Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July...here's how we roll

It's been a wild and crazy weekend here.  Yes...our weekend ended today.  We spent it at the ILs cabin which is a 90 mile drive via highway which then takes about 2 hours, or a 100 mile drive via back roads which we can do in about an hour 45 min.  Yeah...we ALWAYS take the back roads.

This year, we let our son bring along a friend so it was important that we be on our best behavior.  Yeah, well...maybe not.  I should have guessed the direction the weekend was going to take when we barely got out of town, following motorcycles when the motorcycles seemed to part...and there, standing in the middle of the road was a raccoon.  A live raccoon.  It was a scene that immediately brought to mind Elf, however, there was NO WAY I was going within 10 feet of that raccoon.  He looked PISSED.  I don't care if it needed a hug or not, I wasn't offering.
So, we avoided the raccoon and were soon on our way north via back roads.  When we started out the outside temp (around 4pm) was 96 degrees.  Over the next 30 minutes we watched the temp slowly drop...then quickly drop.  I was keeping my eye on the west because there were some fairly ugly black clouds moving east and north that had some really weird low clouds atop them that had what appeared to be fingers dropping down intermittently, then they were sucked back into the cloud.  I watched this, a tad bit alarmed, given the now rapidly dropping temp thinking this is what tornado's are sprung from (yeah...I've seen Twister...I know).  Then the sky took on a bit of a greenish cast.  But then my oldest daughter brought my attention to the clouds on MY side and HOLY.CRAP.  They looked like this:

The temp was now 30 degrees lower than it had been half an hour ago. And before I knew it we hit it.  First came the wind.  Then the rain.  Then the hail.  THEN...the rain that came in sheets, moving horizontal to the ground.  As we crept along, I watched the wind take down trees.  Suddenly what little traffic there was stopped.  We had hit an area that was free of trees and I think everyone had the same idea...didn't want to get hit by falling trees.  Still, some people continued to move and after a few minutes, we decided to as well.  We went about 10 miles and seemed to be moving out of the storm.  Oh, it was still raining but the rain was actually falling now.  We thought we were out of it.  So we pressed onto the cabin.  We were about 10 miles from the cabin when we got a text from the family already there saying that they were in a tornado shelter...the sirens had gone off.   I let them know we were about 10 miles away and would be there soon. The weather was so much better than it had been I just figured what was hitting them was what we had just driven through.  Uh...as we approached the town one over, we drove through it again.  This time the sky wasn't green...EVERYTHING had a green cast.  The rain was so blinding we couldn't see 3 ft in front of the car, so it was fortuitous that we happened to pull into Pearl Lake Lodge.  For safety reasons of course.
We emptied out the truck of children and walked into "the lodge" to hear a guy at the bar doing a PERFECT impression of:

OH how it fit!  We were in the bar only briefly before the electricity went out.  LUCKILY, taps do NOT run on electricity. 
We made it to the cabin a little while later, only to see the electricity go out there.  And stay out for the next 18 hours or so.  Our cabin adventure had quickly morphed into a camping adventure.  If you know what I mean. (think...well water...electric pump...'nuff said).  Here was the other side of the lake shortly after we arrived:
Saturday arrived (without electricity) with the sun shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky. It was a busy day.  We had to go to Cold Spring Bakery for peanut holes (seriously...you haven't lived til you've had a peanut hole...or 6).  Then the fun began.  First, there is fishing.  In your jammies.  Because, dontchaknow, that's how we roll here in Minnesota.  And occasionally you'll reel in a crappie:
Then there was tubing.  Lots of tubing.  Kids who want to go fast.  Kids who want to go slow.  They mixed it up.  They used a lot of gas.  Then there was skiing/wakeboarding.  This was more interesting.  My oldest wakeboards and attempted to get his friend J up on the board.  J does EVERYTHING.  And it appears J does everything very well.  But wakeboarding escaped him.  Still, first time out on skiing he made it up...after I had already assumed he was down and called it.  And he still smiles.  Here's J on his first attempt at skiing, followed by the boy, suave and debonair wakeboarding one handed:

I tried my hand at skiing and I can officially say...D@MN...I'm old.  It has NEVER taken me more than one attempt to get up on one ski.  And sore?  Holy crap.  There should be a way to exercise the muscles you use when you ski.
Sunday, we found an old tennis net and set it up in the water as a volley ball net.  Can I just say...wow...boys are competitive: 
Of course, all this activity, combined with hours on end of sun AND staying up late, and you might find yourself in this position:
It needs to be noted that J was warned well in advance that such a position would, well, put him at risk.  I mean, there were 6 12-15 year old girls in the cabin, each armed with a bag of fingernail polish.  I can't be around 24/7 to prevent the inevitable.  Nor will I tell what color his toenail ended up.  I'm no snitch.   I think he was hoping the worst he had to deal with was having his underwear frozen in the freezer.  But, we were on our best behavior.

Monday was more skiing/wakeboarding/tubing.  More water volleyball.  And of course, it's not a holiday unless the polish horseshoes (corn hole? bean bags?) game is brought out and a tournament is played.  Teams are chosen by luck of the draw.  Money is ALWAYS the prize.  And the games were on.  My oldest daughter made it to the final.  Blew a HUGE lead.  It came down to LAST THROW...for the championship.  Last throw...HAD to be in the hole.  Last throw?  It's in the hole (now...you have to say that like Bill Murray in Caddyshack).  Just look at that form:

Then...the youngest nephew, well he got a little bold.  And in the process found himself hogtied, all the while giggling:
There was hotbox and freeze tag played.  Rousing games of BS.  The lake was walked.  The resort was visited.  The fireworks were watched (I do believe Grand Lake has some very happy mosquitoes today).  I'm guessing, were I to rank the holiday on a scale of 1 to 10, it would probably be a 14.

I hope everyone was as blessed.

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