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So we're back from vacation; it was a quiet one, aside from Scott and Aaron chopping down a tree and roasting a duck over an open fire. Apparently we have moved from Grand Adventures to Culinary Adventures. The hazards of aging, I suppose.

The tree was kind of funny. I was looking for Scott, and hearing a noise; one of the guys told me Scott was chopping down a tree. So I went into our bedroom and looked out the window: sure enough, my husband had an axe and was hacking away at a half-dead tree. The Zweeble soon joined me, and we sat on the bed offering helpful advice like, "Don't chop off your foot!" and "Yell 'Timber'!"

In fact, the Zweeble helped by considerately yelling "Timber!" every time the axe made contact with the trunk.

Aaron and Scott maintain that the tree would have fallen at their manly command, had they but wished to use this amazing ability.

Also, later in the day I found out that the tree was not, in fact, half-dead and smallish: it was THE ONLY MIGHTY REDWOOD ON DIANE'S PROPERTY.

As for the duck, it eventually came out fine, but we all agreed that there's a steep learning curve on roasting things other than hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire. Kyle feels we need to invest in an actual spit, rather than cobbling together a makeshift one from hot dog roasting sticks, various hand tools, and a stick of gum like McGuyver every year.

The Zweeble's favorite thing was to go down to where someone had cleared some land a couple years ago and chuck rocks down the mountain. This was called "Going To the Red Clay."

There was also a five hour game of Magic that I was not a part of--Z. and I went to the store and came back to find the guys still playing. And looking kind of wild-eyed and ragged around the edges.

The trips up and back were fine--Z. watched movies and played his video games, and we listened to the Spongebob soundtrack so much that Scott and I were singing along like it was musical theater--but I am glad to be home. I was very wilted yesterday. Today it's back to the day job, but only after I empty the dishwasher and clean our bedroom.
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1. Scott has a sore throat. He thinks it's allergy drainage.

2. Z. has what appears to be pink-eye. (He's a zombie! Nooooooo! ... Wait.)

Back when we had the allergy tests done, we found out that Z. is allergic to oak pollen. Well, the family homestead in North Carolina is in the middle of the woods, and those woods are made of oak trees. So I'm kind of thinking that this is just allergic conjunctivitis (which the baby book says is a possibility), but pink-eye isn't something to mess around with, I don't think. Plus, it looks hideous, whatever it is.

Thus, I called the doctor. Z has an appointment tomorrw for a follow-up on the ear infection, so I called and asked if I could wait until tomorrow or if I need to bring him in today. I await the call-back. ETA: Just got the call, and we can wait and bring him in tomorrow. Phew!

The complicating factor is that I have to be at work by 4:30 preferably, but by 5:30 at the absolute latest, and I have no babysitter today. Originally I was going to bring Z. to Scott at work, but if he's got pink-eye that's really not an option. So I think Scott may be coming home early today.

Oh, and Z's also all stuffy and hoarse. Lovely.

3. I feel fine, so far. Tired because I watched two hours of Veronica Mars last night, but otherwise fine. Though I did start to sneeze and the eyes got tingly when I opened the suitcases. I'm seriously considering looking into renting a cabin next year, near the trees but not right in them.

I do plan to post about our trip, too. No rafting, so no truly hilarious stories, though.
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Just got back from North Carolina and a surprisingly uneventful trip. We went horseback riding instead of rafting, and nobody fell off a horse or anything. I blame Kyle and Aaron, who left after two days. That's not nearly enough time for serious adventuring.

Scott hard-cooked eggs over a fire. Nobody thought it'd work, but I knew better. Never doubt my husband when it comes to food. They were more soft-cooked than hard, but we weren't sure how long to cook them (or how long they'd cooked). I kinda liked them better that way, so I may always want soft-cooked eggs. :)

The Zweeble was a huge hit, as always.

Today is halfway rough. Expected, though not enjoyed.
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The Zweeble knows something's in the air ... and by god, he was going to keep an eye on me at all costs!

Good lord that was one cranky, fussy, angry, exhausted one-year-old.

He slumbers for now.




I did manage to get all the packing done that I can do, at least until Scott gets home. I still need to fill the bird feeders, though at this point I don't know if it's feeding the birds or feeding the cats.

There are stray/feral cats in the neighborhood. I've been seeing them around for a while. There are, I think, three adults. There's Orange Cat, Dark Multicolored Cat, and Looks Like a Psychotic Pirate Cat. Or Medium, Small, and Large, respectively. It looks to me like Small had kittens--there are two kittens roaming about, and Small seems to have the post-kitten belly going on.

The kittens have been "adopted" (I hope) by the lady who lives behind us, the one without kids. We saw her feeding them both. The other three were mostly hanging out at the abandoned house down the street, and in the overgrown lot directly behind our house. Occasionally they've come onto our porch, probably because I have bird feeders on our porch.

