America 2022 – Day Nineteen

American nights coming out of that dash
Going big time on a little bit of cash
Raising one up and singing along
Living the words to all those songs
American nights lighting up that sky
That bottle-rocket going off look in her eyes
Ain’t nothing better, no there ain’t nothing like
American nights
Yeah, these American nights

– Parmalee

Sunday 4 September

Great to get a good night’s sleep overnight. Woke up around 8am and went out for a walk along the Prairie Path. Cloudy today, making everything a bit sweatier. Felt good to get out there, though, after all the food and beer from yesterday. I always feel better having done 5km or more each morning.

It started drizzling later in the morning, just when we were all headed around to Mike and Jane’s for Ava’s fourth birthday party. There were 52 people – 26 adults and 26 kids – in their backyard, and the focal point of pretty much everyone’s attention was the unicorn-themed Bounce House (or, jumping castle, as we call them at home) which was a huge hit with everyone.

Thankfully the rain basically held off for the duration of the party. A few stray drops here and there, but nothing more serious. Pizza and cake for lunch, and more than a few High Noon’s (vodka with sparkling water and real fruit juice) as well. It was my first time drinking them, but they’re all the rage here and easy to see why. Not much more potent than a light beer, and a great flavour. I had pineapple, grapefruit and watermelon flavoured ones.

It was great to see Brian for the first time, and to catch up with a lot of other people – the Longhini’s, Rovik’s, Weller’s, Hladik’s and other Alley’s were all in attendance. As was Mike DeLaRosa who came to the Sox game with us on Tuesday, who invited us to his place this evening to drink “whiskey, tequila and High Noon’s by the fire” along with a bunch of other adults, as tomorrow is the Labor Day public holiday, so no one will be working.

We hung late at Mike and Jane’s to help Mike pack up from the party. Ava liked her kangaroo and koala puppets. Bri had dozens of questions about what we did and did not have in Australia. She’s a fun kid with a really bubbly personality. At one point she asked us if we thought she should try a High Noon. Needless to say, we did not. Maybe wait another 14 years, Bri. And as far as our selfie game went…well, we got at least one good one out of the three.

Enjoyed a very restorative nap when I got home. We were meant to be having dinner with Brian and Debbie tonight but Brian was a little under the weather tonight so we are postponing to Thursday. Ate at 302 Wheaton downtown: a very nice outdoor spot where I had a chorizo burger and some (over-cooked) onion rings. Mother Nature tried her hardest to spoil the outdoor part, spitting rain on us throughout the meal, but nothing serious. It has been noticeably cooler today than the last couple of days (which I don’t mind too much), but will get warmer again later this week.

Over to the DeLaRosa’s around 8:30pm – Scott, Mike Alley and Allan were there. Mike DeLaRosa has what could only be described as a giant house, featuring an outdoor entertaining area that is turned into an indoor one when blinds are lowered, and a huge backyard with a fire pit. We watched football for a while then went down to the fire pit, drank beer and High Noon’s, and largely listened to Mike’s hilarious stories about things that have happened to him at weddings. Very entertaining stuff. We ended up talking well into the night, and it was actually 12:30am before we made a move. Another late one, but definitely another fun one.

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