It all started with an e-mail from my sister Rose Anne, saying that she wanted to visit a friend in Montreal on the week-end of the 17, and asking if she could come stay with us. Now there is nothing suspicious about Rose Anne coming to stay with us, although I was pleasantly surprised that she was coming back so soon after the last time. (Christmas) So I thought nothing of it, not even after Marc told me we couldn't switch ice-fishing to that weekend because he already had something. He wouldn't tell me what. Okay, fine, whatever.
It was when I got another e-mail from Rose Anne, telling me she'd call as soon as she knew what time she would be arriving, that something suddenly clicked in my brain. She's coming on the very same weekend that Marc had something planned that he wouldn't tell me about? That was the first time I thought maybe, whatever it was, included me too.
I went to get some gin a few days before Rose Anne was to arrive, and called Marc asking if he wanted anything from the liquor store. He said, "I suppose you're going to get yourself a big bottle of gin?" I laughed and said both Rose Anne and I enjoyed gin and tonic. So he said no he didn't want anything, and we hung up. But he called two minutes later to tell me to buy Rose Anne a bottle as well, and put it in a gift bag.
My husband is buying gifts for my sister? Things just get more and more suspicious. I figure now, my sister is probably coming to babysit? Or something... Marc is not giving her gifts for no reason... it has to be to thank her for something. But what?
Then, on Thursday, the phone rings, one of the kids answers and takes it downstairs to Marc. Then they mention it was Uncle Cecil on the phone. There is nothing suspicious about Cecil calling the house, and he often does talk to Marc, but he rarely talks to Marc without talking to me as well. Which made me think he might be involved as well. Unless he was calling to talk about repairs to the house or something. But then he called the house Saturday morning and talked to Rose Anne too, and probably would not have talked to me had I not made a comment about how members of my family were calling the house and not talking to me anymore.
Then Rose Anne starts going through my clothes, to see if there was something nice that the shawl she gave me would go with. I thought that was weird too, because Rose Anne does not often bother herself with my clothes. Finally, at some point, when I was sewing stuff for her, she told me I should get dressed, do my hair and makeup, because apparently Marc and I were supposed to go out to dinner with Jane and Cecil. She wanted me to wear an evening dress with her shawl. I balked at that.
I knew something was up. So I was not surprised at the idea of doing my hair or putting makeup on, but if we were going out to dinner, at noon, I did NOT want to be wearing an evening dress and end up way over dressed. I know of no place or occasion where you can wear an evening dress at noon.
So I showered, did my hair, put on makeup, but kept the same clothes. I waited for Marc to get dressed or something. I mentioned to Rose Anne that I knew they were up to something, that I didn't know what it was, but I knew they were up to something, and I guess she told Marc, because he suddenly started making comments about starting work on the pergola (in the dead of winter, while it is snowing outside). Or maybe cleaning up the shop downstairs all afternoon. Nice try Marc, but I know you well enough to know that I will never find you working outside, on a pergola, in the dead of winter.
Finally, Marc gets a call on his cell phone at about 1:30. Since Rose Anne said Cecil and Jane were taking me out to dinner at 12:00, I was beginning to wonder what all the contradictions were about. Marc suddenly started berating me about making plans for dinner with Cecil and Jane and not telling him, and now they were waiting for us and we were late, and... then he told me to go get dressed.
Go get dressed? But how? Rose Anne says evening gown, Marc won't tell me, because I should know where we are going since I'm the one who made plans and didn't tell him and I should know what to wear... so he finally tells me to call Cecil. Which I do and he tells me that Jane is just wearing dress pants and a nice shirt. Which relieves me, because I didn't really want to wear the evening dress. Not unless there was an actual occasion for it.
I haven't eaten lunch, because of course, we are going out for lunch, right? We drive into Montreal, to Jane's sister's appartment, where they are staying, pick up Jane and Cecil, and head off to some Italian restaurant called Davinci's which is supposed to be downtown Montreal. I thought Jane was supposed to be wearing dress pants, so I figured she changed her mind, because she was wearing jeans. Cecil was in cords and Marc was in dress pants, so I just shrugged to myself.
