The boys are getting to an age where we are starting to engage in more independent activities. We still have family outings, but the little guys are starting to develop their own activities and interests. Apart from playing chauffeur more often, this often means that I'm ferrying one around while supermom is dealing with the other.
As they grow, we're are also noticing that it's getting a bit more crowded in our "cozy" house. On top of each other with energy to burn, lounging around the house on a Saturday just doesn't work anymore. So we get them out and doing stuff. Whether we are up to it or not. This is easier in the summer where only a water bottle and sunscreen replace the boots, snowpants, touques, mitts, jackets, long undies, neck warmers . . . but it's still not easy.
Often I offer the most resistance, wishing by some miracle that I might find myself dozing between the sheets or have time to slowly sip my coffee while perusing a thick, weekend edition newspaper. Supermom often has the brain wave, and, once finally out and about, I begrudingly have to admit she was right. Again.
Sometimes, if I'm really brave or really owe her one, I'll take both boys on one these excursions solo. This has definitely gotten more frequent as #MaxLoco has grown from toddler to pre-schooler. At least now he'll listen to about half of what I say before he ignores it.
The watershed moment was last fall. One of my wife's best friends in the whole world (friends since childhood, roomates after university, you know the kind) was getting married. The ceremony was at a beautiful fishing resort, over 4,000kms away, on Vancouver Island. Her sister was going too. So my brother-in-law and I had a plan. We'd spend the weekend with the bulk of the boys up at the cottage.
Packing up was easy and we each hit the road from our respective ends of the city. Leaving the skyline behind, I noticed a dark line cutting across the horizon. Ominously dark. Unfortunately the boys are too young to grasp my Mordor references. Then we were into it. Blackness cut by sheet lighting while furious thunderclaps shook the car. The rain was punding on the roof so violently it almost drowned out the little one's shrieks of terror. I had troubles of my own, whiteknuckling the car through quickly deepening lake that used to be a highway.
Eventually the storm subsided and we pressed on, finally arriving at a dark cottage road. The high beams quickly picked up the branches, splinters and detritus littering the narrow track. Broken trees lined the lane, snapped like matchsticks. As we crested the hill I could see an entire tree dangling over the road, held up only by the power line. So much for electricity. My brother in law arrived about five minutes later and we made the trek down to the lakefront together. It was evident the power was out. In the darkness we could make out that a another tree had come down, a massive oak, but thankfully six inches to the west of the cottage.
We made sure there were no immediate hazards (trees about to crush the cottage, rabid black bears, a sufficient supply of cold beers), and, with a roof over our heads, decided to revisit things in the morning. It was pretty obvious that we'd be turning around and heading back to the city. We got the boys settled and hunkered down.
The next morning was beautiful. The lake was silent. Otherworldly silent. Still no power. Our thinking then quickly proceeded along these lines:
- decide to go home
- decide the weather is actually pretty nice
- decide to buy a chainsaw
- decide that we can in fact stick it out
So we did. The power came back, for a bit. Just enough to flush the loo a couple of times. Perfect. As darkness fell, we knew we had made the right decision. So we pushed it one further:
- decide, with the boys tucked tightly into bed, to rewards selves with beer at the firepit. Did I mention the firepit is up a steep path on top of a hill, some distance away from the cottage?
It didn't take long to settle him down, but campfire time was over. I could see the others still in their beds. Relief. All were safe and sound. My brother-in-law came back down too to see what was up. It was only then that the eldest came bounding through the screen door. Turns out he had gone looking for us. For some time. In the dark. With only one shoe. We didn't put that detail together until the next morning.
All in all it was a great weekend. The boys had a blast, despite storms (turns out there had been a tornado on the lake) and nightime shennanigans.
On the way back to the city, we thought it best to gloss over some of the details of the second night when telling our wives about the weekend. That didn't last long. Those little