House Sitting in Ottawa
Nate slid the glass door open to let the dog, Sasha, out. By the time we noticed the rabbit, Sasha was already in full sprint, bounding down the porch steps in one leap. The rabbit took off, just managing to stay in front of Sasha’s jaws as the two careened around the yard, Sasha springing over the gate at the edge of the garden. For a moment we thought the rabbit might get away, but it couldn’t find the escape route! Around and around the yard they went! Nate rushed to the porch frantically yelling at Sasha to come back! The rabbit, making one desperate escape attempt, tried to run straight through the chain link fence. In an instant it was over. Sasha trotted back in the house, and Nate was left to deal with a dead rabbit.
As a prequel to our Europe trip, Nate and I had decided to take a one week house sit in Ottawa, where we had agreed to care for the home, plants, and pet of a couple from the city. The rabbit incident happened the morning of our second day of the house sit, so it proved to be an interesting time from the start. We hadn’t planned much for our stay in Ottawa. I would be working online throughout the week, “banking” hours for our upcoming trip, and we had hoped to get on the Ottawa canal and also do some skiing at the Gatineau hills. Other than that our itinerary was pretty simple.
There was a snow hill near the house we were caring for, so we thought it would be fun to take our one year old, Felix down the hill for the first time. After twenty minutes spent bundling him up in winter clothes, we loaded him into the little red sleigh we had borrowed from my mom, and towed him through the park to the hill. It had been warm the day before, so the snow had thawed a bit, and then frozen so the ground was quite slippery. We started on a small slope as a trial run, but when Nate attempted to slide down the hill with Felix, Felix’s toboggan immediately tipped over! Felix was ok, but his face was scraped up, and Nate and I berated our stupidity, feeling like bad parents.
The next day it snowed, and the ski conditions in the Gatineau hills were favorable! We loaded up the car with our skis and ourselves directly after I finished work. My uncle had told me that we would be able to rent a sleigh to tow Felix on at MEC, but when I went in to ask about the rental, the woman behind the counter had no clue what I was talking about. A little confused, she showed me the convertible bike trailers they had for sale, but told me they did not rent them. It would cost $1000 to buy a bike trailer and the kit to convert it over to a ski trailer! She gave me some phone numbers of some other ski rental shops, suggesting I try them. As it turned out, no one in Ottawa rented the sleighs! We went for sushi instead.
After sushi we figured we might as well go for a walk along the Ottawa river, seeing as we had not gotten our ski in. Sasha needed her afternoon walk, so we took her with us. Sasha is not great with other dogs, so we usually just try and avoid them when we come across them. It was 3:00 pm, so I had hoped the paths would be pretty quiet as most people would still be at work. I was wrong. We parked by the river, and then walked away looking for something less busy. There was another bike path along a busy street. There were fewer dogs on it, and it was straight so we could see any dog coming towards us from a long way off. “This will be fine,” Nate said, “As long as someone doesn’t come running up behind us and surprise us.”
“It’s ok, I’m keeping an eye behind us,” I replied. The next thing we knew, a woman and her dog came jogging up behind us and took us all by surprise! We ended up going for a walk in the residential area next to the river, changing directions constantly to avoid dogs!
We did manage to go for a ski in the end. My mom came up from Delta, and took us to Nakkertok, a ski place near the Gatineau hills that has much more gradual slopes. She is a seasoned skier, so she felt comfortable wearing Felix in an infant carrier while we skied. The canal opened up on our last day in Ottawa. Felix screamed the whole skate, so we found a restaurant on the side of the canal, and went for dinner instead. Our conclusion of the trip was that winter activities were not designed for one year olds, and that flexibility when traveling with our little one is a must. We are excited to be going somewhere that requires less layers!