For someone who can't really go out in the sun and who isn't very outdoorsy . . . I sure love summer. I'm sorry to see it go. I love our end-of-summer hurrah at the cabin every year. I call my cabin-owning friend every spring and ask if we can use it. I'm always afraid he'll say, "Nope, sold it." But he always says, "Sure!" I think he just likes for people to get use out of it. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity. I sometimes fantasize about me and Mr. M owning a cabin like it someday, but then I remember that we don't know how to fix anything and are doing a pretty shitty job with the home we already own.
We left for our vacation on Friday the 21st. I don't have my van anymore, so we had to take two cars. The only way we could have fit everything in one car was if we had strapped both dogs on the roof, and I really think the ASPCA tends to frown on that. Anyway, I left first and had the dogs with me. P had to pick up the kid at her summer program and bring her in his car. I got the easier part of the deal because Chatty McTalkington can think of a lot to say during a four-hour drive. Since the dogs were not feeling chatty, I mostly listened to podcasts and stuff.
I arrived at the cabin about 40 minutes before the rest of my family did. It was getting dark but there was still good visibility. One reason we try to get up to the cabin before nightfall is that there are no lights anywhere. We have to take miles of dirt roads just to get to the cabin. When it gets dark . .. I mean to tell you it gets dark. I unlocked the door and turned on the lights. Yep, everything looked the same!
I brought the dogs in and then proceeded to unload my car, dragging suitcases and coolers and such across the deck and into the cabin. There was no running water at that point because my husband would need to turn it on when he arrived. I've never bothered to learn how (the hot water heater also has to be started and apparently this involves fire, so it's really best that I just stay out of it). Because I knew there was no running water, I really had no need for the kitchen sink at that point. So, it took me a while to notice the massive spider who had taken up residence there. Sweet Jesus! I had never seen a spider that large. I think no one had been to the cabin for several weeks because I noticed a lot of dead bugs in the window sills and such.
Unsure of what to do, I posted a photo of it on Facebook. My hope was that one of my friends would be able to identify it. I was hoping for something like, "Oh, that's a Cabinus Friendus Spider! They are so helpful - I bet he'll even help you unpack!" But no, my oh-so-helpful friends said things like "You should just leave." Others suggested I just torch the place and head back home.
I am not a squeamish person but holy cow, this bugger was huge. With legs extended, it was about the size of my palm. It stayed absolutely still. Every time I walked near the sink, I imagined that it was waiting for me to trip and fall into the sink, so that it could proceed with its homicidal plans. Unsure of what to do while I waited, I poured myself a vodka cranberry while I worked on a plan. Fortunately, no water was needed for that.
When I finally heard my husband's car, I met him in the driveway, pulled him aside, and discreetly told him about the beast in the sink. My main concern was that if my spider-fearing daughter saw it, she would be sleeping in our bed until she was in her 30s. He went into the cabin and made the spider go away. Honestly, my preference would have been to relocate the spider into the surrounding woods and I feel bad that the situation didn't play out that way.
Once we were unpacked, we watched a movie and then went to sleep. The next morning we awoke to hurricane-force winds. It was just crazy. I don't know when I've seen winds like that. I wasn't going to miss my chance to go to the farmers' market, though, so I threw my hair in a clip and headed out. The farmers' market is about 1/2 hour from the cabin. I grabbed some vegetables and stuff, picked up a few supplies at the store, and then headed back.
The next few days were similar: weather = bad. Saturday was so windy that we didn't go anywhere near the lake. Sunday was cold and rainy. We decided to make the best of it and go to a local county fair anyway. When we paid to get in, they didn't have correct change. The lady said, "Come back later for your two dollars, okay?" I think that's how you know you're in a small town. We only stayed at the fair for about an hour. We let the kid ride a few rides. She came off one ride, pointed at a smiling blonde girl and said, "This is my new friend!" Seriously? In 90 seconds she made a new friend? She wasn't bluffing either. The girl said "hi" every time we passed her for the next hour. That's my kid - friendly with a capital F.
After standing around in sweatshirts (with the hoods up) and wiping rain off our faces for a while, we gave in and left. We collected our two bucks on the way out and headed back to the cabin. We couldn't complain too loudly about the sucky weather. We were on vacation, after all.
The next day (Monday), the kid and I wanted to do something, so we decided to go thrift store shopping. We poked around at a Goodwill and bought some junk. We also worked on some ideas for her Halloween costume (rock star, naturally).
And would you believe that it was cold and rainy on Tuesday, too? I debated not getting dressed at all, because I knew I wasn't going to see any human being that day who wasn't related to me. I spent the day working on a puzzle and reading. Oh, and cooking. With so much time on my hands, I made cookies, a cake, and tried out a few other recipes, too. I made vegan potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and a few other things during the course of our eight-night trip. Remember how I mentioned that I needed to bring all of my groceries with me because I wouldn't be able to get what I needed in such a remote location? I was wrong. Near the farmers' market, I found a newly remodeled co-op. It was huge. Wall-to-wall vegan, organic, locally produced food. I stand corrected - big time.
Finally, Wednesday arrived and we were all pretty excited because our friends were arriving with their kids. We were desperate to see someone who didn't share our last name. We practically ran to their van when they finally pulled up. Their arrival also brought great weather. The rest of the week was a lot of fun. The eight of us took a day trip and rode a ferry. We went out to lunch. We played games. And the grown-ups consumed a fair number of grown-up beverages. There was at least one rowdy game of Balderdash. Oh, and fish were caught (and then tossed back from whence they came).
On Saturday, we drove back home and I began to tackle the massive mountain of laundry that followed us home. I know I say this every year, but it really is a great vacation. The lake is beautiful, the surrounding forest is beautiful, and my family is, um, tolerable.