Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Someone must be living right

I don't think it's me, so it must be the girls. Or somebody out there lit some candles for me.

We just had one of the best weekends I can remember; made even better because, just a day or so before we left, it looked like half our family was sick and the weather was going to be horrible--rainy and cold.

Last week was a blur. We're still getting used to all of us being on a schedule; I feel like a whiner every time I mention it, but I'm still stunned by how much of an adjustment it is: going from a family with two home-schooled kids and a stay-home mom to a family with a mom who works full-time and two kids in school, one with a part time job. I know this is how most of the world lives, but jeez. I miss my slack family down time. I miss four of us sitting around the dining room table over coffee, just talking about...stuff.

If you see me writing about outdoor recreation it's not likely you'll see anything about my brothers. We've got some entertaining stories about my efforts to bring them camping and fishing back in the mid-80's, but they've decided that anything involving sleeping on the ground, excessive walking, bug repellent and/or shitting in a hole is not for them. One of them summed it up nicely:

"As soon as you find camping that involves a lounge and a casino, I'll think about it."

Here at the Compound, our big achievement over the past few weeks has been not arguing with each other over undone chores and forgotten, missed appointments. The fact that we eked out a few hours on the 16th to hang out together in the city, while restorative, only served to heighten the desire to get away as a family and hang out for a while. We planned this camping trip a while ago, thinking that late September is a pretty good time to go camping. Not too hot, not too cold.

Well, it all worked out for us. We got out of Chicago just before the fierce storms hit Friday afternoon. We found out that the Sherpak roof bag really was waterproof and held plenty of gear. When we pulled up at the farm it wasn't raining, and the ground wasn't even that wet. If anyone's ever set up camp at night you know it's a challenge; we got three tents and a screen house set up within a half hour, with no twisted ankles, broken tent poles or eye injuries. I also proved a theory that I've had for a while: the more prepared you are for bad weather, the less likely it is that the weather will, in fact, be bad. We had a screen house, rainsuits and thermal underwear. This resulted in sunny 65 degree days and mild nights. Perfect.

I am blessed with good inlaws. MizBubs had a crazy, evil mom who died on my birthday a few years ago; everyone in the family had stopped speaking to her years before, and she'd ceased to be a meaningful part of anyone's life more than a decade ago. She was one of those chaotic, miserable and manipulative people who ruined anything she became involved in, and I dealt with a lot of her crap for the first few years I knew Miz, before and after we were married. So, here's my reward: I now have a bunch of brothers-in-law who are all great guys (and their wives are great as well) a sister-in-law who's like the little sister I never had, a father-in-law who's an amazing musician and storyteller, and a mother-in-law (technically MizBubs' stepmom, but really may as well be her birth mother) who's just better than I could ever describe here. Plus a huge network of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

This weekend we had my family, eldest daughter's boyfriend Cody, MizBubs' sister Kate and her husband Steve (Steve's parents own the farm we camped on) and Saturday afternoon/night we had MizBubs' mom and dad. Plus our two dogs, and Kate n' Steve's two dogs.

So what did we do for two days? F*ck if I know, really...I mean, I can list some of the specific things we did: cut down a dead tree with a chainsaw, chopped wood like a maniac, hiked, shot sporting clays, sang, looked at bugs, smoked cigars, drank beer, played with the dogs, and that's all accurate as far as it goes, but not a complete picture.

The amazing thing was, the time went so quickly just doing, really, not much of anything at all. Talking. Reading. Walking around. Sitting and staring. Grab-assing. Just enjoying the fact that we were outdoors in a beautiful place, surrounded by people we love and who love us back.


lulu said...

Any of your brothers single? it sounds like we would get along perfectly. My feeling about camping is that it is fine, as long as there is room service and a spa near by.

Bubs said...

Alas, Lulu, they're both wedded to gals who share their commitment to a good hotel room. I got no beef with a swanky room in New Orleans, Las Vegas or anywhere else, and I'm known to even enjoy a manicure and a massage occasionally. But I like being left the hell alone in nature better.

Kate said...

That's the bench that survived the flood!!

Oh, and faboo picture of yourself.

Bubs said...

The only thing missing was a martini glass and a fez.