Yesterday Small, Medium, and Large were hanging out on my porch all morning long. The Zweeble loves this. I'm not quite so keen. For one thing, I like my birds. For another, [livejournal.com profile] dealio and I are seriously allergic to cats. I would probably adopt Small and/or Medium were it not for the allergy thing, budget be damned, but we've been told that any furry pets would probably lead to Scott developing asthma, and that ain't happening for anything other than a dog. :)

Then there's the matter of Large making my spider-sense tingle. I dunno, he gives off bad vibes.

Anyway, my point is ... if I don't have a home base for these cats to give to animal control, can I even call them? I mean, yes, I want them to go away and leave my birds alone, but I also know they're in danger of all kinds of things out here in the boonies (monitor lizards, cars, dogs, possibly even alligators) and Large was looking pretty rough when I saw him. I'm not sure how domesticated he's likely to ever become, but the other two are very cute and very likely to be adopted out of a shelter, I'd think.

Not that I can do a whole lot right this minute, anyway, as I'm about to leave on vacation, but I *am* about to feed the birds, so I may have three cats who've set up camp on my porch when we return.

In bird news, I've had a flock of blue jays on and off the feeders today. There were six and a couple of doves a little earlier.
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Okay, in something like 12 hours we should be headed for North Carolina.

The Zweeble's First Road Trip! God help us.

(Scott mowed last night, but we didn't weedeat, so around the back pad and the front flower beds are allo these sprouting stalks of sunflowers, various weeds, and something that looks like corn, all from the birdseed that's been spilled by the very picky blue jays. I'm looking out the back glass doors wondering if the corn will be ripe when we get home. :) )

Posting will be nonexistent unless someone on the mountian has open wireless. I will, however, be able to access my voice mail when my cell reception is decent ("You dial your own number," the customer service lady said. Thus making me feel like an idiot. But the thing is, I distinctly remember writing down an 800 number somewhere when I first got the phone ... five years ago? So, yeah).

I may be posting again today, maybe not. Now I am off to pack and have a nervous breakdown. :)
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In the face of a mounting to-do list for the weekend, I have begun packing for North Carolina now. So, granting that I can't pack everything because we will need some stuff over the next six or so days, I got the Zweeble packed (he gets his own suitcase!) and the overnight bag for our motel stay packed. Plus I got the kid packed for his stay at his grandmother's house this weekend, so extra packing got done, even!

That leaves packing the grown-ups' stuff, the diaper bag, and the food for the trip. Plus the paraphenalia that doesn't go in anything, like the stroller.

You know, the last time we went to North Carolina, the guys came to help us get our luggage, and Tyler was highly impressed that we only had two bags and a couple of backpacks. Those days are gone.

And will we ever have a weekend where my mother takes the baby and we don't have some huge chore to do? Ever?
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Let's see ...

For the first time ever, I have to say I was disappointed with this episode of Doctor Who. It felt like it should have been two parts, because they left some, you know, plot out. There were some nice moments, though, and I think Scott and I have figured out the over-arching theme of the season.

I still like Donna, and I really like Donna and Martha. Can't they both travel with the Doctor?

Yesterday we went to have hair done, and the Zweeble got his first hair cut. He was very good and didn't cry, but he's always very squirmy. Thus, the haircut is a little uneven and the front is sort of a bowl cut. I was joking he looked like a little Ceaser, but then my mother pointed out he looks more like a monk, so he's Friar Zweeble.

He looks very different now. Like an actual little boy.

Today we took the boy to the beach for the first time, which was a huge hit with all of us. [livejournal.com profile] dealio is apparently the Adventure Parent: if the Zweeb went in the water, he wanted the dad with him. I am the Look At Stuff parent: when he wanted to sit and look at shells and play with sand, he wanted the mom with him. We didn't let go of him in the water, but the kid can float like a pro. He also reacted to things like sand and shells under his feet, but didn't freak out or anything. He paused when he stepped in the water for the first time, but then kept on going. Also, he did not eat sand. This shocked us both. Kid will put anything into his mouth, but didn't try the sand.

We hit Target for a bunch of things we need for the annual North Carolina trip--luggage, because all our old duffel bags are offically falling apart--and a new bathing suit for me that's ... um ... well, it fits nicely. Let's say that. Also got a SideRider Snugli thing because the sling really only works for me, not Scott. (It helps to have hips.) This will let him haul the kid a little more often--like, around the family reunion, through the airport when we go to Ohio, around the grocery store.

[livejournal.com profile] dealio snuck the Lego Indiana Jones video game into the cart, too. Sneaky man.

