Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sister Wives at the Lake

My older son, Zack, was away at Boy Scout Camp this past week.  He returned today - filthier even than the previous year.  Logan was happy to have him home, but thankful for some time spent with friends while his brother was away.

Cut to a week ago, after all the area troops had packed up and driven off.  After a few moms had their sobbing breakdowns while concerned onlookers debated whether coffee, alcohol, or sedation was the appropriate antidote.  My friends and I tossed out the idea that we should take the younger kids on a mini vacation and wouldn't that be fun?  In true summer fashion we let the idea percolate for a few days before then frantically contacting anyone who owned a suitable rental house on a lake and begging for the opportunity to throw money at them so we could make this dream a reality.  Thankfully we found a large house and confirmed all the details - 22 hours before arrival.

California has many beautiful recreation areas near oceans, lakes, and rivers.  Our last-minute plans meant that we didn't do too much research regarding water activities that each area could offer.  We envisioned sitting on a deck, sipping cold beverages while the kids jumped off a dock into crystal blue waters.  Imagine our surprise when we first saw the lake from shore.  The very name of the lake would suggest sparkly, refreshing water, but it was "clear" that summertime algae reigned supreme.  Our neighbors had angry-looking pit bulls and we couldn't let the kids go out front for fear of a contact high.  In fact, much of the area had experienced quite a hit during the economic downturn.  Half of the businesses were closed and the rest specialized in tattoos, liquor, or smoking accessories - or all three.  I bet you could even get a tattoo of your favorite brand of alcohol or your best glass pipe if you wanted to.  I'm guessing that the dentists in the area moved on first.  You might be hard-pressed to find anyone with a full set of teeth.

The owner met us at the house to go over logistics.  We brought up our concern regarding the amount of algae and he asked if we had a boat.  Nope, must have forgotten to pack the boat.  In talking with friends since our return, the first thing they tell me is "Oh, yeah, that lake's really known for boating activities, not swimming. You need to go out a ways for nice water."  Apparently everyone in the state knew this except myself and my two mom friends.  The owner then suggested that the four children could "swim" in the 3-person hot tub which was unheated.  He also explained that there was great fishing right off the dock.  Carp on one side, catfish on the other (how the fish know which side to stay on is beyond me).  He said we could simply use corn kernels on our hooks to catch 7-20 pound fish which none of the moms wanted to even handle, let alone gut, clean, and cook.  Thankfully the "fishing" was really more of an impatient "casting" activity that kept us all busy.  The kids swung their poles around with abandon and the moms did extreme Pilates moves trying to avoid carelessly flung hooks - think The Matrix, but with  barbed corn kernels flying in not-so-slow-motion through the air, barely skimming our eyebrows.

This is not to say that we didn't come close to reeling in a big one!  We spotted a catfish, swimming toward us.  All the fishing lines instantly converged in that one area and the dumb fish slowly bobbed toward the surface, mouth open.  Not floating, but not really swimming.  In their zeal to catch anything the kids kept dropping their lines right next to the oblivious (dying?) fish.  It neared the dock and again bobbed upright with its mouth open.  This had now become that annoying carnival game where you just have to drop the hook into the fish's mouth to win a fabulous prize.  Still, we could not do it.  I'm sure the fish was thinking "Why are these people hitting me in the face with corn?  And what is it with this house and corn all the time?"

Lest you think this trip was a bust, I can assure you it was a memorable adventure.  I laughed quite a bit, hanging out with my friends and the kids.  We even spent a day at a beautiful, clear, little lake just up the road a bit.  The kids swam and splashed for hours.  The kids loved this trip, played well together, and kept themselves occupied.  The moms drank some tasty beverages and reveled in the knowledge that there were two other capable adults willing to play Mom to any kid that needed something.  Splinter removal?  Sure, see that lady over there.  You need food?  Lemme fix something for you.  You broke something?  OK, I will super glue it while your mom takes a nap. You want me to pull that clump of slimy seaweed off your fishing hook?  Uh, go ask her instead.  I can definitely see the appeal of having Sister-Wives.  Shoot, it's so easy!  It takes a village... and some whipped cream vodka, but we were so on it!

In true form, minutes before leaving we noticed my child was crying out on the dock, clutching his injured hand.  I went running out to help and came upon his friend heading back up toward the house.  I asked, "What happened?" to which he answered, "I have no idea!" and continued on.  The next mom also asked this boy what was going on and he said, "I told him not to do it" and kept right on past everyone.  Logan had pinched his finger in a gear meant to raise and lower boats into the lake, not children - go figure.  After an ice pack and some simple first aid we were ready to go.  In the car, I started having some misgivings.  The children had splashed out almost half of the jacuzzi water during their "swimming" sessions and the only hose I could find to replenish it drew water from the lake.  It looked clear enough but the swampy odor gave away its origin.  I told my friend, "I may have made a mistake using lake water for the hot tub".  She answered, "I'd like to go on record saying I told you not to do it!"  Ah, gotta love my supportive, mature Sister Wives!

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