Thursday, August 12, 2010

To the North!

The last time I was on a vacation with my children was never. Unless you count that one time when Big V somehow convinced me that we were going to have a swell time at a resort hotel with his family. And by family I mean his mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, their two kids, his other sister, his other brother-in-law, and their four kids. With an adjoining door between our room and one of theirs. And the resort hotel was geared for kids under the age of 5, which I didn't have. I don't need to tell you that was anything but a vacation. It was more like a flesh eating bacteria. That you could see. But couldn't stop. Kids everywhere. Upset kids everywhere. And upset adults because no one wanted to watch the upset kids. And it took three hours to decide where to eat dinner. And I only wanted to relax, because being a single mom for the majority of my adult life I've never gone on a vacation so all I wanted to do was sit, and yet somehow it was mandated that I go shopping which I don't find relaxing at all, so I said no and they said yes and I said no and Big V was all don't upset the apple cart and I was all but I hate shopping and so I dug my heels in and didn't go because this was supposed to be fun for me, right? Except that didn't go over very well. So you see how the whole thing could hardly be described as a vacation.

Then I had Cletus. I admit the four days in the hospital was like a vacation. But instead of fruity drinks with umbrellas I was hooked up to an IV. The resulting fuzziness was the same, I guess.

I've wanted to go on a family vacation but we simply can't afford it. Especially when we keep having to buy drywall to replace what Satan the Dog eats.

Enter my friend, Robyn, who is like nobody you have ever met before in your life ever. Trust me. But after you meet her you'll be all Why don't I have a friend like her? and feel like something is missing from your life. She's smart, witty, and gorgeous. She laughs all. the. time. And she's snarky. She's snarkier than me. I like that. And she makes me laugh all. the. time. Which is why she's one of the coolest people ever.

One day she tosses out, "Go take your family up to our cabin! Enjoy! Relax!" And I'm polite, "sounds great." And weeks pass and she's like, "Seriously, go use our cabin. Before you stress out and kill your entire family." And I'm all, "well, maybe." And then I almost did kill my entire family so I asked, "Hey, is your place up north still available? Because I'm going to need a place to hide these bodies."

And now I'm going on a family vacation.

With Big V.
And two teens (because we needed someone to entertain the Bean so we wouldn't kill her).
And an 8-year old.
And a 10-month old.

For an entire weekend.

And I'm scared.

Because we have to drive. In a singular confined space. All of us. For over four hours.

And what on earth are we going to do without computers and phones and televisions... and my mom?

And also there's a bear. Called a sow. With cubs. And I feel over my head already. Because isn't a sow some kind of pig? So is this a pig masquerading as a bear? Or a bear masquerading as a pig? Is it like a transvestite bear? Or pig? Do we scare it off with a gun? Or shake a pack of bacon at it?

Robyn, sensing my anxiety, provided me with four detailed pages of directions and instructions. These pages included all pertinent information to ensure a safe and relaxing weekend such as:
Our canoe leaks - don't venture to use it unless you want to get wet.
Feel free to raid the food - just stay the f--k away from my booze! Priorities.

And where she provided directions to two beautiful nearby lakes, drew a road along with don't know the name of the road; if you can't find it you're dumb.  

I cannot wait to see what's in store for us.... and who survives...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Food on a Stick

Many years ago, before scores of mosquitoes had taken over our land, and humans were able to walk the earth without the threat of West Nile virus, I took my (then) little girl for a walk. We went through the back yard, into the woods DEET free, and followed the trail that led to this beautiful little pond in a clearing in the middle of the woods.

The pond was clear and full of fish. There was a small boat holding hands with an old wooden dock, rocking gently with the summer breeze. I pointed out the tiny, one bedroom cabin, with its miniature porch and tiny windows.

I took the hand of my 4-year old daughter and led her across the clearing, closer to the edge of the water. I showed her a dragon fly dancing in front of us and asked her to listen to the chorus of frogs. And we stood, hand-in-hand, Mother and Daughter, amongst the natural beauty of God's world.

And then she screamed.

She screamed and screamed and pointed and screamed and I tried to ask this hysterical child what the Hector Ridorsky was wrong with her and she screamed, "Who would do such a thing?!" as she pointed to a group of cattails. "Who would put hamsters on sticks?!"

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Up's and Down's: How to Fix a Garage Door in Less Than One Year

For over a year our garage door has not worked. You know, the big overhead door that opens allowing one to pull the car into the garage and park. I guess technically it worked. I mean, it opened. But only manually. Man-u-ally. Meaning "Man, you really have to put forth some physical effort to make this thing work." And you all know how I feel about physical effort.

Throughout my entire pregnancy, throughout the entire winter, throughout all kinds of terrible weather, I had to pull in the driveway, put the car in park, get out of the car, walk to the garage, lean down, heft the sucker up (sucker being the big overhead garage door), walk back to the car, get back into the car, put the car in drive, drive forward, and park. You see how utterly exhausting that can be. Especially being forced to do it day in and day out, several times a day.

I come from the old school where the Man should naturally possess knowledge as to (1) why the door isn't opening when I click the little button on the remote and (2) how to fix it. Note: it is assumed that the Man  also possesses the self discipline and determination to "make it happen" and fix the darn thing. Note #2: Big V did not come from the old school.

Me: Why doesn't the door work?

Big V: I don't know.

Me: Can you fix it?

Big V: I don't know.

Me: Can you try?

Big V: I don't know.

Me: Is there someone else who can fix it?

Big V: I don't know.

And so it was that more than 365 days passed where the overhead garage door could only be opened or closed manually. Arguments ensued.

Me: What are you doing?!

Big V: We're going to the store - you said we're going to the store!

Me: We can't just leave - pull back in the driveway!

Big V: Why? What's wrong?

Me: The garage door is still open.

Big V: We're running to the store. We'll be gone less than an hour.

Me: Less than an hour? Do you know what can happen in less than an hour? Criminals could steal the lawn mower and the grill and the quick-set pool we only used one summer because it's really not very quick to put up at all! And they could hide in the garage and jump out and stab us with knives and then we'll bleed out and die. And I don't want to die on the garage floor - no matter how many times you sweep it, it's still filthy!

Big V: You're overreacting.

Me: No I'm not. I don't want criminals in our garage. Pull back into the driveway... I'll shut the door - since you're too lazy.

Big V: I'm not lazy. It's just easier to leave it open so we can see the killers from the car before we get out. If you have to get out and open the garage door you're at a disadvantage because you're bent over and they could club you over the head before you even realized they were there.

Fast forward to this weekend when Joe Schmoe stopped by to chit-chat (read: have a few beers with Big V in our garage because he felt compelled to escape his own home life) and the two of them started planning Ultimate Garage Improvements, which included air conditioning and state of the art lighting. "You could start with getting the door to go up and down on command," I tossed out sarcastically.

Joe: The door doesn't open?

Me: No, we don't know what's wrong with it.

Big V: Yeah, I looked at it, and we're gonna have to get a professional in here. The guy we bought the house from put it in himself and had no clue what he was doing. It's all messed up.
Joe: Got the manual?

And that's how seven minutes later I had a door that opened and closed whenever I pushed the little button on the remote.