Pleasures & Productivity

Dog sitting in the front seat of a car.

I often fantasize about having a 9:00 to 5:00 job with a physical office to go to. However, there are perks to working remotely – such as running off to Montreal for a week. It was Valeria’s birthday weekend and I could get a $30 round trip from Toronto through Megabus if I arrived on Wednesday and left the following week. I had a free place to stay – so why not?

My first working day in Montreal was a productive one – although not as productive as planned. However, I guess that is usually the way. I set my alarm for 6:00am, but kept hitting snooze until 7:00am. I’ve been having pain in my trapezius for 5 days and the pain was so horrific this particular morning that any movement, no matter how subtle, sent my muscles into painful spasms. I had the unnerving thought that I might be bed ridden for my whole visit to Montreal! I had so much work to do, yet it was painful to type or click a mouse!

Eventually, I mustered up the courage to crawl out of bed and run myself a hot bubble bath. I slid into the lavender scented bubbles and put on Espace Musique while I soaked in the deep cast iron tub. I felt better after and managed to hobble over to Jean-Coutu to pick up some pain relief.

Cup of coffee and doughnut sanwhich at Chez Boris

I decided to go to Chez Boris to do some work. I had discovered Chez Boris on my last trip to Montreal. It’s a nice little cafe which great character. I was hungry, so ordered a sandwich. To my surprise, all their sandwiches were made with doughnuts in place of bread. I ordered one with cream cheese, cured salmon, and sliced cucumbers.

It was pleasant working there on my laptop. The music was the kind that I associate with Montreal and the Batista was dancing away behind the counter. I messaged a friend about advice for my debilitating knot and she put me in touch with Albert, a local Thai massage therapist. To my relief he had an opening that day. There was hope for me yet!

I had been very cranky all morning, but my mint lemonade helped to conquer my foul mood. Once done I completed my morning tasks online, I went for a walk in the sun. It was a beautiful sunny day – a real summer’s day! I stopped in Renaud-Bray to look at music on my way back to the apartment. I always enjoy stopping in there as French jacket design is fascinating and they have a great selection of classical music.

glass filled with maple water and garnished with a mint leaf

I popped into L’inter Marche to pick up some groceries. I thought I’d get some lemonade as I had enjoyed it so much at Chez Boris earlier. However, to my dismay L’inter Marche was charging $5 for a container of generic lemonade! So, I decided to go with the cheaper option: maple water. I had read about it in the latest Food and Drink magazine and was curious to give it a go. It reminds me of coconut water, and goes well with a slice of lemon and fresh mint.

Once home with my bounty, I made some lunch and continued doing work until it was time for my massage appointment. The therapist lived a 5 minute walk from where I was and had a beautiful home studio. I’d never done Thai massage before. It was very relaxing.

White flowers

The walk home was lovely. There was a cool breeze breaking the heat of the day that carried the scent of fresh blossoms. I stopped in the health food store to pick up something to eat on my way to the Web Accessibility Meet-up. The health food store was a source of great amusement. There was a golden retriever sitting in the driver’s seat of a vintage car, women smoking outside the health food store, and beer was stocked by the Ezekiel bread. “Only in Montreal…” tweets were born!

The Accessibility Meet-up was at Place-Saint-Henri metro station. I had heard many great things about the neighbourhood during my time living in Montreal, but had never been there. I was greeted by an urban landscape of graffiti upon my exit of the metro. The walk lead me through a comforting mix of generation old businesses and gentrification to a beautiful park overlooked by old stone houses with wrought iron balconies. It made my Toronto apartment hunter heart weep. Oh to live in apartments such as these…

Red mailboxes on a brick wall

The Meet-up was very small – only 7 people were in attendance. In usual Montreal fashion, the crowd was very welcoming despite the fact I was a foreigner who did not speak the language. Everyone told their story and discussed plans for an a11yMTL Conference in 2014. It was so great to sit in an intimate group of people excited by accessibility. Toronto may have the largest accessibility meet-up in North America, but we lack the sense of familiarity that the Montreal meet-up has.

My workload was haunting me in the back of my mind the whole time I was at the Meet-up, so I slipped out after 2 hours to go back to work. I had been struggling with two projects and the Meet-up left me with inspiration and a new sense of motivation. I worked on my laptop during the metro ride home and spent a good solid four hours that evening being productive. I even managed to get out to Frite Alors for poutine and beer to work until close, then came home to continue working until 3:00am. Today was certainly a day of pleasures and productivity!

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