We got back from 2 weeks of cottaging bliss on Saturday. The idea of resuming real life was filling me with dread. I could get used to a life of rich, egg-heavy breakfasts, watching the Big Yam splash around in lake water, al fresco dinners, long nap-laden afternoons, and board games. These past 2 weeks were made all the more dear because of my acute awareness that our idyllic, carefree summer of fun has a half life. Several portentous end dates are looming - the end of the Dotytron's summer vacation, the end date on my maternity leave, the time until the Big Yam turns one (which is happy and sad in the most clichéd, time-worn manner imaginable.) I have to keep reminding myself to be conscious of how lucky I am and not to waste away the remaining days by being morose. I made the Dotytron promise in the car ride home on Saturday that when we got home, we'd unpack first (I'm not so crazy about prolonging vacation time that my OCD impulses to unpack and have the house in order don't win out), but that we wouldn't turn on any computers or check into the information superhighway. It made it easier, somehow.
We came home on a hot, sunny, brassy day that highlighted the garden overgrown with weeds, the stuffiness of a house left vacant a little too long, and the drudgery of unpacking a car full of inflatable water toys and pool noodles. By refusing to check into Facebook-land and just being together as a family and easing gently and tentatively into our neighbourhood and the summer edition of our routine, it made the slow shift from vacation mode into summer-quasi-real-life mode not as shocking. Prevented us from getting the post-vacation bends.
It would be impossible to sum up the past few weeks - I took about 400 photos (albeit most of them the blurriest), but here are some of my favorites:
Bruce Wayne actually cooked something!
Little Big Cuz has the cutest, knowing little smile. I love that guy's face.
The last photo is of a 2000 piece puzzle depicting a work by the artist Britto (whom I've never heard of prior to embarking on Puzzlegate 2011.) We bought this puzzle because JSculls was hankering for a challenge. I believe we bought it 4 days into our 7 day stay. It was epic-times at frustration high, resulting in 4 of us staying up until almost 2am on Friday night/Saturday morning, trying to get this b***h done. It was insane. And at the end of it, you're left with this ugly piece of crap! Puzzlegate was an emotional roller coaster of the highest order - the lows were crushing, the highs not very high at all, when it comes down to it.
I thought family cottage time was good - but there were some simmering family dramas that marred things a bit. I don't know if it's just a byproduct of the fact that my bros tend to get along a little better with each other or that my sister and I are closer, but I thought Bruce Wayne and CHova were acting up a bit. The timbre of the board games times can get a little mean spirited and nasty and I'm not a fan of that - especially when I'm on vacation. That being said, I still didn't want that time to end.
Kdubsguelph cottage was fantastic - absolutely no complaints there. It's so nice to be with a big crew of people I love. It's a rarer experience for me to have a crew. I didn't keep many friends from high school or university (where most crews are born and fostered) and so the experience of having a big group of the same people always is the best. It's so comforting. I have smaller, more atomized crews that come together when I host big dinners, but the level of intimacy of kdubsguelph times is hard to replicate. Although I doubt my experience is that singular - I think the the older you get, the more your crews get dispersed and the harder it is to have that strong group bond.
I had a lot of opportunity to play and practice on the ukulele. The Dotytron taught me a blues form and then had me learn to improvise. The next day, after doing some noodling, I turned to the Dotytron while brushing our teeth and asked, "Is my blues playing derivative?" At which point, he practically did a spit-take of toothpaste and put me in my place (the general gist being that having JUST LEARNED to play, I'm not at the point where I could even be derivative.) LOL! This also resulted in me saying that "Look, B.B. King wasn't born in a day" - I'm not even sure where I was going with that.
Certain things contributed to making real life better. I'm going to itemize them:
1) I love my neighbourhood. We had takeout dinner from Amaya on Saturday night and then burritos from Chino Loco's last night and we went on long walks both days and I realized that I love my home.
2) A house at the bottom of the street is listed at $749,000
3) Our friend from Montréal is visiting! Her other visits didn't mesh well with our schedules so this is her first time meeting the Big Yam. We went to visit her in Montréal pre-pregnancy, when we were contemplating pulling the goalie, and then this is the first time since then. So even as I say that I don't have much crew, the roomie and Montréal I are totally crew. A small crew, but the kind of crew where we pick up after a year and a half with no awkward chit-chat, no catching up, instantly into the easy, effortless rapport and deep conversations that make you feel like you're home. Like people know you and accept you and you can just be.
We're spending the day with Montréal I and the roomie and L'armi again today and probably tomorrow.