Monday, August 31, 2009

Kent Island vacation photo collage

not pictured: the jellyfish that kept us out of the water for several days, the ne'er do well kids that cops chased into our bushes at 1 am, the edge of Hurricane Bill that flooded the laundry room soaking several guests including Aunt Bob, and the dozen bunches of pine needles that Randy pulled out of the gutter to stop said flood.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Worry is money paid on a debt that never comes due

A bunch of annoying stuff has happened lately:

1. We just paid over $1000 for maintenance to our van, and a basic repair to the a/c. Now, with only a few days until we drive to MD for vacation, the fan on the a/c only works at a super high, noisy setting. At least it still works.

2. Our shower is leaking again. I called the guy who repaired it in January, but my confidence in him is shaky, since, well, the shower is leaking again. We're all grateful that it's not our only shower.

These two things would bother me less if we weren't about to leave town because I know we can't get either fixed before we go.

3. I spent two days last week cleaning the house and preparing for some friends to visit us for the night. Their plan was to arrive "well before dinner" so I planned that as well. But their lousy time management skills meant that they arrived about 4 and a half hours late -- and they still wanted to be fed! Cary had taken the day off, and the four of us spent the entire day just waiting for them to arrive. They really are lovely people, and I did my best to enjoy the time with them once they got here, but it was definitely colored by my frustration.

This came on the heels of my not being able to have my niece visit us for a week because my sister-in-law decided at the last minute to take a family vacation. It was the second time that she canceled my niece's visit this summer. I won't be making that offer again.

I recognize that it's not in my nature to be terribly flexible. I try. But even though I know these kind of events are neither important in the long term, nor a reflection on me, they still upset me.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

You cannot sell what you do not own

Buffalo Craigslist is the worst. I regularly peruse the furniture section looking for Mid-century modern or Danish modern pieces. And here is what I find:

1. Every sofa doubles as a recliner.
2. Natuzzi is common, as is pleather.
3. Dinning room furniture.
4. 75 gallon fish tanks and fire places with "light up" logs

Where are the vintage fiberglass Herman Miller chairs? Where are the Heywood Wakefield dressers?

And then I remembered, the population of wny can't unload its cool furniture for astonishingly cheap prices because no one ever bought it in the first place.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Camping photos

Here are a few pics from the expedition to Seneca Lake. Henry and Lucy in jammies with glow sticks, and then our delicious post-camp recovery meal.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ah, Wilderness

Cary and I agreed (perhaps even suggested) that we spend Saturday night camping on Seneca Lake with our friends who are very outdoorsy. Since we were not planning to cook anything at the campsite, our friends went up a day early so they could make spider dogs and hike. They have a 3 y.o., and a 3 month old. So, yeah, they're pretty intrepid.

Cary and I thought we'd take our kids camping before they developed the same distaste we have for sleeping in the out of doors.

Things started to go wrong not long after we hit the road. We forgot pillows! So we stopped at the Batavia Target to pick up some extras. Our friend called just as we were exiting the highway. I thought he was checking in, but later we found out that he was hoping we hadn't left yet, so we could go look for the rest of the parts of the tent we were borrowing from his mom! (I'm really glad I didn't know that until later.) So his family went to the Watkins Glen Wal-Mart and bought us a tent, which was very sweet. After all, he could have just asked me to pick one up at Target while I was there.

Our first planned stop was at the Fox Run Vinyards Garlic Festival. It was a fun event, full of wine, maple syrup cotton candy, and garlic farmers selling both fresh garlic and products made from the bulb or the scape. I even got some to plant in my yard this fall. So far, so good.

Next we were headed to Earle Estates Meadery since everyone was curious what meade tastes like. When we arrived our friends were nowhere to be found. Their cell phone was off. (Why? Not sure.) So we spent about half an hour waiting and wondering, dodging invitations from a Karaoke-type performer to join him so he could, "play something from The Little Mermaid for the kids." Once our friends arrived (after driving 20 minutes out of the way on a hunch), it was time to try some meade. Overall it was kind of like dessert wine, but less syrupy, and pretty delicious.

Then we drove to the southern tip of Seneca Lake and took a ride on a 75 year old wooden boat. When the Capt. asked if there were any children who wanted to volunteer to drive the boat, Lucy's hand was the first in the air. Henry eventually volunteered as well. Fun all around.

We had dinner at a lackluster restaurant in Watkins Glen, then headed to the campsite. I was a little concerned that the tent we were sleeping in hadn't been opened or assembled and it was already the children's bedtime, but I was determined to have fun.

Once we arrived at the campsite, Cary looked out and said, "Well, we're just an hour and a half from home. We could just turn around." I did want to leave right then. Not only could we see a guardrail at the far side of the campsite, but not even 20 yards away the neighboring campers were playing Thumper, screaming , "What's the name of the game? Thumper? And why do we play the game? To get fucked up!" To their credit they changed the words once they heard the voices of our little children.

For me the low point was when I took Lucy to the bathroom (which was @ least 150 yards from the tent) to change into pajamas and realized I was putting on clean clothes while I dripped with sweat. Surely we would all just keep sweating and then freeze that night.

Cary played his guitar around the campfire, and the kids had glow sticks and s'mores, but the kids really had trouble settling down, and I couldn't relax either. We'd planned to have wine, but no one really wanted it, nor did we need another reason to pee in the middle of the night.

We went to bed around 9:30, but I've got no idea when we actually fell asleep.

These are some of the thoughts we had while not sleeping:

Cary said he felt more empathy for Hurricaine Katrina victims.
I thought about what it must be like to be homeless
Cary thought about the Stephen King story where a time traveler fails to fall asleep and experiences eternity.
I thought about our friend who was waking up every few hours to nurse her baby.

Cary said the next we camped it would be in a tent that had a foundation and brick walls.

Around 3 am it started to rain, not just a sprinkle, but a full-blown storm with thunder and lightning. I'm very happy to report that the new tent didn't leak, and until Henry had to go to the bathroom at 5:30 the tent was dry inside.

As we made our way home we still couldn't understand why people like camping. What a hassle! And we didn't even cook, or put up our own tent. But we did enjoy spending time with our friends, but next time we're going to Toronto, in a hotel with a pool!