Of peaceful wooded mornings, ticks, wine, righting the dock…

Holiday weekends in our family always come with the unfolding of a mishmash of planned activities, plus a few unexpected surprises. I’m guessing, more often than not, it works that way in your family, too.
Last Thursday, Mr. Outdoors and I headed north for a second visit to the cool cabin our son and daughter-in law, Jon and Sara, recently purchased near Barnes, WI. The Kids, plus grandsons Jackson and Bryson, were due to arrive late Friday afternoon.
Before unloading the Jeep, the lake was calling. We strolled down the path to capture our first view of the lake, brimming with high water from all the rain. Jon sent us photos earlier in the week showing how much the dock had moved as a result. Sure enough, it was about 10-12 feet from it’s normal position. Righting the dock was one of the starred items on the to-do list we had to accomplish.
But, for the moment, never mind that!!! Mr. Outdoors looked down and saw five ticks making themselves comfortable on his calf! He brushed them away and we hot-footed it to the cabin!! It was to be the first of several stories from the weekend. Ticks. Ticks. And, more ticks!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
The Outdoors Guy and I went to dinner at the only nearby restaurant in Barnes. After an excellent meal, we returned to the cabin and got a chilly greeting when the heat in the cabin wouldn’t come on. Then, we had to drive a ways to reach Jon by cell because we couldn’t get a signal. He told us the hot water heat takes quite a while to get going. We waited and waited and kept turning up the thermostat. Finally, we felt the in-floor heat doing it’s thing! With that resolved, it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.
Friday morning, we were up bright and early, taking in the peaceful morning and the woods surrounding us…just what The Outdoors Guy loves! He went down to the lake to drop a line. This time though, he wore knee boots for tick protection. After a few bites, but no keepers, and additional ticks, he returned to the cabin.
We took a 30-minute drive to Hayward in the afternoon to pick up a few supplies. Then, it was time to return for The Kids’ arrival. After a happy reunion and lots of hugs, Gramps got the grill going. Festival Foods’ brats were on the menu…yum! We voted on who prefers the precooked and who likes the regular. It was a tie!
Early Saturday morning I quietly slipped down the stairs. As I tiptoed into the kitchen, it looked like someone had spilled something on the kitchen floor. It still looked wet. But, when I reached down to touch the area, I found it was SUPER-STICKY!!! Then, I discovered more and more sticky areas. When I finally finished mopping it up, I had done nearly the entire floor! I wondered who had made such a mess and why they hadn’t cleaned it up! When I was sure I had it all, I went to get milk for my coffee and found more of the sticky stuff by the fridge door! Eeeek!!! Frustrated, I decided to leave it there so Jon and Sara could figure it out.
When they woke up, I told them what I had found and pointed out the goop still by the fridge. They didn’t have a clue! I went upstairs. When I returned, the mystery was solved.
Jon found a cork and foil laying on the kitchen floor opposite the fridge, which was where, on top of it, they had a wine rack with several bottles on their sides. One of the bottles was a carbonated wine. Apparently, something had triggered it to blow it’s top, causing the wine to splay across the kitchen floor and even onto the closet doors, which I hadn’t noticed. The bottle was blown backward and lay against the wall behind the fridge. Despite more cleanup, including pulling out the fridge and finding additional goop, we were thankful no one was in the path of the cork-turned-missile!!
Saturday morning we all went to Hayward. The guys looked at boats, bought a lawnmower, trimmer and picked up additional spud poles. Sara and I shopped and grabbed lunch at our favorite local coffee haunt, Backroads.
When we returned to the cabin, the guys were already back. Jon was giving Jackson, age 10, and Bryson, seven, instructions for operating the new mower. They did great, but will need time before they can mow themselves.
The boat isn’t due to arrive until next weekend. Needless to say, Jackson was totally bummed because he was expecting to go fishing with his Grandpa. Now, he has to wait until next time. I was so sad for him.
However, we needed to continue on to the next item, which was moving the dock. The guys put on their chest waders and got it into position. Then, they placed the spud poles, while the boys chattered and eagerly assisted. Sara pitched in when and where she was needed, while I snapped photos.
Suddenly, Gramps picked a tuber from a water lily and shoved it in his mouth!! Everyone gasped and groaned. How could he put that thing in his mouth? He chewed it for a few seconds and spit it out! We were all laughing and gagging at the same time!
When the dock was almost finished, Sara pointed at the ground and yelled in disgust, “What is THAT?!!!”
Crawling through leaves and pine needles on the forest floor was the most revolting-looking creature we girls have ever seen!! Gramps took one look. “Oh, that’s a leech,” he casually remarked.
He scooped the repulsive piece of black, accordion-like slime off the ground to the chorus of more shrieks!!! Then, he laid it on his arm. Immediately, the blob started to attach itself to him!! Jon pulled it off Gramps and the creature did the same to Jon!!! Meanwhile, the rest of us were going nuts! Gramps pulled the leech off of Jon and tossed it in the lake.
Sara scolded Gramps and said, “Thanks, Grandpa!! Now I won’t be swimming in the lake this summer!!” The boys and I agreed. Yet, I suspect Jackson and Bryson will forget all about that leech once the hot weather kicks in! Sara? Not so much!!
We left on Sunday to give The Kids an extra day to themselves. They finished the 1,000-piece puzzle that will be framed and hung in the boys’ room. Another puzzle awaits for their next stay.
Mr. Outdoors and I brought home six uninvited guests…TICKS!! One would expect evening showers would get rid of them…NO WAY!
Finally, there was one big AHA discovery: It’s downright amazing how a family can actually survive without…yup, you guessed it…television, and minimal internet and cellphone service!!!