The weekend before school ended, (Labour Day weekend here in Canada), was party weekend at our new house on the bay. Neighbours from our old suburban neighbourhood came to play and thus we ended up hosting two families. There was pool time followed by BBQ with warm September sunshine. It was dreamlike as we all soaked in the last few days of freedom. Freedom from school schedules, bus routes, early days and nights and eating whatever we wanted.

The end of the first day we celebrated the fire ban being lifted (partially at that time and now fully) in Prince Edward County by joining the neighbours at the shoreline for Saturday night campfires complete with songs and s’mores. Our neighbour, Tom, wandered over to chat happily handing out the packages of sparklers from somewhere in the depths of his shed. Another neighbour, Martha and Glen wandered over, wine glasses in hand, to wish us welcome to the neighbourhood.

“Don’t let your fire get too big.” Tom cautioned Mr. L.

“Why?” Mr. L responded tossing another large log on the fire. “We’re by the water.”

“Did you get your fire permit and call in your fire?”

“What?”

The conversation had caught my attention and I looked in shock. “A fire permit?”

“Yep. Cost something like $15. And you have to call a number each time you have a fire.”

Never in my past small town life did we have to get a permit. This was news to me and Mr. L looked at me accusingly. “You didn’t get one?”

“No. I had no idea.” And I grabbed my phone and punched in a reminder.

Tom chuckled. “Don’t worry, it’s probably fine unless the fire fighters are bored, and then they’ll rush down with their hoses if they see the smoke. The season is almost done anyway just make sure to get one for next year.”

I had a sneaky feeling Tom was enjoying educating the city folk a bit too much, but nonetheless, another item on the never ending to-do list. We all went on with our nights and whooped it up but Mr. L did try to keep the fire as small as possible when trying to have 13 people roast marshmallows.

The rest of the weekend passed by like a golden age before the start of something new and then, the first day of school descended on our little family. The kids were nervous and excited to start their new school and both Mr. L and I drove them on Tuesday morning noting the scores of kids eyeing the newbies. As we waved goodbye, it was with a pinch of missing them and a dash of excitement that Mr. L and I were about the start our week of adult exploring in PEC.

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First stop was hiking. I had heard of a trail in Rossmore, and after tons of internet research believed I had the location mapped out. It was a bust. Through a small park to a suburb called Bay Breezes, we walked with Chip the Australian Labradoodle and checked out this strange suburb in the middle of the country. After we had walked the whole 1 km suburb, we decided to head to the more picturesque trail in Carrying Place on the canal that connected the Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario. It was peaceful and quiet. The waters were still and the only sound was the crunch of the gravel beneath our feet as we followed an obscure road. After that, we were ready for  an early lunch at Birdy’s in Belleville and a couples  massage.

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The rest of the week was a combination of hiking, picnicking, wine tasting and jet skiing. We hiked the trail at Massassaga Conservation with Chip, stopped for wine tasting at Huff Estates, Traynor and Sandbanks Estate Winery. Fell off a jet ski in West Lake, had lunch at Isaiah Tubbs and sat on the soft sand at Sandbanks main beach. We also swam and read poolside for at least an hour everyday. All in all, an enjoyable week.

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Monday morning. After a bit of scrambling, the school at last had a bus driver for our area in the County to transport our kids to school. Still dealing with the insane construction on the Bay Bridge connecting PEC to Belleville, (where the kids school is), we were informed pick up time was 7:30 am. Because we are out in the country, the commute for the kids is longer to their new school. Which means I have to be up earlier to facilitate three sleepy kids to breakfast, to get dressed and out the door. Up with the sunrise no longer became an idealogical item on my to-do list, but a reality.

Two days in this week and the kids are not doing too badly. Me on the other hand? Well you know what they say, early to bed, early to rise? I need to get on that program, quick. Being used to lounging until 7 am or later, with a bus picking my last two kids after 830 am, I was used a more leisurely start to the day and thus later nights binge watching whatever Netflix program was my current obsession or reading until my eyes closed of their own accord. Well firstly, Netflix doesn’t work well out here during prime time meaning 8 pm – 10 pm. The invisible waves that connect us to some tower just south of here are being overwhelmed by all the other people on Xplornet. So any streaming ideally occurs past 1030 pm. (What is Xplornet? A rural internet and phone provider. With no fibre optic cables out here, we have had to resort to dishes strategically placed on our roof that connects us via wireless waves to the closest tower.)  So by the time 1030 pm rolls around, Netflix may be up and running but I need to learn to get to bed. All I can keep thinking is that getting 5-6 hours sleep a night is not going to work long term and the sooner I embrace that sweet old adage and go to sleep soon after the sun sets the better off I’ll be.

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Armed with this new routine, I realized with the onset of September comes a whole new routine not just for the kids, but me too. Add to waking up earlier, I now have longer drives pretty much everywhere and more things to do around the house. I need to re-evlauate how I’ve done things in the past and how it work going forward. A project on my list this week. Some things that took me 10 minutes in suburbia was going to be a major time commitment now.

The first fall storm also hit this past weekend here in The County. I heard that nearby communities got hit pretty hard, but here on the Bay of Quinte, just a lot of noise and a lightning show with drowned out thunder that kept the kids awake long past bedtime and had me worried about the numerous large trees in our yard watching as they bent sideways in the periods of torrential rain. But with the storm came cooler temperatures, ideal of this small town gal. There is nothing better than warm sunny days and cool nights to start the fall off right.

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