Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vacation, Shmacation! - Part I

Now that we're back from our Memorial Day weekend, I need a vacation to recover from this vacation!

First, the exhaustion of having to pack everything in sight (including my precious 'Anjaraipetti' spice box) , rice, oil, dal, and choice veggies from the fridge. Next, rushing to finish five loads of laundry, which had been piling up until before the trip, just so that we could have clean underwear to pack.Then, trying to bundle all potentially rotting veggies to my compost sack before my husband dumped them in the trash bin("Vegetable scraps and coffee grounds in compost, are you sure that it's allowed? The township may have rules against composting vegetables"). And of course, the gazillion trips to the supermarket to stock up on yet another missing snack/drink for the vacation

I sat typing frantically on my computer, trying to finish up some last minute work and emails, when my husband walked in, fresh from his shower. "Are we ready to leave?" "Maybe in another four hours", I replied, not missing a beat on my keyboard. "I haven't started packing yet, other than getting the kitchen items ready, M needs a bath, S needs to take a shower, the last load of laundry needs to go into the dryer, I need to have sent this email out yesterday... "

Four hours later, all puffed up with our suitcases and essential sport accessories like bikes and helmets, inflatable raft and paddles, PFDs, and food and drink for a small army, our van finally pulled out of the driveway. The children cheered "We're on our way, at last!"
"Are we there yet?", M piped up after about 5 minutes on the highway.I sighed and settled back comfortably, trying to catch a short nap after the helter-skelter morning.

The vacation rental was a quiet rustic looking cabin with a wraparound porch, tucked away in the woods, among about just another 500 houses like it on one acre wooded lots. Appearances are deceptive, for going up the stairs from a stuck-in-the-70s basement to the main level brings us to a house with all the comforts of home, except for the 'Cell phones don't work here' post-it note next to the phone, along with an apologetic promise of free long-distance calls contradicting the 'long distance call charges will apply' in the thick 3 ring binder that instructs any renter on how to keep the house spic and span. Hmmm....maybe we are paying a small premium for the lack of cell phone service. Imagine a place where my husband can't spend hours dealing with technical issues over his cell phone!

The bedrooms were well appointed, with country-style quilts, botanical prints on the wall, clearly framed at considerable expense. The owners had good taste, I decided, not wanting to think of my cluttered household which could probably look the same if I decided to get rid of stuff accumulated over the years. The ambiance was country living meets get-away-from-it-all in the woods, near a lake front, all only a 10 minute drive away from the nearest Walmart. Another plus was a generously stocked small front bedroom with the latest romance novels, JK Rowlings and of course, the latest DVDs ("A Night at the Museum" screamed M in ecstasy,- "There goes my chance to view an old-but-gold Kamalahasan classic like 'Michael Madana Kama Rajan, the DVD painstakingly chased down on the internets).

We made ourselves comfortable, loading up on about a hundred-dollars-worth of groceries at the aforementioned Walmart ,which even had a salesperson pop up at the right moment to answer our question of "Where are the charcoal bags?". Never mind that the charcoal bag, purchased after about 1/2 hour of discussion, was never used and still sits in our garage 3 weeks after the trip was over. Then it was back to the cabin for a good night's sleep.

The next morning, my husband and kids took off with the inflatable raft across the road, traipsing across a dozen lakeside properties to get to a small dock. I followed with camera in hand, ready to record this for posterity. Just after about 25 minutes of photo-chronicling, I got tired of the lake, switched my attention to assorted wildflowers and fungus covered tree stumps, then walked back to the cabin to wait for our friends who were reaching there that morning. My family followed, rather too quickly (i.e. before I could get to page 12 of the romance novel I decided to try reading).

"The owner of the dock we took off from came by to tell us we couldn't use it, and we happened to be done with rafting any way, so we made his day by complying with his 'request' quickly and getting out of the water", said my husband.

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