Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Idyllic Day

Originally posted on November 12, 2011.
After living in a ski resort town for a year, I was accused of having an idyllic life. Shortly after the accusation in 2001, this day happened. Grab a cuppa, buckle up and enjoy the ride.   

Sunrise. I raised blinds to reveal Mammoth Mountain, bathed in a rosy violet with a pale gold snowcap. Opening the south blinds, the Minnerets glowed with sapphire and lavender. My favorite time of the day, the house was quiet and all mine. 

Sleepy BoyA, six years old, came dragging out for breakfast.  BoyZ, five, came bouncing after him.  I went to retrieve GirlyK, ten months, from her crib. We were sitting at the breakfast table as we said goodbye to The Counting Mutant.  The morning ran like butter; gardening, Martha Stewart and kids’ imaginary adventures. 

I packed for a picnic lunch with The Counting Mutant; I went into the bathroom to gather the last few things together.  Stepping onto the sandy brown carpet I felt odd pinpoints of wetness.  Bewildered, I stepped carefully as droplets sent odd shivers into the bottoms of my feet.  I surveyed in wonder.   The toilet, shower door, cabinets and wall glistened with shiny yellow dewdrops.  Restrained, I found the boys. 

"What happened in the bathroom?"

BouA gaped, "I don't know."

BoyZ shining with pride, "I put out a fire."

Dumbfounded, I took a deep breath and sternly informed him, he was to clean it up as soon as we got back from lunch.  Dad was expecting us now.  

Three kids channeled and lunch transported into the car, we headed up the Mountain.  Once parked, I kept track of the boys as they raced around the car. Their concentric circles creeping further into the path of traffic; with one eye on their orbit, I seized the stroller, lunch box and GirlyK out of her car seat. The Counting Mutant arrived just as the boys turned into meteors and guided them to Mammoth Mountain’s Adventure Center.

We found our place on emerald grass.  In the winter it is covered in snow and training runs for small children.  In the summer it is a hub of fun. Mountain bike rental booth and a thirty-foot climbing wall fill the space.  The dulcet tone of different languages around us was a delight as the tourists took pleasure in the richness of the outdoors.

GirlyK’s feet were danced to a tune in her own mind as I opened her lunch.  Carrots, rice and a bottle chaser, was her lunch menu for the day. The Counting Mutant and boys started their lunch.  I debriefed The Mutant on the escapades of the morning when, out of the sweet little bow shaped mouth, the scream of a demon. GirlyK’s appendages hit the bowl of carrots in my hand with an explosion.   My shirt, face and hair were the casualties of the anti-carrot warfare. People around us turned away with sheepish grins. I took a deep breath and coaxed her through the rest of lunch. 

After their food was consumed, boys played on the climbing wall.  GirlyK crawled on the grass and visited with tourists.  Lunch completed, The Counting Mutant said goodbye and returned to his office.  For BoyA’s last turn on the climbing wall, he asked in a rush,
"Mom!  I am going to push myself today and be brave.  I am going to climb ALL the way up to the top." 

I rallied a cheerleading spirit and told him to go for it.  He found his favorite instructor, who geared BoyA up and he began his assent.

 Carefully he picked his grips and pushed himself up the 30-foot face.  Once at the top, he turned around and beamed with joy and pride. The instructor and I!  BoyA faced his fear and conquered it.  

The instructor said, "Ok, A, now let go of the wall, hang onto the rope and I will bring you down." BoyA took one glance at him, one stare at the top of the wall and finally frowned at me.  

"No,” was his calm but defiant answer.

 Encouraging began.  It quickly turned from cheerleading to drill sergeant. After twenty minutes, a sizeable audience gathered, a different instructor free climbed up. As he reached the top, all eyes glued to rescuer as he began to coax BoyA from the climbing holds.  All held their breath as the two of them eased their way down the wall.  Once at the bottom I awkwardly helped BoyA out of the harness.  

