Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Motorcycles, baked goods, and jewellery: a date night.

We’re a little late in getting an entry out to you; I’d planned to blog on the weekend, and that didn’t work out because Bleeblo, my trusty little pink computer that got us through the entire P:P Wedding blog, died a terrible death. If Bleeblo was a computer, I’d say she had a massive coronary. Her little heart just couldn’t handle the strain anymore, and while Brian managed to go in and transfer her memories to a new computer, it was still very sad. She was three years old, but in computer years that’s apparently 93. I will miss her lots…especially as I’d manage to load her up with old software that you can’t get anymore. Sigh.

We’ve had a run of tough luck lately, for certain. The moldy, dissolving bathroom floor has still not been dealt with by our landlord; our apartment search has been slow and difficult. The job search for Brian hasn’t been the smoothest, adding some extra stress to the cost of replacing (an essential) laptop, so that I can do my two travel-heavy jobs.  And naturally, the first laptop we brought home from the store turned out to be a lemon—this was discovered only after Brian had optimized and loaded it up with everything.

To avoid biting each other’s heads off from the stress, we’ve been focused on our P:P—NEST goal of Staying Acquainted. Yes, we’ve tried to offset the daily life frustrations by getting out together and having some fun around the city. And this past week, we had a great time out for a mid-week date night!

credit: Magpie Ottawa facebook page
On Thursday evening, Brian and I started out to Magpie Jewellery in Westboro. If you don’t know Magpie, you musn’t live in Ottawa; this local chain of jewellery shops is renown in Ottawa for having some of the most unusual and unique designers, as well as a very popular in-house line of sparkly things. Magpie has been a favourite store of mine since they opened their first location in the Rideau Centre, and they are a favourite of Brian, as well, since they donated hiswedding band for the P:P wedding project. We stopped in on this particular Thursday because the Westboro location was having a special showcase of designer Michael Michaud’s Silver Season collection. Michaud’s Season pieces all look like real botanicals that have somehow been turned to colourful metals, beads, and blown glass. The man, in my opinion, is a genius and his jewellry is incredible. A nice bonus: his pieces range from about $45 dollars to $500, so there’s something for everyone. We spent at least an hour there while I tried on a dozen necklaces, many of which I hadn’t seen before. Brian, the most wonderful man in the world, seemed to have as much fun watching me try stuff on as I was. It may have helped that there was crackers, cheese, and truffles for him to munch. I found a teeny, tiny eucalyptus leaf pendant, on the lowest end of the price scale, and Brian insisted on buying it for me. Because he couldn’t surprise me with what it is, he’s decided to surprise me with when: he says he’ll give it to me at a moment when he loves me the most. (Yes, roll your eyes…it’s super cheesy. If you know Brian, though, he’s practically a human-shaped gouda.)

After the jewellery store, we headed out to Merivale Road to the grand opening party of the new Harley Davidson Ottawa dealership. Freedom Harley Davidson of Ottawais the new amalgamation of the two previous Harley shops in town, one formerly on north Merivale, the other formerly at Trainyards. The two shops have joined forces to become one giant, awesome shop in their new great location.

The launch had cake, giveaways, and a tent of sale items. The place was packed, with the parking lot full and no less than a dozen salty biker dudes walking around at any given time. Brian and I don’t believe you have to drive a Harley to appreciate Harley gear (see: the jacket they gifted to Brian for the P:P Wedding project!), so we both love browsing through the racks of cool branded clothes and gear. Harley Davidson, as a brand, puts a lot of effort into their accessories, so that a Harley lover can have everything from an HD pair of leather chaps, to an HD belly button ring. Everytime I see this stuff, I think, that’s so cheesy…and then I secretly covet it, because the styling is just so sweet.

What I do appreciate about Harley Davidson is that they really encourage women to be riders, too. Many Harleys are reasonably sized, so that a woman need not be afraid to manage her own bike on the road. The big fear for women bikers is ‘laying the bike down’ (that sounds so gentle, but we’re talking about wiping out) and not being able to get it back up. The Harley shop here in town routinely has demos where you can practice standing up a bike. And because Harleys are highly customizable, you can have a bike lowered or lightened, if that helps you even more. Annnnd: look at the fabulous clothing!

Harleys have been on our mind lately because Sookie, Brian’s little Honda, has started to fall apart. She’s over twenty years old, and replacement parts are hard to come by. With my goal to get my licence next year, we’re hoping to find a bike that we can both ride, and that means something beefy enough for Brian, but low and light enough for me. Because Brian is so handy with a wrench, we are considering a search for an old Harley that we can fix up into a thing of beauty. So, coming to Harley’s grand opening was a must, not just to see all the bikes and talk with the experts, but also because of this strange bike trial machine…

It’s pretty simple, actually: the bike is anchored on to this big contraption, with allows the bike’s back wheel to spin as you literally turn on and drive the bike. You just don’t go anywhere. Brian felt this was the perfect chance for me to try out a bike and see if it’s really as scary as I think it is. After shoving me onto the thing, and having the staff talk me through turning on the bike, revving the engine, and shifting gears, I can tell you with certainty: it is ten per-cent less scary than I thought it would be. Which means it’s still plenty scary. But give me a couple more tries, and I do think the excitement will trump the terror. And truly, I think it would have been even less scary if I’d had the most basic understanding of how a standard engine works; then, it might not have been so overwhelming when the guy was shouting instructions to me over the roaring, using words like ‘clutch’ and ‘shift’ and ‘third’. I hate how guys assume everyone has been raised on motorized vehicles. Some of us have only just bought their first car a year ago, thankyouverymuch.

A bit more cake to ease the shock, and we left Freedom Harley Davidson of Ottawa with big grins on our faces. Brian was absurdly proud of me for trying out the bike, which is cool because I feel like I gained brownie points by doing it…a different kind of brownie point than Brian usually gains when he brings me chocolate or does the dishes, but an equally valuable type. We went home, ate something simple, and watched Community together. It was absolutely what the doctor ordered: sparkly things, testosterone-fueled engines, and cake, followed by laughing ‘til we peed. It took the edge off, which is great, because as I type this, my second new laptop is malfunctioning.

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