______August 09, 2015_______

My Week, Up Close

Guess what?  Last week we were  *CAMPING* again!!!!

But *whew*, what a day to get to it!  We started off Saturday with Brian working (as always) and my getting the house in order (feed fish, water plants, do dishes, kids ready to go, etc).  Then he came home and we climbed in the truck and took the load to the dump, returned library materials, went to lunch (saw the uncle/aunt again – weird!), got gas, went to the farm store for critter food, unloaded at home…

And then Brian was off with three kids to go to Grandpa’s and drop off their trailer and pick up the snowplow mount/hydraulic assembly to take over to his friend, Brian.  Not-my-Brian needed a snowplow, and Grandpa’s has been sitting, rusting, so *my* Brian facilitated the giving of the plow from Grandpa to not-my-Brian.  Who’s daughter is my girl’s BFF, and Isaac wants SO bad to be friends with their boy.  Owen went because he’s little and likes to be big-boy.  I kept the middle two home with me, and while the others were gone, mowed the lawn, cleaned out the camper, and started to load it.  Not-my-Brian is kind of abrasive, and his wife has no personality to the point where she’s nearly comatose and doesn’t register other people around her, so I mostly don’t go there.  My Brian, Not-my-Brian, and I all worked together in the same factory when my Brian and I met, and the guys worked together at several different shops, since.  So they’re friends.  ((WHEW!  Too many Brians!!!))

Then he came home, we loaded bikes and firewood and heavier stuff, ended up having an Ice Cream Shabbat (< weird!), and then hitching up and taking off!  We made it to the campground by 8:30, and had the site set up and everyone on bikes for a ride by 9pm!  We’re GOOD!  The boat’s not out, yet (and I’m thinking I want to bring out my sailboat, this trip – the kids have never been on it, and it’s been sitting for YEARS.  It’s time)… but we really don’t want that stuff out on the weekend, anyhow.  Too busy on the lake.

Our neighbors to the east looked to be Muslim or Pakistani or something.  They hung their trash by our fire pit, and sauntered over almost constantly to drop things into it and stare at us. (???)  The people to the south had a satellite dish and flat screen mounted to the side of their trailer.  The people to the north were using our lot as their parking, and had their massive RV parked two foot over into our space.  The hope was that they all pack up and leave, Sunday!  I don’t like peoples.

What a BEAUTIFUL day it was Sunday though!  Holy WoW, I’ve never seen such big waves on the lake we’re camped at, and I’ve been here 38 summers!  Pretty amazing.  It kept the heat bearable, and made the warm water cool when you popped up out of it.

I got S.O.A.K.E.D!!   See, we have this philosophy in our family – either you’re pretty or you’re having fun.  Because if you’re having fun, it’s really, REALLY hard to say pretty.  So I pretty much give up while we’re camping.  I’m having fun.  Case in point:  we went to Stony Beach this afternoon to play for a few hours in the water.  (It apparently has a *real* name, like Fitzgerald Park or Roosevelt Pavilion or something high-falutin’, but since my MOM was in diapers, we always called it Stony Beach.  You can probably guess why.)  Anyhow, I *love* bringing a tube out, plopping down in it on gusty days (and weekends, when there are a TON of boats), and just riding the waves.  Today they were HUGE – like a wave pool at an amusement place!  I paddled like MAD and still couldn’t keep from being carried inward!  They were so fun to ride, though!

We got out there, Brian and I both in tubes, and he plopped down, leaned back too far, went head-over-hindside, and was SOAKED.  It was hilarious.  The kids were making a sand village on the beach (they call it Lake Blue Cheese, I don’t know why), but they saw the whole thing and just busted up!  Then he thought I should be as wet as him, so I’m squealing and trying to get away, and… I got wet, too.  Dadgum boy.

Anyhow, I looked up a while into it, and there was this couple on the beach.  Miz All-dat and her partner.  She was tanning, and he was… sitting.  Eventually he coaxed her out in the water, but she had to look just so and arrange her hair and suit and all the sandy bits.  Then they hobbled out over the rocks (Stony Beach), and past the stones to where the sand was, and they were like, “Waves, cool.”  And they walked around, for a while… I don’t know, by then Brian was trying to grab my toes, and I have a severe toe fetish (NO ONE touches my toes, ever.  Don’t even *LOOK* at them.), and so I was trying to get away and squeaking and laughing and paddling like mad, and he was chasing me… and then next then I knew, they were back up on shore, packing up.  Didn’t get wet past his shorts!  But they looked really good.  Me?  I look like a drowned rat.  You can either look pretty or have fun.  I’ll look pretty another day.

By supper time we were under a severe thunderstorm watch.  We felt the rain would be nice – it would cool everything off – but I really didn’t want trees to fall on our camper, y’know?  We had the bikes tarped and my car stuffed with tubes and camp chairs and stuff, and everything was packed up pretty tight.

