Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cabin fever

I chaperoned the Valentines Day party that involved all three classes of the First Grade.  Call it insanity, but I truly enjoy my time with those kids.  I think it's their blinky eyes blinking up at me, and the way they all want to hold my hand, and the awkward toothy first-grader grins.

The party ran long.  There was no time for kids to sift through the pile of coats dumped outside the party because the buses were about to leave back at school. We had to run the three blocks from the party location to the school, without coats, GO! GO! GO! to catch those buses. I imagined the horrified expressions of parents at bus stops when Little Johnny disembarked in February without his coat, teeth chattering.

Loyal chaperone I am, I filled a box with all the coats and followed behind the sprinting masses, dragging it along the sidewalk until I couldn't feel my arms very well.  I dumped the coats onto the sidewalk in front of the buses and helped kids throw them on as they boarded.  Every kid left with a coat.

There will someday be a folk song written about me, the trusty chaperone who wouldn't let the kids go home cold, entitled, "Cold Kid, Warm Heart."

Alex and I went to see a play at Capitol Hill's Annex Theatre Friday night.  It was called "Undo" and took place in an alternate reality where, if you want a divorce, you must live your wedding in reverse.  All the same people must attend and wear the same clothes, the presents are given back, and in the case of the Jewish ceremony portrayed in this instance, the glass is glued back together.

The great thing about the Annex Theatre, and so many fringe theaters in Seattle, is there's a bar in the lobby and you can carry your drinks into the theater for the show.  The PBRs at the Annex Theatre bar are $2 and deliciously refreshing; the mixed drinks are crappy and expensive.  I think you know which way I'm leaning with this recommendation.

What transpired on the Annex Theatre stage was a beautiful piece of theatre.  Really, truly.  It had it all -- laughs, tears, and lesbians.  There was also some sad sex (you must do everything you did on your wedding day to make peace with God, even if it was f*cking on your dressing table).

The man sitting behind us said loudly at the intermission, "Watching things like this makes me realize how ridiculous human relationships are."  All of us within earshot murmured our agreement and bought another PBR.

Here's some advice if you see a play at the Annex -- at intermission, run for the bathroom.  Get there first no matter what.  Push those bitches to the ground and don't look back and here's the reason why: there are only two toilets, two single stalls.  And a fifteen minute intermission. And one hundred people in the theater all drinking beer.  Do the math then do what you must do *cracks knuckles*

Al and I and the kids went to a friend's cabin for the long weekend.  It was just us; the cabin is often empty and our friend has been telling us to use it for years.

We left for the cabin right after Lucien and Coco's swim lessons Saturday morning.  I love watching the group of boys in Lucien's class learn to swim.  They all have their own style: some wide-eyed and freaked out (Lucien), others goofy and trusting in the world (the one whose eyes are slightly glazed) and some who should never be allowed near a body of water (the one sinking like a stone).

Our friend's cabin is in the South Puget Sound area, on a peaceful little lake upon which no motors are allowed.  Paddle boats, kayaks and canoes are the vessels of choice.  The four of us climbed into a paddle boat and made it halfway around the lake before Coco started complaining her belly hurt. We figured out she was seasick when she turned light green.

In the middle of a lake on a space-challenged paddle boat, seasickness is serious business.  Alex and I pedaled as fast as we could back to the cabin but went nowhere thanks to the direction of the wind and Lucien's erratic handling of the rudder.  I imagined the other residents of the lake watching us with binoculars and laughing hard until they fell down.  Our predicament would have made me laugh, too, if I wasn't in such fear of a girl hurl.

We made it back to the dock without incident.  And now we know Coco prefers land.

Alex tried to teach Lucien how to canoe, which led to this, my current favorite photograph.  I call it "The Reluctant Canoe Lesson" --

Oscar the schnauzer came with us to the cabin.  It was immediately apparent our dog is not a majestic wild beast.  Our dog is a confused little old man who can't figure out where the hell he is so just curls up inside our suitcase full of towels and waits for it to be over.

I hate these people.  I want to go home.

