Yes, it is a time for reflection. With fall in the air, the colors turning, birds and water fowl....and bats...leaving, and the ever present anticipation of winter how could one not sit back and reflect!? This years 'fall reflection' however, is bitter/sweet. In fact, for those who tune in to this site for sugar coated stories and tunes of glee....you might want to check out, here! But don't fear, it isn't all bad but it is reality and sometimes, reality bites!
This summer started out with a howl. After a long almost 2 decade 'tour of parent-ism', we had a turn around here at the compound. John announced that he was moving out before graduation. Now, as great as this seemed to him, at that moment, he failed to see the disadvantages and risks he faced by doing so, and we had to pull rank on him and lay down the law. "Not until you graduate"! And so, almost on cue he did. He graduated and decided to move out. Only he drug his feet a little. So one night after I gently inquired what his plans were (not asking for a 2 week notice, just a little courtesy), several nights later we woke to a strange noise in the house at 12:30AM. Alarmed and reaching for the gun, I roll out of bed and tippy toe to the bedroom door, slowly opening it to see his friends' girlfriend snacking on the cake on the counter, and he and his friend tip toeing through the kitchen with his mattress. Now, I really had to sit back for a moment to pinch myself and make sure I wasn't dreaming, or hallucinating (second making more sense) and when I went to peek out the bedroom door again, they were all gone and the lights off. Scratching my head and confused, I hear an engine fire up at my front door....at my front door. Now I am pissed! I run to the window to look with concern to see my sons truck driving across the lawn with his mattress hanging out the back like he had just conducted some kind of covert recon raid on his bedroom! Yes, this is how our son chose to leave the nest and spread his wings.
Since that night anger turned into disappointment, disappointment turned into concern, concern turned into a prayer, and a prayer turned into a laugh. Anger that he was so disrespectful that he never bothered to tell us he was leaving and woke my tired ass out of bed in the manner that he did. Disappointed that he really had no plan and just jumped into the world with no parachute (but hell, at least he had his mattress to land on). Concerned, as any parent would be when their young does what he did. A prayer that he would figure things out quick and be ok. And finally a laugh that I could say to him, "welcome to the real world kid!" Since that night he has moved out of his friends' house and now lives with his girlfriend. Oh, we are happy! Happy that he followed suit and "grabbed life by the #@**!" and seems to be content with what he is doing. Happier that we have peace in our house and the whole house to ourselves to do and be what we want. Happiest that "John's room" is no longer "John's room" but now a newly renovated "den", a space of peace and comfort. And of course, sitting back watching to see how and if all that we instilled into him for 18 years will make a difference in the success of his independence.
But not to quell on the subject of John too much. This summer was the end of my 'two year program'. The day we moved out of the cabin in Dorrington, I vowed that I would not be doing any kind of renovation, remodeling or design of any kind for two years. After all the work we did to the Dorrington cabin and the many years it took (and those who were there for the show know where I am going with this) I was done and needed a break. If the house we bought wasn't good to go....it would sit for 2 years. Minus all of the work we did to get basic necessities up and in running order at the compound....and there were many...not a finger was lifted to update or redesign. Until back in June. And it started with the departing of our son and the birth of the 'clubhouse/workout room/music room/winter office/den'. June was also a kind of an initiation of reality of sorts. You see, when we bought this house back in June of 2007, we were bent over the fence with the interest rate, since we had "SUCKER" written on our foreheads, and moved here with no real verifiable income. At a whopping 8% 2 year fixed ARM, we kind of walked around for the first two years leaving it all in the hands of God. So when we were able to pull ourselves off of the fence and tell Wells Fargo to take a flying walk (after they denied us a re-fi....?@!#) we went with a local and stable institution and landed a 30 year fixed at 4.78%. So you could see where we finally felt a sigh of relief that the house was ours and is now "home".
The summer was filled with lots of activity. One such event was the ringtone of Maryanne's work cell which I have forever engraved in my brain and find myself throughout my days, singing and humming it like some nostalgic song or the theme song of your favorite tv show. Oh it was grand, man. If I could have a note for everytime I wanted to throw it into the lake, I could quite possibly retire. And the calls at 11:00PM by the president of the lodge, hopped up on vitamin D wanting to run down the flyout schedule for a half an hour with her. Or their river guide calling at 4:30AM to find out why he is sitting in an idling boat and the paying guest is not there for his fishing trip.....like Maryann is supposed to wake up and make the poor sap just appear in the guys boat. And then, my favorite...the airheads who are oblivious to the time difference and call at 3:00AM to book their 'dream Alaska vacation', because they just saw the lodge on Larry Csonka's show at 7:00AM eastern time. I will never forget the morning one excited woman called Maryann at 2:30AM to tell Maryann that her family just pulled into the lodge..."they were here!" Woo-hoo man, lets grab the keg, the pole and go party!! Or the time I had just had e-pickin-nough and grabbed her phone before she did at 4:00AM and got some guest on the other end who crapped himself and hung up on me. He denied that he called to Maryann later that morning! lol
We bucked up and the two of us pulled in 12 cords of split and stacked wood for the winter, and proved to ourselves that we are capable of driving home a bust of sweat and hard work...without the unpaid slave labor of our son....(serious sarcasm) We did get more time to fish together. The late nights ass-high in glacial run off in the Kenai river at 1:30AM with the sun still out was so much fun. The night Mike and I went out and shored the boat in the river which was at flood warning stage due to glacier out bursts and heavy rains at one of the high land lakes that feeds the Kenai. We limited out on our sockeye's in less than an hour, but paid the price of water filled waders, cold and wet boobies, and alot of laughs....and golf ball sized eye's a few times at the strength of the current!! Maryann and I spent more time traveling around and seeing new sites and making new memories. An evening with Hot Tuna in Anchorage was one highlight. The hike up exit Glacier was another for us. Maryann's fly out into the untamed 'bush' was spectacular for her, and the stories abundant and vivid. Successful fishing trips for halibut and king salmon were a hoot! It wasn't the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, but the Sealife Center in Seward was good fun and very interesting. The list could go on really. But we did take a little more advantage of what the great land has to share, since we were a alot more stable and now rooted in this new life.
See, that wasn't so bad for those of you who braved my prior warning! All in all it has been a great summer and much progress was made both on the home-front and in our social and martial lives. It will be interesting to see what winter has in store. We are waiting in anticipation for the annual migratory arrival of the tundra swans on the lake, and have said a sorrowed good bye to the loons for the winter. With open season on moose done as of yesterday, Bullwinkle is breathing a gentle sigh of relief, and many will benefit from the meat they harvested. And many will cry as they go into Safeway's meat department, for the 'big one they missed'. Personally, unless someone can prove to me different with their culinary skill...the animal looks alot cuter than it tastes! With the sun rising at 7:47AM and setting at 8:06PM, the temps beginning to fall, and to my knowledge no termination dust as of yet...we wait. But rest assured, we are happier than clams in sand and grateful to be here and doing better than we could have imagined. What a great place to live!
Here are some pics from our July hike up Exit Glacier. Was spectacular! The air down below was dead still, very muggy and warm that day and smokey from all of the fires that were burning. Yet, as we got closer to the glacier, a very cold and powerful wind was being generated from what is called, 'catabatic winds' which the glacier's actually produce!