Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Summer Vacation 2008

The long awaited summer va-ca saga is here! Read on faithful readers. :)

We departed mid morning, making two stops before we were truly "on our way". We stopped in Birch Run to have breakfast at Tony's.

Tony's offers HUGE plates of food for low prices!  That, up there, is an omelet!  And a piece of Texas toast. But mostly omelet!

After a few more stops and one "you're going the wrong way" (and we really were!) moment we finally made it to our destination.

Not 5 minutes after we'd arrived our friend Craig arrived bearing a large flat screen TV and surround sound! We spent a bit of time unpacking and loading up the fridge and cabinets with our food.

This is just the stuff we brought and picked up at Wal-Mart the first day... more food came along later with Glen and Ali!

Meat was marinated and a fire was built (at 5:30pm! - Craig swears he thought it was 8:30 - it was a bit overcast and rainy).

Thanks go out to Jamie for being our kindling (and log) finder!

We grilled up the meat and had green beans with it, while we watched Saturday Night Live's Best of Will Ferrell. It was tasty. Beer was drank and the fire was put out. Thus ends our first day at Higgins.

Jason and I awoke to Craig "kidnapping" our boys in his Mustang (I'm sure it was real difficult to convince them to go with him). They went off to the local convenience store for coffee and odds-n-ends. We ate breakfast at the local bar (because the regular place we normally would go to was closed down). Glen and Ali were due in today but no one knew when.

We wandered off to find a place to stock up on some more items we'd forgotten/needed and ended up at a Wal-Mart. Craig, once again, "kidnapped" one of the boys.  Andrew, and totally freaked us out because this time we didn't know he'd gone with Craig. We laugh about it now but it was pretty scary at the time.

We came back and unloaded all our items and decided it was time to go off and find a place to shoot our guns. After some interesting directions from Glen's uncle, who lives next door (ex. go to the blinking light in town and turn left, go over the rail road tracks and then look for a two track on the left, take that until the road splits and keep left...) we drove off to the "pit" - it was more like a deserted chunk of land out nowhere that someone or nature had dug into the side of a hill. We spent about a half hour or so out there shooting various guns and objects on the hill (a couch cushion, a bowling pin, etc). Here are some photos of the guys enjoying "shooting time".

Glen and Ali arrived not long after we got back from the "pit". We helped them unload their stuff and get settled in. They brought along baseballs, a bat, gloves, 2 kayaks, and a bunch more food.

At some point Jamie managed to get his hands on a kayak and happily paddled off.

Eventually, dinner was had, a fire was made, and many beers were drank before we crashed for the night.

Glen tried to use his face as kindling while starting the fire.

Ali didn't find it as funny as the rest of us did.

Glen's dad was due in today. We called him around 9am to see if he'd left yet and finding that he hadn't we asked if he'd bring up a coffee maker as there wasn't one here and the coffee in town sucked.

Jason went off for a walk, Jamie went off on his bike, I decided to go for a bike ride borrowing one of the ones Ali brought.

By the time I was ready to go Jason was back from his walk and mentioned the route he took and how far it was but I opted for another route. I discovered that I'm not much of a single speed biker, regardless of how flat the land is. Needless to say, I wasn't gone long.

Later in the day Craig and I decided to go kayaking. Glen and Ali had returned from their trek to the island and back (about 3 miles one way). We decided we'd try it out. We got about half way there when Craig discovered he was starting to get a blister on his thumb and I discovered the my shoulders were not happy about all the padding. We turned around and discovered that we had no idea where we'd come from. We kept paddling toward shore anyway hoping that the closer we got the better chance we'd have of finding a landmark we'd recognize. Craig did some calculations about how far we'd floated off in one direction, due to current/winds, and figured out where we needed to go. We made it back and I couldn't have been happier because I was exhausted!

Back at the cabin Craig and I found our respective corners and napped. I was sleeping quite well when Jason's phone rang and woke us up. After that napping was futile.

Eventually, Glen's dad, Wayne, showed up and after a bit of resting and visiting for him we all went off to play "Home Run Derby" at the park nearby.

I ended up biking there with Glen and Ali because no one waited for me to change into my clothes from my swim suit. That wasn't fun because I ended up on Jamie's bike. The seat was too low and felt like it was tipped up and, I, as I have already mentioned, am not a bike rider.

"Home Run Derby" (HRD) was fun. Wayne sure can smack 'em! Ali is a great fielder, when she's not wearing flip flops. I bruised the bottom of my right palm catching a grounder that popped up and Andrew got the top of his left ankle whacked with a grounder.

(Here's my poor bruised hand, it's hard to see the bruise, but it really is there.)

No one remembered to bring water but we managed to find a bathroom with a sink, so we were good.

After a few rounds of HRD we came back and went swimming while Wayne went to the other side of the lake to visit his daughter and her kids, and her friend and her kids (who were all vacationing there). Jamie took a kayak out (he really likes kayaking). A little while later, everyone came back, a fire was built and preparations were made for dinner.

Here's Ali playing catch with Andrew.