Our last "set" of luggage (that would be two duffel bags and a couple of backpacks) lasted us 15 years (the backpacks are still good), though the big duffel we bought two years ago came apart after two uses. With any luck, this set will last 15 more. I'm still suffering sticker shock. :)
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Marshmallow War

Let me begin by saying that, contrary to many reports, I did *not* begin the Great Marshmallow Skirmish of 2006. I was framed. I hear tell that Young Aaron Cole, he who can out-walk a cow, fired the first marshmallow, but Aaron's an easy target. He's always the first suspect. WebZ or Nick or even the unassuming Kyle Adam are all perfectly capable of such perfidy.

Aaron was the only one going mercenary in return for ammo, though.

You wouldn’t think a marshmallow to the face would hurt. You'd be wrong.

Here's an idea for next year, though--maybe we wait to throw the marshmallows around until the *end* of the trip, so we don't stick to the floor the whole time after.



The Battle of Hanging Dog, re-enacted in 2006

So we go out to Harvey and Jane's field to watch Tyler and his friends (Heath, Nick II, John, and Evan) shoot off fireworks. The pre-show entertainment was watching them shoot Roman candles at each other. I had no idea Tyler could run so fast (maybe *he* should try to out-run the bull).

Comments from the older, wiser young men in our group (WebZ, Nick, Aaron, Kyle, Scott):

"Oh, that's smart. Set yourselves on fire. Nice one. Holy shit, was that in his face?! What a bunch of morons!"

The young guys set off the fireworks--they did a very nice job, too, the little firebugs--and then they wander over to talk to us. And Heath (or maybe Evan?) says, "Dudes, I have enough Roman candles left, we could totally divide into sides and have a war!"

WebZ, Nick, Scott, and Kyle are all properly dismissive of this idea, but Aaron ... Aaron has this maniacal gleam in his eye. The gleam that prompts bull-chasing, electric-fence-peeing, vine-swinging, bump-going-overing ...

"Civil War re-enactment!" he says. "YEAH!"

And in the face of this testosterone-fueled idiocy, one by one the older young men, the same ones who not ten minutes earlier were catcalling and deriding the Roman candle shootout, cave and are armed with Roman candles.

I don't even argue. I know better. And at least, I think, Scott will be out there to sort of keep them in line--if nothing else, Scott will be able to yell for Mike, the cousin with the nursing degree. So all I ask is, "Civil War re-enactment, huh? Which of you bozos gets to be the South?"

As Scott heads off to war--having the decency to look sheepish, at least--I call over the porch to him: "Remember, baby: Stop, drop, and roll!"

They line up in two lines, facing each other. The rest of the family--assorted cousins, great-aunts and uncles, grandparents, parents, an so on--assembles on the porch and in the front yard to watch. And mock. The mocking is genetic.

"ATTACK!"

First, the fuses don't quite light. Then, it's dark, so you can only see anything when the candles go off, and then the light illuminates clouds of smoke and gnats, with shadowy boy-figures in the midst of them. We can see Tyler really well, since everyone on the field is aiming at him.

Heath, Nick II's brother, fires a candle and glances to the side just in time to take a hit in the face from his brother. Aaron gets hit somewhere (or so I heard; I'm not sure where he got hit, but I like to think it was in the ass).

Scott's candle has been lit, but does nothing. And I watch as my responsible, careful husband, the man who was taught to hunt and handle guns by his father and grandfather, turns the candle to look down the barrel and see what's wrong. He turns it, frowning, and pauses about halfway before it's aimed directly at his face, as though he's realized what he's doing, and the candle goes off straight into the air. The little "oh!" jump Scott does is not easily replicated on paper, but it was quite hilarious.

At the end, Aaron's the only one left with a candle, and he stalks across the field, aiming blind, as boys scatter and jump out of the way.

And then its over. The smoke hovers over the ground like mist. A trumpet plays softly over the bodies of the fallen ...

"Next year, sparkler bayonets!" says Aaron.


Competence = Boring click here for the river adventure, cut because I'm kind )
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We're home!

Actual update to follow, but go ahead and whet your appetite (yeah, you'll *really* get the pun in a second) on our rafting photos:

Uh-oh ...
...this won't end well ...
BEST TRIP EVER!

Please note: nobody got seriously injured, and that look on my face in the last one is mostly, "Oh, crap, cold!"
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Okay ... vacation time! See ya'll next week! Keep your fingers crossed that I don't fall out of the raft. :)

No wild parties, kids!
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So ... fuck terrorists, fuck hurricanes, and fuck stupid boys. I am posting a fun story because I am sure we could all use it.