The Pakistanis left.  Come to find out, some of them were from NY and some from WI, and they met in the middle, at this campground.  Pretty interesting.  We usually don’t go in until Sunday afternoons/evenings, so being there to watch the mass weekend exodus was crazy.  Just RV after trailer after pop-up after camper, leaving.  I don’t like the weekend camper crowd.  The week-long-ers are much nicer, more salt-of-the-earth people.  Not so invasive, friendlier when you pass by.

My mother’s cousins were also out there.  They camp two weeks in, one week home, all summer.  They’re a lot younger than my mom – in their early fifties, I think.  We usually stop and say hello on our way out to the boat or on our bike rides.  It’s kind of thing.

Anyhow, we weathered the storm alright.  Not so a lady on the other side of the campground.  We got to talking in the bath house Monday morning (my 3-minute friendly while brushing hair), and she said her sister is TERRIFIED of storms and the tree behind their camper split in two with the winds.  Luckily it fell into the woods behind them, away from their lot, but the sister was SO freaked out.  We were back in the woods, so there’s a big windbreak, here.  My mom always camped up by the water – and it’s always much worse up there.

Anyhow, Monday I got the photos from September and October all edited, taken in, and printed.  Kids even helped me sort them chronologically, when we got back to camp, so I made HUGE progress.  And we got to be in the express lane at Secretary of State – that was HUGELY nice, as it was PACKED.  Standing room, only – we were 52 and they were on 38.  But there was an express lane for renewal of registration/license, and so we jumped WAY ahead.  But we were still there 40 minutes.  (The normal line moved THREE people, that whole time!)  My kids did fantastic – but because they were sitting and I was up in the express line, they were using Sign Language to tattle on the others (or tip me off to the singer over the music), and so people were kind of looking at us funny.  Particularly this one guy… he was STARING at me, every time I looked up.  So disconcerting!

I also (((((finally!))))) got Isaac’s savings opened.  We open an account for each kid when they turn twelve and do a bi-weekly deposit of practically nothing that hopefully will compound and help them buy their first car.  With seven littles, it’s the only way I can figure to manage it.  We’ll see how that goes.  I also have kind of a weird thing with allowances.  When they turn 11, they get a dollar a week (because their age is 10+$1), at 12, they get $2, etc.  It’s not chore-based (nobody pays ME to do the housework!), but they’re required to keep a running balance in a checking register in order to receive it.  Anyhow, Isaac turned 12 in July, and I didn’t have his SSN to do it, until now.  Usually we have a memory verse for school but being on vacation I figured we could deviate – they’re memorizing their SSNs, this week!  🙂

We ended up at Burger King, because the one in Hastings (where we went) doesn’t have a TV, and we’re TV adverse.  We’ve been TV-free since 1996.  We do have a DVD and VHS player, so we can watch a movie if we choose to, and every three years or so I’ll rent a TV series and we’ll watch the entire thing.  We’ve done ‘Alias’, ‘Ghost Whisperer’, and ‘Once’… and because ‘Once’ is still on, we’re probably going to cave in September and watch that one.  But in the meantime, we avoid TV like the plague.

Got another racoon in the live trap Monday, too.  That’d be number eight.  *Sigh!*

Then that night we rode our bikes around the point and had a water squirter fight and watched the sunset in one of our favorite swimming places (sailboat launch).  After, we had a campfire and the kids found long stick and set them on fire, and burned them down.  It’s astounding what amuses them!

Lemme tell ya what my better half did, tonight.  He forgot the camper key at home (he stops home before/after work, since it’s right on the way here), and so when we went to bike/swim, he locked up with MY keys, and put them in his swim trunks… and soaked them in the LAKE, tonight.  Which wouldn’t have been so bad, but he soaked the clicker that locks/unlocks my car, too!  Thank HEAVENS it still works!  That was so very not good!!  I was pretty freaked out to find out about it, though!

Second cousins stopped us and fished out a KDL library Summer Reading Program brochure with Lydia’s Supergirl on the front.  She was *SO* mortified… swears she’s never going to another library event again.  (I have one on the calendar for next Thursday, so she’s kind of stuck, but shhhh… we won’t tell her that.)

Tuesday was… not a good kid day.  As in, on a scale from 1 to 10, ten being hellish?  We were at four thousand six hundred and eighty four.  If I was a drinkin’ woman, I’d’ve be sauced by bedtime.  It wasn’t even a full moon, so… WTHeck?!?!?!  I did get a pretty vase with a sunflower arrangement in it for the camper, at a thrift store.  The flowers are beautiful.  So’s the sunflower camper.

And I did have a good mom moment, today, too.  I keep a water bottle on my bike filled with Neosporin, antiseptic wipes, and band-aids, so that if there’s a fall, I’ve got a ‘first aid’ kit with me.  Well, Owen (5) hit Lydia (14) on his bike, and fell.  He. SCREAMED.  No, he S.C.R.E.A.M.E.D.  And she was frozen in shock, and I was further away and pulling tubes, towels, etc… so it took a second to get to him, and of COURSE it happened in front of this campsite *loaded* with people.  I pick him up, unscrew my bottle, and in front of everyone start pulling out my stuff.  One lady who was coming over stopped and said, “Whoa.  You’re prepared!”  I nodded and said, “I have FIVE, I have to be!”  And they all watched me patch him up, give him a hug, and get him back on his way.  Maybe will take a tip from the ol’ gal and stock a bike bottle with band-aids, hm?

