Wha? What was that whooshing noise? Was that summer?

But before I bemoan the fact that summer deserves a speeding ticket, there is one thing I forgot to mention about the spa hotel in Italy. The missus and I did partake of the spa facilities but being a European spa, a lot of them are to be enjoyed naked. So we donned our best nude outfit and hopped into the sauna. We sat there for about five minutes feeling very European until another guest joined us and then we felt very North American. With that out of the way, on with the show...

Despite the rather fleeting nature of the season, we did jam-pack it with kid-friendly, parent-stressing activities. After our sojourn to London and Italy, Syd and I made our way to Calgary for some PG-rated debauchery. The following weeks saw us in Calaway Park, Drumheller Dinosaur Museum, and Heritage Park along with the usual haunts (namely Build-A-Bear in Chinook Centre where Syd constantly reminds me that "they're hiring, daddy").

Speaking of inheriting from her mother: We were preparing for bed...or rather, she was in the washroom while I sat in bed reading, waiting for my turn. Eventually she called me in to show me what she had been doing: namely cleaning the bathroom. She had organized the shampoo, soap, lotions, etc, and had scrubbed out the sink. I congratulated her resourcefulness with as much enthusiasm as I felt it deserved and proceeded to inaugurate the clean sink by brushing my teeth. As I left the bathroom, I heard a stern "DADDY!" and turned to face Li'l Liza with her fists firmly on her hips and frighteningly familiar look on her face. "Ye-es?" says I, meekly. She points to the sink: "I. Just. Cleaned. That."

It also included Syd's first camping trip. And if I had any doubts as to who her mother was (not that I would, of course, I was there after all), they were squashed with the first thing she said when I told her about the trip: How will I wash my hair?

We also managed a two-week tour of Winnipeg, Virden, Brandon, and Kenora. Kenora saw us camping in a manner more befitting the girls. I.E. We hunkered down at my parents' cabin which, to give you an idea how rugged we are, has high-speed internet access and a hot tub.

While on the lake, we had campfires, swam (briefly), and went boating. There was a failed attempt at tubing. Syd was very brave right up until the point where I said, "OK, here we are. Get in." Alas, the only way to show her how "easy" it was was for me to get in and do some tubing myself. Which meant Liza was driving and Syd was "spotting". Except she forgot what the hand signals were and thought daddy was playing a nice little game whenever he tapped his head. She usually responded with a big grin and by patting her own head to show me that she got the joke. Come to think of it, maybe she *did* know the signals...

Now summer is over and I am half-anticipating, half-regretting the next two weeks in Calgary on my own where, on one side, I'll miss the opening strains of "Back to School" and on the other, finally be able to go to some movies of my own choosing. Seriously, I had the shakes. First weekend flying solo consisted of Harry Potter, Superbad, and The Bourne Ultimatum within a 24-hour period so all is good for the time being.