Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Mendocino Lakers

Yesterday Carrie and I took Amari over the hill to Lake Mendocino to meet up with some friends from Sonoma County who camp their every summer. When we camped with them last July, Carrie was an active and adventurous six months pregnant. Still uncertain how much we wanted to rough it, we brought a small two-person tent, a twin-sized foam futon, and enough blankets to cover Carrie's inconsistent heating demands. It was still really uncomfortable, perhaps more so because the futon elevated us about half way up the tent creating a small, pyramid-shaped, coffin-like feeling. We vowed then to upgrade our equipment before taking any more family camping trips.

The days, however, were awesome. One of our friends, Jeff, owns a fishing boat with enough power to pull skis and wake boards and inter-tubes for anyone interested, so I tried all three while Carrie was pulled slowly behind the boat lying face up on the tube with Amari in her belly pointing straight towards the bright blued skies. Later that night, tucked safely in our Japanese capsule hotel-tent, Carrie and I whispered about how next summer Amari would be in the world with us, wondered what she would be like, and who she would look like. What are nine month-olds capable of doing, anyway? We had no clue, really.

This year Amari is in the world with us. She is nine months old, we're learning every day what she is capable of, and we're still pretty clueless most of the time. What we do know is that Amari seems to fair better when we get her out of the house during the day. The longer and more adventurous the trip, the better her mood, and the deeper her sleep. After our outing to Lake Mendocino yesterday, we both came home determined to kill off Granny C's horse and donkey and dig a man-made lake in their corral.

Amari had a blast at the lake. Although she did not enjoy the bright yellow flotation device we brought for her, she did enjoy the water, laughing and splashing around until her eyes grew heavy with fatigue. Back on the land she crawled around in the dirt and grass, examined leaves and sticks, performed unsolicited tricks for our friends, and ate anything and everything she was offered. Even with a long nap at the lake and another on the long drive home, Amari slept happily through the night exhausted by an exhilarating day. Moonshadow and Peanut (horse and donkey) now have two choices: demonstrate some sleep-inspiring skills or learn to swim. The lake is coming home.

Exhausted and at the mercy of her parents' hair stylings

Meanwhile, yours truly spent the afternoon learning that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Last summer I tried and failed to both water ski and wake board. I got up briefly on the skis right before my forearms gave out. This summer I was determined to get up and stay up, and after lunch Chris and Jeff and I headed out on the boat. The afternoon breeze made the lake a little choppy but we found a cove that was both calm and empty. My first two attempts had me leaning too far back, then too far forward, and the third try had me on the lake for about eight seconds before toppling in. Then something just clicked. I got up, fought through the first few bumps, and rode behind the boat out into the middle of the lake. After that I got up every time and rode until my legs gave.

Amari also wore a sun dress for the first time, which is pretty damn cute. All in all, a great day out.

The End

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