Guideless Rafting 2005
or: God Looks After Drunks, Fools, and Small Children


The cast of our story is as follows:

[livejournal.com profile] dealio (aka, Scott): intrepid adventurer with the hat to prove it and very little impulse control.
[livejournal.com profile] stotangirl (aka, Laura): his lovely wife, artistic and sarcastic in equal measure.
[livejournal.com profile] vandriver (aka, Kyle): leaf-eating young man, also artistic and sarcastic in equal measure.
[livejournal.com profile] nocmaar (aka, Aaron): impetuous young man who shares his cousin’s lack of impulse control.
Anna: Aaron’s lady friend, also lovely, also sarcastic, also impetuous.
Brad: the rafting guide
the crew of the other boat: Nick and WebZ, Sam and Sarah, and [livejournal.com profile] nervemania (aka, Tyler).


Our story begins at the family reunion, where our gang of sturdy adventurers have been eating and discussing their plans to raft the Nantahala River the following day. Wendy, another cousin, puts forward the idea of rafting down the Ochobe, an Olympic-level rafting run where, a few years back, their guide fell in and had to be rescued by Wendy’s father.

Scott and Aaron are all for this adventure. Laura inventories her scars, Sarah inventories her broken bones, and both declare that we ain’t going down no Olympic-level rafting run.

Aaron, in a rare and solitary moment of reason, takes an informal poll of the group and discovers that maybe three of us have been rafting more than once, a few have been once, and the rest have never been at all. And one of those people who have rafted once, Anna, last did it when she was a kid. Reason prevails (for once), and we decide to raft the Nantahala again. To assuage the nutjobs in the group, however, we agree to go guideless.

Scott makes the reservations and, in *his* rare and solitary moment of reason, arranges for two boats and one guide. We rouse the rest of our group and make our way to the river in the pouring, icy rain. Anna and Laura wonder what the hell they’ve gotten themselves into.

Happily, the rain stops as we prepare for our journey. Scott recognizes the guy giving the “how to raft safely” lecture as the same one who guided us two years ago, and gleefully informs him that Scott and Laura are *not*, in fact, the parents, and that Laura was not, in fact, a 12-year-old child bride. The guide looks chagrined. Scott declares victory.
After being told to always keep our t-grip on the oars; that if we fall out of the raft we should put our butts down and our thumbs up; never try to stand in the river; oh, and we want to avoid The Bump, we head down to the shore.

Our guide, Brad, meets us there. We inform him that Kyle, Scott, Anna, Laura, and Aaron are going guideless--Scott and Anna on the left, Laura and Kyle on the right. Aaron is going to steer. We also tell him we want to jump off the picnic rock *and* go over The Bump. Brad says, “I took a group over this morning...”

Scott says, “And?”

“And they went over.”

Laura, being the one person all the *actual* adults consider responsible, turns to Sam and Sarah, the youngest of the group, and tells them not to fall out of the boat. They agree.

We put in. Brad’s boat takes off for the right side of the river, going straight. Our raft ... doesn’t. The crew blames Aaron’s steering. Aaron blames our paddling. We head across the river sideways.

We get through the first batch of rapids unscathed, though wet, and discover that it isn’t the water that’s going to kill us; it’s our tendency to run too close to shore and right under the low-hanging tree branches that then smack us in the heads or chests.

Finally we begin to get the hang of this steering/rafting thing, enough so that we can spin the raft around and around on purpose. We do, however, have an unfortunate tendency to notice rocks under the water only as we’re running over them. Kyle attempts to catch leaves in his mouth as we pass under branches in some sort of competition with WebZ. Aaron informs us that “steering is really strainous.” And Anna remarks that the water isn’t as cold as she expected.

Feeling pretty confident, we speed and catch up to the other raft to chat, until Brad points out the giant rock we’re heading toward. Our intrepid band paddles like holy hell to avoid it, getting up a good head of steam ... and runs into the rock sideways.

Laura feels a huge thump that sends her flying into the middle of the boat, and looks up just in time to see Aaron, Anna, and Scott tumbling off their side into the 40 degree water. The raft goes spinning away as Laura and Kyle realize that they tell you what to do if you fall *out*, but not what to do if you’re left *in*.

Anna makes the startling discovery that yes, actually, the water *is* as cold as she expected, if not colder. Scott’s head fills with visions of Laura and Kyle floating down the river, both in the fetal position in the middle of the boat, rocking and moaning their way to an imminent death--a death that will, no doubt, involve a rare and mysterious explosion of the air-filled, unmotorized river raft.

Meanwhile, in the crew-decimated but unexploded boat, Laura is kneeling in the bottom, counting heads. Anna, Aaron, Scott--three heads above water, the other raft swinging back to them, they’re okay. She and Kyle turn their attention to their own predicament.

“Let’s beach this thing over there,” Kyle suggests, pointing to a small inlet on the other side of the river. Laura gets up into Anna’s old seat and the two artsy hippies of the crew paddle for shore. Once there, they proceed to beach the boat. Kyle takes the front, but his feet are so numb he keeps knocking himself over as he drags the raft onto his feet.

