Monthly Archives: September 2012

Bike Shopping or Marriage Counseling?

In the spirit of embracing Calgarian life, the hubby and I decided to go bike shopping. Little did we know we actually opened Pandora’s box by innocently embarking into the absolutely massive world of bicycles. Let me tell you, for novice cyclists like ourselves, it is no easy feat. From Walmart to consignment to specially shops, we had been on the hunt for a while. We finally found ourselves at a local bike shop, close enough to our apartment so that we could walk there and make the return trip on our hot new wheels. The story goes a little something like this:

I wanted something called a ‘cruiser.’ You know, those really old school vintage bikes with a modern twist, they’re making a huge comeback, or so I’ve been told. I wanted the ladylike chique, European element. More importantly, I liked the huge boat-like saddle (otherwise known as a seat to us not so well-versed in bike lingo.) It’s basically like sitting on a little cloud of bike-heaven. What sealed the deal for me was the cute wicker basket attached to the front, which was made by an actual basket company, thank you very much. So that was my choice.

My hubby on the other hand, was convinced he needed something, “sturdier, to ride on rougher terrain.” Which simply meant he wanted something that looked cooler. My beauties were on the first floor, so we ventured to the second level of this bike haven to look through about 200 different bikes. Yea, I counted every single one. At this point, Rick, who made quite the impression on us, started to ask the really tough questions. As soon as my babe picked out what I think was a souped-up hybrid, Rick looks at us and asks, “Are you guys planning on riding together?”  Well that was the general idea, Rick. But of course, the husband wasn’t so sure.

He proceeds to tell me, and I quote, “If you try to keep up with him in a cruiser, you’re going to be very angry with him.”  I assured Rick we didn’t need any more anger in our relationship, we were doing just fine in that department on our own.  My beautiful cruiser was too bulky and heavy to take even semi-athletic rides around the park. They’re made for extreme leisure. This, and the keeping up with hubby comment, quickly changed my choice to a happy compromise to what I’m told is referred to as an upright-hybrid. They had my colors, my size, and a modern detachable basket to boot. Ok hubby, your move.

He meanders over to the mountain bikes and chooses one he likes. Rick of course feels obligated to state, “Well if you get the mountain bike you won’t be able to ride on paved paths with your wife.”  With more than a few seconds of evil looks directed towards my beloved, I interject at this point and supply Rick with the information that we do, in fact, live in Houston, Texas with not a mountain in sight.

If anyone knows their engineers, I’m sure you can imagine how long we were in that bike shop. With two bikes narrowed down, he finally was able to take two test rides. On each bike. Gotta love him 🙂

Here they are, the veritable fruits of our labor and a few shots from our first bike ride around Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary:

These photos were actually taken about a week ago. By now fall has officially set in at Prince’s Island Park, but more on that later.


Take a Book, Leave a Book

I am trying to embrace the Calgarian lifestyle which I can unequivocally define as “cool.”  I don’t mean weather-wise, at least not yet anyways.  No I mean cool as in “tattoos, coffee, and bikes.” Those are the three words that stick out in my mind as I roam the streets searching for adventure. But nothing is cooler to me than books.

Located on Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary – This is why I feel safe in Canada.

A large part of me fell in love with Calgary when I first saw this. I actually saw it being used right in front of my eyes by an elderly man who seemed to be homeless (you can never really know.)  Having been raised in a way where going to the big city library on the weekends was what we (my sisters and I) considered to be the funnest possible activity, reading and books have a special little place in my heart.  From bodice-ripping historicals to hobbit-esque fantasies, I love that feeling of being whisked away into another world and being startled out of your trance by say an airport telecom.  To be lost in book-world in the middle of bustling Schipol International Airport is pure wizardry.

I don’t know of any other city where something as innocuous as this public book shelf could work. At least I haven’t been privileged enough to live in a place like Calgary before. Although being a Petroleum Wife, I may have that opportunity sooner than later.


New Assignment: Shipping Sagas

So instead of going all the way back to our first assignment in Doha, Qatar. I’d like to write about something a bit more recent. A few weeks ago my husband and I received word that we’d be embarking on a new adventure. I use the term adventure quite lightly as I never would have imagined a place like Calgary, Alberta in good ol’ Canada to put up much of an adventure to be honest. But you’ll see how I was proven wrong in posts to come.

One of the many exchanges of the Company (dum dum dummm) moving us to a new place for work-related reasons, is the fact that a professional moving company wraps up and expertly packs away our belongings to ship to our new destination. Sounds great, right? I really would be lost without their services. But before they’re even booked to come to your house, you have to provide the Company and quite literally a series of different “expat advisers” an itemized inventory of all the things you’d like to ship with you. So in case your prized Beauty and the Beast mug from that family trip to Disney World years and years ago gets smashed to pieces, they will pay you back the $4 it is worth (Can anyone sense the irony, please?)

This move was relatively simple in the sense that the US and Canada share the same electrical socket, and also we wouldn’t be shipping any furniture since we knew we’d try to find a fully-furnished apartment to stay in for the 6-month duration of our assignment. Neither my husband or I had ever been to Calgary, so we really weren’t 100% sure what we were getting ourselves into. Not really sure what we’d need either.

Of course I set aside the few winter clothes we’d amassed over the last few years (living in Doha and then Houston doesn’t really prepare you for heavy winters.) Once the clothes were done I literally scourged the house for my necessities. From my yoga mat (which wasn’t as much of a necessity as I thought it would be), to packs of toilet paper I had stocked up on from Costco. Why not right? Hey, I knew we weren’t going to be stuck in no-man’s land, but if I had extra shampoo and laundry detergent laying around, why not make good use of it?

Behold, my all-encompassing inventory (without the estimated values, no judgement needed here.)

Lessons for next time? I forgot my all-important personal accumulation of recipes (oops, takeout it is) and extra toothbrushes would have been nice as well.

When the movers came, I snuck in a few extras having forgot to put them on the holy ‘list’: a pair of dinner plates, mugs, glasses, cutting board… The boring, not-so-glamourous or adventurous side of being a Petroleum-Wife.


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