie’s Discount Centre and wade through a huge warehouse full of Chinese made junk. They did have a large book section, but half of the inventory was bibles and the other half were media conspiracy, fake news, pro-Trump, pro-Republican, anti-Democrat and other works of fiction. Better not strike up any political discussions round here, I’m thinkin. The food section was all canned and packaged items, and Magnus hoisted up a two pound bag of packaged fig bars and said, “These look figging disgusting!” Ouch, right in the punny bone.
Stella buys herself a lovely set of Adidas running shoes for the outrageous price of $35 which is unheard of for her, since she is just as cheap as her mom. Ana picks up a dress and maybe some other stuff, and seems to be pacified with this rather short bit of retail therapy so the next mission is to do the boater parade and find some cheap US booze. What, you don’t know what the boater parade is? This is where Canadian boaters arrive in the US but without vehicles, so they go walking around intensely un-walkable US power centres and commercial plazas in search of liquor to supplement their boat alcohol inventory. We find a grocery store a mere half kilometre away and are able to walk down the highway for a bit then across to the store, but are faced with either tackling a steep grass embankment or a busy road with no sidewalks. The kids and I take the hill challenge and scrambled up, but it is steeper than I thought and have to dig my finger and toe nails into the weeds to get a foothold, and nearly start sliding backwards as the kids look down at me from above laughing. Ana takes the long way around on the road, dodging traffic and the stunned looks from drivers who just can’t believe somebody is walking.
After a quick hot dog fundraiser lunch for 12 bucks in the entrance of the grocery store, we enter and find the beer aisle. The 12 packs of Yuengling beer are $11.99, which seems OUTRAGEOUS considering the last time we were in the US I bought 24 packs for $18. The three litre boxes of wine are also around $18. Since it is early in the day, and we have nothing better to do, Ana and I decide to walk to the next closest grocery store - Wegmans, and see if they have better prices. So we leave the store, walk across a hot parking lot, a grassy field, scurry across a highway, then find a pleasant shortcut through a residential neighbourhood, which has a few trees to protect us from the blazing hot sun. Stella says, “Dad, what are we doing here in the middle of nowhere? Where are we going?”
“Well Stella,” I reply, “We’re going to walk 2 miles through treacherous inner-city landscapes to save a dollar on beer. It’s a value lesson for you kids.”
Of course, the Wegman prices are exactly the same as the first place, so we check the map and se that Target is only a mile away, and are considering torturing the kids a bit more, then realize it is 1:30 and there is a cool swimming pool back at the marina, so I grab two 12 packs of Yuengling, a box of wine, and we Uber back to the marina with a cool dude named Joseph and become his 6,326 ride - information courtesy of the Uber app which is simply amazing. Joseph tells us that the yellow cab company in Erie had recently shut down, which is no big surprise, and I’m sure it’s happening everywhere.
The pool is full of people, but not so full that the kids and I can’t play a round of frisbee, bouncing the blue disk off the heads of other poolgoers, but apologizing profusely each time. Ana and I find two loungers at the pool and enjoy a hot nap in the sun while Stella goofs around and Magnus returns to the bot, not wanting to damage his carefully developed farmer tan. Having a pool at a marina is relatively rare, so we take full advantage of it.
Magnus returns after a while and we play several games of corn hole - this awesome bean bag tossing game that you find everywhere in the US, where you have two plywood boxes with an incline and a hole at the top and you take turns tossing bean bags, trying to sink them into the hold. I consider putting grandpa John to work building a set of these when we get home, as they would make an excellent addition to the Port Dover Harbour Marina. We recently chipped in with our extended marina boat family and bought a basketball net for the kids to use, and so far it’s been a big hit, so we might as well keep on building the activity roster to keep them busy and active.
We finish up this beautiful Sunday with happy hour drinks on the boat and then a nice meal of grilled chicken, salad, rice and Oreo cookies for dessert. Stella was digging through the movies we brought along and found Pet Sematary, (she loves horror flicks…as long as they are not too scary) so we watch that and it is quite horrifying, but Stella just closes her eyes through the worst parts. Magnus hates horror movies, so he keeps himself busy on his phone instead.
Tomorrow, everything opens up again, so our mission is to find a mechanic and get Bella Blue back on the water.