Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Into the Fan Cave

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Call the neighbours and wake up the kids, because The Weather Column has some awesome news that will help restore your faith in humanity.

But first, let's talk about the weather.

We are cautiously optimistic that -- maybe you should sit down before reading this next bit -- our never-ending winter is about to be displaced by truly spring-like temperatures.

If we had to summarize your weekend forecast in two words, those words would be: warmier and meltier (OK, those are not real words, but you get our drift).

We have consulted scientific sources -- tea leaves, the entrails of a chicken, Environment Canada -- and we are looking at a definite warming trend, starting today when we should be looking at (Gulp!) a 30 per cent chance of flurries and freezing rain with a daytime high of 6 C, compared to the normal high of 7 C at this time of year.

On Sunday, the weather office predicts nothing but sunshine and a blistering high of 10 C. Then break out the sunscreen, Bermuda shorts and wide-brimmed hats, because it should reach 13 C by Wednesday, meaning the snowbanks in our driveways will be replaced by hip-deep fields of slush.

(Important Safety Tip -- When you go outside, there will be a giant blazing ball in the sky -- scientists refer to this as "the sun" -- and you should avoid looking directly at it, just as you would avoid looking directly at one of those incandescent suits Don Cherry wears on Hockey Night in Canada.)

Speaking of hockey, it's time to share the thrilling news, namely that Uncle Doug wants all of you to head down to the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre this weekend to check out the 40th annual Home Expressions Home & Garden Show.

Yes, they have home and garden stuff, but this year they also have the Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, which myself and Creepy Santa, my three-foot-tall stuffed Santa doll, checked out Friday for our latest Weekend Weather Video, which you can watch by scanning the Blippar symbol in this column or visiting

Creepy and I cannot begin to tell you how relaxed we felt in the cave's state-of-the-art electronic reclining chairs, watching hockey on a TV screen that was bigger than a recreational vehicle and thinner than Paris Hilton, while surrounded by framed hockey jerseys, a replica of the Winnipeg Jets dressing room, an air-hockey game, a foosball game, a bar and a replica of the Stanley Cup.

Show manager Jan Currier, the busiest human being in Winnipeg this weekend, even let Creepy and me slip and slide around on the Fan Cave's most awesome feature -- a miniature hockey rink featuring synthetic ice and a net, a rink that you, the hockey-loving public, are invited to skate on with your very own skates.

Jan suggested my wife could drop me off at the Fan Cave, then check out the rest of the show (tickets are $9.50 and $13.50, by the way).

"It's the 40th anniversary of the show and we've got over $30,000 in prizes to give away," Jan said as Creepy and I stretched out on the recliners. "There's lots of landscaping, lots of outdoor living and we've got all the windows, doors, hot tubs -- it's a one-stop shop for everything you need for inside and outside your home and cottage."

Another excellent way to celebrate the warmer temperatures is to head to the Millennium Library today from 1-4:30 p.m. for the fourth annual Books 2 Eat festival, wherein book lovers, culinary artists and chefs will be dishing up edible pieces of art inspired by books. The edible entries will be on display in the Carol Shields Auditorium and, as one of the highly qualified judges, Uncle Doug will be there to judge these baked books, not by their covers, but by their flavours.

We also expect to shed a few tears of joy on Sunday when we head to centre court at The Forks at 4 p.m. for Manitoba's Tartan Day, a public celebration of the province's Scottish heritage as well as (Sniff!) the anniversary of the signing of the historic Scottish Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. Of all the Scottish declarations, that is easily our favourite. We're talking pipes, drums, dancers, fiddlers and fabulous accents.

And if you see me in the hockey Fan Cave, try not to make too much (bad word) noise, because those recliners are really comfortable and my wife said I could sleep while she checks out the window treatments.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 A15

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