Monday, August 11, 2008


Once again, vacation was possibly more work than pleasure. Hubby worked on office stuff until the last minute --such that the vacation didn't start until Wednesday --and our toilet line plugged up just before we left, and toilet water backed up into the adjoining shower. We have a newer bathroom that has always given us problems because the contractor and his plumber didn't do something right. But we put a bunch of vinegar down --and after the 2nd toilet on the line overflowed and splashed on the floor getting all over hubby's shoes --the clog finally dissolved--I called off the plumber who was coming--and we left the house!

We get to the lake, and our neighbor sends his dogs to our yard to do his business --and my daughter yelled through closed windows at the offender, "NOT IN OUR YARD!!!" And we know the 2 neighbor guys noticed --as they looked at the house. Did they come out with a pooper scooper? Of course not. But we are tolerant --because he has mowed our yard some springs before we got there --maybe once a year.

Before we arrived, our daughters who got there earlier called to say the brand new air conditioner wasn't working -- and there was a leak under the new sink. So the plumber came out --said there was an earwig in our AC. He got everything working.

I noticed in my new bathroom a flaw in the wall paper where the carpenter had a 2 inch diameter tear where he put in the towel bar. He had stuck it together. It's right where you would notice it if you were sitting on the stool! I asked my daughter if she had noticed that when we were cleaning up and finishing up with the carpenter --she said yes, but she felt sorry for him--because I had gotten him to do an extra job after I paid him. There was a PLANT growing on the roof --and since he had been up there previously to take out the chimney (to make room for the sink in the bathroom, we had taken out a chimney chase,) I thought he could have removed the plant and whatever debris was cultivating it. We were fixing the cottage as a prize for a music booster fund-raiser --a teacher's family was going to spend a few days there --and I didn't want them to see a plant growing on the roof. Plus, he helped her rehang the window valances --all of 5 minutes worth. So she didn't want to point out that he had ruined the new wallpaper already. He also put in the baseboards even though he knew he should wait for the heating guy to give him the new register cover --he didn't know exactly what size it would be --but he put the baseboards in anyway. And then he had to remove the baseboard off the new wallpaper and cut it to fit the register cover. And there was some flaw afterward in how the baseboard butts against the wall, not quite square. I think he was trying to speed up the whole process before I noticed his wallpaper damage.

I paid to have that paper airmailed quickly from England --and paid top dollar to a decorating company according to the price in the wallpaper book. Afterward I found the same paper at Lowe's for 1/3 the price --and would not have had to pay $75 shipping.

O well, when I feel gypped, I just tell myself I'm helping the economy.

Re: the bathroom --You used to be able to sit on the stool and brush your teeth at the same time, not that anybody did--but it was so close, your skirts had to swish against the toilet when you used the sink. By taking out the chimney, getting a new furnace that doesn't use a chimney, we were able to get the sink and toilet on the same wall.

Anyway, I got my young carpenter (in his late 20's) to get a ladder from the garage and the plant off the roof. And I didn't know that he had spoiled my new wallpaper. Some people I know would make him get the bathroom done over. Even to repair it and re-do a section would cause new horizontal seams and not be as nice as it was when the paper hanger did it. So, we're letting it go. It's still a beautiful little cottage bathroom--and so much more user-friendly.

On Saturday, we took the old dusty 1987 Four Winns deck boat on the Chain of Lakes tour through canals and 7? lakes. And in the last lake --after the ice cream and bathroom stop on Marble Lake, my son was driving and the boat started to sound funny and smoke poured from the gear shift area and the motor area. First thing was to move the 2 grandmas in their 80's to the front of the boat instead of by the engine in the back --Grandma's walker was in the way, making this a tough job with too many feet and panic aboard. Though there was no screaming --but minds racing to think what we should do. I was ready to open bottles of water! We should've thought to put on our life jackets and prepared to jump over. The gas tank could've ignited and exploded. I hope we'll remember the lesson learned for any future episode --and have better presence of mind. Hindsight is always best, sad to say.

Son took fire extinguisher to the back --where there were not any flames yet --Husband turned off the ignition--finally. Many boats slowed to inquire how they could help and we didn't know. Fortunately, Jon had his cell phone and called the sheriff. We were drifting under low hanging branches when 2 sheriffs show up. Do they have ropes on their boat? Of course not. Why would the Marine Patrol have tow ropes? So they left us under the trees with daughter squealing over possible bugs in branches --and then they returned and tied us to their tow rope. We had one but not long enough. Right away, their Boy Scout knot knowledge proved deficient --and the knot untied. So they tried again --I think my husband did it finally--he was a Boy Scout and knows his knots. And they pulled us to public access --where we eventually got permission to leave the boat overnight at a neighboring private pier. The sheriffs were very cordial --and I was so relieved that I actually had current boat registration in the boat when they asked to see it--and that they didn't examine our 1980's fire extinguisher.

