Saturday, December 13, 2003

Snow Caching

Wow are my legs sore.

Well, before I get into that whole thing, let me acknowledge my lack of updatingness and bewail my many sins which keep me from you, my fine peeps.

I have no excuses save one -- I've had literally nothing to say. Not a thing. Unless it's about how excited I am to go see BNL in February and March, in which case you, dear reader, will click your bookmarks or favorites and be driven elsewhere. I want to retain you, so I apologize for lack of substance here.

We haven't started our Christmas shopping yet, which has me in kind of a frozen peril state whenever it crosses my mind. I'll be folding laundry and then I'll stiffen up, envision the tree presentless all because of our parental collective sloth, and then eventually I black out. Three or four hours later I come to, and forget why I was sleeping.

So that has taken up a great deal of time.

Since my last update, things have been cool. I spent the entire snow day, as I mentioned in the last entry, working on a website or three. Which was good. The kids were fabulously behaved and I was able to get loads done on two of the three sites. The third site is the one I should have been giving priority to, but alas. You know me. Procrastinate, and then burn to shine. I will get it done but not before another couple of those freeze while freaking out moments.

In other news, my mom was in the hospital. She has bronchitis and last Monday my sister insisted she go to the doctor, my aunt ended up calling an ambulance. Long story short, she was not getting any oxygen due to her inability to breathe, and so they kept her there, IVed her up bigtime, and released her Friday to go home. She sounded much better after just 24 hours on antibiotics, fluids, and other meds. She was sounding pretty scary when I talked to her over the weekend, so I'm glad that she made use of her medical benefits and got taken care of. My sister's got a cold now, and my dad sounds like he's going to cough his stomach up (according to mom) so my immediate fam over there is in need of some health mojo.

We're all healthy as horses, so I cannot complain.

We're so healthy that we did a little carpe diem and went out geocaching in the 29 degree weather today. It was either that or clean the house and get ready for putting up the Christmas tree which we have yet to buy (see above referenced comments on buying presents for what happens when I think about that sort of thing).

We headed down to the Middlesex Fellsway vicinity where there are literally dozens of geocaches hidden. If you're caching and you're going for bodycount, well, you can't pick a better place to spend a day.

We figured if we did three or four of them it'd be an exceptionally good day. We've done two in that area already, back in April or May, and the views of Boston are extreme and awesome. Today was no exception -- the air was crystal clear and the city a shining metal diamond set beyond the hills of snowy goodness.

The first cache was incredibly pimpy. It isn't maintained well and is really in an open and exposed area. I think it gets pillaged often... so we left a cheap box of crayola chalk there and moved on. Urban caches are often raided by neighborhood kids, as it's really incredibly hard to be discreet at times. We aim for discretion, but... with two sometimes whiney kids and two incredibly happy to be outside dogs, we appear to be rather conspicuous.

The second cache was up past an area in the Fells where I guess it's a dog party on a daily basis. The parking area is at the gate for the Sheepfold, which in name made me think of pastoral rolling hills, bleating four legged wool factories and handsome boys with crooks and overalls. And naughty smiles.

Instead there were upwards to about 10 dogs running around off leash when we got there. We were such newbies -- we kept our dogs on leash until it became evident that we were going to be killed by them pulling and us slipping on ice. They romped, they played, they sniffed butt, they were in heaven. More and more and more dogs came out of the woods. They brought us sticks. Look, a brindle something sort of pitbully! Look, a Jack Russell in a little jacket! Look, a Berner! Look, thousands of fluffy dogs that look like Jack! Look, purebred golden retrievers with tennis balls!

All the owners were nice, friendly, asked questions about the dogs like "so, what kind of dog is he? Looks like a rottie, but...?" And all admired Jack's friskiness.

I was in heaven. Friendly dog people, standing around while their children romped and played. Gay couples, yuppie couples with their little kids and sleds, older women out for a walk with their schnauzers. Oh, it was heaven. I felt so happy and my dogs were happy.

We then headed into the woods past the dog party (once we got Jack to come with us) to go to the cache. It became evident very quickly that we'd need to go up... and there wasn't a good way to do so, and we couldn't see a trail. So. We just went up. The way we do. The Max Power Way. Jessica had ignored me when I repeatedly told her to wear her hiking or snow boots, and she wore her sneakers. So she was excessively whiney. Oh, and there were pricker bushes that we had to walk through... she bitched about that and eventually found a way around them that afforded her little pricker bush exposure (even though I walked right through it and my coat and four layers of clothing protected me from their evils).

We made it to the top, I took a couple nice pictures of the kids. We met some people with dogs who were commenting that their camera batteries were dead so I gave them two. When the guy with the camera took his pictures he went to hand me back the camera and I told him to keep them, but to "pay it forward" and they laughed. "If I've learned one thing from Hollywood," I said, "It's to pay it forward." So that was entertaining. Doug found the cache and we enjoyed the view for quite a while... Geoff then put a big snowball right into Jessie's face and we knew we were done there.

I turned to lecture Geoff about how bad it was to hit someone in the face with ice and snow, and when I turned around Doug, Jessie and the dogs were gone. A guy approached me from the north and said "Oh, are you looking for a girl in a purple coat and a couple dogs? They went that way." And he pointed to the trail where he had just come from... so we went that way.

Geoff and I walked about a quarter of a mile with no sign of Doug, Jess or the dogs. Usually if they're ahead of us, the dogs run back and forth between us so we know exactly where to go. Kinger hates to get seperated from one of us and gets very worried. We were walking on a well established trail in the snow, and all was looking pretty good, but according to the GPS we were now heading way too far north and were on the totally wrong side of the big hill. When we got to a creek that we couldn't walk across in any way, even though it was obvious the trail continued on the other side, we turned around and went back.

Geoff was incredibly pissed with me, and I was incredibly pissed with life. All of a sudden, Geoff decides he's a dog and he's going to walk on all fours and lick snow and roll around and communicate with me by barking.

I'm so not happy at this point and really want to kill my husband. I have the GPS, the cellphone, and the boy. The boy. And he won't go any faster than a crippled JRT.

Eventually, we get back up to the top of the hill (much easier getting up with this trail, wish we'd known of it on the way up the first time) and the summit dishes up more magnificent views as it is now getting to be about 3pm. Boston is reflecting the glories of the coming sunset, and it's all nice and my dogboy is now somewhat more obedient and walking on his hind legs. We go back down exactly the way we came up the first time, piece of cake.

Back to the Sheepfold where I once again have visions of saucy shepherd boys minding their flock in field. More dogs come say hi to us. Geoff pets everything he sees.

Doug and Jessie and the dogs are in the truck... they were told by the same guy that I had gotten bad advice from that we'd gone down the hill once they realized we'd gotten separated. Doug told me he called and called for us, but we didn't answer. By then we were too far off, and I guess my poor hearing and my hoodie and coat hood up over my head kept me from hearing him.

We really need those cute little walkie talkies I think.

They were just a little ways away from us when we split up, but because of the boy's antics we ended up 20 minutes behind them. Luckily for me I had the GPS and the wherewithall to turn around and go back when it became obvious that my trail was not going to loop to the west and south anytime soon... and we all got home safely. Hurrah.

Well, I am very sore, my legs are killing me from hiking in snow. It feels good -- a good work out in the snow and the cold really can do a body good.

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