Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘lake place

Leaving Us

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It’s Tuesday after Labor Day and plenty of fall activities that haven’t already kicked off will be starting today. Our guests left us yesterday for the next leg of their journey in a vehicle that looked to be packed with everything a college freshman would need to get started.

The Birgens awoke in the morning to the news that the Kenyan Supreme Court has ruled that the candidate, William Ruto, was properly elected President in the 2022 general election. One less thing to be concerned about for them at a time their oldest son is starting a new job and the youngest is starting college.

I find myself thinking about how nice it is to be well beyond the years of taking kids to their first year of college. Feels similar to when I began to appreciate getting past the years when September meant “back to school” during the K-12 phase of our kids’ lives.

The few connotations September holds for me now are the onset of fall colors, Cyndie’s and my anniversary (41 years!), Julian’s birthday, and the start of MN Vikings football –despite my best efforts to stop caring about anything having to do with the modern-day NFL. Nothing about getting prepared for school.

I have already noticed the return of school bus traffic on our road at home twice a day, but the impact from that on my life is negligible.

I tip my hat to all of you who have school-age children starting a new bus and/or classroom experience today.

My time with access to television coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament is ending today as we leave the lake place and return home.

For some reason –probably related to wanting to witness Serena Williams make one last attempt for a major victory at the end of her illustrious career– I was inspired to watch as many live matches as I could this year. I was lucky to have captured a few dramatic matchups that were really exciting and very competitive.

A couple of them were almost as exciting as the end of the Florida State vs. LSU college football game I stumbled upon Sunday night during a break in the tennis.

It’s probably a good thing we are leaving the lake place and all the cable sports channels I have access to here so I can take a break from spectator sports and get outside and give this gorgeous September weather the proper respect it deserves.

It’s my favorite time of year, right up there with my other favorite, winter!

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Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2022 at 6:00 am

Last Hurrah

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Taking full advantage of immersing ourselves in the last Sunday of the summer season up at the lake, we hiked, swam, boated, feasted, visited, and began putting away water toys. Hosting members of Friswold’s adopted family, the Birgens, we had added reasons to wander the grounds and socialize with fellow “Wildwooders.” Wildwoodites? Member clans of the incredible Wildwood Lodge Club (WWLC).

The holiday weekend inspired an additional reason to gather members, so Cyndie and her mom invited everyone to our place for a 5 o’clock cocktail party with socializing around the fire. With flashback memories of the way it was done when Cyndie was a kid up here, that fire was then used to cook burgers for our dinner.

In another throwback to a bygone era, I got out my little travel guitar and “strumgled” [strummed and struggled] a few songs from the cobwebs of my fading memory. It was sufficient to punctuate the culmination of a fabulous day at the lake honoring the last events of summer.

Today, the Birgens will head out on the last leg of their journey, taking their youngest, Jonathon, to his first year of college. Cyndie, her mom, and I will linger one more night and head home tomorrow.

In the wee hours before dawn this morning, our gentle slumber was serenaded by the wistful echoing calls of an owl in the woods outside our window. It truly feels like we are experiencing summer’s last hurrah.

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2022 at 8:47 am

Nature’s Magnificence

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It was a beautifully warm sunny afternoon that found Cyndie and me splashing in the lake to clean duck shit off the inflated floating platform in the swimming area. A thankless task because not long after we leave, the ducks return and make themselves at home again. A price we pay to co-exist with wildlife.

At the time, we had no idea stormy weather might be lurking nearby. As the dinner hour approached, pizza from Coop’s was chosen and I got elected to drive into town to pick up our order. Emerging from the trees onto the road to Hayward, a view of the open sky revealed a most spectacular display of roiling cumulonimbus clouds that were so engaging I struggled to pay appropriate attention to my driving.

While waiting at the bar to pick up our par-baked circle of deliciousness, the two tv screens overhead began to display ominous-looking warnings about a thunderstorm in Sawyer county. Based on what I had just seen in the sky, I wasn’t surprised in the least, but the folks around me who were oblivious to what it looked like outside were caught as unaware as I had been 10-minutes earlier.

It just didn’t feel like a storm-threatening kind of day.

