Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free showers, fires and blackberries

Finally, I have a few minutes to sit down and document last weekend: our last weekend of the season at the cottage.

The weather was gorgeous: lots of sun, warmer than expected temperatures, no bugs (although a small population of blackflies infiltrated the cottage which was totally weird), nice fires, lots of outdoor time. Just all around great.

It always is nice to be closing the cottage on a nice weekend. It sucks to carry canoes through a window in the pouring rain, which is always a possibility in September in Ontario. On the other hand, it makes it lamentable to close when the weather is nice because you just want to be able to come back for another weekend as soon as possible.

Having said all that, the nights were getting pretty chilly by the middle of the weekend and I couldn't keep the fire in the wood stove going all night long so there were some extra wake-ups by Hope and some damn cold floors in the mornings. I'm not sorry to say goodbye to that. I'm not sure if this was the girls trying to stay warm or just being dorks:

On Saturday we puttered around the cottage. John pulled apart what remains of our dock. The dock is old now - probably 20 years old, I'd say and time for a replacement. That will possibly be next summer's project depending on cash flow. Now that only the cribs are left, it looks (a little) less ghetto. That pretty much took up most of the day. Emily attempted a swim in the lake but got no further than mid-shin before she declared it too cold. She's getting soft. Last year she was in on the same weekend and was adamant that it was beautiful.

The cleanup of the dock ended with me accidentally piercing the water line behind the shed when I casually threw down a board that had nails poking out of it. We'd decided not to remove those ones because there were so GD many of them. Crap. However, out of great misfortune comes empowerment. I shut off the water, traced the water line to ensure it was ours (not guaranteed in a group of cottages the age of ours) and then started going through our plumbing supplies to find out what I could do to fix this problem. While tracing the line, I found a splice that had been done years ago. Eureka! I just copied how that was done after finding the right stuff in the plumbing stuff and voila! Problem solved. I felt so handy and awesome and like I could just build a house right then and there. Granted I caused the problem, but still. I felt like I could probably take care of this place okay from here on in.

Saturday night my dad and Donna came over for a great visit and meal. We had lots of fun chatting, looking at photos of their new house and recent trip to Malaysia. They loved hearing about Emily's school and what she does. Not that we could get much out of her on that front. Like most school-age kids her brain cramps when you ask her what she did at school each day: "the regular stuff."

On Sunday, John went for a run while I pruned blackberries at the back of the properties. They haven't been pruned since they were planted several years ago so the berries are very small and not as plentiful as they should be. Next year should be great. Next year, I'm also buying neoprene gloves.

We met John at the end of his run at the Huntsville Pool for the $1 showers. Unfortunately we found out the pool was closed for annual maintenance. Luckily, a couple of the maintenance guys took pity on our sorry lot (they probably caught a whiff of John) and let us into the change rooms at no charge. We had the place to ourselves. There is nothing better than a hot shower when you haven't had access to one for a couple of days.

We poked around in town for a couple of hours after that and then after supper at the cottage had our last campfire of the summer. It was, in fact, Hope's very first campfire. She loved it. She particularly loved the marshmallows.

I just love how, this summer in particular, the cottage is moving beyond being a place where I have so many memories and becoming a place where the kids are building lots of memories. It's starting to quickly feel like our family place, not in an ownership sense but in a "our little family" sense and not just my family's place, meaning my family of my sister and parents, if that makes sense.

Probably not, but it makes sense to me.

The next day was close up which went way better and faster than I expected. A final stop at the perogie restaurant on the way home and Bob's your uncle.

Actually Bob's my dad, but same diff.


Julie said...

Sounds like the perfect way to wrap up summer. You'll have to tell me where the perogy restaurant is next year if we are down that way again.

Pam said...

Your cottage weekend sounds lovely. Glad to hear you can be a handy-woman when the need arises...makes me want to build a house with you with just girl power. I love your description about how the cottage is becoming filled with memories of the family you and John created. What a wonderful evolution in your cottage excursions.

little b said...

I'm so jealous. I wish we lived closer to the cottage. I think we'll have to stay for longer next summer.

Erika said...

You just made my day (c: There's been a debate going on down here in Springpatch about the phrase "Bob's your uncle." Dr. Neumeister says it A LOT! and I say I've heard of it before in Canada, but the others think he made it up. In FACT... one person was camping in Canada near Quetico, and recorded (on his camera) a bunch of people saying "Bob's your uncle? What does THAT mean!?!" So... I think you've just added a point to my side... we DO say that!

Glad you had such an awesome time. I'm jealous (except about the nail in the water pipe bit) -- but congrats on that too! Well done you!

Karen said...

Erika, I laughed at your comment... and then read it to John who said that "Bob's your uncle" is a British saying. Lot's of Cdns I know say it but maybe the little group camping in Quetico didn't have British descended friends like me or British descended parents or watch Corrie!

Still, very funny. Especially that the other drs think he made it up. Hilarious!