After dinner we sat around the fire for a little while. Wayne saw the first meteor of the night (the Perseid Meteor shower was to peak at 2am). Everyone walked down to the lake to stare at the sky and wait. The meteors were slow to come but we saw quite a few in the 3 hours we were down there, some were quite spectacular. Not everyone made it the whole time and by the end it was just Jason, myself, Glen, and Ali. Jason and I called it a night and left Glen and Ali to freeze (it was pretty chilly) and stare at the sky (they didn't make it much longer than we did, as we later found out).

I think I was the last one to wake up today. I do recall Craig sticking his head in our room and asking Jason what the password to his computer is but then I fell back asleep. When I came out of the room pancakes were being made. They were quite tasty (even if they were the frozen kind). Glen decided to make french toast and it was very good too.

It's now 12:50pm. Wayne has gone off to visit the campers on the other side of the lake and the rest of the men and Jamie have gone off to shoot their guns again. Ali and I are here at the cabin with Andrew, who's playing Guitar Hero while we "computer out" - so much for "unplugging" while on vacation (thanks should be mentioned to Glen's uncle who let us hook up the router with wireless so we could stay connected). Alright, I have to go find something more productive to do....

(It is now 10/14/08 - I know, shame on me for taking so long to finish this up... Lord knows if I'll remember all the details at this point but I've been super busy - which is a really lame excuse, I know. Anyway... on with the story.)

Eventually the men (and Jamie) returned from the shooting (where ever they ended up - a range, I think) and Wayne returned from visiting Glen's sister and her friend and all their kids. Wayne bought pizza dinner for everyone (Glen's sister and entourage came over - talk about mass hysteria, Andrew and 5 other kids plus the 2 neighbor kids!). We all had a nice (and noisy) time. Dinner was tasty.
Here are the kids rockin' out to Guitar Hero.

The Gang (Glen's sister and friends) didn't stay too long as it was getting dark and they needed the light to find their way back to the other side of the lake to their campgrounds. I give those gals credit, it takes a lot of moxie to camp with 5 kiddies and no hubbies/men/etc.

A fire was made, many beers were drank, the night ended fairly quietly. :)

Wayne left to go back home this morning. We all bid him a fond farewell and safe trip. :) Glen's uncle was having new carpet installed in his home so we were all recruited to help move all his furniture out of the way of where the carpeting was being laid. That was some chore! For the first move, I stayed out of the way and kept an eye on Andrew. After the new stuff was installed I went over to help with the return of all the items to their rightful places. Jamie kept an eye on Andrew.

Everything went fairly smoothly for the furniture return, until we had to hook the stereo/web TV/cable/etc back up. That took some time and finagling, but eventually everything was back the way it should be and we'd only lost out on half the day.

Uncle Chuck said in appreciation for all our hard work he'd buy us all tickets for the comedy show that was to be held later that night at the bar/restaurant down the street. We were very thankful but wondered what we'd be doing with the kids. Uncle Chuck was a step ahead of us on that one, he said he'd watch them!

The time came to go and we warned the kids that if they misbehaved they'd not live to see another vacation, let alone another day (but we were safe, Uncle Chuck is a former CIA guy). Just before we were to leave Uncle Chuck presented us with another surprise to say "thanks" for helping him out, a gift certificate to spend at the bar/show! Talk about unexpected and generous!

The show was super funny. Both comedians were great but it was WAY too short! Thanks to Uncle Chuck's gift certificate, many, MANY drinks were had and we were all VERY blitzed by the end of the show. That means we were VERY loud on the walk back to the cabin.

Glen had brought along some mortars (fireworks) and in our drunken stupors we decided it would be fun to set them off over the lake. We had a great time, the people who lived in the house next to where we were lighting them off...., they didn't feel the same. Loud grumbling from some of our group could be heard as we sulked off back to the cabin and to the campfire.

I don't remember anything specifically special about this day other than it was spent with myself, Jason, Jamie, Andrew, and Craig all driving all over Timbuktu looking for a gun range that we never found, even with the help of the Tom Tom (GPS). The range we did finally find was the wrong one but after a couple phone calls we were allowed access and shot to our hearts content. Andrew and I spent quite a bit of time picking up shells to bring home to recycle. We got a whole shoe box full. (It ended up being pretty profitable, by the way.)

I'm sure once we returned to the cabin some went off to ride bikes, some went off to kayak, and others just rested/checked email/played video games/etc.

The final day. :( Boo... Vacations never last long enough - except for this one... I know that sounds bad but let me explain... We've never vacationed with other people before, especially not with the kids in tow. That was new for everyone. Jason, Craig, and Glen have all vacationed together at the cabin but that's different - no kids and chicks around. I'm sure the whole kids thing was overwhelming for all, especially Ali (and Glen, by default), and that's OK. I totally get it and am cool with it. So I'm sure it took some time for them to come around to getting used to two (sometimes) obnoxious boys running around, causing havoc! Add to that, unfamiliar beds, brand new pillows (that SUCKED, by the way - they were super flat), a bit of lack of planning when it came to the food (we had WAY WAY WAY too much, thank goodness), and activities that (at least) my usually sedentary body wasn't used to and you have what I now will forever refer to as "The Great (because it really was great) Vacation From Hell!" But I mean it in the nicest way. :)

Anyway, Saturday was spent packing and tidying up the cabin before we all departed. Nothing spectacular to report there. We all said our goodbyes and went on our way.

Thus ends my summer vacation 2008!

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