Huge Pants

The truth is more important than the facts

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), US Architect

October 8. Friday.

So off we went, extremely tired and bleary eyed into the rush hour traffic of Cleveland in search of a TJ Maxx store from where we hoped (and succeeded) to get our free Olympic Gymnastics DVDs. It was in this store that I was reminded just why exactly I love going to the USA. Huge Pants. I have recently been on a search for anything in Canada sized at an XXL or larger. My search to this point has been futile other that ‘specialty’ stores which manage to make me both embarrassed and angry at the same time. In no other place will people openly celebrate your uniqueness and readily strip you of all your money than in George Richard’s Big and Tall. Their philosophy seems to be “Hey fatty, you’re a jolly guy, let me charge you twice as much for these ridiculously large pants.” The only solution – Go to the States where not only do you not need to go to anything as ludicrous as a “Big and Tall” store to get clothes for the XXL, but you can find racks and racks of the same clothes everyone else is wearing but at appropriately immense sizes. Now I am not complaining because I can’t get clothes to fit, but rather that I just can’t find baggy clothes to enable me to move around freely while coaching gymnastics. But TJ Maxx to the rescue… I was in XXL heaven and managed to snag some wonderful shorts not only in the right sizes, but also at about 30% less.

“Y’all are gunna see me agin reeeeal soon” I thought to myself, massive pants slung over my shoulder…

We departed Ohio en route to Erie Pennsylvania where we dropped into a local grocery store to stock up on Red Bull (not that cheap!) and goober (they didn’t have my flavour). $71 later we started out on the final 2 hours to Niagara Falls and our next stop, the Travelodge at the top of Clifton Hill. This particular hotel promised a Jacuzzi in the room and proximity to the Casino and the Arcade which I loved last time I was there. We arrived in the early evening and decided that the Casino should be our first stop and while Nicole headed straight to the main Casino, I headed to the Arcade first to revel in the Blackpool tackiness that I was raised on. After about 45 minutes of coin drop, skeeball and whack a mole I turned my winnings into a cute furry Tiger and headed for the den of iniquity. I met Nicole at the doors and since she was not carrying a large bag over her shoulder with “SWAG” written on the side I determined that her search for the jackpot had been unsuccessful. We headed inside and while she went once more into the jangling alleys of glittering machines, I headed for the cool green tables of the Roulette wheel. It didn’t take long for us both to exhaust our predetermined stashes and so we decided it was time to get some food and headed back to the hotel to ask about the proximity of the Red Lobster. It was all you can eat shrimp and I wasn’t going to miss that… The only thing better is the all you can eat crab legs which I will happily go for several times when it finally returns. We hopped in the car and headed to the restaurant, Nicole happy to finally get her hands on more crab legs and I was delighted to have nonstop garlic shrimp delivered to me seemingly at will. It was 90 minutes later when they wheeled us out in a wheelbarrow and poured us into the Jeep.

The room was a sight for sore eyes since those who know me best are familiar with my complains about not having a bathtub in which to spend lazy hours. There was a tub right in the room, not in the bathroom, but right in the room with the bed from where you could watch TV. Needless to say this hotel at half the price of last night’s took my vote by far. Even though we have bought a house with a soaker tub and are only a week from moving in, there was no way I was passing up the opportunity to soak my aching back. Eventually I dragged my wrinkled but happy behind into bed and was probably asleep before my head even hit the pillow…

The next day was a dose of reality… We left at 6 again in order to get back to the city in time for coaching stopping only very briefly to say hello to two very sulky cats and to grab some clean clothes. After coaching was done I think we both spent the majority of the day either sleeping or complaining about how tired we were. Suffice to say that we did not spend the day packing, a decision that would come back to haunt us as the week wore on.