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Bicycling in Winnipeg
– putting off my departure for the lake

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The summer of 2011 is not going entirely as planned.  I had thought that I would go to our Québec cottage in early July, with Heather remaining in Winnipeg for a while, to attend to her law practice.  A version of this has been pretty much our normal style for many years.

Most often Heather would drive down to Québec with me, stay for a week or so, then she would fly back to Winnipeg, and towards the end of my stay at the lake would return, to stay there with me until it was time for us to drive home together.

Last year she flew home, then returned to the lake for two more weeks, and flew home again.  Much later I drove back to Winnipeg on my own.  So this “partly-together-partly-separate” practice is normal for us.

This year, as part of our trip to a family wedding in Ottawa in June, we decided to include a side trip to the cottage.  It proved to be a really good decision, because we had a delightful and tranquil week together at the lake.  Once we returned to Winnipeg, I thought I would shortly be on my way back to Québec to stay for an extended period, until Heather joined me there in August.

Then her mother broke a hip.

It was a second hip fracture this year for my ninety-three year old mother-in-law.  She has been in medical care continuously since the first one in January, and the second fracture, occurring simply and spontaneously while she was in rehabilitation from the first, set everything back very badly.  Heather began going to the hospital daily to be with her mother, and we even started to wonder if all of this would soon result in a funeral.

It was definitely not the time for me to say, “Well, I’m off to the lake, now!  See ya!”

So I stayed in Winnipeg for the first two weeks of July, mostly trying to be a moral support 1 for my spouse.  When she wasn’t working or visiting the hospital, we would do things together, like visiting friends or going for a drive in the country.

But I still had considerable time to myself, and at some point I discovered the pleasures of cycling.  Going out on a bicycle is good exercise, and it also spends time in the great outdoors, which I love.  It turns out that Winnipeg has some delightful cycling trails, all accessible from the front door of our downtown apartment block!  I began doing twenty and twenty-five kilometre rides three or four times a week.

When I posted some of my cycling trips on FaceBook, one of my cousins – commenting on a photo where I can be seen pedaling pretty quickly – dubbed me “Captain Winnipeg.”  So, just for fun, I’ve prepared a 22 sec. video (at right) for your amusement.

Meanwhile my mother-in-law has stabilized, and in fact has had a remarkable return to her old self – a little diminished, to be sure, but no funerals need to be planned in the near future.  So Heather and I think it’s probably alright for me to head off to the lake, which I intend to do on Tuesday, July 19.  Heather will continue for a while at her law practice, after which she will join me at the lake for another week or two.  We’ll drive back to Winnipeg together around August 23.  It’s a little on the early side – summer will by no means be done – but there is a friend’s wedding that we want to attend, and we are going on a Mediterranean cruise in October, so that will be all the cottage time we can manage for 2011.

We do lead a rather full life.


1  For some years now I have made most of the meals in our home (except for when we have company; Heather is the better cook); and I am also responsible for the floors.  Naturally, continuing to do these things – rather than taking off for the lake – counts as some form of “moral support,” don’t you think?  I think it does.
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