…and we’re “hot-tubbers” once again!

Well… the new hot tub arrived and we got it set in place. Everything fit perfectly and it’s huge. After the tub was placed, Nathan and his crew finished the privacy fence – and then we started filling the tub. The kids were all so excited they wanted to get in as soon as it was filled. We told them the water was really cold but they insisted they didn’t care (Missouri spring water is 56 degrees year-round). So, of course they got in… with Bella screaming “Ouch. Ouch. It’s colder ‘n ice!” After 4 or 5 minutes, they decided to get out and wait till the water warmed up a bit 🙂
Some things about the new deck. Unlike our Northland hot tub, we don’t enter the deck through the house. We walk up five steps and enter it from outside. We put a thumbprint-reader lock on it and all the guys’ thumbprints have been entered into the system. Dub is the only one of the kids who has thumbprint access and that’s because he cleans it and checks/adjusts the chemicals every day. Jim, Carol, Scott, Denise and Nathan also have thumbprint access.
Alex recommended lightweight concrete deck flooring tiles and we’re really happy we used them. Ben and I were tired of sanding and re-staining the wood decking every year in K.C. We’ll still need to stain the cedar fencing… but can’t do that till the wood is thoroughly dry – probably about 90 days.
Anyway, the kids are all spending tonight over at Denise and Scott’s place at “Koala cove”. They’re excited about the “sleepover” and the gang is excited about mixing up some margaritas and heading to the hot tub – pipes in hand. I’m sure we’ll give it a good and proper christening 🙂

An update on Labor Day weekend… and a bunch of other stuff.

This will be an unusual post because Labor Day weekend is “old news” – and because we have more than one person doing the narrative. Oh, well… sounds like fun.
Labor Day weekend was one of our best ever at the lake (at least until Dub’s appendectomy). The entire Northland gang plus the grands were there. Back when we first went to Table Rock, it was just our cabin and everyone “piled in” and we slept all over – mostly on the screened porch – and it was great… but it’s really nice to have three cabins so we can all spread out a bit.
We celebrated Bella’s birthday Friday evening with Pizza House pizza, hand crank ice cream and birthday cake (her choices). She’s a beautiful girl and is crazy about her little bro (Chance), her big bro (Dub) and her “other brothers” (Tra and Austin). Her friend “Kylie” was there for the party – but her Dad was coming to pick her up and take her home Saturday morning. It was a fun evening and a great party for Bella.
Saturday morning, we all gathered in the rock garden at Keon and Rick’s cabin for breakfast. Keon and I manned the omelette pans while everyone chose their own ingredients from an assortment of meats, veggies and cheeses. Jim and Carol brought over two big trays of home-made biscuits plus honey and fruit preserves. We were just getting started with breakfast when Kylie’s Dad arrived to take her home. We insisted he join us for breakfast and he finally agreed. I talked with him as we ate and he said “Kylie is pissed because she wanted to spend the weekend here with you guys… but her Mother said she could only come for Friday night if I’d agree to come get her this morning. My wife’s parents are coming in this afternoon from Scottsdale and will be spending two weeks with us. They don’t like me much and I don’t like them at all. Shit. I wish I could spend the weekend here with you. He and Kylie headed home shortly after breakfast.
While we were waiting for our food to digest a bit, we all walked over to look at the construction on Ty and Damien’s new “cabin.” Alex showed us the architect’s drawings and his sketches. They’ve had the water tested from the underground spring they ran into while excavating for the foundation – and it’s safe to drink… and will provide plenty of water for their household use. Damien says there’s enough water to take care of all our cabins should we ever need it. There’ll be a big “holding tank” and the “cabin” will feature a waterfall on the back wall of their “great room.” It’s going to be spectacular!
From RICK:
I want to tell you about something that happened on Saturday while we were at Table Rock. We’d been out on the boats most of the day and had come back to the cabin to shower and get ready for dinner over at Alex and Cal’s. Tra showered first – and after Keon and I finished getting cleaned up, I looked around and didn’t see him. I walked out to the rock garden and saw him standing very still, holding up his camera. I said something to him and he turned and put his finger to his lips to quiet me. He pointed to a chair and motioned for me to sit. So I sat down to watch. At first I didn’t see what he was photographing… but after a while I did. A huge king snake was leaving the rock garden and starting to climb the rock wall. It eventually made it up the wall and lay on the top to sun itself. Ty was absolutely transfixed. He finally quit photographing and headed into the cabin… motioning for me to follow him. When we got inside, he started jabbering about how beautiful the snake is… and we looked at the video he’d made. Keon saw what we were doing and just shook his head. He said “I don’t know how you could stand there taking pictures of that big ole snake. I’d have been getting my butt in the cabin where he couldn’t get to me!” Tra and I just laughed. When we got over to Alex and Cal’s cabin, Tra showed Pop-pops the video he’d made. He thought it was wonderful and volunteered to help edit it so Tra could show it at school. I swear, sometimes I just cannot believe what a cool little dude our son is!
From BEN:
There’s this place on Table Rock where people (mostly high school and college kids, we’re guessing) jump off a cliff into the lake. We ran across it one day… and now every time we go boating the kids want to go watch people jump off the cliff. We were getting ready to go to the Lake for the Labor Day holiday and Dub told us Austin had been telling everyone at school he was going to jump off the cliff next weekend. David asked him if he though Austin would really do it – and he said “Naw. It’s prolly just a bunch of talk.”
Saturday morning, after we’d had a big breakfast and gone over to look at the construction on Ty and Damien’s new cabin, we took both our boat and the pontoon boat and everyone went out on the lake. We rode around, swam, and the kids rode the wakeboards. Eventually, we rode over by the cliff and Dub asked Austin if he was going to jump. He hesitated… then said “I will if my Dads will let me.” Ty and Damien surprised us by saying it was o.k. with them if he really wanted to do it. A few minutes later, Austin, Dub, Chance, Travon, Alex, Chad and I were up on the cliff – Cal, Keon and Raef were in the water below – and Pop-pops and g-pa Matt were on the pontoon boat with cameras at the ready. It’s not a huge cliff but I’m guessing it’s maybe eight or ten foot down to the water. Anyway, we were standing up there and Chance grinned and signed something to Dub… and before we knew it, they both ran to the edge and jumped. We looked down and saw that Keon and Cal were swimming with them over to the pontoon boat. I asked Alex what Chance had signed and he said “I think it was ‘just do it”.” I smiled and said “That’d make a great Nike ad.” After Dub and Chance were safely in the boat, Tra, Austin, Chad and I all walked over to the edge and jumped.
Safely on board the boats, David asked the boys if they wanted to jump again. Dub said “Once is enough for me” and the other guys seemed to agree.
So that’s a wrap-up of our weekend at the Lake. I realize this is really long – so if you want to just look at the pics and skip the stories we’ll certainly understand 🙂

