Chase the checkered flag

Girl in go-kart
This pic of Clare says it all

With summer approaching the finish line, we shift gears from lazing on the dock to back to school planning and preparation. But before we cross that finish, we try to squeeze in as many fun activities as possible during those last few laps.

Last weekend we doubled the fun and took our pit crew of eight birthday party goers go-karting.

I’m not a speed demon on the highway. I’m a very responsible driver, but on a go-kart track, all that changes. As soon as they start your engines, I apply full throttle to the gas and speed out of the gate, rallying driving through the course and trying not to brake on the curves.

Mom and girl in a go-kart
Go-kart selfie

It was especially fun watching the kids tear up the track. You can see it on their face. The feeling of power and control of operating their own motorized vehicle, and sheer joy and exhilaration of racing at high speeds and beating the adults. The grins were a mile wide.

I had a flash back while we waiting to go on the track of one girls weekend where we had booked to go tree top trekking at the new rope course and zipline at Santa’s Village in Gravenhurst. The only other time I had been ziplining was in Costa Rica in the mountains and rainforest, so I was pretty disappointed when we arrived and the entire course was in a compound that was barely a few hundred feet wide. It was their opening weekend and they overbooked, so we spent most of our time waiting on the ground or on the tree platforms. I was bored out of my skull in about 10 minutes.

As I’m standing up on the platform in the trees, I can hear the roar of go-karts to the right of me. All I could think of was getting behind the wheel and ripping up the course. I’m ashamed to admit I bailed on my girlfriends and spent the rest of the day on the go-kart track instead of testing my mettle tree trekking.

This week’s #HappyAct is to start your engines and cross the checkered line at your local go-karting track. Plan a few fun things to do this last week of summer. Have fun everyone.

Girl in go-kart
Grace in car 71
A beautiful night for a race

Do something adventurous

Young man in the 1930s standing in front of an airplane
John Gillies, the pilot

My father was a creature of habit. He had five shirts in his closet, one for Monday to Friday. He ordered the same meals when we went out for dinner and always golfed on Sundays in the summer. The neighbours set their clocks by his daily walk with our old dog Bailey.

When my Dad passed away 12 years ago, we held a celebration at a restaurant. There were lots of laughs and drinks raised in his honour, which is exactly how he would have wanted it. When we were putting together a small display for the restaurant, the full richness of my Dad’s life starting forming in the pages, and it struck me that my dad had a hidden adventurer in him.

There were pictures of him fishing in Northern Ontario and playing trombone at the Palais Royale in Toronto. There were photos of him standing nonchalantly in an airplane hanger in front of the plane he flew when he was in his 20s. There were photos of him meeting the Queen of England (as the press coordinator for the Royal tours in Canada in the 70’s, he met most of the royal family several times and dined on the Royal yacht).

I like to think there is a bit of a hidden adventurer in all of us. In many ways I am like my dad, a creature of habit, but with a hidden adventurer waiting to explore the world and the next adventure in my life.

This week’s #HappyAct is to do something adventurous. While often it’s the small moments and gestures in our lives that bring us the most joy and happiness, we all need a bit of adventure. My adventure this week will be tree top trekking in Muskoka next weekend with my girlfriends. And yes, I’ll be bringing my bug zapper!

To all you Dads out there celebrating Father’s Day, I hope it’s one of the best days of your life, and to my own wonderful husband, the “President Choice of Husbands”, thank you for being such a wonderful partner and father all these years.