I had never experienced a winter storm in Toronto (in fact, this year is the first that I've even witnessed snow before flying home to Alberta--I remember walking to catch the shuttle bus in 2004 in nothing more than a blazer--and I was sweating) and I had visions of knocked out power lines and me being one of those sobbing people on the news who can't make it home for Christmas because all the flights are cancelled.
Alex told me thinking I was going to miss my flight was ridiculous. "You're not flying home for another week," he assured me. Little did he know that I was actually flying home on Tuesday.
When the RRJ's loyal editor booked her flights home for the 14th (we were originally told we couldn't leave until the 21st), I decided that I too, would change my flights. So instead of flying home on the 22nd, I switched my flight to the 18th, to coincide with Alex's birthday on the 19th. I'm tricky like that.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, I realized that a "near-crippling" storm just means that it snows a lot. Sure, people really couldn't drive. But that doesn't affect a northern Albertan-bred pedestrian like me. I pulled on my long johns, laced up my boots and burrowed into my jacket. Snowstorm? All that means to me is a perfect day to finish my Christmas shopping (I hate shopping, I'm not crazy about Christmas and I can't stand crowds.)
The day was perfect. I wandered down the middle of streets, frolicked in the snow and jumped on the King streetcar downtown with a huge grin on my face. Flying out on Tuesday would be a breeze.
Getting home from downtown was not a breeze, however. Exhausted from navigating stores, I went down to Queen & Yonge to catch the Queen streetcar home. A couple of women beside me told me they had been waiting half an hour. "It can't be much longer if it's already been 30 minutes," I figured. So I waited. And waited. And waited. I waited for an hour. By that time, the streetcar hadn't passed in 90 minutes. I walked outside. Not a cab in sight. I walked up to Dundas & Yonge. A huge crowd was gathered at the stop. So I mustered up all my courage to walk to the Greyhound taxi queue in the -20 blowing snow, biting wind. Again, not a cab in sight.
I was 3.5 km from home. I had been trying to get home for an hour and a half at this point. So I did the only thing I could--I walked home. There was a small patch of frostbite on my upper right cheek when I stumbled into my apartment, but I felt like a superior Canadian.
And then it was Tuesday. Chloe picked me up at the airport. We grabbed lunch, then went to Planet Organic to surprise Alex. I was informed by his co-workers that he'd taken a half-day. Chloe and I drove to his apartment. All the lights were off. "Maybe he's sleeping?" I suggested. We buzzed, but no one was in. Alex Dodd was ruining his own surprise.
So we went to go pick up my car, and had some tea with Lorin, who has been watching after my little car all fall. Three hours later I called Alex. He was home. "I'm trying to arrange a delivery for you," I fibbed. "Oh, that must of been who was buzzing." "Yah, are you going to be home?" "Yes." "Okay, I'm going to arrange for them to deliver your birthday package in the next hour or so. But I can't talk long, I'm supposed to go out for a drink with Brie right now. Do you want to give me a call later tonight?" Haha. Trickery, indeed.
He had no idea.
However, when your boyfriend has no idea that you are going to surprise him by arriving 5 days early, he's not quite prepared.
Yesterday, I drove 3 hours to Cold Lake to see my family optomitrist. Predictably, he has no idea what's wrong with me. But apparently I'm waaaaaayy blinder than I was a year ago. So I'm getting new glasses, which is exciting. And I have a new eyedrop to try out. I have faith.
At least driving makes me feel like myself again.