We had the most idyllic fourth of July weekend. We are fortunate enough (or crazy enough, we vacillate between the two), to have a vacation home up on Donner Summit, near lake Tahoe. The abridged history of how we came to have this place starts with a bunch of friends and a ski lease. Common here in northern CA, friends get together and rent a cabin near the ski resorts for the ski season, from December to April. When I met Geekydaddy, he and his group of friends had been leasing a cabin in this manner for a couple of years. I joined in, and for six more years we spent every winter in this crumbling cabin in "Serene lakes", this aptly named mountain community. That seventh season, when it came time to renew the lease, the group finally fell apart; marriages and relationships with non skiers, dog ownership (ours) and much delayed adulthood took its toll, and ski cabin gang was no more.
So in a fit of craziness, and without any idea of how much our intended family was going to impact our finances, geekydaddy, geekydog, the cats and I became the proud owners of a bit of mountain real estate in this same community we had grown to love during our ski lease years.
In the five years since then we have come to love Serene lakes even more. What had been just a winter playground is now our summer destination too. The lakes, frozen in winter are warm in summer, the roads lined with wildflowers rather than snow banks, and the community maintains a little sandy beach where kids can play and swim in the sun. The smell of pine trees baking in the sun will always mean summer to me now.
Over the past years we have basked by the lake every summer. First just with Geekydog, watching other peoples children play, imagining at first, then hoping and longing for our own. I warmed my pregnant belly, un-selfconcious in my bikini amongst unpretentious neighbours. Geekygirl sat in the shallows, and ate sand her first summer, then grew to jump on sandcastles and brave the lake in water wings in her second, while I warmed another growing belly. Last year geekybaby learned to sit in the warm sand and winced with distaste as I attempted to nurse him with cold wet boobs, while Geekygirl made friends and traded shovels with other kids, and this year; how can it already be her fourth summer?, she pretends to be princess Ariel, dancing through the sand and water, and her brother tags along behind while I sit in the shallow water, scaring the other beach residents (but delighting my kids at least) with my rendition of "part of your world" from "the little mermaid".
This weekend we had the pleasure of the company of our dear friends Uncle S. and Auntie N. Single friends who love kids, they gave me the great luxury of a few moments of reading time, where I started to read an actual bona fide intellectual novel (Shalimar the Clown, by Salman Rushdie), having forgotten to purchase my trashy magazines. Time will tell whether I actually get to finish it! We broke out the glue and coloured paper and decorated our sunhats with stars and spangles, then headed to the beach for the celebration. The kids played, we drank corona and lime, the dogs basked in the sun (Auntie N. has a chihuahua mix, much adored by the kids for his compact size) . The simple pleasures of friends, family and sun were such a welcome break to our harried lives.
While walking to the beach we encountered many off leash romping dogs, so I, unwisely in retrospect, let geekydog off to play. Geekydog is mostly obedient. But does not always come back instantly when called. She is like a three year old child, if she could say "In a minute, Mum, I'm just coming" I'm sure she would. Being a non verbal canine child, she instead returns after five minutes of my yelling her name and working my way through my list of "emergency" recall commands, looking gleeful and guilty. This time she had an odd green slime on her muzzle and a funky smell about her. I hoped that whatever she had ingested was not too horrendous, and we carried on our day uneventfully with the miscreant safely back on leash.
We always stop for fast food on our way home on Sunday night. Geekygirl was eagerly anticipating her happy meal, but the thrills of the day overcame her and Geekyboy, and both kids succumbed to sleep within a few minutes of hitting the freeway. After a long drive, it seems that the entire population of California gets in their cars and heads from one side of the state to the other on these holiday weekends, we transfered the kids to their beds, unpacked the car and collapsed.
I was woken at 6am by a hysterical Geekgirl. She wanted her French fries, and was inconsolable for a good twenty minutes when she realized that it was morning, she was back in San Francsico, and she had slept through the fast food stop.
We got the day back on track eventually, afte she accepted that Cheerios were what was for breakfast, but we were all very, very tired when we came home this evening. As we climbed the stairs, my nose was assaulted by a strange, foul and rather swampy, or should I say lakey smell. Geekydog spends the day in our bedroom, and it was clear that this bedroom was the source of the fumes. I ordered the children to stand back and opened the door.
I'll spare you the details, but clearly whatever she had consumed at the lake had taken its revenge on her bowels. The poor beast was mortified by her loss of control, all pleading eyes and placating tail wag, and when released into the garden proceeded to assault the flowerbeds with more of the same dark evil explosiveness. And I had my very favourite job in the world to do, mopping up dog diarrhea, while surrounded by hungry exhausted children.
Even with one child out of diapers, sometimes I feel that there is way too much poop in my life.
Back to reality. Until the next time.