Wednesday, July 10, 2002

The Full Bar Harbor Recap

Alright. My last entry was rather pimpy (to steal from Shelley) so here is the run down of the events leading up to and during our camping trip.

On Tuesday morning, I woke at 9, and finished the last of the laundry, packed stuff up, Doug ran some errands, and we figured we'd be ready by noon and out on the road.


Noon rolls around, laundry is still drying, stuff is still getting packed. We make it to 2pm. Ready to go, 90%, and the phone rings. It's Ivy, our friend Clay's sister. And I've been playing phone tag with her for a while. We still have Clay's car in our driveway, and I was hoping she had some news from her lawyer on settling his estate so we know what to DO with the car. So I took the call. An hour later, finishing up with her, Doug drops a great big one gallon glass beer jar filled with coins on the kitchen floor and yells "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" at top volume.

"Uh, Ivy, I gotta go. Doug just broke a great big glass jar and there is glass and money everywhere so I gotta help him... bye!"

Finished that call up abruptly, eh? I hate doing that to people. I'll be on the phone with someone and one of the kids gets hurt or something breaks or whatever, and I end up cutting people off screaming -- "Gottagogeoffgotbitbythedoghe'sbleedingcallyabacklater bye!"

So we cleaned up all the glass, 3pm is here... we tell the kids to use the bathroom and we head out to the car. Doug does another lap through the front of the house and discovers that Geoff had clogged Jessica's bathroom drain up, turned the water on, and flooded the bathroom before turning the water off.

Why does this ONLY happen to us when we're trying to get out the door? Why does hell's little box of catastrophe only get opened when Doug and Chris are on vacation? Why? Someone. Please tell me.

So we made him clean it up (wetting up a million towels in the process, all of which I just threw in her bathtub to sit for a week. At that rate, who the fuck cares, right?) and we got in the car.

We got to ... oh, York, Maine, and I turn to Doug and say "Did you turn off the air conditioner?"

We argued about that for quite a while... I was the last one out of the house, but I didn't check the AC because Doug always does the last run through, lights check, toilet not running, windows locked, appliances off, fish fed thing. So I had presumed he had. He told me he didn't recall turning it off.

Great. So... We're 90 minutes from home, do we back track, go back and turn it off, or do we keep going and maybe call someone to break into the house and turn it off.

We kept going, and I ended up not calling anyone.

From now on -- I'm Checklist Woman. It seems that later in life here I'm getting more and more forgetful... and screwing more and more things up.

And I'm SO letting the machine get it next time we're on our way out the door. Even if it is someone I'd been hoping to hear from for some time.

Suffice to say, by the time we made it up there, we were beer ready and hungry. Michelle cheffed up some chicken legs on the BBQ, and we feasted old school. Pitched tents, and hit the hay. The cabin is awesome, here's a shot of the interior. And I've already showed you pictures of the shithouse out back! Finally. Let the relaxation begin!

On Wednesday, both A&M had to work so we went on two geocaches. Stairway to Heaven, and Worth the Walk.

Stairway to heaven was at Schoodic Point, where we spent Memorial Day weekend with A&M on our last visit to Maine, and parts of it were hard and vertical.

Jessica cried and cried because we made her hike up a hill. Seriously. We were all suffering -- it was record high heat, not good air quality. But she wept like an infant.

We brought along the Dog Tags Travel Bug which we found in our very first Geocache, and put it in this one. We added Missy's dog tag from 2000 to the collection.

(By the way, in case you are wondering... a travel bug is a cache item that the owner tracks with an ID code, and this was a string of about 10 dog tags, none of which had left Massachusetts. Now, it's in Maine... goodness knows where it goes next. Missy so would have loved geocaching, so in this way I get to share her with the activity, since I can't share the activity with her).

We found the cache, spent time checking out the view, which was lovely, and climbed down. Got everyone Gatorade and snack, and headed out to an easier one.

The finding of the Worth the Walk geocache was wicked easy, it was right near the parking lot, 10 feet from our car. But the trail went all the way down to the bay, and the area was protected as seal habitat.

Unfortunately, no dogs were allowed on that property, just human walkers, so we didn't get to take the walk.

We went to Echo Lake so the kids could swim, they were begging to go... and they earned it with what we put them through. It was late in the day. The pond was crowded, the dogs weren't welcome, so I spent about 1/2 hour in the pond with them while Doug took them for walkies and sat in the car listening to the radio.