With the pizza box safely stowed on the seat beside me, I checked the radar view on my phone before setting off and saw we were on the backside of this long line of storms that were percolating just to the southeast and moving away from us.

I called Cyndie and suggested she check out the view, knowing her deep appreciation for cloud formations. By the time she was able to see it and take pictures, the clouds had lost some of the initial splendor of the freshly blossoming thunderstorm that I was able to witness, but because we were granted a rear view of the event, it still looked impressive.

As the rotation of the earth moved the sunlight closer to our western horizon, the storm in the distance began to glow and bounce vivid color off the lake for a whole nother visual presentation.

Isn’t nature magnificent?!

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Written by johnwhays

September 3, 2022 at 9:16 am

Edges Covered

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With little in the way of fanfare, yesterday we raked up gravel over the last of the exposed asphalt edges of our new driveway. By that point in the exercise, I had lost much of my ability to care about the level of perfection we were achieving compared to when we first started. It’s going to be good enough for all intents and purposes.

The next phase of the driveway finishing project involves backfilling some of the steeper edges with dirt or composted manure but that detail is not as essential. It won’t worry me if we don’t get that all done prior to the arrival of the snow season.

We did make a point of celebrating the accomplishment a little later in the day with a leisurely game of CrossCrib out on our deck. A nod to the vacation-mode feeling of being up at the lake, it occurred to me we have the same game board at home and a deck that offers everything except a view of a lake. We can play at home just as well as up at Wildwood.

We tend to forget sometimes, what with all the landscape and animals vying for our time and attention. A card game in the middle of a beautiful afternoon can be a healthy diversion.

Since today is the Friday of a holiday weekend, we will be traveling north to the lake place again, leaving the dog behind to be cared for by our house and animal sitter, Grace.

This is a routine that has served us well this summer. Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last gasp of summer activities up at the lake. That doesn’t mean we will stop making the trek up there, though. A few trees were already showing signs of fall color on the drive home last weekend. That spectacle provides plenty of incentive to get back up to the lake after Labor Day.

First things first. We have a long weekend to enjoy some very promising-looking weather predicted for the northland.

It will be even nicer knowing the edges of the new asphalt driveway at home are now completely covered with a gravel shoulder.

Huzzah!

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Written by johnwhays

September 2, 2022 at 6:00 am

Indoor Games

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Walks with Delilah will be short and wet this morning. It’s a good thing we took full advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday because much of today will be spent indoors. The main mass of precipitation is moving away to the east but it has left behind a sloppy landscape and gray skies.

We enjoyed a long and leisurely paddle around the island and schoolhouse bay yesterday in a gentle breeze of mid-morning sunshine. After floating on top of all that water we just had to go for a swim in it back at our beach. On a brief and unsuccessful errand to town to find an AC to DC transformer, we made a stop for the spectacular flavors of premium ice cream from the famed local creamery, West’s Dairy.

It’s like a rule that we have to sample some of their delectable combinations whenever in close proximity –[read: anywhere in town]. I made a last-minute change of mind to Banana with threads of Salted Caramel that didn’t disappoint.

The afternoon included a rollicking game of CrossCrib on the deck with multiple lead changes throughout. By the time we finally sat down across from each other for dinner at the Tavern at White Stag Farm, we both shared the comment, “You got some sun today.”

The wet start of our day today is allowing me a chance to be distracted by television coverage of Premier League matches while trying to chronicle yesterday’s fun.

Spectator sports on television are a guilty pleasure and may be my version of indoor games for as long as Cyndie allows. I suspect she will be seeking a chance to reclaim her honor in the weekend’s CrossCrib competitions, to which I will be more than happy to oblige.

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2022 at 9:51 am

Making Adjustments

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After pretty much power lounging for a couple days, Sunday became the day to take care of a few projects around the place. The most laborious had to do with the launch feature from the big raft. Somehow the big airbag got a hole in it and then it started filling with water.

Last weekend Steve got it to shore and laid it in the sand to drain. Yesterday, I went down to retrieve the bag from the beach and bring it up to the house to wash and fold in preparation for taking it back to the Cities for repair. At about the point I was losing my patience with the task, Cyndie arrived to rescue me and helped to get us to the finish.

