May 12th, 2010

This week finds Mr. J and me together at our condo on a large lake miles and miles from either of our homes. We’re trying out something new: he is on vacation and I am working remotely. We brought the cats who absolutely love the screened in deck. We are literally over the water, the back of our condo lining up with the granite edge of the shoreline: no sandy beaches here.

We come here every year for Mother’s Day. My parents join us. It is the little things we do in life, such as always meeting on a certain day, at a certain place, eating at the same restaurants that create the history between people, isn’t it?

It is the remembered snippets of conversation and silly inconsequential things that we laugh about years later: the crazy house on the lake with more garden statues than trees!

Every year when we come back to the lake we eagerly await passing the house up the road from our condo because they’ve added some new whack-a-do outdoor décor: first it was mustangs, reared up. Then 12 foot pelicans which dwarfed the mustangs. Now they’ve added some interesting brick structure in-the-round reminiscent of something you would see on the road to Jerusalem during the crusades. Apropos I guess. I mean, we are smack in the middle of the Bible belt, don’t you know?

Since I’m actually working, I wasn’t really expecting to have the absolute best time of my life this week, but I was hoping it would be somewhat restful and rejuvenating. It started off well enough:

Day 1 – Saturday, we: Mr. J and I, our cats, my parents and two cases of wine arrived at our retreat at about 6pm. We had a little wine and a little nosh for dinner, catching up with one another and enjoying watching the cats nose around everything, noses on ‘high alert’ as they took in all of the smells and nuances of the lake condo. We watched a funny movie: “Along Came Polly.” I’m not sure it would have been so funny had we not had the wine, but who knows.

Day 2 – Mother’s Day dawns. Mr. J made his famous omelets for breakfast. We go “topside” which is a 15 mile jaunt on windy roads amidst tall, tall pine trees into town to run a few errands and pick up the makings of a BBQ cookout on the grill. It is cold and I have to keep reminding myself I’m 500 miles south of my home in the Snowbelt. I mistakenly purchase Beer Brats (Beer has gluten, so no brats for Lara) and beef burgers.

After dinner we watched another movie, “Time Traveler’s Wife” and a documentary called “King Corn”.

The premise behind the documentary is: “Behind America’s dollar hamburgers and 72-ounce sodas is a key ingredient that quietly fuels our fast-food nation: corn.” It starts out with the film students doing a hair analysis which shows that most people will test positive for a high degree of corn in their system.

Maybe we should have watched the documentary BEFORE we ate the burgers.

Apparently corn fed beef isn’t good for the cattle or for us. Who knew? Since no one really knows what’s in brats anyway (besides beer) I’m not even going to worry about eating those. Brats are known ‘eat at your own risk’ food, right?

I made scones and fruit salad before going to bed so I can feed my parents breakfast before they take off for home and I settle into work on Monday morning.

Day 3 – Monday night – Tornadoes develop all across the plains area where my family lives and where we happen to be located. On pins and needles we spend hours glued to weather radars, first watching them bypass my family, and then closing in on us, feeling like sitting ducks exposed as we are out on the water. Luckily around midnight all calms down and everyone seems to be all good.

Day 4 – Tuesday – Mr. J walks down to the pool area, trips and falls onto cement walk way tearing up his knees, hands, and hurting his back. I’m on a conference call when he returns and in between hashing out business requirements for a project, I’m cleaning him up and applying Neosporin and bandages. I get all bossy (which I know will come as a shock to most of you) when things like this happen: “Get into bed. Elevate that knee. Hold the ice pack here! Don’t move. I’ll get it.”

Day 5 – Wednesday. 12:42 am – A storm hits. I have never been so close to lightening in my life. Again, our condo is out literally over the lake. Howling winds, pummeling rains, and the most frightening sound I’ve ever heard: a lightning strike. I’ve heard the crackle before thunder splits your eardrums before but this was 100 times scarier.

This sound was like hitting sheet metal with a mallet causing it to reverberate with a high enough pitch that you feel it in your teeth and jaw. You wince while simultaneously slamming your hands ineffectively over your ears. The second time I heard it: I screamed and dove beneath the covers, reverting to being a scared six-year-old who thinks the blankets will protect her.

2:54am – Round two of storms. But these are so tame compared to the last two rounds I barely even notice it past the initial clap of thunder which, of course, wakes me up.

5:28 am – One of the cats is sick. I hear the telltale signs of his gagging: the beginning of him throwing up. I wearily crawl out of bed, headed for the bathroom sink, fumbling for a wash cloth to wipe up the sick.

7:45 am – Staggering from bed, knowing I have to be signed on at 8am, I walk to the kitchen to find two very disturbing facts:

First, we didn’t pre-set or pre-fill the coffee pot:
No coffee + no sleep =no bueno.

Second, the bar area is teeming with my favorite nemeses: ants. Really???
Didn’t I kill all of those little !@@#$%! at home?? Mr. J pointed out, “Where did you expect them to go given the biblical proportions of that storm last night?”

With no caffeine and no sleep under my belt I didn’t even have a single snappy comment in reserve for him. I just glared.

2pm – Migraine. I could spend an entire post ranting about migraines and how much of my life has been sidelined because of them, and maybe one day I will.

At this point I’m beginning to think the week at the condo is cursed.

10pm – We’ve killed another couple of bottles out of the cases of wine and enjoyed some awesome smoked turkey and burnt ends from our favorite local BBQ joint, so things are more mellow. So far, there are no signs of storms in our night sky.

Here is hoping that the last half of the week goes much better for Mr. J and me. And even more importantly here’s hoping that all of my readers are safe from the prolific lightening and thunderstorms and rounds of tornadoes that have fired up every night this week!

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