An eventful vacation

We’re back!  We drove home from Parry Sound, Ontario on Saturday and today is Nate’s first day of A-100.  This week we get  the bid list!

We had a blast at the cottage, although our time spent there was not without minor hiccups.  We were there to open up the cottage and get it ready for habitation during the summer months, which involves fun things like putting the water pump in the lake, catching the mouse that has been living large in the kitchen towel drawer, cleaning, etc.  Overall we had a lovely time, ate lots of yummy food, visited with good friends, and soaked up the sun on the dock and in the water.

But there were some slight hiccups.

This was my first time “putting in the water,” and it was baptism by fire.  Thank goodness we are friends with the cottage neighbors, as they proved truly indispensable.  We spent maybe 6 hours on Sunday trying to put in the water, having discovered several leaks in the rubber tube running down to the lake.  We replaced the old tube with a chunk of new tube and we were good to go!  That is, until about 5 pm that same day, at which point we had no water again.  The next morning we headed out again and discovered that the new tube was just a tiny bit wider than the old tube, so it came apart.  That’s an easy fix: just tighten the metal clamps that hold it all together.  After that we discovered that there was a broken valve in the water pump itself.  So after another 5 hours of putting in the water, we (or, more accurately, Nate and our neighbor) finally conquered it and we had no additional problems with the water for the rest of the trip.

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that at one point I said “I’m tired of doing this,” and I left and took Athena for a walk. And then I puttered around the cottage and ate lunch. Thankfully Nate and our neighbor were more dedicated to the task than I was.

Athena and I relaxing, which is exactly what we're good at

Athena and I relaxing, which is exactly what we’re good at

And then there was a mouse.  It was a brazen little mouse, running freely around the kitchen while I was standing there preparing dinner.  Sadly the mouse is not longer with us.  We would have preferred to catch and release it someplace in the woods far from the cottage, but setting a mouse trap and dealing with the consequences is far easier than trying to actually catch it without injury.

However, I balanced out my creature-killing karma by helping not one, but three, turtles safely cross the road.

Saving the best “minor hiccup” for last, we, along with four neighbors, got stranded in a stalled motorboat in Georgian Bay.  It was a beautiful evening, and we were headed to a restaurant only accessible by boat.  We were motoring along, taking in the sunshine and stunning scenery when all the sudden the boat stopped.  Nate and I thought someone had intentionally stopped the boat to give us more time to enjoy our surroundings, but sadly that was not the case.  After spending 20 minutes or so, with no one coming by to help, trying to figure out what to do next, we finally saw another boat in the bay. It was heading straight towards us, and it turned out to be the guy who lived on the private island we were anchored near.  He (Charlie was his name) towed us to his dock and we all climbed out of the boat onto the private island.

photo 3

The no-longer-functional boat tied to Charlie’s dock

A word about private islands: Georgian Bay is loaded with them, and many of them have houses built on them.  As you might imagine, not everyone can have a house on a private island.  First you need to be rich enough to buy a fricking island.  Then you have to be rich enough to build a house on it, which involves bringing in supplies by boat.  Obviously not a cheap endeavor.  So, we enjoy the private islands and their fancy houses from afar, pointing out the ones that are our favorites, knowing that we’ll never be rich enough (or have friends that are rich enough) to have one ourselves.

As you might imagine, finally setting foot on a private island was pretty darn exciting.  This particular island had a massive log cabin-mansion and a gorgeous deck with a hot tub, complete with an amazing view of the Bay and the setting sun.  Charlie invited us inside, and I made a bee-line for the deck.  I figured if we were stuck, I might as well leave the problem-solving to everyone else and make the most of my surroundings.

So, I sat there, enjoying the view (and wondering what we would do next), and a boat came by.  The people on the boat waved to me on the deck and my first thought was “Holy shit!  I wonder if they think I live here?!”  I waved back, thinking to myself “Why yes, friendly people on that boat, I am here because this is a beautiful place to be, not because we are stranded!”

Ultimately we paid Charlie to motor us back to our dock, and then we grilled brats for dinner.  The next day we used a different boat to motor to the restaurant, tempting fate by taking the exact same route.  We made it there and back just fine, which we know is due to the fact that this time we were all very well prepared to be stranded.  We had flashlights, the Coast Guard phone number, sun screen, bottled water, several fully charge iPhones, and other necessary items.

Athena had a great time swimming, chasing the squirrels and chipmunks, treeing a raccoon, playing fetch, sunning on the dock, and snoozing in her favorite lawn chair.  She was also very happy that this summer she didn’t have to get in any boats, especially in the dinghy, which is her least favorite of all. Athena did very well in her crate on the 13 hour-long car rides there and back– good practice for the eventual flights when we leave for our first post, wherever it may be!

Athena sunning herself on the dock, and, yes, Nate is wearing a swimsuit

Athena sunning herself on the dock

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