The Cannonball

I’ve been in my job a year, it feels like it’s been 5. Work is good and I’ve managed to avoid the 15% per month work travel that was part of my contract. I didn’t think I’d get so excited about not traveling, but I managed to find things to do, like see my family more often, join a dojang and a running group and become addicted to all three.

I built a routine. Something I hadn’t done ever and you know what, those feel-good books are right. Routine is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and oddly grounding :-P. It’s a breakthrough perhaps only for me and +30 years late but there is no time like today.

So I escaped work travel and I was sad about that, but now that 15% travel in my contract is coming at me full force, “You missed a whole year of work travel so we are bumping your travel up to 90% for this year. How d’ya like us now!”

Ok so they didn’t really say that to me and it’s not 90% but for now there is a “plan” where I’ll have to be packed for 5 weeks straight.

That concerns me slightly – WHAT DO I PACK!

A uniform, I’ve decided. Black dress pants and fitted dress shirts. Boring and functional.

And that is how I ended up on Queen Street East.

After a futile shopping experience where the kids in the Retail shops ignored me and what I did try on just didn’t fit, I resorted to the Internet.

Tailored clothes!

Ok so it feels a little like I am back in the 30’s but I’ve also done my research and the price difference that I am paying between something off the rack that sags in the wrong spots, that will to rub to shiny within months and something that is fitted to me and will last year’s, is minimal.

What has The Cannonball Coffee and Bar have to do with Tailored pants?

Nothing really except it is a Toronto GEM and happens to be just down the street from the Tailor. It has great music, the yummiest breakfast bagels (served after 5pm even!!) I have ever tried, plus their coffee is pretty good.

And the only reason I am here is because work asked me to travel, I need pants, I found a tailor and am enjoying an impromptu evening at one of my favourite coffee house’s in the city.

Oh Panama How I Miss You

Oh Panama How I Miss You

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It’s an adjustment getting back from being away and there are a few things I miss….quite a bit.

List of things I miss:

1. Jello as a dessert after lunch.

2. Cafe latte’s from the lobby bar.

3. Nightly entertainment in a language Yo No Comprendo! I did however understand that that one night the dancer’s were performing a rendition of S&M from someone’s bedroom. Am I really sitting amoungst a PG-13 crowd? What kind of resort AM I REALLY AT!

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4. Karaoke, again in a language I do not understand and more importantly a French-Canadian duet of “Lady in Red” ….. ahhhhh

5. Climbing palm trees.

6. Bathroom tissue with a mild baby powder scent. It exists. Odd.

7. Greek style lamb stew.

8. Eating bun-less hamburgers overloaded with salsa.

IMG-20121130-009199. The not so well stocked Lobby Library

10. The rain. Rain on vacation is not the worst that can happen. Being beat-up by an ATV is much worse.

11. The stairs, so many many stairs.

And most of all,

11. Being disconnected.

“She thinks my tractor’s sexy…”

“She thinks my tractor’s sexy…”

The things we’ll do for friends! It was a friend’s birthday yesterday and her wish was to go exploring. The destination? Nashville North.

Like most folks south of Highway 7, we knew about the existence of Nashville North wondered what it was like and if it was anything close to a country bar in Nashville but never ventured out to investigate.

A birthday is the best excuse to journey out and have a looksee. Five of us piled into the car for an evening of discovery.

I left the real Stetson at home (why do I have one you ask?! haha) and opted for my “curious” hat, it seemed more appropriate for such a curious adventure.

Now we did have a strategy going in. One must always have an exit plan! We decided on an early-ish dinner reservation so that an early departure wouldn’t seem so pre-mature. We arrived only to find out the reservation had been lost?

“You might not be able to eat here we are booked with reservations coming at 7, 7:30, 8, 8:30 and 9 and we might not be able to fit you in. I mean if all else fails we’ll pull up a table in the bar area but that’s kind of unlikely, but I’ll go look. If I can’t get you in, there is a Boston pizza just down the road.”

Seriously!?!? We did our diligence in booking a reservations, invested 22 minutes of driving (the website is pretty accurate on this) to come visit this place and by golly it’s our friends birthday how can you deny us!

Turns out the manager worked a miracle and voila a table for 5. I just have to mention this because it was a little funny. Not only was there a table for us, there were many many empty tables that never did get filled up so we do wonder at all the dinner reservations that were rhymed off. Needless to say, we weren’t offended and accept the fact that perhaps we were a little uptight and it’s understandable that they may have been concerned we might ruin the mood. If I was a business owner I may have been concerned too! 🙂

So we made it to a table, we’d overcome the first hurdle.

The second hurdle was convincing our waitress that infact we had been given this table to hopefully enjoy some food.

“Did you guys have a reservation?”

“We did but it got lost, but the kind gentleman found us this table.”

“But did you have a reservation?”

“We did yes it was lost and now we are here at this table, the man over there seated us here.”

“But you don’t really have a reservation.”

“Ummmmmmmm, we did but it was lost and the gentleman over there fit us in? Perhaps you should talk to him about it?”

“Uh, he’s my manager.”

“Ok, maybe you should talk to him about it and if there is a problem, we would be more than happy to oblige to whatever alternate arrangements need to be made – we can always go to the Boston pizza down the street?”

And off she disappeared only to reappear with more questions. No problem, we like this game now.

“Do you want to eat?”

“Ummmmm…we think so.” But now we aren’t so sure! They said they have food on their website and the man on the other end of the phone who took our reservation that got lost said they served food too. We are thoroughly confused, where are we?!?!

She dashed off and found us menus. We had our food and put our feet up to watch…line dancing.

Turns out the place isn’t quite like a bar in Nashville, there are elements that are similar but with Canadian flavour.

I admit it was a little awkward watching line dancing to club music? but apparently it is possible to line dance to club music and they are pretty darn good at it too. Infact so good that we even had our own private show to some kinky moves by one unlikely zealous gentleman!

Besides every third song being a club mix for example, Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”, we did hear a fair share of country tunes. I admit when I have access to XM radio I have been known to pre-set one of the stations to channel 59 – “Highway”. You can guess its country music so I did know a few country songs 🙂

We did try our line dancing moves out, became royally confused at which way to step, turn, stomp! and settled for people watching.

Did you know that bumping and grinding to Shania Twain’s song “Up” is pretty popular? Not Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” but Shania Twain?!?! Who knew!! I mean it’s a happy song but never thought it to invoke such emotions or moves.

It turned out to be a pretty funny evening. Perhaps maybe not one that could ever be re-created the way it all turned out, but Nashville North was worth the 22 minute drive and lost reservation. Like any perfect adventure, it has a story and good memories that make me laugh.

The birthday girl did exclaim at one point

“What happened to my friends?”

What happened is we were confused, trying to figure out how to fit in to a new environment and enjoy it and well we were doing our best to experience that ‘ole country feeling and maybe, just maybe, for a minute we lost our uptightness just a little!