The main project of the afternoon was digging under the round pavers beneath the tall bench at the fire pit. We didn’t dig them in much originally and that left the bench too high off the ground.

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That should take care of that set up for a while. We’ve tweaked them multiple times to finally get them all where we want them. I’m ready to not think about the fire pit seating for a few years now, except maybe to sit out there.

From there, I moved to some finishing touches on the screen door we installed a couple weeks ago. I added a turnbuckle tensioner, put longer screws into the hinges, installed some foam tape to seal the back edge, and put on a couple of quieting bumpers that didn’t really do much in the way of quieting.

I’m almost completely satisfied with it for now. Time will tell if it holds up very long to repeated use.

This morning I am driving home on my own and Cyndie will stay up with her mom. After a run of four weekends in a row at the lake, I’ll be adjusting to home life for an extended run. That means more days for driveway shoulder duty. Woohoo!

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Written by johnwhays

August 15, 2022 at 6:00 am

Mostly Cloudy

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Some days are so low-key that the excitement of solving the Wordle puzzle is one of the noteworthy highlights. Actually, amazing life events sometimes play out unexpectedly in the midst of an otherwise bucolic ambiance of a quiet cloudy day at the lake. There are only three of us occupying the big log house this weekend. With the cool temperature and cloudy sky doing a lot to set the tone, we didn’t have any lofty ambitions about pursuing laudable accomplishments.

Midmorning we received a precious invitation to join with other Wildwood families for a gathering of the Whitlock family next door. They were doing a memorial spreading of ashes for their patriarch, Bill, a founding member of the Wildwood Lodge Club. Afterward, families represented gathered on the Whitlock deck to catch up and share memories.

It was the kind of visit that could have gone on forever except they had a dinner plan. We three returned to our place for dinner and a mix of tv dramas in front of a fire.

Some sunshine would have definitely painted the day with a greater urge to be out but the surprise opportunity to commune with people we dearly love was a bonus that truly blessed an otherwise understated day.

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Written by johnwhays

August 14, 2022 at 10:20 am

Going Again

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Guess where we are going today. It will be my fourth weekend in a row at the lake and I couldn’t be happier about that good fortune. I feel a little sorry for Pequenita though because she seems really starved for contact with me and I keep disappearing on her for days at a time.

The horses don’t seem to mind. Yesterday while I was on the lawn tractor and Cyndie was using the trimmer in the labyrinth, we spotted all four horses out “horsing around” in the hay field. What first caught my eye was Mix making aggressive moves toward the chestnuts but instead of running away, all four just rearranged positions while staying in close proximity with each other.

Then one of them laid down, rolling back and forth a couple of times before hopping right back up. Suddenly they all took off in a run back toward the paddocks. It looked like they were having fun on an otherwise uneventful day.

I came inside for lunch and scanned a few news headlines. That had me thinking how nice it is that horses don’t pay attention to headlines about search warrants or the reaction commentaries from extremists on both sides. Maybe the new national pastime has become unnecessarily overreacting to news releases with inflammatory trigger words and accusations about the nefarious motives of the “other side.”

There is a wonderful distraction awaiting our arrival up north in a few hours. It is called Round Lake. I plan to immerse myself in the rejuvenating water of the lake to do some back-floating and cloud watching. No headlines will be viewed during this news-free time. It’ll be my version of horsing around.

It will also be a nice break from raking gravel and rocks into a supportive shoulder for our new asphalt driveway. We made some good progress the last few days and I’ve set a goal of trying to finish 50 yards per day whenever we work on it. I’m guessing we’ve completed about half of the 600 combined yards of asphalt edges for both sides of the driveway.

That would be just six days if we achieve 50 yards each time we work on it.

If we keep going away for long weekends at the lake, it might be October by the time we get all the asphalt shoulder covered. Somewhere in the next 6 weeks we will have a fiber optic cable buried along the length of the driveway, as well.

Sure hope they don’t decide to show up on a Friday when we are planning to depart for the lake place.

I don’t like the struggle of choosing between two highly desired options.

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2022 at 6:00 am

Three Biketeers

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Day two of Paul’s, Randy’s, and my biking-instead-of-golfing adventures up at the lake place was a grinding success. Did I say grinding? I meant grand success. Honestly, the conditions were better than average, practically superb for the combination of riding we had in mind. My only issue was that my legs felt odd at the beginning of the day and as the afternoon progressed the muscles kept threatening to cramp up.

