If the days in between our Murphy experiences hadn't been so perfect, I might be regretting our time at Jen and Peter's camp. But it's hard to beat our time with them on the aptly named Pleasant Pond.
We usually send Ali for some alone time with her Maine family. But this year, she brought her best friend, Jenna Tokash, for a few days and then Jeff and I joined in for a long weekend. All was rosy for the girls as they got themselves through two airports and off to Auntie Jen without a hitch.
Jeff and I ran into delays on the trip out that stranded us in Washington DC Friday night right about the time we should have arrived at camp.
We had no hope of getting to Maine until Saturday night if we were to remain in the unfriendly skies. We opted to drive the 500+ miles, starting at midnight Friday.
Twelve hours later, we'd argued ourselves awake as I tried to figure out his Android phone, which has a light touch and kept switching screens. In case you don't know, I tend to get cranky when I don't have enough sleep and am hungry or annoyed by uncontrollable forces or have to learn new smart phone tricks on the fly.
We consumed more energy drinks than were healthy -- including an enormous Slim Jim for Jeff and too many Dunkin' Donut Munchkins for me. Jeff got us out of DC and thru Baltimore and into New Jersey, with me dozing more than was helpful. I got us through New York and Connecticut. Jeff set alarms for himself to be sure I kept us on a northbound course. He took the wheel back before we got into Boston.
Takeaways from the road trip:
- New Jersey has awesome rest stops.
- If you're going to risk driving into Maine on a holiday weekend, be sure you have accommodations for bathroom emergencies and a solid partnership with whoever is in your car because everyone and their brother, apparently, heads north in July.
We managed to get to Maine without killing each other or leaving any lasting DNA in the rental car. If Jen and Peter had showed up three minutes later, they'd have found us asleep on the curb outside the airport, though.
My plans for bed changed when the girls convinced me to get into the water. By dinner time, I was out of juice. Jeff had napped and I snagged a few Zzzs while the table got set but between the long travel day and paddling around in the pond, I almost face-planted at the table. I was out by 7:30.
For the next few days, we kayaked, skied, paddle boarded, swam, speed-boated, canoed and played like campers should. We picked strawberries and sent the boys into town for lobster. And beer, of course, as Jeff was along.
We'd stopped at the Maine Beer Company on the way to camp and the three of us were waiting in the crowded lot for Jeff to re-emerge. When it was clear that a guy wanted our parking spot, Peter made sure the guy got it, pulling out early so he could slip in. That guy gave Peter a cold Treehouse Haze to thank him for his trouble. (Peter was pleased but Jeff was ecstatic as the MA-made beer is hard for a Hoosier to get. And it was delicious...)
Jenna, excited to have her first whole crustacean, decided it wasn't her favorite, after all. The texture did nothing for her, but the extraction process grossed her out as well. "You want me to put my thumb where?" she asked, doubtfully. She's right to question Captain Reed, who has led her astray for his own enjoyment for years. She fell in love with Nicodemus, though, and if she could have gotten him in her suitcase, she would have.
We discovered that Jenna and I have awesome taste in swimsuits and once mixed them up and had to switch back.
We resorted to calling Jennifer Reed "Jen1" and Jenna Tokash "Jen2" after several confusing conversations.
Cousin Peter Williamson and Auntie Mary Sturtevant came over and Pete put us all to shame with his first-time on water skis. We applauded his salute to us on the short until we realized he was returning Jeff's one-fingered salute.
Ali was a great sport as we all took turns skiing or tubing while she had to stay on the boat with her broken, but healing collarbone. It didn't keep her from much.
It might have helped that Uncle Peter is also nursing an injury and couldn't do more than drive, either. They're both looking forward to next year when his shoulder and her collar bone are fully healed and ready for power sports.
He gave both girls a driving lesson before the week was out and ended their water time with a private trip around the lake at speeds that left them breathless and wanting more.
Jeff, who like me, hadn't skied in a long time, got up and stayed up for long circuits around the pond, but the image we all like is the great shot Jen1 got as he ended one trip.
Time to leave came too soon, and we happily had no flight SNAFUs. The girls loved watching fireworks from above, and they got to see most of the Indianapolis shows as we we came in around 10:30 p.m. or so.
Once home, Murphy made his presence known again as a fuse had blown sometime between Friday and Tuesday, rendering our refrigerator the depository for a bunch of smelly food. I usually empty the fridge of anything that could go bad while we are away but had left milk, thinking it would be nice to not have to stop for groceries when we got home late.
Jeff was scheduled to work Wednesday but stayed behind to help me clear the three garbage bags of spoiled food. I'd planned to restock while he was gone and went out to the garage only to remember then that we'd left my car at a local dealership before our trip so a recalled air bag could get replaced.
We'd both forgotten about it. I considered biking to the grocery with a backpack and even got on the bike. But it was as if all the exertion from the prior days caught up with me and I napped instead.
I must have looked like death warmed over when Jeff and I drove up to get my car back because the sales staff had that "Should I call 9-1-1" look in their eyes when I stumbled to the desk.
In my defense, at camp, you get up, brush your teeth, pull your hair back and face the day. I was still at camp in my mind and groggy from little restful sleep.
Today, we're fully back home in mind, body and spirit. It's a rainy day so I'm out on the back porch catching up with country music. Ali is inside avoiding country music, getting ready for summer school and clearing out her room. Jeff is at work. It's a pleasant kind of Indiana summer day.
Not as pleasant as Pleasant Pond, but it's a good place to be, too. Thanks, Jen and Peter, for an awesome time.
I leave you with a shot of what Ali and Jen2 did when they were out of the water and not playing board or phone games.