The second boat has picked up Aaron and Anna. Scott has floated, butt down, thumbs up, to a rock and crawled ashore. His glasses have fogged, so all he can see is the blue bulk of the other boat turning away from him, downriver.

His head still full of his vision, he yells, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME, SAVE THE OTHER RAFT!”

Laura, meanwhile, the beaching accomplished, has counted heads in the second boat and come up short by one goofy hat. Where’s Scott? She looks up the river and finds him on his rock as the other boat heads downriver. Kyle starts yelling to Scott, who doesn’t hear him. Laura cups her hands around her mouth and screams his name. Scott takes off his glasses to find the artsy hippies across the river, waving, hooting, and making devil horns at him from the safety of their inlet.

Brad makes his way to our boat with a rope. He wades into the river and has Scott do the same, the plan being that Scott will grab the end of the rope and Brad will tow him across. Brad tosses the rope, but his throw is a little short. Scott misses it, and Scott and the rope-end proceed down the river some more. Brad reels in the rope as Scott bumps into and crawls onto the left bank.

Brad then has Kyle and Laura hop into the raft and pushes it down to where the second boat has been beached. The partial reunion is a joyous one as the adventurers compare stories and empty their rafting boots.

Brad heads back out into the middle of the river with the rope. Scott gets his game face on. This time, Brad is going to make sure the throw isn’t short. He swings the rope once, twice, three times, lets fly ...

... and the *entire* rope soars into the river.

“Ohhh ...” from the peanut gallery, softly, in unison.

Brad jumps into the river and swims after the rope. Scott appears to be sniffing flowers on his bank. The rest of our group warns one another *not* to mention the rope thing to Brad at *all.*

The current takes Brad down further from Scott, but he retrieves the rope and begins the arduous task of making his way over to Scott. This entertains the rest of us for about five minutes, at which point we start looking at giant spiders, discussing how our feet have all gone numb, and, of course, how hilarious it was watching that rope flying into the water.

At this point another raft comes down the river bearing two people who maneuver over and ask Scott if he’d like a lift. Scott, cold and bored, says “Hell, yes!” and climbs aboard. They then grab onto vines, tree limbs, and the occasional handful of grass to claw their way to Brad without being swept away. Brad is hauled aboard, and the rescue boat crosses the river. It looks like Scott is told *not* to paddle at one point, but he denies this.

Scott and Brad are put ashore downriver from us, and yell at us to stay where we are. Not a problem, as we’re all still fascinated with the giant spiders and other assorted bugs that want to come rafting with us.

On their way down to us, Brad tells Scott that his hands are so numb, he’s not sure he had hold of the rope to begin with. Meanwhile, after another informal poll, Kyle informs Laura that if Scott says he still wants to go over The Bump, Kyle’s going to shove him out of the raft.

Finally Brad and Scott return to us, and we set off down the river again. Or Brad’s boat does, anyway. Our raft gets stuck on a rock. We shake, we shimmy, we rock, all to no avail. Finally, Anna flips out of the boat, shoves us off the rock, and flips back in. Off we go, down the river, sideways again, of course. Now, however, whenever we make any noise at all, Brad turns to make sure we’re all in the boat.

The picnic rock is not very far away, and we plan to slide right in and beach next to Brad’s raft. Except, of course, this is *our* crew we’re talking about, and we paddle like hell only to float right by the beach. Anna thinks to herself, hey, I’ll be helpful again! and flips out of the raft to shove us in the right direction. Except that this time, instead of flipping out into knee-deep water, she flips out into eight feet of water.

Scott grabs hold of her life jacket, and we all stare at her for a solid minute as she hangs onto the side of the raft, until Kyle ventures, “Um, guys? We might want to pull her back into the boat.”

This proposal is met with universal acclaim, so we haul Anna back into the raft and beach it just a little beyond the picnic rock.

Now, Laura has jumped off the rock before and has no desire to do it again. Scott feels that he has been in the goddammed water enough for one day, so he and Laura sit and watch the river go by as Anna, Aaron, and Kyle head up to the rock. In the end, Anna and Aaron concur with Scott and only Kyle and Nick jump off the rock into the river.

The boats set off again, but now Scott has taken over the strainous steering chores. Anna calls out the rowing commands (“All forward!” “All left!” “All right!”) because Scott’s commands tend to be slightly less practical (“Ramming speed!” “All spin!”). However, the water is calm enough that our crew decides to attain ramming speed and splash hell out of Brad’s raft. This hasty decision results in a water war that our side loses badly, and we are forced into a quick retreat.

Scott, however, is undaunted. “All forward, stealth!” he commands. The crew hunches forward, as one, paddling hard, and whenever the crew of the other boat turns to check on us, we stop rowing and smile innocently.

