The Best and Worst of Calgary, continued

Nearly seven months into living in Alberta, and having endured (nay, continuing to endure) my first winter here….I have some additional thoughts on the subject of Calgary. Mainly in the ‘worst’ department. (Full Disclosure: I may have been feeling sick and in a bad mood when I wrote this one……)

Best of Calgary

1. Nectar Desserts

In these tough economic times, blowing $20 on a takeout container of Sticky Toffee Pudding is not something I will do regularly. Even if it could serve six for dessert (or 3 Johnsons). But it’s seriously delicious. I will try and recreate my own at home….

2. Sunshine abounds

If you choose to live in Calgary, you will see the sun almost every day. There have been very few cloudy slash rainy days since we moved here last August. Yay for my Vitamin D levels, I guess. Though I’m not sure Vitamin D can be absorbed from inside the confines of a house, because…..

Worst of Calgary

1. Winter

Calgary is freaking cold. I may sound like an idiot here – ‘what did you expect, Nicola, you are living in the frozen tundra?’ But truly I’ve had it with negative something or other days. And snow that has been on the ground since December 7, 2008. Yes, that’s 3 months ago. I’ve also had it with people – long-term Calgarians – who feel the need to inform me that this winter is most unusual. ‘We don’t normally get this much snow,’ they’ll say, or ‘it’s not usually this cold…in March’ they’ll observe. A fat lot of good that does me – because in the winter of 2008 (or is it 2009), it did get that cold and the snow never left the ground.

2. Snow Removal

While technically falling under the ‘winter’ category, the snow removal (or rather, lack thereof) in Calgary deserves special mention. I took my sister and brother in law to the airport on Sunday. It had snowed Saturday night. Nothing had been plowed – not the major roads or highways and certainly not any residential streets. I could barely coerce my car into the intersection by my house – burned some serious rubber trying to get that little wagon out of harm’s way. Much less figure out where the lanes were on the road. On the way back from the airport, I counted six (6) cars stranded in the median along a stretch of Barlow Trail. I arrived home in a foul mood, muttering something about Latvia probably having a better snow removal system than Calgary. But Jason said Latvia’s economy was actually particularly bad. Whatever.

3. Access to Doctors

We took our oldest to the doc-in-the-box on Valentine’s Day. He’d been unwell for over a month, keeping US awake at night with his coughing. This particular doctor made a comment about the size of G’s tonsils and suggested he see an ENT specialist at the Children’s Hospital. To the doctor’s utmost credit, he followed up right away and got us an appointment. On July 7, 2009. Nearly five months after his February appointment.

I finally found a general practitioner willing to accept new patients. I booked an appointment right away. The first available – May 22, 2009 – more than three months from the date I called the office. As a mom at my son’s school said: ‘let’s hope no one gets ill before then.’

4. Lizard Skin

Is it the altitude, the mountain air or something else altogether…either way, my skin is dry as bones here. The boys’ too. I literally look ten years older in Calgary than when in the humid Midwest. And I’m really not at the stage of life where I wish to look older than I actually am. I apply lip balm continuously throughout the day. My knuckles are cracked and bleeding, and I’ve taken to using ‘intensive care’ body lotion on my face in an effort to hydrate myself. Not sure what my metrosexual English friends would have to say about that.

6 thoughts on “The Best and Worst of Calgary, continued

  1. Where was my toffee pudding last week?? I want to be enchanted and delighted from first sight to last bite!

  2. Oil of Olay lotion for EXTREME dry skin…works magic! Kind of expensive but totally worth it!

  3. Add the Farmer’s Market to the best of Calgary list. The bacon pie is almost as good as sticky toffee pudding (you can tell I’m getting old).

  4. Oh, I put the Farmer’s Market on the first list, so can’t add it again…Theresa, I will go and look for this magic potion.

  5. Claire has had eczema and they have recommended that we put on Cetaphil and then Aquaphor. Both are a bit expensive, but I have found Cetaphil at Costco and sometimes I get a coupon too from Costco.

    I feel your pain about the cold. Is it colder than MN??

  6. Lisa, actually I have to say I don’t think Calgary is colder than MN. I remember walking outside in MN and the insides of my nose just freezing the second I took a breath. I think I’m just getting wimpy in my old age 🙂 Or maybe it’s having kids and feeling more incapacitated by the cold?


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