Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ten Things I Did On My Summer Vacation (the first five)

Well, we're back. After a (mostly) relaxing and non-stressful week at Eric the Buckeye and Vanessa the Raider's cottage in Michigan, we have returned home. I'm still doing some vacation for the next few days so I won't be around the office just yet. I would have gone to worship this morning but my wife threatened me within an inch of my life to stay away from work, so I worshiped elsewhere. In any event, here's are the highs and lows (we saw "Mamma Mia"... more later) of our vacation experience.

1) Although it technically occurred before we left, the "Midsummer Bucher Brothers Bash" was a hit. 32 (maybe.... we aren't sure, which gives you an idea of how many little kids were here) kids showed up at our house for a long-promised (on the part of the mother member of this family... there's no way I'd have even dreamed this up, let alone promised it as an actual activity) party for the boys to get re-acquainted with their friends after our year away in Wilmore, Kentucky. We actually moved back to Lima in May 2007, so Aimee was overdue. In any event my lawn was filled with sprinklers, small inflatable pools, an inflatable water-slide, and a dangerously slippery trampoline. One kid called our little mini-water park a "kid paradise". We wrapped up the day with an outdoor movie of our own ("Bee Movie", largely cause we own it and it was here) which many parents showed up to view. Fortunately, outside of a few scrapes and fat lip, nobody was seriously injured or drowned. Everything has recovered but my backyard. For one day, we were the "cool parents". Go figure.

2) The Buckeye/Raider cottage is really something to behold. It can easily sleep the Bucher family (all six of us), and still leave unoccupied beds for other temporary residents. The cottage is air-conditioned (although the weather, after a storm on Monday morning, made its use unnecessary), has every amenity a person might need, and comes complete with an X-Box located in a huge family room (done in Ohio State memorabilia). It's also largely kid-proofed (although I'm sure the Buckeye/Raider clan arrived Friday wondering why certain items were on top of the refrigerator. Answer: Eli the Destroyer) as they have two elementary-school aged daughters of their own. In any event, the digs were outstanding.

3) The lake is located about 15-20 minutes south of Coldwater, Michigan which boasts, in no particular order:
- Allen's Drive-In: The best place for root beer floats or any one of fifty different flavored milk-shakes in the world.
- Dutch Uncle Donuts: I have yet to eat a bad donut. These guys helped continue that streak.
- Northwoods Coffee Company: This place is everything an independent coffeehouse should be. Located in a renovated downtown building, the decor combines the charm of Middle America with an Alaskan moose lodge. Not to mention the coffee is out of this world. My daily stop to begin the day.

4) The Buckeye/Raider cottage also sports two jet skis and one pontoon boat for the enjoyment of the temporary residents. Unfortunately, on Sunday, I learned a number of Michigan's boating laws the hard way.

It was a beautiful day on the lake. Hot, sunny, clear..... the boat traffic was pretty heavy. About 4:30pm the boys wanted me to pull them in a raft behind a jet ski. Not a problem. We'd done it a number of times. I noticed though as we pulled away from the dock, that unlike earlier that afternoon, Rose Lake was empty. I mean E-M-P-T-Y. Just two other jet skis and us. Two jet skis that were identical. Ridden my men dressed identically, meaning they were either pizza delivery guys on boats, FABULOUS pizzas delivery guys on boats, or Branch County Deputy Sheriffs.

Guess who they turned out to be?

Apparently, which had I actually read one of the numerous boating law guidebooks at the cottage I would have known, you are not allowed to tow anything behind a boat if the boat itself doesn't have "a spotter" facing the towed apparatus... meaning there needed to be two people on jet ski. I was just using the rear view mirrors on the jet ski to keep my eyes on the Max and Xave. I was both driving and spotting.

Did you know you could be fined for not having a spotter? Me either. Now I know.

5) My misadventure Sunday afternoon with a very nice deputy (who is a High School teacher the other nine months of the year he isn't educating dumb tourists via tickets about Michigan's boating laws) though led me to an unexpected encounter the next day at the Branch County Courthouse. While I waited at the window for the clerk to process my fine, I saw a woman with an honest-to-goodness coffee-can-lid-sized pentagram tattoo on the side of her neck. It was unbelievable. My father-in-law once told me that you should never get a tattoo in a place that can't be hidden from a judge. Let's just say that this lady needed one serious turtleneck to make that happen. I overheard enough her discussion with her lawyer(?) to realize that she was well acquainted with the folks at the Branch County Courthouse. On my way out, I told her how striking her tattoo was. Her response...

"It gives me (how can I make this up) all the power of the underworld, which is why I will prevail here today."

Ummmm... right. The look on her lawyer's face as she said this was a cross between "I wish I had gotten that I.T. degree" and "I think somebody ate my cat". And who knows, by the looks of things, maybe somebody had.

I called Brother Esq to tell him about it later. His response...

"I'm a lawyer who does defense work. I see that stuff every day. You gotta get out of that church of yours a little more."

Not worth the entire cost of the fine.... but close.

(Gotta go on a mission of mercy. I'll post the other five things later today.)

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