The cabin's only source of heat was a wood stove.  It was a toasty warm, pleasantly wood-smokey scented existence until the middle of the night when the fire burned out and we awoke, so cold we didn't dare plan for the future.  I pushed Alex out of bed each morning with a frigid foot, yelling at the kids to stay snug in their bunk beds until Daddy built a fire.  Thankfully, Alex was once a successful boy scout and his fire-building skills are unmatched.

As cozy as they can be, what is is about cabins that makes them feel like they're constructed of cardboard and Saran Wrap?  And why all the wood paneling?  And why do they all smell the same, musty and woody with a hint of Grandma?

When a cabin is owned by a friend like ours, who offers it to friends and family on a regular basis, the bathroom is a mess of half-empty shampoo and conditioner bottles.  It's like a hundred hotels threw up on each other or, better yet, all the bottles are there competing for the right to wash your body.
 "Pick me, pick me"  

There was no internet or TV at the cabin so we were forced to unplug.  At first it was uncomfortable but then we started telling each other stories.  And cooking meals together.  And chopping wood together.  You should see Coco handle an ax, my God, a natural! 

We enjoyed "communicating" so much, we've added "buy a cabin" to our list of long-term goals.  We can't do it now, but maybe, hopefully, someday we will own our very own lake cottage with doilies for curtains and circa-1970s avocado green appliances.

Well isn't that just f*cking great news

Our return home was not glorious.  Lacking the desire to cook, I took Coco with me to the Taco Time drive-thru to grab dinner.  At the very moment I pulled up to order, Coco threw up in the back seat.  She was suddenly hot, miserable, and very, very ill.  

The Taco Time lady on the intercom asked for my order a couple times but apparently my words, "Hang on, baby, hang on" aimed over my shoulder into the back seat didn't make sense to her.  She said, "Excuse me?" a couple times until I said, "I'm not talking to you!"  

There was a long pause and then the Taco Time lady said, "'re not talking to me?"  And I yelled, "No, no not yet!" as I scrambled for paper towels in the backseat.  There was another pause and then she said, the way you would to someone who's obviously very dim, "Do you mean to be in the drive-thru, ma'am?"

Al and I hugged in the kitchen for awhile after I returned with my hard-fought Taco Time order.  Even though life never seems to slow down, at least that part was nice.

Your faithful chaperone forever,


  1. Oh my God! She's seasick as well as carsick? Goodness!

  2. So far not airsick, so perhaps we will have to do all movement by plane. Or perhaps Coco should remain stationary?

  3. There's a thought... But from what I gather, not bloody likely;)

  4. I am still stuck on thinking about what it would take to reverse my wedding day 44yrs ago!!! Biggest problem would be resurrecting all the guests that have passed on. I think I will just let the old guy hang around a few more years and see what happens plus the vodka helps. Ha! Kathy in Iowa

    1. Kathy, I'm thinking God would give you a pass on the dead guests, since they're with him and all?

      I like your Plan B, though, just drink and hang on!

      Bye, Kathy!

  5. The kids really are so sweet at that age,and they get so excited about parties and field trips.

    Poor Coco, carsick, seasick, and wasn't she trainsick too?

    Is the lake warm enough to swim in in the summer? Teach Lucien to canoe then, falling in is half the fun!

    1. Hi Lou. Agreed, it's the best age. They're so sweet, so excited about life.

      Coco seems to get sick on just about anything that moves. She's gotten over the carsick issues, thankfully. Now we need to work on the boats. I don't remember her getting sick on a train but it's quite possible she did. Man.

      It's a good swimming lake in summer from what I hear. We'll go back, throw Lucien in, depending on if he's started paying attention at swim lessons, that is.

      Bye, Lou, thanks for stopping by!

  6. Why does puke seem to define our lives? When do small people STOP puking? I'm ready to find out.

    The last trip we took by plane both kids surprised of with their newfound airsickness. (I love flight attendants by the way. How in the world can they smile though all the puking??? They must be paid really well.)

    Here's to owning a cabin someday! Please invite us to stay.

    Miss 'ya,