Monday, September 11, 2006

Just what the Doctor (Sean) ordered!

Man do I feel great! I just got back from a terrific 3-day retreat to Sapporo. I was starting to go a little kooky with cabin fever and teething crankiness. I so badly needed to get out of our apartment, Obihiro and my role as the chief sounding board for Keenan’s teething complaints. I started to crumble on the eve of the eve of Sean’s departure for a 5-day/5-night conference in Sapporo. I just couldn’t bear the thought of being super parent for nearly a week without some sort of break beforehand. Plus I’m starting to get all gooey about this being our last year here and I might not ever get to see fall in Sapporo ever again blah, blah, blah! So Sean suggested we pack up the family and spend the weekend before the conference together in the big city. Financially we couldn’t really afford it but emotionally I was already careening towards bankruptcy so technically one cancels out the other. I’m pleased to report the trip was well worth the money!

The drive there was a little much for Keenan and perhaps for Sean as well. For the last 20 minutes or so before we got to the hotel Keenan was just full on wailing in the back seat. I usually come undone when he does that but I knew stopping wouldn’t help any so I just drove on. I thought Sean was going to climb out of his skin. I found myself promising Sean that we would never ever drive to Sapporo again but would opt for the train instead. As soon as I pulled into the hotels single parking spot (things would have gotten desperate if it wasn’t empty) Sean popped out of the car and got Keenan out of his seat. The two of them stood in the shade of the hotel entrance and consoled each other. It was a beautiful thing to watch. After that everything was peachy. We unloaded the car, checked in and went for dinner at Taj Mahal. We ran into the only other JET family in Hokkaido. What are the chances that all 6 of us would end up in Sapporo, on the same weekend and in the same restaurant at the same time? Nutty. It was really great to spend time with another family. After stuffing ourselves with waaaay too much Indian food we headed off to drool at the Patagonia store and then to Robinson’s to buy breakfast for the next day. Keenan conked out early and for probably the fifth time since we’ve been together Sean fell asleep before me. I had a great time with full control of the TV remote until I came across the soft porn channel featuring a young Japanese woman dressed up as Sailor Moon having sex with a teddy bear that was outfitted with a dildo. Is that supposed to be sexy? Too gross for me so I spent a good 20 minutes tweezing my overgrown eyebrows. They were definitely not sexy!

On Sunday I started my day with my first onsen since giving birth and it was fan-freakin-tastic. The best part was I had the whole bath to myself and that meant I could indulge in onsen swimming, which probably isn’t a good idea, but I love it regardless! There’s only one thing better than swimming naked in the ocean and that’s swimming naked in a steaming hot onsen! Fully scrubbed and steamed we continued on our regular Sapporo routine to routine regular ness. Which means Sapporo is the only city in Hokkaido where we can spend a day doing all the things we love to do in any city in Canada. We went for coffee and then we went to the bookstore, which has an entire section dedicated to English magazines. This section always looks like it’s fallen victim to some sort of localized magazine tornado. Being the only decent English mag section in the 5th biggest city in Japan it gets a lot of love and since the mags are so pricey they get a good once over by many folks and are left behind. It’s such a novelty reading magazines here I find I pick up many titles I wouldn’t even glance at back home. In an effort to maximize my titles per minute I don’t really take care to put them back where I picked them up from. It’s apparent I’m not the only one guilty of such a sin hence the tornado affect. I also looked at lots of books for Keenan and fell in love with the “My very first (insert-numbers, colors, shapes and words-here)” by Eric Carle I’m gonna have to check out for the complete set as the format and illustrations are simple yet wonderful. It’s hard to leave a bookstore with just a list of books you want to buy and with no books in hand but it’s just too expensive to ship books back home so they’ll have to wait. I’ll get a few for Keenan and that’s about it. Next on our check list…Yodobashi Camera to check out the Nikon D80. The ultimate “we’ll never need another camera” camera. It is a beautiful instrument. The D70s is already pushing my price limit though so Sean’s gonna have to work on me a bit more! We did get a really nice family photo taken of us by the gal promoting Canon cameras! She was demonstrating the speed at which you can take a photo and print it off so we got a free 8 x 10 of the 3 of us! Our usual route brought us to the Patagonia outlet next. Sean has become fast friends with one of the sales staff who is a member of the Surf Rider’s Foundation and they’re always so pleased to see each other. It was a little too hot in there for me and Keenan was getting hungry so I had to do a quick once over of the place which made me kind of sad. Sean did find me a great Watergirl shirt, which he bought me as an early birthday present. Happy Birthday to me! After that we beat a path to the train station which is a mega, multi floor mall you could spend a week in and never see every store. It makes the West Ed mall look like a corner store. The main target here was Akachan Honpo, which is a whole floor, devoted to kids stuff. They have a great comfort station and I fed Keenan there and we picked up the next size in cloth diapers as well. As I was feeding Keenan I noticed that his second tooth has broken through! This one was way easier than the last one! We had lunch and then headed to Jupiter foreign foods where we bought exotic things we can’t buy in Obihiro like green Greek olives, oats and mushroom ravioli! I popped went to the Gap and picked up a pair of swim trunks for Keenan for 3 bucks and then we wearily made our way back to the hotel in the rain. We treated ourselves to Robinson’s sando’s for dinner and a Java Chip frappacino. Then back to the hotel again for my second onsen of the day and some much deserved sleep.

After Sean left at 7:30 am for his first day at the conference I got all of our stuff packed while Keenan had a nap and then we headed to Starbuck’s. I had a mocha and a scone and Keenan flashed his big blue eyes and flirted with a very cute little girl in a Burberry dress. Being a year older she was 3 times his age and the high-end dress and $500 Aprica stroller meant serious trouble in the future so he had to leave her broken hearted! Besides she was from Honshu and we had to return to wee Obihiro! Speaking of which I packed up the car and Keenan and I hit the road rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the week together.

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