Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation - '09 edition

This time last week I was on vacation. *Sigh*

Somehow, arriving home to discover that one of the cats had decided to use the living room rug as a port-a-john took a little of the bloom off that particular rose, but once the tragedy of a super-stinky rug was tended to it's still sweet to reminisce a little about Lake Week ’09.

(BTW – large rugs tend to get VERY VERY heavy when soaked with a car wash schnozzle thingie. Just sayin’)

The basic recipe for this past vacay time included 3 houses, 1 pontoon boat, 1 runabout, 1 jet ski, 12 people (6 of whom are 18 or younger). Mix well with plenty of sun and water, and baste in leisure. Allow to marinate for a week.

Biff was the Jet ski specialist, running the younger set (and me) all over the lake, skipping wakes, riding the chatter bumps, spinning and dunking and flipping over with aplomb. By Day 2 all interested parties were threatening to turn pro on the go-fast machine, so much was it being ridden. The beauty part was that the marina gave it to us for a relative song, saying ‘take it for X dollars a day for the week; I don’t want to see it until next Saturday’ and because that stated price was less than half what they normally charge, we gladly complied. (OK, I took some convincing, because that thing still ain’t cheap, but the cost-to-enjoyment ratio was high enough to justify the added expense).

A highlight was that my mom’s oldest grandchild turned 18 at the lake. Turning 18 meant, in addition to getting presents and having cake, that he could drive the jet ski. Pretty heady stuff, judging from the face-splitter of a grin he had going on as he slipped the key lanyard around his wrist and started that puppy up. One would think, from his initial turn at the ‘wheel,’ that he’d been doing it all his life. Something about ‘jet ski’ and ’18-year-old dude’ just screams freedom, and he rode for all he was worth. His father’s son, for sure. No apparent caution at all.

There were many long pontoon boat rides as well, one of which had the added extra thrill of seeing us almost run out of gas in the middle of the lake. Rather a surprise, because the marina guys swore they’d given us a replacement boat with a full tank just that morning. (yes, replacement. We swapped out all THREE water conveyances before Monday, trying to upgrade to craft that actually had all their parts in working order. A slight bummer, but not a total buzzkill). Even though we could have been stranded, the traveling party’s spirits were buoyant, because there were so many WORSE places we could have been than sitting on a boat in the middle of a gorgeous lake on a sunny summer day. It’s all about perspective, wouldn’t you agree? s it turned out, we sucked the tank down to fumes and idled into a more-nearby marina than the one we were headed to initially, so there was no coast guarding needed for us that day.

Other activities: carp feeding, boat ride up to where the river stops and the lake starts, diving off a drifting pontoon boat into deep deep water, family dinners, tubing (ouch! my arms!), endless games of solitaire in a sunny dining room, mini golf, hanging at the arcade, lazing on the floating island, getting nibbled by fish, and late-night swim sessions.

Oh, and we had a family concert too! Most of us play some sort of instrument, and Grandma's grand plan for this year was to have us all play together for the first time ever. We got a score for the “Wallace and Gromit” march, and after 3 short practice sessions managed to honk out a reasonable facsimile of music. Instrumentation was as follows:

Me on the horn
Older brother on the euphonium
Younger brother on the keyboard
Biff on the drum set (yes, we brought it with us)
Oldest nephew on alto sax
Other nephew on clarinet
Thing 1 on trombone (Thing 2 was supposed to be on the ‘bone as well, but ‘forgot’)

With experience ranging from 35+ years to 1 year, we were a motley group for sure. Happily, it all worked out, there’s video to prove we did it, it made the matriarch happy, and we all enjoyed it so much we’ve vowed to do it again next year.

It wasn't all sunshine and roses though, as there was a giant spider invasion, a snake in the house, some barfing, and at least 1 near-death experience. I could tell you all about it, but I’ve run out of time, space, and possibly your interest. Perhaps another day, if you beg prettily enough.

Tiff out.

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