This works quite well until it occurs to Kyle and Aaron that Scott is undaunted because he’s in the back of the boat; they are in the front of the boat and will therefore bear the brunt of any water attacks. A mutiny ensues, and ramming speed is not attained. We do, however, catch up to the boat in time for Brad to tell us we’re getting close to The Bump. We assure him that we have no desire whatsoever to go over The Bump, and he and his crew pull ahead of us to avoid a rock.

We, of course, get stuck *on* the rock.

We shimmy, we shake, we rock, we back paddle. The back paddling manages to spin us around *on* the rock so that we’re facing backwards; otherwise we’re getting no play at all.

Scott tells Aaron and Kyle to slide back in the boat. Aaron stands up. Scott attempts to point at the hump in the middle of the boat with his oar, hitting Aaron smack in the face with it. Aaron stands there, blinking, as Scott hastily switches his grip on the oar and points at the hump, asking, “Is that the rock?”

The shifting of our weight allows us to slide off the rock and set sail again. Brad points out the approaching Bump to us.

Now, The Bump, gentle reader, is a large rock in the middle of the river that can be very fun to go over. It can also rip your raft up and send you flying into the water if you don’t go over it the right way. When Brad points it out to us, Scott starts steering and we all start paddling hard to avoid it. All except Aaron, who sits straight in his seat chanting, “Bump, Bump, Bump, Bump,” and ignoring everyone’s shouts that we don’t *want* to go over the fucking Bump, you lunatic!

We go over The Bump. Sideways.

The boat then spins down the river as Kyle shouts, “WE’RE AT THE MERCY OF THE RAPIDS!!!”

Once we’re becalmed, Nick and WebZ ask, “We thought you guys didn’t *want* to go over The Bump?”

Now our only obstacle is the last set of rapids. We can’t be very close to the other boat when we go over, and we have to go over the rapids straight and right through the center. This concerns Laura, as “straight” and “centered” have not, as yet, been words one would use to describe our rafting skills.

Brad and his crew head out, and we slowly follow. We aim for the middle, and we keep the nose of the boat straight ... ish. We hit the rapids, bouncing up and down. Laura is thrown into the middle of the boat again, causing her to release her t-grip. She slogs back into her seat just as Anna is thrown from her seat into the middle of the boat and releases *her* t-grip. Laura observes that it’s a lot easier to paddle when the boat *and* the paddle stay in the water, rather than bouncing out of it.

Finally the chaos ends. We slide into the calmer waters and aim for the second take-out post. We make it, sliding right in next to Brad’s boat for once.

On the bus, we meet a group of people who have collected lost equipment on the river--paddles, life jackets, and most perplexing, entire wet suits.

Aaron declares that next year we’re going *totally* guideless. Scott concurs. Scott also tells Laura that she’s allowed to sleep with Brad since he saved Scott’s life. Laura requests that Scott make an effort to be saved by someone hotter next time.

We arrive back at the raft rental place and return our equipment. Laura slips Brad some cash for a tip. A little later, Anna asks if anyone tipped Brad.

“I’ve got a tip for him,” Kyle says. “’Hang onto your rope.’”
seldnei: (Default)
1. Went rafting with [livejournal.com profile] dealio, [livejournal.com profile] vandriver, [livejournal.com profile] nocmaar and Anna. Scott, Aaron, and Anna fell out of the boat.

2. Scott went up in an airplane to tour the valley.

3. MARSHMALLOW WAR!!!!

4. Bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny. Scatter.

So if you want to see our insane, guideless raft going over the last of the rapids (after the daring rescue of our lost crewmates), click here and here.

Back in a few days, see y'all then. Oh, and I'm not wounded yet. Yet.
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8.5-9 hours to blastoff ...

I have 99% of the packing done, the house is clean save for the kitchen, which I will tackle when I get home from picking up [livejournal.com profile] dealio (it isn't that bad at all, as he cleaned the bulk of it last night), and the car is sorta clean. No soda cans rolling around the back seat, anyway.

So, yeah, no internet and spotty cell service for the next few days, so if you need us, call my mother and she'll know how to get in touch. Or call her anyway, she loves that stuff. Take her mind off of her only daughter and son-in-law driving to another state in the dead of night. I shall return with pictures and stories, and maybe this time I won't skin my knee. Everybody have a good week while we're gone!
seldnei: (Default)
So we left here Wednesday morning. The trip up was uneventful, save for 2 herds of goats and an unintentional side-trip through Atlanta (we got onto 19 too early), during which Scott and I wound up at a stop light, craning our necks up to see the tops of the tall buildings, like a couple of hayseeds ("Look, Vernon, skyscrapers!"). He's been to Dallas, I've been to London, and you'd never have known it.