We headed back to the cabin and met A&M who were on their way out to swim... both of them were dead beat tired from working that day in the sweltering heat and desperately needed to swim. He'd told us about an excellent swimming hole on Long Pond, but we couldn't find it when we went down to go swimming. Where we had ended up was posted as a no swimming allowed zone, so that's why we ended up at dog unfriendly Echo lake.

They took us to the swimming hole, and damned if it wasn't the bomb. We had a couple beers in our bag, and dogs willing to swim... and the place was mobbed with kids rock jumping into the 30 foot deep lake. It was wonderful. What a great spot!

The lake depth was pretty drastic immediately, so I spent most of the time on the low rocks feeling panicky about Geoff... Several years ago I almost lost Jessica in 2 feet of water, I couldn't imagine losing Geoff in 30 feet! I'm very anxious with him around water. Aaron played with him and swam him around, but I was still shitting bricks with nervousness about the water's depth... so I was no fun.

But... I loved being there! Aaron had a can of beer out in the pond with him, and this kid who had just jumped off the rocks noted "Woooo! PBR in a can IN the pond! You're hardcore! Drinkin' a PBR IN the water! I thought I was cool drinkin' a Bud on the high rocks!" And we laughed. Aaron IS hardcore.

We did dinner at the cabin, built a huge fire. The day was so hot and humid, thunderstorms had been cooking up all day. Aaron and Michelle keep their radio on NPR and we would get these emergency broadcast announcements periodically stating that a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for... whatever county it was for at that time.

Lightning raged to our west and north, right behind our heads, but the sky south and east was full of stars. And we sat directly on the bottom edge the storm edge for hours, with the celestial light show going on above us and no rain.

Eventually the storm got close enough to us, and the National Weather Service announcements covered southern Hancock and Washington Counties, with cities including Bar Harbor and Machais, which meant it was time to seek shelter. In about 10 minutes, the storm hit us. Our tent was warm and dry, and that great huge thunderstorm raged on for the longest time... it was amazing.

Thursday dawned, fourth of July. Another amazingly hot day. Aaron had the wonderful idea of spending the day at Pretty Marsh in the only covered picnic site on the island... but it was HOT, and we decided it'd be more fun to do stuff, go places.

Here's Geoff showing you his shirt and his attitude after living on the hippie organic farm for a couple days! Actually, that's what Sonic the Hedgehog does after he gets through a zone... so it isn't really a hippie peace sign thing... yet.

So we did stuff, and went places.

Aaron, Doug and the kids ended up doing a geocache up on Elliot Mountain, which they found with no difficulty. Michelle and I went to the showers over by Blackwoods, and did some shopping. We met up and went swimming again after a quick trip to WalMart to get a swim vest for Geoff. I wanted him to have a PFD in the deep water, so I could enjoy being there. We swam until it started to sound thunderstormy, decided we should get home and do dinner before another storm hit.

We decided to skip the viewing of fireworks, mostly because of the weather and threat of storms. And built yet another good fire. The storm hit right as we expected to, around 8pm, and we all turned in early.

Friday A&M had to work a while for Farmer Matt, so we went out adventuring. We went to Schooner Point, to the cool cave. We climbed all down and in it... it was a good climb, but very dangerous if your sandals or sneakers got wet. Geoff slipped and fell, and then I went to retrieve him and help him up and slipped and hyperextended my knee a bit. Damn that hurt! Doug slipped coming out of the cave and almost took a header. So we walked softly and carefully until our shoe bottoms dried.

Jack the rock climbing boy dog! He did great, and that grey mass right behind his left ear is a HOUSE! A house 15 times the size of our house.
The cave in all it's spooky glory
Climbing up carefully
... mom and girl turn around for a quick picture

Friday afternoon, Michelle needed to do laundry to wash her uniforms, and Aaron had to pick up the keg he'd reserved for his birthday party. Essentially, he had called to order a 1/4 keg, and the woman told him it was one price, when in reality she was WAY off.

He insisted he was paying the original quoted price, and eventually got his way, especially after the jerks didn't even HAVE A TAP for him when he'd reserved it. They ended up giving him ice for free.

All told, by the time he ended up paying for the tap and deposit, the store was paying us to drink their beer. Essentially, each cup of beer was about 11 cents. Happy Birthday To Aaron. Happy Birthday indeed. So the keg was tapped, and Doug and I bought them lobster for their shared birthdays (Michelle is June 29, Aaron July 6) and we also grilled chicken. The other residents of the farm came to the party, bringing their grillables and willingness to drink beer with us. We met some pretty cool people, including Tom here who liked Jack a lot.

