Vacation!

It’s Labor Day! That means that summer vacation is over for most everyone, and children and adults alike are whining and moaning that it’s back to whatever as of tomorrow. The Micro-Dragon isn’t one of them though, and neither is the Mom.

There is this phenomenon called natal philopatry, where animals routinely return to the place of their birth. Loggerhead turtles and tuna do this, but the one that everyone knows is the Pacific salmon run where these brightly colored fish make incredible leaps across obstacles to make it back to the home stream.

Sockeye salmon in a stream

The Mom is sort-of like this, as the philopatric mechanisms kicks a couple of times per year as the planet revolves around the sun, and there’s this urge to go back to the home village.

And while driving on the 132 after Capitaine Homard sometimes feels like and endeavor repleat with leaping across obstacles and dodging predators and the inane, she’s not really like a salmon, since geographically the home village is downstream (ergo, the wrong way) and she doesn’t enjoy swimming. Besides, salmon don’t have the opposable thumbs to use technology, and with the advent of GPS and updated cartography, there’s less likelihood of getting lost in Amqui or Campbelton (or Murdochville) because on occasion the Mom’s sense of direction can be a little suspect.

So when we have Labor Day (the end of vacation for most) and the planet’s orbit and rotation slowly changing the season and eliciting the Mom’s natal philopatric response, we have the formula for late summer vacation for the Micro-Dragon in the maternal village.

The maternal grandparents are ready for this. They’ve apparently been harvesting wild blueberries for weeks for Liam Wallace’s antioxidant needs. And the couch has been cleared for the Mom to to the potato.

Steve The Federalist Bear is also ready. This would be Steve sitting on the Micro-Dragon’s rollerboard. Multiple changes of clothes, rubber booties for trampling on the seashore looking for interesting shells, itinerary, pocket money. The works.

Steve the Federalist Bear

This isn’t the first time the Micro-Dragon has accompanied the Mom downstream for some potato. There have already been multiple trips by land vehicle, though what the parentals have realized is that the normal 9-10 hours of trek to cover the 900+ km single direction extends to well over 12 hours as safety requirements mean that Liam Wallace can only keep his little butt wedged in the seat for a couple of hours at at time. Primarily to avoid unnecessary compression to the internal bits and pieces, but his little butt appreciates getting some feeling back on those breaks.

No, we have discovered this newfangled invention called “flying”.

This vacation isn’t Liam Wallace’s first rodeo either: his inaugural flight occurred way back in May. But what’s the difference between May and September migrations vacation? It’s called the two year birthday. This is the artificial cutoff that most airlines including the Maple Leafed One put in place to start harvesting money from traveling families.

One year and 364 days old: $50 and child sits on parent.

Exactly two years and up: full fare, though the trade-up is getting one’s own seat. And Aeroplan. Bet you were wondering why he got a card, weren’t you? The parentals figure that by the time he’s a legal adult, he’ll have accumulated enough to fly around the world if he wants to repeat his paternal uncle’s Atelier de Joël Robuchon adventure.

But we at least have a chance of comparing and contrasting the Spring vacation and the post-Labor Day vacation.

Travel plans

May: all on Aeroplan! And better yet, only one Aeroplan reward ticket (and one set of fees) because Liam Wallace is under the age of two.

September: ugh. Split flight with the outbound on Aeroplan and the return requiring actual money because there are no matching round-trip award flights in the timeframe the Mom and the Micro-D will be  traveling. But… if Liam Wallace has to pay for a seat, he gets his own seat. And his own snacks (such as they are on a Dash-8). And his own Aeroplan points. And checked luggage privilege, meaning he has a broader choice of wardrobe for resting and relaxing while those wild blueberries are prepared for him.

Breakfast

It’s the same flight which takes off at 09:00a, so everyone gets up at 06:00 (give or take) as if it’s not a vacation day.

May: This would be Liam Wallace with his morning moo, his lion pajamas and his AlohaMonkey blanket (yes it’s pink but he’s very comfortable with his sense of gender and doesn’t adhere to stereotypes). Not exactly awake, anime hair in full frizz, and breakfast waiting for him at the table.

May pre-vacation breakfast

September: somewhat more awake, same mop of anime hair, and eating a delicious waffle with late-season local strawberries. Similar glass of biomoo as accompaniment.

September pre-vacation breakfast

Did you spot that hash brown from the Golden Arches? Those used to be purchased by the paternal grandparents for the Patrem. However, since the Micro-D demonstrated that he likes munching on them as part of his breakfast (one of the few potato products he will own up to), the hash brown is now reserved for the Micro-D while the Patrem sort of sits there looking on helplessly.

It’s a paternal family “circle of life” kind of tradition though it’s generally carried out with chicken: whomever is the youngest gets the drumsticks, and when there’s someone younger who comes along, that right to the drumstick is transferred to the new arrival. It’s the reason why the Patrem’s youngest maternal uncle hasn’t really forgiven oh, his birth.

Since Liam Wallace is still not really eating delicious pollo, the maternal grandmother is transposing the hash brown until the time comes that he does want some more poultry in his diet.

At the airport

It’s named after Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who was selected Canada’s greatest Canadian much to the chagrin of many especially in the Chez Nous, but he brought in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and also implemented Multi-Culturalism as an integration policy for immigration.

May: This is Liam Wallace sitting with Steve the Federalist Bear in his new sport stroller essentially pointing towards the exit and hinting “you go now”. Why? The Patrem was in danger of eliciting numb brain to go along with ongoing numb butt by explaining why the airport was named after Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Nothing quite like an impromptu history lesson as vacation is about to start.

May was pretty cold, hence the hat, the space-tech jacket, long pants and socks and shoes. The airport also has bicycle policemen, which is fine because it sort-of fits into the Big Croissant’s purported bicycle culture and there is no way for police to look cool or authoritative while rolling on a Segway.

Liam Wallace and Steve

September: this is Liam Wallace getting numb butt syndrome while wondering why the Patrem isn’t cool enough to have retained SuperÉlite (or at least Altitude 35K status) because here we are standing in line with the masses at the checked luggage drop-off stations. And waiting. and waiting. and waiting…

Waiting in the baggage drop-off line

Those are the Mom’s tootsies in the shot. The projected cool long weekend has turned out to be hotter and way more humid than anticipated, so jean jacket and shorts for the eventual flight.

The Vacationers at Security Gate A

May: seemingly dressed for winter, though probably not a bad idea since the home village has had “enough to close the highway” snow at the oddest times of the year. Passports (to prove identity at boarding), boarding passes, Liam Wallace wondering why the Mom isn’t moving forward into the security clearance area. You can see Steve the Federalist Bear poking his head over the side of the canopy.

The Mom and the Son at May Vacation

September: the maternal grandparents have promised there wouldn’t be snow in the home village. Ergo, lighter travel wear. Passports (to prove identity at boarding) and boarding passes in hand as well. Notice the two of them have the same pink legs?

The Mom and the Son at September Vacation

The Paid Seat

So how’s that paid seat working out for him?

Liam Wallace with his little butt in the leather cushion known as Seat 4F. It’s a window. And the Mom got him a nice orange juice so that he won’t get too dehydrated on the first leg of the flight. Vacation’s starting off right.

Liam Wallace sitting in Seat 4F

So what’s the Patrem doing while Liam Wallace and the Mom are flying downstream? Peeling a small mountain of cipollini onions.

 

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