And I unhooked the boat trailer all by myself!  (SO proud!)  Parked, unhooked, locked it… the works.  It’s big stuff for me!  I’m learning new things!  So… there’s that.  Needless to say, the boat got put in the water.  Which is good – it’s a nice ‘base’ to swim off of, and dry in when finished and in need of a rest.

But man… for the most part the day was just *harsh*.  Owen’s fall was just a scratch in the brawl that was today…!  It was brutal.  Ethan gulped down silt-water last night and started out my day by vomiting in his… wait, WHAT am I doing?!  You don’t want to hear any of this.  Seriously.  Nevermind.  Just know it started horrible, went on horrible, got worse, and ended catastrophically evil, with a few tiny Mama successes in it.  But mostly?  I really needed to just go to bed.

Wednesday started early, with Lydia’s orthodontist appointment for the month.  It was a beautiful day at the lake.  I took the kids to the point, and the tried to catch minnows, and had a glorious time.  We had candy by the fire tonight and sang folk songs and choruses.  It was a lot of fun… but they were seriously screwed up from having to get up early for the dentist.  On top of the worn-out-from-camping thing.  By then I was looking forward to the trip ending early.  Going home actually doesn’t sound terrible.  And the people started rolling in, too.  The campground was filling back up.  Not as much fun, when that happens.

It was a long day, Thursday.  We were going home – we left the campground at 8:53pm and hit our house at 9:04pm, so… yeah.  It’s not that far to go to get home, for us.  Packing up single-handedly (okay, with the occasional help of five kidlets) went all right.  And I learned to do something new – Aaron’s bike chain came off the back sprocket, and *all by myself!* I fixed it!  Jump back – she’s mechanical, after all!!  I was so geeked!

The kids made a ‘friend’ and mostly played with him while I packed, but… when I met him, every red flag I had went off, and… my day got kind of uncomfortable, after that.  We didn’t leave the site, because I had concerns about that kid/his family.  Which was kind of constricting – when I got tired of packing, there was no going down to the waterfront for a floating reprieve.  By the time Brian came, I was SO GLAD to see him, to have someone else help take some of the worry off my shoulders.  It’s a long story, but the kid invited himself INTO my camper and was nosing around, and asked me to feed him lunch, said his family ‘abandoned’ him at the campground, lied about who he was staying with, stole a pop out of our fridge and took off… I had issues.

I was both glad to be going home to our house.  And at the same time didn’t want to leave the lake, either.  It’s always been ‘home’ – no matter where we lived.  It’s been the only constant in my life… other than my mom, who was a notoriously, insanely inconsistent constant.  You don’t want to hear about that.  But the lake?  It’s *home*.  I’ve lived at that campground.  In more than one way.  Being there is more like being home than anything else.  It’s nostalgia and comfort and *right*.  Even in spite of the people.

Friday was *PAYDAY!*  (insert cheering)  It was also my oldest child’s birthday, today!  She’s FIFTEEN!

Being her big day, it means she got to pick the music (New Kids on the Block and Il Volo), she got to pick what we had for lunch and supper, and we went to this particular small grocer’s store nearby, because they makes THE best birthday cake, ever.  It’s made with ‘bettercream’ instead of ‘buttercream’, and I can’t articulate the difference.  SOOO good!  I’m going to lose ground with the weight loss thing, as a result.  I wish I could feel badly about it, but… *CAKE*.  Love cake.  Food in general, really.  It just *tastes* good, all of it.  Seriously good.  I know salads are better, but… but… I figure have ONE life to live, and I don’t want to spend it eating rabbit food.  I like a good steak.  Corn on the cob, chocolate… I make some insanely good pasta dishes.  And have I mentioned cake?  Should NOT have skipped swimming while camping.  *Sigh!*

Fifteen year old has promised to start running with me.  Obviously not on her birthday, but hopefully we can start, soon.  That would probably help.  And being back home home, I went to intermittent fasting, too.

As for me, I was on laundry, dishes, bill-paying and unpacking duty.  More laundry than I expected, because at 3am, the 5yo got sick.  And continued to be sick until 6am.  I was up since 3am, with a short nap from 7-8.

Lydia?  She gets a CELLPHONE at fifteen.  (Mostly because 16 is the driving thing, and she’s already spending the night with her BFF so often, a phone would be handy and safer for her/us.)  She was SO. EXCITED. about a cellphone!!!  She wants to text Brian and I.  Silly… I keep telling her, I’m RIGHT. HERE.  [Kids…!]

Just so long as she doesn’t *call* me.  I won’t use the phone as a phone.  My cheekbone puts it on mute, or on hold… On vacation, I learned where the speakerphone button is (Actually Owen found it.  With his cheek, naturally.) so I just use that feature, and hold it like a walkie-talkie, now.  Brian gets SO exasperated with me.  Whatevs.

I’ll tack on the weekend, next time!

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