Last week we had us some plans to hit the lake, so when D-Day arrived, all cloudy and cool and threatening rain, we simply laughed. The Jedi Family’s midichlorians run high, and surviving a chilly day at the lake isn’t as tough as fighting Dark Lords with one hand cut off, or racing your pods with enough skill and dexterity to win your freedom from slavery.
(It frightens me that I know stuff like this — stuff like how Yoda is from the Dagobah System, and how Anakin was the only human to crawl into a podracer — especially when I tried to balance our checkbook this weekend, and I couldn’t remember that I’d checked two checks off of the bank statement, but not in my checkbook, and I spent four hours — FOUR! LONG! TEAR-FILLED! TEETH-GNASHING! HOURS! — slandering the bank and their scheme to steal money from me.)
We packed up all the necessities for a day on the water — the sunscreen, the towels, the lawn chairs, the donuts, the sandwiches, the grapes, the bottled water, the lone bucket, the kitchen sink, the refrigerator, the living room sofa — and we were off. The vehicles looked like they were heavy with enough supplies to traverse the Oregon Trail without a potty break. We hit the beachy area, and the kids piled out like a bunch of clowns emerging from a car in the circus. They were stepping on one another in their enthusiasm to hit the open water, cool temperatures be danged.
The grownups set up lawn chairs in the sand. We propped our feet up on coolers. We tilted our heads from side to side to chat with each other. And yes, we looked like a pack of lifeguards from Baywatch.
The kids behaved as kids do in the water — they ran through it, they floated in it, they flopped in it, they splashed it on one another.
Eventually, because testosterone was involved, the challenge was thrown down for the kids to break into teams and put their architectural skills to good use to see who could build the very best sandcastle. The boy and B paired up, and they discussed things like roof pitch, mortar, moat design, construction material for a solid drawbridge, and the feasibility of rounded turrets to lock princesses in. They had some serious mental blueprints about what their team of two would produce out of sand.
And then they experienced the sand, and they realized that this is not PRIME SAND FROM THE COASTS OF HAWAII. A landlocked state cannot offer its kids optimal sand for envisioned elaborate structures. Their turrets fell off; their foundation cracked. Still, they persevered, and the kids all labored long and hard on their medieval homes.
Cousin Dub-ya and Miss A were a team. W took his job as construction foreman very, very seriously, as he labored to out-build the boy and B. Sadly, his construction crew didn’t share his vision, as she tended to wander off and chat with the other teams about the latest trends in colors for fingernail polish and the best type of sandwiches.
Miss R and M diligently worked together, too, even though R kept taking unscheduled breaks from the job to put in her two-cents’ worth on the best fall OPI colors about to debut on fingernails on every runway in America.
Just before lunchtime, the dark clouds that had been rolling in opened up in a torrential downpour, so we all piled into the Suburbans and the Avalanches and the cars to wait it out, because rain is a poor excuse to use to leave the lake. The kids crammed into one vehicle to watch a video on the DVD player (How on earth did the pioneer parents entertain their children during thunderstorms?!), and they left enough sand in the seats to build yet another sand castle.
Thirty minutes later, the cloudburst had passed, and we were left with GLORIOUS SUNSHINE in the form of WOW! VERY HOT DAY NOW!
We fed the troops, because they were hungry, and because they had found the bag of Cheetos.
The boy and M grinned for the camera.
And then, because B cannot survive a day without participating in a sport of some kind, he invented a new one — LAKE BASEBALL. The idea was simple. The pitcher would get an enormous handful of sand from the lake and throw it at the other guy. The other guy would then use the boogie board as a bat and smack the snot out of the sandball.
This, people, kept the team engaged for nearly an hour, as they took turns batting and pitching.
And then, after five entire hours in the water, we yanked the gang out. We dried them off; we found their dry shirts and towels. And then I made them crawl up onto the picnic table for one last group shot to commemorate the day with.
On account of the small fact that I hadn’t taken enough pictures yet.
When we got home that evening, our boy fell asleep at 7:30, and we didn’t see hide nor hair of him until 8:30 the following morning, because of DAY-AT-THE-LAKE-EXHAUSTION.