Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer's End

The end of summer is always a bitter-sweet time. For a mom, autumn is basically the end of the year because it's a downhill-all-the-way express train to Christmas once school starts. The days are getting shorter and cooler, and you naturally take stock of all you did or didn't do during your summer.

Did you get all the projects done you had wanted to do?

Did you go all the places you'd planned?

Did you have all the fun you were going to?

The end of summer is kind of like the mid-life crisis of every year. Perhaps I am more susceptible than most to its period of introspection....

"Tiggy, do you want to do something fun!?"


"Too bad! You get to go anyway."

Tiggy has been helping me work through this summer's bucket list. Deep down inside, she likes it. Really, really deep.

The first thing is something I have been wanting to try for forever and I determined at the beginning of the summer that this would be the year. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wash your whole car using the windshield washer at a gas station? You haven't? Well, now you won't have to.



And embarrassing.

Goodbye, Yosemite!
It really doesn't work very well. Don't bother trying. And to all the cars that came after me and found a bucket of sludge with which to wash their windshields, I apologize. I did it in the name of science.

The next thing on my list was another scientific question I've had since last summer. How deep is the pond where the road flooded? In spite of others' doubts, I was sure it was over my head, but I am a very cautious person around water (read paranoid). I wasn't going into an unfamiliar aquatic situation without a life jacket. I didn't have one last summer, so I didn't check it out when the water was still fresh and clear. This summer, the water is neither fresh nor clear; it's the type of water that gets featured prominently in horror movies.

"Tiggy, do you want to go swimming with me?"


"Too bad! You get to go anyway!"

Out in the middle of the swamp.
I tried entering the water from the road side, but the dirt they'd hauled in to raise the road level made the sides so soft and muddy that I couldn't even walk into the water. Not wanting to die in quickmud, I decided we would take the field approach, which meant walking in from the shallow, swampy side. Did I mention I hate pond slime? Every step I took was accompanied by a shriek or squeal, occasionally interuppted by, "Is that a car coming?"

Tiggy didn't have a lifejacket on, so she didn't "get" to wade out very far. But don't feel sorry for her; she had plenty of fun later. I only went out far enough to confirm that yes, I was indeed correct; the water is over my head.....not that that's saying much! Then I hightailed it back to shore, sure that any moment a swamp monster would grab my skinny little frog legs and drag me under.

"Tiggy, are you ready for some more fun?"


"Too bad! You get some anyway!"

Doing the hula to get in the mood.
First we headed to the flooded road looking for some place a little more private; I figured I'd done enough damage to my reputation for one day. Because we were going SNORKELING! Won't that be FUN? Just like in HAWAII! OK, maybe not quite like Hawaii, but you gotta work with what you have. Besides, Tiggy's never been to Hawaii, and I have, so who knows more about it? Hmmmmmmmm?

Turns out that there actually are quite a few differences between swimming in Hawaii and swimming in North Dakota. Instead of crystaline waters teaming with brilliantly-colored fish we weed. And mud. Tiggy's the only one who actally saw any wildlife. First she saw a frog, and then...well, we'll get to that later.

Tiggy snorkeling. What will she find?

The water over the road was really shallow and the deeper water was way too murky, so we mostly scooted along the edge of the road. It was actually pretty fun, and we'll definitely do it again next year. Only we'll probably go somewhere a little cleaner and clearer.

 All good things must come to an end, even our micro-vacation to the tropics. We waded back to shore and loaded our gear into the van. Once we were back in the car, Tiggy let out a breath-taking shriek.

"AUNTY! THERE'S A LEECH ON ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Cool as a cucumber (and believe me, after a summer of garden explosion, I know cucumbers), I looked down and said, "Really?"


I scraped at the little dot with my fingernail. Sure enough, it was attached to her leg. I then proceeded directly into Leech Removal Plan 1.0.


The leech heard round the world.
I made Tiggy leave it on until we got to the pond, because even little leeches deserve to live. On something else. As far as we could tell in our frantic roadside checks, she had the only one. I guess it chose her because she is so sweet. Lucky Tiggy got to see all the wildlife.

You'd think after all the fun and memories we had together that Tiggy would be grateful. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. Tiggy actually told me, "Aunty, the day you find out you're dying of cancer will be the worst day of my life (Awwwwww, how sw....) because then you're going to drag me all over the place to finish your bucket list. I'm NOT going sky diving." (So much for sweetness.)

Hmph. How ridiculous. I'd never try to drag her along to sky diving lessons. That's silly.

I guess this means hang gliding lessons are out, too.

1 comment:

  1. Doesn't everyone wash their car at the gas pumps?