I haven't had much time to write, as my 13-year-old niece is visiting and I'm using all of my spare time to come up with new ways to embarrass her. I started off by yelling, "BLONDIE!" at the top of my lungs when I spotted her coming through security at the airport after her plane landed, causing her to duck into the crowd and pretend she didn't know me. I followed up by taking photos of myself when she briefly left her iPhone with me on Friday. My sister tipped me off that Blondie finds eyeball close-ups particularly horrifying, so I quickly took a snapshot of my eye and then blithely handed the phone back. Teenagers are fun! They sleep a lot and eat a lot, though. When my niece wasn't waking up on Friday, I sent her mom a text asking if I should go in and hold a mirror under Blondie's nose.
We returned from our vacation on Thursday. We had a great time at the cabin. I'll write more about our trip later (I'm sure you can hardly wait), but it did not start out well. The lake is four hours from our home. I knew I'd have to go straight to the airport on Thursday to pick up my niece (a six-hour drive), so it made sense to take separate cars. My husband drove with the dogs. He left about an hour after we did (on Friday the 17th). The kid and dogs and I got to the cabin at about 8:30 that night. I had wanted to get there before it was completely dark because the road we are used to taking is closed. My friend (the one who owns the cabin) had given me a workaround and I had also printed maps. The GPS is a little iffy about some of the dirt roads up there. The lake is in a national forest and is not all that easy to find.
Once I figured out the correct way in, I immediately called my husband to make sure he would know where to turn. The map was a little deceiving - the turn came up far quicker than one would expect. I got a "this caller is not available" sort of message. We both have the same cellular provider so I couldn't figure out why I'd have a signal when he didn't. Not too concerned, I unloaded the van as the sky grew dark. As you can imagine, a remote lake on a private road in the middle of a national forest . . . well, let's just say that when it gets dark, it gets DARK. I tried to call P a few more times as I unpacked. No answer. I set up the dogs' crates and tried to keep myself busy. I flipped through a magazine. Soon it was 9:30, the approximate time I was expecting him. Then 10, then 10:30. I tried to call over and over. If you looked at the "sent" folder on my phone right now, you'd think I was a crazed stalker.
The kid was asking where her dad was, so I said he was probably lost but tried to act nonchalant about it. Secretly, though, I was very worried. Eventually, she fell asleep on the couch, which was somewhat of a relief. Soon it was 11. I was not sure what to do. Do I call the hospital? (where is the nearest hospital??? I realized I had no idea, which was probably bad). Do I call the police? I also had the thought of calling my mother, because of course she'd be able to fix everything from 1400 miles away. I wondered if I should go out looking for him, but that seemed like a bad idea, too. I did the most sensible thing I could think of, which was to go into the bathroom and cry. I called my husband's number for the millionth time, picturing his phone ringing next to his lifeless body after he had plowed into a tree in the pitch-black darkness. Then I would think, "Well, the man was a Marine. Surely he is okay?"
Eventually, not knowing what else to do, I climbed into bed and fell into a light sleep. I heard the door open at around 12:30 a.m. I have never been so relieved in my entire life. As it turned out, he had been hopelessly lost on the miles of dirt roads and had no signal on his phone. He said he had been bouncing around on those unpaved roads for so long that at times he thought he might have to pull over and puke. He didn't drive again for the rest of our trip, as he wasn't sure he ever wanted to see a dirt road again.
The vacation got infinitely better from that point on. Of course, a couple days later he was chewing a tortilla chip at a freakish volume in my ear and I felt like I might drown him in the lake but for a little while there, I was reminded of how much I do like that guy. Let's just keep that between you and me, though. I don't want him to think he can get away with that tortilla-chewing thing indefinitely.