19 was supposed to save us time, but that road only looks straight on a map because they can't draw all the twistiness. It added about an hour to the trip, but it was worth it--it was beautiful! The road climbed and curved through the mountain, right along the side, with *no* guard rails (*that* took some getting used to--I had hold of the door handle whenever we went around a curve), and the sun was setting as we drove, so it was just gorgeous. We rode with the windows down to smell the woods until it got so freaking cold we couldn't stand it.

Scott remembers driving along roads like that with his father and grandfather, getting behind cars with brake lights coming on every other thing, and yelling at Sam or John, "Pass him! Come on, pass him, he's slow!" So while I held onto the door handle and he rode the brake, white-knuckled on the steering wheel, Scott reflected on the fact that karma may take 12 years, but it'll *always* come back and get you in the end. :)

The area where the Davis clan reunions every year, and where some of Scott's family still lives, is about a half hour outside Murphy, N.C.--the town where they finally arrested Eric Rudolph, the alleged Atlanta Olympic bomber. They caught him at the Dumpster behind the Sav-A-Lot. He'd been living in the woods there for, like, five years, and all I could think was, I bet neither Rudolph nor the FBI quite pictured such an ignominious capture.

The valley was lovely. I got to see all the landmarks from Scott's childhood that I've been hearing about for twelve years, particularly the house his grandparents built together and his Great-Grandmother's house. I also got to meet his Great-Uncle Harvey, who did *not* look like I'd imagined after hearing all the stories about him--I'd pictured this tall, husky man, and Harvey's actually a short, kind of stocky guy.

We stayed at a cabin owned by a friend of Scott's grandfather, about ten minutes away from the rest of the family's houses and the reunion site. That would be Scott and me, Scott's grandfather, Dave and Sandy and the twins, and Diane and Bruce and the three boys. In a cabin with one bathroom. Hilarity ensued!

On the Fourth, Scott got up and got the bike out to coast it down the mountain road past all the family houses. He and I, plus Diane and the three youngest cousins, headed to Harvey and Jane's. Scott thought he would ride up the road and then coast down, so he took off. We were cornered by yet another relative (there are a *lot* of Davises), and so we were delayed a bit in driving up after Scott.

But that was okay, because about 1/4 of the way up, we overtook him, *walking* the bike.

We towed him a ways, and then he just said to hell with it and got in the hatch of the Blazer and rode to the top of the road. We followed him then, me hanging out the window and snapping pictures, and we got up to 40mph with Scott still in front of us, so I know he was going pretty damn quick!

About halfway down, Scott passed his Uncle Bruce, who was *jogging* up the road, not even panting yet. :)

Later that day, we hiked up the mountain to Hanging Rock (also referred to as Hanging Dog Rock, after a dog who managed to, well, hang itself off the rock). This involved wading across a knee-deep, *freezing* creek. Originally, Sam (Scott's grandfather), Diane, and Sandy were only going to take us halfway up the mountain and aim us in the right direction, but I guess it had gotten so overgrown that they decided to take us the whole way. That, and I'm sure Sam kinda wanted to hike up there. He's 79, did you know?

And this wasn't just some easy grade, either. There were a lot of places where I was hanging onto Scott and a tree branch, looking directly ahead of me at ... dirt. And of course you can't step on the things that *look* solid, like roots or rocks, because the roots might be rotten and the rocks are covered in lichen and such. Nope, you want the ground, which looks *scarily* loose, so you can dig your feet in!

About halfway to the rock, I said to hell with it and sat by the creek. I am a flat-land kinda girl, and this mountain-climbing thing *sucked*. It looked as though my hike was over.

But then I got a bit cranky. In a moment worthy of a Lifetime Movie, I decided that The Mountain Would Not Defeat Me, By God!, and Scott and I hiked the rest of the way up.

It was very cool. The overhanging rock made a little cave where you could catch spring lizards (kind of salamanders?), and you could still see where Sam and his brothers (he was one of 13 kids!) carved their initials, though they were pretty worn away. The view was mostly trees, but I like trees a lot, and these were really pretty.

The trip back down was easier on the lungs than the trip up, but my poor leg muscles were just quivering. Hint: if you're walking down a mountain, dig your heel in first to get a good footing (see? I am Mountain Girl!).

I was walking between Scott in front and Bruce in back, and once we got past the really steep bit and onto the easy part, I, of course, fell. I lost my footing with my left foot, and my legs were so tired that I couldn't compensate, so I just went over sideways. And silently, apparently, as neither Scott nor Bruce noticed until I said, "Um, hello?" No injuries, though! Peat is very cushiony. I think I might stuff chairs with it when we get into the house. :)

Coming back, Sam picked a ripe blackberry and gave it to me, and I ate it right off the bush! How rocking is that?!