I’m guessing I taxed myself a bit too much on our opening day gauntlet of rocks and roots navigating the Makwa trail. Instead of allowing for a day of recovery, we three biketeers set out midmorning for some smooth riding on the road bikes. Once again, I demonstrated my penchant for having my sense of direction reversed.

My intended route would have basically formed a rectangle on the map but I missed one turn while rolling along and chatting with the guys. Remaining oblivious at the time, I was surprised to reach a “T” with McClaine Road again, which we had turned from miles before. Our route had circled back.

Knowing I’d missed a turn we reversed direction and backtracked. I was mistakingly looking for the Chief River Road I wanted on our right. When we came upon it –and of course, it was farther away than I thought it should be– I discovered my sense of our position on the planet was backward again and it was a left turn, not a right.

The rest of the road ride was without confusion and we enjoyed a triumphant return to Wildwood where we found the sign was showing a new skew of its own.

We switched to our off-road bikes again for the afternoon and I finally got my first exposure to the CAMBA trail loops by the hospital, appropriately named, “Hospital Trail.”

It lived up to the reputation I had heard for a couple of years that Hospital Trail would be much more to my liking. Sharing a variety of the fun features of the more aggressive Makwa trail near us, the Hospital trail in Hayward offers a few loops that meander through a nice section of pine forest. There are a fair number of hairpin turns but it has far fewer sharp changes in elevation or complicated rock obstacles and almost no tree root hazards.

It probably shouldn’t have been as taxing on my aging leg muscles as it was but for the rest of the day I found myself tetering perilously close to having my quads and calves seize up at one wrong move.

Pickle juice, I was told. No, I erred by asking for a scoop of two different flavors of ice cream from West’s Dairy. The serving size in the cup could have fed a family of five. I ate it anyway. Raspberry Delight with Mint Chip.

It’s what a biketeer would do!

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2022 at 9:19 am

Any Day

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Lately, I have noticed I am experiencing a pang of underlying guilt over not being fully aware of what day of the week it is. It is commonly expressed that the absence of a work schedule in one’s life will bring about this phenomenon of losing track of the days. It’s truly a luxury to not know. I feel rich beyond my means when I find myself basking in the gentle breezes through the trees at the lake on a Sunday evening when the majority of weekend vacationers have returned to their homes.

There were days throughout my years of gainful employment when I suffered under the pressure of showing up day after day for the grind of my multiple different day jobs. At the same time, I found myself rather well-suited to such a routine of scheduled days. I mostly looked forward to seeing people and tending to whatever business situations required attention.

I wasn’t very fond of being told the toilet wasn’t working in one of the restrooms, but most other issues were useful fodder for doing what I had been hired to do. It’s a bit of a shame that some issues continue to show up in my overnight dreams. Saturday night it felt like I worked hard all night long through multiple dreams. I was trying to train a new employee while simultaneously attempting to cope with other side issues and periodically straining to figure out why I was back at work again after having been gone for so many months.

I found myself semi-lucidly questioning the dream whenever I surfaced toward consciousness through the night and then regretting when a return to deep slumber brought the same dream back to right where it had left off.

During my working years, I had moments of envy for the people I knew who no longer noticed what day of the week it was, but I don’t recall ever begrudging them that luxury. Now that I have achieved that same privilege, I feel bad about celebrating it when so many others still have to log their time.

Facing the undeniable shared challenges of showing up on the first day of the work week. People compare stories of what each other’s weekend entailed and commiserate over the concept of a week ahead. Then, the survival strategy of lauding the midweek milestone of “hump day.” Finally, the thrill of reaching the last day of the week with its lure of soon-to-be-reached days away from the job.

This morning is simply another “any day” of the week for me. Cyndie will be staying up at the lake longer this week and I am driving home today with her mom. I’ll be on my own for a few days at Wintervale before heading right back up on the same day that Cyndie gets a ride home with a friend.

We’ll be like ships passing in the night on any old day of the week.

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Written by johnwhays

August 1, 2022 at 6:00 am