The next day, our boat was picked up (for a hefty fee) by our boat-shop-owning neighbor to his place of business. He called the next week to say, "Good news --only $1000 of damage --water pump went out and lots of stuff was damaged but not the motor itself." My husband never thinks $1000 is good news.

My husband hates the boat --it's hard to get the grandmas in and out of it and half the time it won't start --but it did on this day. He wants a new fancy pontoon --so he can give them 2 rides a year or so on his 7 days or so at the lake. We do have an old pontoon that works --and we did take a couple nice rides in it with the mothers --but it doesn't go fast --and we needed to make time on the chain of lakes tour --as we had promised to give some other relatives from down the road a sunset cruise on the pontoon later. Besides, our daughter-in-law had never taken the ride through the canals and the lakes and she likes the faster boat, too.

The next day, before leaving for home, I hoped to go Seadooing with my husband --and my Seadoo started to balk and stall right away --after working all week for everybody else. This time I didn't pray it into running --the inspiration was lacking! Once it started up with the help of some guy whose house I stalled in front of --after my husband got a tow rope --so I shot at top speed through the "no wake" zone, not wanting to stall again. I knew I was breaking the "no wake law" --but figured the sheriff would understand the need to get home before stalling again. But here came a pontoon with a bossy young lady telling me that I wasn't to go through that no-wake zone fast like I did. I said I knew that --but had met the sheriff yesterday and figured he'd understand an exception since I needed to keep going fast so it wouldn't stall again.

But it did stall, and while she was scolding me, Hubby was trying to tie me to his seadoo --and the way he did it, had him pulling me sidewise --and I almost tipped over when he sped up --and so there we were, yelling at each other out in public. He wonders why I can't hold the rope such that it won't pull me sideways --but of course, when the slack goes out of the rope, I can't control that rope at all; it's too tight. So he had to be content to pull me home at a snail's pace. Had he been able to reach the place on the Seadoo where the tow rope was supposed to be tied, it wouldn't have gone crooked --but that ring is practically under the boat and he couldn't reach it without getting in the water --and then he wouldn't have been able to get back on his boat.

Otherwise, we had lovely meals, all planned by and shopped for by my daughter (I'm the clean-up crew), enjoyed the new bathroom and the AC, and the new vinyl-sheeting Armstrong Oak-like flooring --also a project of the summer. That was the flooring recommended for swimmers' water. It is a great improvement --though I think I see what are 3 nail pop-ups in the walk way, and have to go back and see if the flooring installer can replace that section and have it look ok. We do have left-over material.

I had one good Seadoo run by myself. And joined in one afternoon of swimming with most of the family.

Also enjoyed visits with some cousins I had not seen for a long time.

Our mothers were both there; my mom stays in her sister's fancy house at the other end of the island --and she spent her days with us --and she is getting forgetful at 88? I've lost track. I'm forgetful, too! She was forever worrying about whether her sister would have other people needing her bed --and with whom she was to have dinner --and where she had left her purse.

Jon's mother, on the other hand, is better off mentally but more frail of body --having broken a hip and having severe osteoarthritis and porosis such that she can't stand up straight very easily. Her legs are like toothpicks and they said her bones are very brittle --but she thinks it's cute to seriously beg for a Seadoo ride and to ride the adult tricycle we have -- It's part of her charm to act like a school girl, always ready for some risky adventure --so she giggles and begs for the rides she wants. And as an only child, she is used to getting what she wants. Fortunately, nobody indulged her this time. We used to take her on most of our vacations to Florida --until she broke the hip (femur, actually) stepping out of a bathroom--and my husband spent the whole week with her in the hospital.

I'm a good wife.

The grandsons had no mishaps and lots of good times --and some fish were caught and cleaned and served by Grandpa. One large lethargic bass was caught with a net --he was just hovering near the pier --and he wasn't taking an interest in the worms. They let him go, thinking he was not in good health.

We also visited the Coldwater Free Methodist Church --and found it to be a thriving congregation with a young dynamic preacher. What was the sermon topic? RELAX! the importance of taking time away from work, and the pursuit of money, for vacation, relationships and church.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Jeanette said...


When I see you are talking about a vacation I always chuckle before I even read it because you seem to have the worst luck while trying to relax and take away any stress.

It's kind of charming to read about your adventures, and my chuckles are chuckles of pleasure knowing the story will be full of the mishaps and the good things.

Glad you had some renovations done. I'm beginning to get a picture in my mind of your cottage.

Wish I could share in your misadventures. LOL

God bless you and family.

Barb said...

Well, maybe you will pass through some day. If my husband would only retire --then we could do some serious entertaining together!

Anonymous said...

It's always such a fun story when you all come back from vacation. Thankful that no one was hurt and that everyone is home safe!! :)

Barb said...

Measureayear --are you my little friend who is waiting a year? Miss you if you are you.

Anonymous said...

:0) Tis me Barb!

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