Saturday was the actual reunion--really, really short. People showed up to the church basement, ate, took photos, and left. It was an hour and a half, tops. I have to say, though--there are a *lot* of people in that family. I mean, you start with 13 kids, I suppose there would be, right? But the abstract concept of a huge family and actually being confronted with people your *husband* doesn't even know, and knowing you're now related to them by marriage ... it's a little surreal.

After the reunion, we went white-water rafting, which ROCKED, baby! And, much like everything else, was beautiful.

The water was *cold*--like 43 degrees or so. And about halfway through the trip down the river, we had a lot of it in the boat--my feet were very, very numb. Our guide kept throwing people in the water--Scott's cousins Sarah, Kyle, and Sam all went in. I was not thrown out of the boat because ... I jumped off a rock!

The rock was about five feet or so in the air over the river, which was 10 feet deep at that point. I swear to God, I cannot believe I jumped off that f@#$ing rock into the water. I totally lost my breath (I'm also a warm-water kinda girl), and then had to paddle my way to the boat. I tried to float down on my butt, like you're supposed to, but I couldn't maneuver at all that way, so I flipped over and dog-paddled.

Our guide jumped in after I did and floated with me. I asked him, "Can I stand up yet?" and immediately scraped my knee over a rock. I guess it's a good thing it was my organic knee, but on the other hand, had I scraped the bionic knee, it's still lretty numb, so it might not have hurt like hell. :)

Scott jumped into the river with his hat on (the one he wore at Universal). He also somersaulted off the boat into the river. Gotta love my man. I'll let him tell about "riding the bull" in his journal (bug him if he doesn't).

One kind of scary thing: Scott and I were in the boat with his cousins Aaron, Kyle, Sam and Sarah. When Scott went to ride the bull, the guide told him to scoot up more, which meant that one of the boat rings would be right in his crotch, so I jokingly said, "We don't need any kids, sweetie!"

The guide said, "Well, really, ma'am, do you want any *more* kids?"

Huh?

I got a *lot* of ma'ams from this guy. And toward the end of the ride, when Aaron was going to ride the bull and Scott had ahold of his life-jacket, the guide said to Scott, "Now, if he goes forward, just yank him back into the boat, Dad."

HUH?!

Oh my. Okay, Sam and Sarah are twins, and they're both kind of small for their age (15), and look younger than they are, but Kyle and Aaron are 23 and 21, respectively! What the hell, was I a child bride?! Good lord.

Aaron, as you may have gathered, is a bit of a daredevil. He's also *gorgeous* and quite the player. (all the cousins are gorgeous, really, but Aaron is the only one working it thus far.) He and Scott saw this purple boat full of hot girls, and at one point, when we were on the shore, that particular boat came floating by, so Scott pointed it out to us.

Yeah, we know where this is going, don't we?

I point to Aaron and yell to the purple boat: "HE THINKS YOU'RE HOT!"

The girls in the boat look at me, then each other, and one yells back, "WHAT?"

I point at Aaron again, as do the ever-helpful husband and our guide, and yell, "HE THINKS YOU'RE HOT!"

Aaron, when I glance at him, looks like he can't decide whether to preen or hide under a rock.

The girls confer with one another, then the spokesgirl yells, "HE'S RIGHT!"

Well, how can you argue with that? :)

And Sunday we came home. It took forever, though I drove us over the Florida border. Now we're both suffering post-vacation letdown. But I have lots of pictures, some of which are of the rafting, even, and we had such a great time.

I love the cousins; it hit Scott and me a while ago that Tyler and the twins probably don't remember a time before he and I were together. I asked Tyler about it, and he doesn't even remember stuff that kind of defined him to me, back when he was a little snot and Scott and I were just barely dating. Back then, he and Sam and Sarah were running around singing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song, and now they're all getting driving permits and cars. (God, I sound old.)

I have this picture of Sarah and she's all legs and knees, and tan. And now that they're older and I'm not shy around them, they're so much fun to hang out with. So were the adults, too. Everyone spent a lot of time out on the porch, talking.

Maybe, someday, Scott and I can get a summer place up there. We'd both really like to.

Sigh.
seldnei: (Default)
We made it back from North Carolina, and the front part of my brain is very fuzzy, so I'm not going to do the massive re-cap 'til later tonight or tomorrow. However, just to keep you interested:

Things Laura Did Over the Holiday Weekend


1. Hung out a car window to take pictures of my husband coasting down a mountain road on his bike.

2. Climbed up a mountain.

3. Coasted down the aforementioned mountain road in my car.

4. Met Harvey! (as well as various other members of the Extended Davis Clan, but Harvey was the one I *really* wanted to meet)

5. White-water rafted.

6. Jumped off a rock situated about five feet over the river we rafted down.

7. Drove into Florida.

8. Did not break, tear, rupture or otherwise seriously harm myself ... though I did manage to scrape my knee (the one without the scars).

Details to follow over the next couple of days.

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Laura E. Price

July 2017

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