Tom bow hunts his own food, and brought venison to grill. He was there with his girlfriend, Nicki. And there was Jacob and Asha, also living on the farm and working for Matt. Jessie and her boyfriend Jay came, and soon the party was in full swing. The kids crashed out, and the older dogs like Kinger, Gonzo and Peanut got to run and chase and play. It was chaos. But it was a total blast. We stayed up until well past 1, and slept the sleep of drunken fools.

Jessica and Farmer Matt's awesome dog Peanut. She could be Kinger's sister!
Cheers! Here's to Aaron!
"Yes indeediedoooo! I believe I will have another beer!"
Aaron and Gonzo mellowing out
Michelle and me being weird
Michelle and me getting ready to insert lobsters into pot for our men.

Saturday we were pretty mellow. Gonzo got into the chickens and killed one... which sucked. Farmer Matt was understanding, and said that Dogs Kill Chickens and that's part of life... so he was pretty understanding. But Geoff got in trouble for taking Gonzo for a walk. It was a kind of a bummer day. Michelle was at work, and Doug ended up taking the kids to town, I took a nap, and Aaron went frisbee golfing. When Aaron got home, we took him out for pizza for his actual real birthday.

Sunday we went to the top of Cadillac Mountain with Aaron and walked. Jackie was a chick/guy/kid/man/woman magnet... we got tons of attention, to the point where walking was an impossibility.

I taught Geoff the fine art of rock balancing.

The view from the top of Cadillac, with my family in the distance

We did another Geocache, this was called Cache with a View. And what a view. Going with Aaron was a lot of fun. This is something I KNEW he would totally love doing... but initially, he was somewhat skeptical about the hobby. He thought it was environmentally irresponsible to put some plastic or metal container out in the woods. And it was irresponsible of people to go hiking off trail, it could be dangerous and could cost a lot of money when people needed rescuing.

The fact that people have a GPS so they KNOW where they are didn't seem to phase him. He had a National Parks Service Uniform in his wardrobe, and had talked to a lot of people IN the parks service who are dead the hell set against this hobby... but we took him to show him how innocuous it is.

When we found this cache, I asked him what he now thought of geocaching. He smiled a big shit eating smile... "Dude, I am SO getting a GPs!" he replied. Excellent! We took another travel bug with us. His name is LARS, and LARS stands for Like A Rolling Stone. He was only in the box for a couple hours, and we are his very first pick up. How cool is that! This is so damn fun.

Gaze upon the face of a girl whose parents FORCE her to go out and walk. "I hate geocaching!!!!!"

Again, Jessica whined and cried. Aaron got pretty irritated with her for being a wuss. We let her whine but don't let her quit... so we're used to the bitching and moaning. Aaron though couldn't believe the amount of whining she was doing.

But, unlike the first cache we did when we got there, the one that kicked all our asses, we weren't sympathetic this time. She finished the 2.2 mile hike in and out (total, not each way) and earned an ice cream, and did have a good time. Aaron said he wouldn't put up with that from his 10 year old. I told him to wait until he HAD a 10 year old... and that I'd said the same thing when she was one year old.

She did the hike, earned her stripes. I'm proud of her. The more we do this, the less whiny she'll be. End of conversation. And here is Team Screamapillar at the site of Cache with a View! Thanks for taking the picture Aaron.

Sunday night we had another great huge fire, roasted weenies on sticks at the fire side. It was lots of fun. Michelle got home from work at 11, and we spent a little time with her before all turning in. Aaron was up and out first thing Monday morning, and we got to say bye to Michelle because she didn't have to be to work until later. We packed it in, hit the road by about 11am. Stopped at the Big Chicken Barn Antique and Bookstore on the way out of Ellsworth, because we've driven by it so many times that we just had to stop... The rest of the ride home was painless.

I was happy to come home to a dry bathroom and no broken glass on the floor. And the Air Conditioner was indeed turned off before we left. It was nice to get home...

Yesterday I worked at the college and had lunch with the guys. We played UNO, the way we always used to do, and all of us singled out McCue and kicked his ass. It was so much fun. And today I worked for catering man, breaded 200 chicken breasts for a dinner, sautéed them too. Got out of having to make scallops in bacon because by 2pm the seafood delivery hadn't arrived so Chris let me go. Now I'm home and have spent the last 3 hours writing this entry, checking email, and working on other stuff. So I'm posting this and will try and write more this week. I have a lot of work stuff to do, so my frivolous time wasting journal hobby thing may have to wait! I'm sure you'll miss me.

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