Vacations with my father are always stressful for the first few days. I left Thursday night so that I would be at his place for the 4am departure nt day. I didn't get to sleep until ~1, due to late arrivals from work on the part of my brother, as well as the incessant barking of my mother's rat dog. I was pretty damn tired when we pulled out of pville ~4:45 - I was also really hungry, because I forgot to eat. My dad was exhausted - he had a week similar to the one I did, plus he did all the packing and shopping for the trip.
We hit the road runnning, and made great time. We made it from Pville to the NH state liqor store by 8:30 - we made the actual cabin in Maine by around 2pm, which is _very_ fast for my father, I believe coming back last year bruteforcemethd beat my previous record time which was just over 8 hours. Neither of us were towing boat, gear, or 400$ worth of booze though.
My uncle and his daughter, and freind Frank made it in by ~ 8:30ish. My phone doesn't work up here, neither does my dad's. I had to walk a mile up the road to use a payphone to let chellez know that we made it in okay. I miss her a lot, though earlier int he week it is never so bad as it is later in the week. THe damn mosquitoes are so thick - I must have killed 40 of them in a 10 minute conversation. My arms look like I have been arm wrestling a porcupine.
I got ahead of myself a little bit - we were totally unpacked by 4pm - a first time ever situation in the 20-dd years my father has been coming up here.
Friday night we had fried bologna and cheese sandwiches, not exactly a deicacy in mopst places of the world, but for hungry drunk people, it seems to be near to mana. I like them, despite my intimate knowledge of how bad obologna is for you.
Saturday, we were up at 5, to get out on the water by ~ 8. My dad, much like myslef, takes great pleasure in cooking for a bunch of people who enjoy it. Unlike myself though, he pushes way too hard at having a good time, all the time. I do it sometimes, but I try to temper it, seeing what it has done to him over the years. The weather has been beautiful since coming up, but the wind has been unfortunate both in strength and direction. We got blown around a _lot_ yesterday, and thought there were some good fish points, overall, spotty at best. Around 3pm, we had fished out the area of the lake we had motored out to, so we decided to head in and fish closer to the cabin. My dad, who had been at the front of the boat running the trolling motor all day, was overcome with a bout of nausea, vertigo, and tunnel vision when he moved from there to the back of the boat. We elected to just head in, instead of continuing fishing, and I was _very_ concerned over his health. I was worried he might be having stroke.
We got in after some shennanigans over pulling the boat. Frank didn't know how to back the trailer up to the boat launch, and my dad won't let me do it because he is worried about his insurance. We ended up having a stranger back it up, after about 10 tries on Frank's part. The funny thing is, I'd bet the guy who backed it in didn't have a license either. More on that, and the dock situation later, but once we actually got settled back in, both Frank and my dad took a few hours of heavy nap, while I puttered around, did dishes, and cleaned up the cabin in general. We had corned beef, cabbage, and boiled red potatoes last night. My dad seemed to feel muich better by the time he went to bed. He attributed his episode to extreme exhaustion and age, which I hope we was correct about. Nonetheless, I am keeping an eye on him.
Today was beautiful, but it is Sunday, so the majority went to church, while Frank and I did dishes, and cleaned things up. When everyone got back, we went out. The weather was beautiful, and the fishing was decent. There is a tradtion of "hooching" - a layover from days when there was much more drinking on the boats. When you catch "a keeper" yopu take a belt of whiskey from a flask you keep in the cooler. Before going out, it was decided that the hooch bottle, which was half full of Jim Beam, should not be mixed with Jack Daniels. Before we even got on the boat, half a pint of whiskey was split between Frank and I. My brother flew into the lake Sunday, though several hours late. By that point, Frank was pretty much passed out, and the fishing ended shortly thereafter. I took the booze much better than Frank did, but I think that is because I don't drink beer. The fishing was so good that by the time we got back, almost all the whiskey was gone. We had smoked ham with broccoli and rice with corn for dinner.
Monday's weather was very pretty, but hardly ideal for fishing. There was a strong wind out of the southwest. With my brother here, there was more people than spots on the boats. I decided to stay behind at the cabin to try and go to the library, and do some research on local history. The library didn't open - I waited for an hour onthe steps, and left when I gotred of people slowing down and gawking at the fact that someone wanted to get in. Everyone got back to the cabin around 1is, when the wind got too b ad for fishing. We had a warmup game of poker for about three or four hours, and then had roast leg of lamb, cremed spinach, and fried corn fritters.
Tuesday, today, is a "rain day". Between the rain, thunder, and wind, there is no chance of any decent fishing. I woke up at 3am with the start of a migraine. It is around 11am now, and the migrane still hasn't hit, despite my attempts at trying to trigger it. Everyone has been drinking for about the last two hours, except for my brother, who has been sleeping since after breakfast. Because my father can't sleep past 5am, we tend to have breakfast before 7am. Not my idea of a perfect vacation, but everyone seems to be having a good time. I wish I flet less like I was underwater.
I assume that the poker game will start up again soon. I have fun with that for a few hours, but my family's dedication to poiker (which incluides my cousin, Erica, who at 13, is quite the ringer). Frank and I are both similar in our outlooks on this - today he is making pasta sauche, so I will be sou cheffing. I am going to make baked eggplant and garlic bread to compliment the sauce and pasta.
