Thursday, February 05, 2015

One Night In Kemptville - Pt. 1

One night, this past fall, I tempted fate in a little town called Kemptville, Ontario. The night was September 26, 2014.

It was the week of my birthday, and as luck would have it, I had just started working at a lumber yard that very day of my birth - 38 years later. "How ironic", I thought, "that on the day of my birth, where most people relax and drink libations, here I am screwing down plywood floors on my hands and knees." I was in an empty warehouse, working alone for the better chunk of 8.5 hours, and I heard the rattle of electricians below me playing with conduit pipes. Later that night, some of my best and funnest friends in the world (Amanda, Carey and Paulina) showed up on my driveway in Nepean, and started yelling 'HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAY' embarrassingly at the top of their lungs, most likely waking all 8 pm bed ridden families in the nearby vicinity from their ho-hum housecoat slumbers. After heading downtown, Joel, one of my oldest and dearest pals, showed up to meet us at a pub. Sore from my first day at the yard, I pushed myself into party spirit and drank some free microbrewed beverages and ate some lovely snacks at the Manx and later at Sir John A on Elgin Street. Jules met up with us for a few bottle tips, but didn't stay long as she was ill. I also drank a shot that had a mountain of whip cream in it, and nearly tossed my cookies. Later that night, the five of us ate cake by the Ottawa river - it was a cake that Amanda had made. And it tasted heavenly. Joel ended up dunking his head in the river while Carey and Polly held him by his feet. I'm pretty sure I wanted to follow him down, but I don't think Amanda let me. It's nice to have a level-headed friend like Amanda in un-level situations.

The week went on, I worked, and Joel had mentioned to me earlier that week that he had needed help re-pouring the foundation for his boat house. This meant a few things:
1. A full truckload of concrete was coming
2. He had planned it for a Saturday afternoon because
3. I was going to be singing a song with my friend Noelle at The Branch in Kemptville on the friday night before and
4. I had planned a massive birthday party with basically all of my friends from the region

Unfortunately, the concrete company contacted Joel on the Friday and told him that:
1. Concrete trucks don't pour a full load in the afternoon and could only come at 7 am
2. There was no backing out because it was guaranteed
3. A team of people would be best.

And again - another wrench.

Unfortunately, Joel's crack team of people consisted of himself, myself and his cousins Steve and Jill. With the changed time of 7 am, Steve and Jill were now unable to make it, and so Joel was stuck with little or no help. I got his cry via text while I was at the lumber yard, ready to get into party mode, at about 4 pm on the Friday. I felt angered at first, but then I realized how selfish an emotion that was - Woe was me to be stopped from a fun social gathering. While painting a massive snow scoop for a forklift, I stopped for a moment and looked at a dead blue sky and I realized that if I needed help, Joel would have done the same. So I opted in. Joel was so gassed that I was coming that he even offered to come to my birthday party, and drive me to the cottage that night - whenever the night would end.

I knew that this night would either kill me, or change me.

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