Sunday, October 21, 2007

10 dogs, 9 people, and a baby

This weekend we packed up the car, locked up the cats, and headed into the Great White North. Or at least the Idaho part of it. Our friends Ben and Katie invited us and some others up to their family cabin for the weekend to relax, hike, and (most importantly to Ryan) fish. Sally was so excited she could hardly sit still. The night before she ran from room to room sniffing at bags and coolers, sure we were going camping. Of course, when she got in the car and found that not only was another dog going with us, but she had to sit in the back with the other dog -- she was not pleased. But we couldn't very well ask Lindsey to sit in the back on a dog bed. I mean, we have before, but she just made a mess.

So, here we were, three people and two dogs hitting the road. Oh, and caravaning with Emily
and Justin who were also bringing two dogs. At each stop four dog heads would pop out of the windows and sniff the air in anticipation. There was some snorting at each other, but no real barking, which we took as a good omen. I was also overjoyed at each spot, but for a very different reason: lottery tickets. Every time we drive through Idaho I make Ryan stop and buy tickets at least once. Then we scratch and keep buying more with our
winnings until we either lose or hit it big. I'm pre
tty sure this counts as a retirement plan. This trip I won two dollars, but then got greedy and lost it all.

When (not if) I finally win the lotto the first place I'm going is Bear World. We pass it every time we head into Idaho, right off the side of the road outside Idaho Falls, it's great slogan tempting us with each pass. "Feel the Freedom." Wow. I mean, imagine how free you can feel sitting inside your car while bears forage through strategically placed piles of trash within the compound surrounded by electric fences and guarded by men with big guns? I can only imagine it -- mainly because Ryan will never stop. Well, my next husband will appreciate freedom.

We arrived at the cabin about seven and found that not only were Katie, Ben, their daught
er Ashlyn and their two dogs were present, but so were three family friends and their three dogs. We still outnumbered them, but I just prayed they wouldn't figure out they could probably overpower us. As we sat down for dinner that first night they prowled under our feet, waiting for any dropped morsel, sometimes bumping into legs in the hopes of causing a spill. Finally, we put them all outside, and watch for about an hour as they chased around, and around, and around the cabin. After we finished the dishes, and put up all the food we let the dogs back into the house, and they promptly collapsed into a pile of snores and farts.

We stayed up pretty late that first night, drinking and bullshitting and playing what is likely my new favorite game. Have you ever played Rummykube? It's like gin, put with tiles you can manipulate. I was so entranced I actually dreamt about it that night. Ben and Katie are Rummykube experts, and Justin turned out to be some kind of Rummykube savant. Even Emily got into it, after first refusing to play because of unpleasant memories of being forced to play it as a child with her Grandmother. My Grandmother just asked me to freshen her drink. I really wanted to be good at this game, mainly because it's all about organizing, but I wasn't. I just couldn't see ten moves ahead. This same shortsightedness is why Ryan and I have played chess exactly twice and I have cheated both times.
We awoke Saturday morning to a blizzard and prepared to settle in around the fire with books and plans for naps. Maybe if the storm broke we could go for a walk later, but we were pretty much all content to stay put. Everyone but Ryan that is. He had come to fish, and dammit, he was going to fish. When he opened the door a gust of wind and snow blew on his face, but it didn't stop him. He headed out the door and into the nearly frozen Snake River. It was more than two hours until he waded out, and that was only so he could grab a beer and head off to another spot up the river. Now, that's devotion.

It finally stopped snowing about 2pm, and, even more amazingly, Ashlyn decided to take a nap. We packed up the car, promised Ben she wouldn't wake up until we got back and headed off to Harriman State Park for a quick hike. Provisions were scarce, just one beer each, so we couldn't go that far, just far enough to feel like we weren't total slugs. It was a very nice day once the snow stopped, with bright blue skies and cold crisp air. We ambled along talking about nothing, making devious plans, and telling jokes. We worried aloud that the car would be blocked in when we got back to the parking lot -- unlikely because it was the only vehicle there. It took us about 40
minutes to finish the loop and then we headed back home, hoping that by some miracle Ashlyn had stayed asleep the whole time. It turned out she had awoken almost the moment after we left, and had spent the next hour watching football with the boys.

Saturday night was the big showdown. Trivial Pursuit 1980's edition. Now, few people know this about me,
but about 82%of my memory is devoted to absolutely useless trivia. I can't remember anyone's birthday, or the names of half the people I work with, but I can tell you Captain Kirk's middle name, and I have never watched Star Trek. So, I think it's pretty clear that I cleaned up. Well, almost. I know nothing about sports. Every time I tried for the green "scoring wedge" I would get flustered and answer "Evander Holyfield." Finally Ben took pity on me and gave me the answer to some question about football. I was victorious. I tried to make all the losers run around the houses naked, but then decided not to push my luck.

The next day was more of the same, though Ryan stayed out of the river because of a snafu with his rod the day before. We ate, we drank, played games, ate more, took naps, watched the dogs become more and more feral and just enjoyed each other's company. We finally packed up the cars and headed home in the early afternoon. I was asleep before we hit Ashton. Relaxing it tiring work.

Today I think we all suffered from a bit of post cabin depression. Ryan had a headache, and I am pretty sure that I am getting yet another cold. Sally is taking it the hardest though, she just kind of mopes around the house, looking at the cats with disdain, and staring out the window waiting for the pack to take her away.


Wendy King said...

Sounds wonderful. I miss cabins. I bet you are fantastic and funny at Trivia Pursuit... especially when you're drinking;)

jon deal said...

Tiberius is Kirk's middle name. (but you already knew that. :-])

Oh man, I'm such a dweeb.

Tara said...

um, I might be more of a dweeb because I was GOING to write Kirk's middle name til I saw Jon beat me to it. Now I"m a dweeb AND a loser.

Amanda said...

Hey! Freshening her drink was Grandma's way of playing gin!