Here’s a first: My daughter holding a giant insect! Don’t ask me what it is. It looks like a giant grasshopper to me. (Family photo)

Here’s a first: My daughter holding a giant insect! Don’t ask me what it is. It looks like a giant grasshopper to me. (Family photo)

Sarah Simpson column: ‘Puss in Boots’ could have burned down my house

Thank goodness for good neighbours

I’ve lived in the Cowichan Valley for the better part of 15 years now and I’m finding that I’m still having a lot of firsts. There are so many trails and beaches and lakes and rivers and whatnot that it’s not very hard to find myself in a previously unexplored spot — well, one my family’s never explored before anyway.

But there are other things in Cowichan and on the Island, too, that I can’t believe I haven’t done over the years.

It took me more than a decade to tube the Cowichan River. We do that every year now.

It took me even longer to go hike from the base all the way to the top of Mount Prevost, which I did last spring with my husband on one magical day the kids were in school and we both had the day off.

But these most recent firsts are a bit embarrassing.

Until the time in between Christmas and New Year’s Day recently, I had never in my life been to the local Duncan movie theatre.

It almost didn’t happen either.

Earlier in the day I had mentioned to the kids and their dad that perhaps after I finished at work we could go see Puss and Boots at the theatre for the early show. You know, just for something different.

I had also planned to make a turkey pot pie — the good kind with puff pastry on top — to deal with most of the leftover Christmas bird.

So, when I arrived home from work to what I quickly assessed to be two cranky, indecisive kids, I told my husband perhaps it wasn’t the best night for a movie and I set to work making my pot pie.

Then came the waterworks from my youngest. With about 45 minutes until showtime, she claimed she had indeed said she wanted to go and now we weren’t going and that wasn’t fair and blah blah blah.

Not wanting to argue, my husband told her to put on her shoes. That’s when my son went off.

He wanted to go but didn’t want to leave the house or stop what he was doing. Whatever the reason, he was unhappy.

Through all of this, I kept making dinner.

Naturally, when my son decided to go, I had dinner in the oven and still had 10 minutes before it was time to turn the oven down for another 40 minutes or so.

The movie started in 15 minutes. My husband packed up the kids and went to the theatre and got me my ticket as well, while I stayed home and tested the oven’s auto-off function and turned the temperature down.

Because of all the stuff they make you watch before the feature begins, I made it to the theatre in time for the start of the movie and voila! My first Duncan theatre experience commenced.

Never having been there, I didn’t know what to expect but I soon learned that I was just able to walk in, say my family was there, and be waved in. I wondered how I would find them inside the actual theatre but it wasn’t hard because there were only 14 other people there.

The movie was fine. It had been more about getting out of the house than actually wanting to see Puss in Boots. But one thing I knew for sure — I wasn’t going to char my dinner or let my house burn down, in the event the oven didn’t automatically shut off for some reason, just to watch a cartoon cat with a big ego fight a bunch of strange villains.

So, I texted my neighbour and told her what time the oven was set to turn off and would she mind popping over to double check that it did? While I know she would have done it without any incentive, I also told her I’d made two pies and she was free to take one home to feed her family as well.

At the end of the day, I got to watch a movie with my family and turn all of our cranky moods around. We had a warm dinner waiting for us when we got home, and I even got to feed the neighbours, too! Sometimes things don’t always go smoothly at first, but in the end, it was worth it. This was one such time.

A couple days later I experienced another first: we went to the Victoria Bug Zoo. Now, you know how I feel about spiders, so we’ll leave that story for another day.

ColumnistComedy and Humour