The dock, which I mentioned above, is a major issue on the fishing conditions. In years past, the boat dock right near the camp has been the biggest atttraction to where we stay. The current proprieter, who has owned the camp for the last 4 years, has done absolutely nothing with the dock since he took the place over. With the ice averaging about 3 feet over the winder, the dock is now a nightmare - unsfe to walk on much less tie a boat to. My dad has stated, after 28 years, that if the guy who runs the place, Gary, has not replaced the docks by the time he comes back in August, he will find somehwere else to stay.
I have been working on a history/folklore of the area on and off since Sunday. I don't know how much I will get one here, especially with my migraine on the horizon. I have made lots of notes though. It is the first writing project I have been thuroughly engrossed on in a while.
Wednesday was a lost day for me. My migraine totally killed any chances of me doing anything remotely interesting, especially when I became photosensitive. The owner of the camps, Gary, is having all the cabins repainted white, with blue trip. To make hsi artistic vision a reality, he has employed what I refer to as the "Moron Paint Brigade". These four guys, while very nice, couldn't count to a dozen if they all put thier minds to the task. While that is not always a bad quality in a person, in a painter, it is not so good. They painted all the trim on the cabins before they even finished spray painting the prime (as an example). Anywho, the MPB showed up at ~9am, and immidiately began sanding, sawing and hammering. So much for a restful day in the cabin. The most entertaining element of thier shennanigans was that after about 10 minutes of enough noise to wake the dead, the leader of the MPB told his underlinggs to knock it off, and that someone should knock on the cabin to see if anyone was there, and, if there was, tell them what they were doing.
I forgot to mention a bitersweet and embarassing moment from earlier in the week. The last zippo I ever bought, 7 years ago, but the dust this week. I had a hand-tooled leather case made for it when I was still a smoker (before chellez moved up) so I could wear it on my belt. When I was wearing it regularly, I would always wear it past my first belt loop on my belt, so, in the infrequent moments my belt was unbuckled, the ligheer would stay put.
It has been around two years since I was a regular smoker.
After a brief stop in the water closet, I was re-clothing myself as I bent over to flush the toilet. Fwoosh - no more ligher. Perhaps archeologists in the future will find the remains of the septic system here, and wonder what the odd little device was for. I like to think of it that way.
Thuirsday was, by far, the most beautiful day of weather we had all week. The winds were light to nonexistant, the temperature was in the mid-70's, the sky was clear, the sun was bright and beautiful. Frank and I went out in a rental boat for the day. Despite the _perfect_ conditions, the fishing was abysmal. Everyone was frustrated b y it. My father is of the opinion that the fish are mid-cyucle, they have already spawned, but are not into summer patterns yet. This, combined with the complications of the incredibly low water (the dam was running hydroelectric for almost two months, the water is as low as it usually is in August now, in the third week of June) has made the fishing very inconsistent. My brother and Frank went back out Wednesday night, after dinner, and had three hours of great fishing - I think they are jsut stuffing themselves during the times we are not on the water =).
Friday, the last day, and I am not fishing. I am fished out. I don't want to go out on a rental boat again, and there arre more people who really do want to fish than available seats if I go out. I stayed in, got some extra sleep (they were all on the water at 6), and talked to chellez for a bit before working on breaking down the gear int he cabin. Definitely the best morning I've had all week. I really miss her, it will be good to be home tomorrow.
Despite the ebb and flow of my feelings for the many parts which make up this ritual vacation(family, location, activities, environmnet), I am sobered by the fact that this might well be my last full day in this cabin ever. If Gary doesn't come through on his supposed promises, my dad will move on, he has little patience for inconvienence when vacationing. This place, the memories, the stories connected to the cabins, even the familiar sounds late at night, all have blended into a rather complicated yet elegand shard of who I am.
Tomorrow is another marathon drive. Lobsterfest 2004 has been ruled "family only" because of the shambles my parets' house has become. My father's over-zealous tree-surgeon friend has, in the past week, dumped about 6 cords of unsplit wood at my father's abode. The4re is, in fact, question over wether or not we will actually be able to get the boat up the driveay, depending on the location of the wood =/. That kind of sucks, since I se3nt some open invites, but I am sure people will understand. I asked cellez to take lobster orders if people still wanted them.
I probably won't have an opportunity to read/write this again until I am back in civilization. I hope I make it home safe tomorrow, and that we make reasnoable time..
We didn't, rain and traffic got us home in 11 hours this year. When we got home, it was to discover that my father had gotten not one, but several cords of uncut wood delivered to the house. My brother and I needed to move lots of it before we could park/unload the boat. He was nice enough to give me a ride home, and I went and got Japanese food with chellez. Unfortunately, due to the lack of free space, the lobster thing was sorta cancelled to a fam-only kinda deal. Sorry to all those I invited, then un-invited through chellez' post.
Yesterday was the lobster thing, and chellez got to look at childhood photos of me to even the score of going through a chestfull of pictured when we were in Texas. The last week has been heavy on the nostalgia, and that seemed the appropriate cherry, all things being equal. I am not quite sure what my little Princeton writing project is tunring into, - I am just going to keep spinning into it - it will wither form a pattern, or a knot. Wither way, at least Ill know what I have at some point down the road.
This week, I have to make a consulting pit-stop, one of my friends interviews for a job in my office tomorrow, I need to launch at leat two applicaitons for beta, I need to get pet food and plant stuff, need to plan some future dates and trips, and, lastly, I need to plot with chellez for plans on saturday.
She feels shittty today - migraney. I hope her day improves as it goesw on. I am definitely not looking forward to returning to the bowels of the meat grinder.