"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, August 20, 2012

The vacation de-brief

I'm going to be busy today, mostly editing (and taking care of household stuff in the breaks), but I wanted to give you a brief recap of our vacation. My humor column is on hiatus while I run for office (Placentia Library District Trustee), so I need an outlet to tell people about my latest adventure.

As I said in an earlier post, we went to the Plumas National Forest, where we stayed at the Gray Eagle Lodge. This is what it looks like:

We've done this for I think about 10-12 years now, with several families. We are all friends, with children of similar ages, and it's been wonderful and frightening and significant to watch these kids grow up together. This is how I'll always remember them, no matter how old they get:

When I think about the trip, there are a lot of, well, unwonderful things. I hesitate to call them negatives or lowlights. Weirdlights. That's what they were.

For one thing, there was the heat. We left the 100-degree heat of southern California, drove 10 hours (in two days) to arrive in the 90-degree heat of northern California. Wasn't much of an improvement, I can tell you. There were some cool-ish days by the lakes, and we were even rained on once, but every morning's walk was done in short sleeves and bug spray, every evening's meal left me feeling sweaty when I got up from the chair, and we slept with all the windows open and the fan on.

This was not our normal trip.

Then there was the changing makeup of the group. I've written about our friend, Jim Barnes, who used to join us but passed away from pancreatic cancer. This was our second year without him, but I felt his absence even more than the first year. Perhaps we were trying to be too brave and upbeat last year. This year felt emptier.

Now, we have a family in the midst of divorce. I'll spare you the details, except to say my darling friend was blindsided by the husband she thought she knew for over 20 years, which has shattered my trust in him as a friend. They split the vacation in half this year. She took the front end and he took the back end. I enjoy her company so much, I hated to see her go and I hated to see him arrive and I just don't know what to even say to him that doesn't involve striking him with a large, heavy object. Yes, people are fallible and I'm not the boss of them and I need to forgive him for something that's none of my business.

I'm a bad witch, okay?

To top everything with an extra helping of WTF?, it turns out our dear little Lady Spazzleton is not quite what the doctor examined. After a thorough round of finding a scar and palpating her insides, he pronounced that she had been spayed, even signing off on the papers for her license.

While we were on vacation, she came into heat. There is no mistaking it. The licking, the tail-lifting, and the advances made by the intact boy dog at the lodge made it absolutely clear. Now we have to wait a few weeks (dogs are in season for at least 21 days) to get her REALLY spayed. You know, with all that money we have lying around the house after our vacation.

Oh, and she ate another leash.

Otherwise, she had fun at the lakes, except she wanted to be in the water All. The. Time. And if there were ducks or squirrels or chipmunks around, she wanted to catch them. She wanted to catch them badly, to the point of making a whiney-gargle sound if she couldn't at least try. It sounded like a soprano Chewbacca.

Duffy pretty much though she was an idiot.

The kids all had fun, too. They went on the kayak and the innertubes and the stand-up paddleboard, and got sunburned and laughed a lot and seemed to be kids again for awhile.

The thing is, despite the icky parts of the trip, I still remember it with a light heart and believe I had a good time. I hung out with my friends, went on some nice hikes, ate great food, and even managed a horse ride.

Am I delusional or just an optimist?

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