Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Under Ten and Over Fifty Adventure Club

It is hot, hot, hot and we all needed a little somethin' somethin' to do. Phyllie, the poods, B, Rach and I formed our official summer hiking club. Destination? Galena Creek trail. Not more than five or six miles from our house, just off the Mt. Rose highway.

Of course there were preliminary preparations to attend to first. B and Rach wanted to bring a snack. Out came the lunch boxes. Pop Tarts, of course, the kids choice. Next, each  filled up their own canteens. Preliminary preparations complete.

The poodles can smell a hike in the making every time. They immediately began romping around, all smiles. I could hear their little doggie brains, "Woo Hoo, out come the hiking shoes. Let's get goin!!!"

Phyllie is somewhat like the poodles.

"Okay every body, lets get in the car." They were out of the house in seconds flat.

I tried to get ready as quickly as they all did, but .....

I had to go back to get my sunglasses, while in the house the phone rang. Of course I had to answer it. Then I realized I forgot to pee. While coming out of the potty, I saw that the yorkie (who obviously was stressed about being left home) had laid down a little tootsie roll on the carpet in her pen. I had to clean that up. Then I realized I forgot my long sleeved white shirt to guard me from the intense sun. Back in the closet to retrieve it.

I heard the horn honking.

Okay, Okay. I was afraid to see the look on Phyl's face. I knew they weren't dying of the heat in the SUV because she had wisely taken the keys with her. Air conditioning is her friend.

When I finally got out of the house, I could see Phyl with her shoulders scrunched up to her ears, palms up with a huge question mark on her face. "What the f*? Let's get goin'. What are ya doin' in there? Get a move on." Her voice sounds incredulous. Her face is all screwed up with her eyebrows knitted together, looking for all the world like the silhouette of Mt. Rose itself.

The sight of her going on, Lula Mae peering out the windshield from underneath the rear view mirror, and the kids in their car seats made me giggle and shake my head.

"Hold on. I'm coming. Keep your nickers on."

Phyl is the hare, and I am the tortoise. It has always been that way with us, and it will always be that way with us. One thing though, that hare runs out of energy much quicker than this tortoise. I will still be moving when she is sacked out on the couch.

I finally get behind the wheel just in time to receive a great big slurp from Lula Mae.

Rachel starts complaining because Lula Mae is sitting on her, and Tito is licking her head. Tito loves Rachel, but Rachel is sick of being slathered in kisses by him. Tito is eye level with Rach and he believes she is the cutest little girl on the planet, totally deserving of his sweet smooches.

"Does everyone have their seat belts on?" I chirp.

"Yes, we all have everything, and are belted in, now let's get this show on the road. I'm sick of sitting here waiting," Phyl is insistent.

Contact. It is difficult to back out of the driveway because the poodles are HUGE and they block my view out every window. After craning my neck until I think I will need to visit the chiropractor when I get back, we finally get headed down the street.

Woo Hoo. The adventure club has its first meeting.

"There is a short hike and we will enjoy playing in the creek," I say with great anticipation. The water is very cold, and is just what we need for a 90 plus degree day.

"I'm NOT getting into the water, Grandma. I am NOT!!!" Rachel is almost in a panic. A few days earlier there was an unfortunate mishap on the Truckee River. Rachel is scarred, and she is absolutely determined to NEVER get in running water again. EVER.

B is a bit more contemplative. He calmly says, "Grandma, our boat tipped over and we went under the water. It was scary."

"I know B, but we will not be rafting. We are just going to play in the water," I try to be reassuring. "It is a shallow creek, no swimming, just playing."


I look into the rear view mirror. Rach is staring blankly out the window, and B has his right forefinger in his mouth. Sure signs of I wonder what Crazy Grandma is getting us into now thinking.

After about ten minutes of driving, we arrive at the park.

On comes the sunscreen, out comes the poodles, and off we go to the trail.

"I hear the water, Grandma." Rachel sounds concerned.

I took her over to see the creek, then we kept walking up the well traveled path. Each child carries their own snacks in their cartoon character metal lunch boxes. Rach, of course, has Tinker Bell, B Spiderman. In their other hand they carry their water bottles. Every now and then they stop to pop the top on their jugs, only to take a short sip. One would think we were in the Sahara.

The poods are no dummies. They head to the shade every chance they get. Their tongues get longer, and longer the further we go. We ambled over two bridges, and walked through a great tunnel of "bamboo, Grandma."

We imagine we are on a huge trek. For the grandchildren it probably feels like a long way. We have gone maybe a mile and Rach has repeatedly asked me to pick her up and carry her. No siree bobby.