A magical mini-vacation at the lake!

Last week, Ben and Dub were on “spring break,” and we’d already celebrated my birthday on the weekend, so Ben and I took off for the lake. Dub was excited about spending a few days with Keon, Rick and Travon and going to “science city” and riding the streetcar and all that stuff.
I haven’t mentioned this before, but when we bought the cabin, the former owner told me that he had always sent Jim and Carol a hundred dollars each every month “to watch over the place.” He said Jim took care of the outside and Carol kept the inside sparkling clean – and encouraged me to do the same. So that’s what I’ve been doing. The first time I sent checks, they called and said not to do that – and if I did, they’d just tear up the checks and toss ’em in the trash. But I kept sending them and noticed that each month the checks have been cashed. Jim and Carol live on a fixed income and I’m sure they appreciate the money. For Ben and me, it’s worth it – knowing they’re taking care of the place.
Anyway, when we got to the cabin, it was spotlessly clean and there was a note on the kitchen counter from Carol saying she’d been “opening the place up to let it air out on nice days.” There was also a tupperware container of chocolate-pecan brownies on the counter, and our bed was turned down with a chocolate mint on each of our pillows. Ben surprised me by having already contacted the marina and having our boat serviced and brought to the dock so we could spend time on the water.
We spent three wonderful days at the lake – boating and playing – and being naked – and having sex all over the place. It really was “magical!”
Sometimes I selfishly wish it could always be like this. Just Ben and me at the lake, living happily ever after. Then, when I’m rational, I think about our wonderful life with Dub and the dogs and our jobs and friends and our home in the K.C. Northland… and I’m truly thankful for another year and all our blessings!