Lake Bingo

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June 28, 2012 by jooshanoosh

As Patrick mentioned, I am vacationing at the lake this week. We go every year with my wife’s family and spend a week trying to get our kids to leave us alone and play on the beach (which the usually oblige us in doing) so that we can sit in the shade under a big tree and read. It’s glorious and my perfect vacation:  very little on the agenda and lots of time to plow through several books. We’ve been here since Friday and I started book number 7 this morning. 
We manage to squeeze in a few boat rides here and there, build a sand castle or two and make a few trips into town for a milkshake now and then, but the vacation is decidedly low key. 
We’ve been doing it for so many years, that we have fallen into some pretty entrenched patterns. You know, those things you do every year that almost become traditions. We joke that we should make a bingo card of it. They are not traditions, per say because they are not things that we plan to do. They are just part of what seems to happen every year. If we did make a bingo card, here is what would be included on it:
  • On the first night, after a day of packing and a long drive in the car, my kids are always grouchy and on edge. Inevitably, I completely lose my shizzle and scream and yell at them and say we are just going to go home and vow that next year we just won’t come because my kids can’t handle a vacation. It’s usually really embarrassing (this year being no exception) and my sister in law then makes fun of me for it later. By the next day we are all better rested and all is well.
  • Every year, my brother in law ignores warnings to put on sun screen and gets totally burned the first day. Of course, he is one of those people who burns one day and it turns into a tan the next, so it is just one afternoon of misery.
  • There is a little mini-golf course on property that is lame and in disrepair and ridiculous, but my youngest son is obsessed with it and has been since he could walk. One year he would wake up every morning at 7am and cry until we took him (which I am sure helped usher in my melt down that year.) We made a deal that we would go at 10am and now every year, every day we go mini golfing at 10am. The other kids have all lost interest over the years, but he and I still head over every morning. It get’s me a chance to get my Diet Coke, so I can live with it.
  • My wife makes me a turkey sandwich with cheese for lunch every day and I always comment that it is my favorite part of the day. If you recall, at home I would scoff at a turkey sandwich. But not at the lake.
  • The kids always do some sort of play or talent show. (That we don’t really want to watch.)
  • I always think I don’t need bug spray when I go out running at night (like maybe this year my blood has become unattractive to mosquitos) and come home with 1.7 million itchy little bites on my legs and arms.
  • I always decide not to shave, because you know, I am on vacation. And I think maybe this year I will grow a manly and awesome beard. And by the third day my bead is looking pathetic (honestly: I’m bald and I can’t grow a beard. What is wrong with my head DNA?) and I shave it off, disgusted. 

I guess that is what make an annual trip like this delightful. The combination of traditions, inevitabilities and familiar patterns that make you feel comfortable and happy, even if they are silly or embarrassing or unnecessary. And an icy cold Diet Coke drunk in the shade while reading the fourth of ten books doesn’t hurt either. 

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