"You chose to wear those flip flops, you can walk. Let's get movin' Sister." I can be such a drill sergeant.

Rach, being four years old now, is prone to pouting when she doesn't get her way. I used to try to please her, thinking I will not be in a position to be able to afford to pay her psychiactric bills in another ten years or so due to my influence in her upbringing. It was a nice thought, but totally impractical. Nope, we keep on moving. Natural and logical consequences are important life lessons for any child to learn, even at four years old.

We made a special trip to their home just to get their water shoes so they could also be used as hiking shoes. Both children have refused to use them. Oh well. It's not like we are rock climbing or anything like that. The path is sandy and even. Apparently the flip flops are doing Rach just fine.

Rach comes from a long line of Sallys.

What Rachel really wants is to be carried. She loves to be carried. I believe she was a princess in her former life, or perhaps even the Queen of the Nile. When Rach makes her "carry me" requests I can see her in my minds eye laying prone on a long, pillow covered bed being toted by slaves fanning her as they carry her to her destination.

"Sorry, Charlina you chose those shoes, now you have to walk in them. It is only a little further down this path." Grandma seems heartless.

Rach's bottom lip protrudes further and further like the under jaw of a proverbial croaking frog.

Finally, we come upon the underside of a bridge. It is perfect. Perfect shade, and the perfect point in the creek to play. In go the poods and Phyllie, shoes and all. B, Rach and I take a bit more time to get used to the idea of playing in the creek at this spot. The water is rushing pretty quickly, but at its deepest it is no more than 18 inches.

When I tell Rachel she can throw rocks into the creek, she looses the pout, loosens herself from my leg, and scrambles to the water's edge. After shucking her flip flops, she is barefooted in an inch of the crispy cool water. She immediately sits down and starts chucking rocks into the creek rapids. With each splash she causes, her grin grows wider.

B, meanwhile, starts throwing rocks too, but from a little deeper water in the creek. He tires of rock throwing more quickly than Rach. There are lots of small boulders scattered around the shoreline just begging to be climbed upon. B shucks his shoes too, and begins climbing rocks barefooted. I imagine him as Huckelberry Finn out on one of his adventures except B has been burdened with the eagle eyed Crazy Grandma.

"Be careful not to hit your brother with that rock," I look up just in time to see the hurtling projectile just miss B's head by inches. Blood in the water is the first thing on my mind at that moment. Where's the nearest emergency room? Did I bring the consent for treatment card? Oh Lord, their mother is going to kill me.

This is why B has named me Crazy Grandma. We are always getting into some kind of trouble together. Thankfully, today, we escape with only cold prune like toes and muddy clothes.

The poodles wade in and out of the water, shaking and licking our faces. They are hot in their furry coats.

Phyllie has found a rock in the sun to sit on as her perch, a safe distance from Rachel's throwing arm. She doesn't remain there for long though because when Rachel spotted her empty lap, she scrambled to sit on it like a heat seeking missile. Phyllie has been named by Rachel as her new Shero. After the unfortunate accident on the river a mere two days before, Rachel continued her trek on the river by clinging to Phyllie's neck for dear life swearing, "I will never go in the water again."

But she has, and today is a glorious day to be in the creek, throwing rocks, and sitting on the lap of a non-crazy grandma. Phyllie had a wide smile on her face rivaling the poodles. No tongue sticking out though, just smile. B decides to get in on the action too. Pretty soon there is a wriggling mass of humanity all perched precariously on one small river boulder. The poodles want in on the melee too, so they start prancing around all three of them.

Grandma contents herself in taking pictures of the scene.

When everyone has had their fill of throwing, climbing, and generally splashing about in the icy cold stream, we pack up and head the party home.

Rachel, of course, is the dirtiest of all. Mz. Brownbottom is what I called her. B, characteristically, looked like he just stepped out of the pages of an advertisement for cool kids hiking wear. Not a smudge of mud on him, anywhere.

How does he do it?

It's a mystery to me. Even when he was a baby learning to feed himself, he was tidy. I used to watch him, with considerable concentration on his face, scoop out a portion of food from his plate with an enormous spoon (no baby spoons for me, thank you very much) and with great precision place the food in his mouth. He never missed. The first couple of times I thought it was a fluke, but I can tell you now, that is just how he is. Calculated in every movement he makes. Today, he hardly got his clothing wet, let alone sit on something muddy.

I, on the other hand, look like I have been "drug through a knothole backwards" as my mother would say. Hair disheveled, shirt askew, and, like Rach, a nice brown bottom.

Oh, and did I tell you, I was wearing MY flip flops too?????

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