Cecil and Marc were now talking about taking highway 15. Now I happen to know that Highway 15 does NOT go towards downtown Montreal, but rather goes straight north from the 40 (which we were on) towards St-Jérome. I pointed that out to them, at which Marc started making comments about how I should know where we were going since I planned all this with Cecil and never told him...
Marc takes the 15 north and we drive. And drive, and drive, and then he asks me when we should turn? I tell him if he doesn't know, and I get to tell him, he can take the highway to the airport and take me to Cuba.
He wasn't so keen on that, but still, we did turn off to take highway 50 which passes by Mirabel airport. Needless to say, we did not turn off there, but rather kept driving. By this time, I was starting to get rather hungry and wondering when we were going to actually eat, because I hadn't eaten yet. I realized that I had a granola bar in my handbag, so I ate that, but it didn't help all that much. We drove for over an hour before Cecil finally said we were about 23 kilometres away from where we were going.
We finally pulled up in front of a Bed and Breakfast, or auberge in French, and I thought, "Finally, we are going to eat."
It was a nice looking house, and since my aunt used to have a bed and breakfast with a dining room in it, (which eventually became dining rooms only after the bedrooms were converted to extra dining rooms when her business took off and she was doing better out in the country, on a Monday night than upscale restaurants in Saint John NB), I figured this must be the same thing.
I followed Cecil and Jane inside, and there was a man there to meet us. Cecil talked with him a few minutes and then he suddenly asked us if we are going to bring our luggage in.
WHAT?! I don't HAVE any luggage! We're staying here?! Now I understood why Jane wasn't wearing dresspants. But what about my stuff? I brought nothing for overnight. Luckily I always carry a bit of makeup in my purse, but I have nothing for my hair, not even a comb or brush! I sincerely hoped at that point, that Marc had packed a bag for me.
Apparently Rose Anne had thrown a few things together, although she hadn't thought about hair either, nor a change of clothes. (I'd have thrown in a pair of jeans to wear home).
Anyhow, we stayed in the rooms, (let Jane rest a bit, she's 7 months pregnant) and watched a bit of TV in the meantime. (By this time, I was so hungry my stomache was numb and so I was comfortably not feeling hunger pains anymore.)
Cecil and Jane changed into dressier clothes, and we drove from the Petit Château (our Bed and Breakfast) to Fairmont Le Château Montebello, where we were going to have dinner (as in supper).
We ordered beer and some nachos in a pub downstairs, since we were only going to eat at 6:30. We walked around a bit, looked in some of the souvenir shops and finally went back down for supper.
Jane and I stopped beforehand in the bathroom, where we discovered that we actually had made it to Davinci's because it was written Davinci all over the bathroom accessories...
We had a $50 bottle of wine, (which, when shared comes to $25 per couple, oof!) and a four course meal. I had caribou terrine and candied onions as an entrée and cream of aspargus with apple pieces for soup, then Lac Brome duck leg, and finally coffee and desert from the desert bar, which had a very nice selection of pecan pie and sugar pie and mousses and other things. I wasn't very hungry anymore at that point, so I didn't indulge myself too much, but Marc had a sore stomache afterwords.
We called my mom (who knew all about it of course) on my cell phone, while we were eating, to tell her we were checking out rooms for thier retirement (yeah right). She said "I TOLD them to tell you it was overnight." But then Cecil said "But was the surprise worth it?"
And to be honest, even though I'd have liked to be able to pack, yes, the surprise was worth it.
After dinner, we played scrabble around one of the lounge tables in the huge entrance of the château, at which Cecil and Jane cheated to win, so we will have to have a re-match.
We had breakfast the next morning at the bed and breakfast, then drove home again. Marc still insisting that he had known nothing, and honestly, I could have told him ahead of time that we had plans with Cecil and Jane, and poor Rose Anne; I tell her to come on over, and then I leave her alone with the kids, and one extra on top of it...