Quietly, I heard the rescuer say to the instructor, "That was the scariest thing I have done in my life!  No support and the kid pushed against me the whole way down.  I didn't know if I would make it."

Humiliations galore set in as I rushed all to the car.  The whole ride home the car was quiet.  Once home, I put the sweet girl down for a nap, set BoyZ at the table to await bathroom cleaning instructions. BoyA and I discussed in another room about bravery and trust. 

BoyA excused to his quiet corner. I attended to BoyZ and his firefighting in the carpeted bathroom.  

While waiting for me at the table, BoyZ found Bullfrog Sunscreen. After squirting half the bottle on the table, he created beautiful renditions of wax-based lotion art.

I began to feel my sense of sanity melting, a sponge was handed to the boy. 

We cleaned the table and moved onto the bathroom.  “Here is a bucket and sponge.  You need to wipe walls, sink and toilet.  When Dad gets home he will help you clean the carpet with the carpet cleaner.” I instructed.

“COOL!”  BoyZ’s eyes glittered with pride.   

Bathroom cleaned and BoyZ in a neutral corner, I called The Counting Mutant and suggested picnic dinner.  

Horseshoe Lake was known as the “locals’ dog lake”   Some years earlier, the area experienced a volcanic burp.  Gasses escaped through fissures and killed acres of trees around the lake.  We had never been. I thought it would be a way to finish off our day well. An attempt to turn the tide.

The Counting Mutant came home. We all piled into the car, complete with dog.  Pulling up to the lake, giant gray leafless toothpicks filled our visual plane as we walked across the pumiced earth to a picnic table. A breeze chilled our skin and kids shivered a bit.  I realized we had no jackets.  As I opened the basket, I realized to my horror, I had forgotten plates and utensils.  The Mutant laughed and we ate with our fingers. This day was going to end well even if it killed me.

 We started to prepare for a hike when, We noticed BoyZ only picked at his chicken.  He complained about the fat.  I volunteered to stay behind and help him.  The Mutant, BoyA, GirlyK and dog started their hike.  I began to peel off the meat and feed it to him.  He bit my finger.  We struggled through every bite.  The chicken leg finally consumed; I packed up. 

We met at the car. I gave BoyZ his nectarine for dessert.  On the drive home, I vented. “I tried to be flexible all day and I am done!  I need a moment away.”

  The Mutant agreed.  As we unloaded the car, Zachary walked to me with the uneaten nectarine.  He looked up at me with liquid blue eyes and stated, "I wanted the one with the sticker." 

I snached the sticker free nectarine, walked into the house and handed it to The Mutant, “He wanted the one with the sticker!”

The Mutant took the beautiful boy by the hand, “You should stay very far from Mommy right now.”

The two of them retrieved the carpet cleaner for the bathroom.  I tidied the kitchen. BoyA asked if he could help me. I set him to putting away the spilled books on floor in the family room.  He placed them onto the bookshelf in a boyish manner.  I snapped at his messy method of cleaning.

The Mutant came out to defend this gentle son.  "You need a walk or a bath.  Choose one and go now.  I will take care of the kids."  I chose a walk.

The Mineretts were a deep royal purple and stars were just beginning to peak out as the sun set on my day.
With a deep breath, I walked toward the bike path that ran through our neighborhood.  I walked downhill for half a mile and then turned around.  I was just beginning to feel relaxed. The steep uphill climb would be a perfect finish.  I was close to home when I heard a rustling of leaves to my left.  I slowed and looked.  Bambi stood 10 feet in front of me.  Velvety brown eyes looked deep within my soul and I swooned.  I lived in a miraculous place.  A few bad moments couldn't ruin this magic. After living here over a year, I see my first deer. Nothing could be more perfect. 

We gazed at one another for a moment, then  Bambi turned and bound up the embankment.  I watched his glorious dance as he leapt over bushes.

Then… from the corner of my eye I saw a shimmer of headlights.

My breath caught.  I watched Bambi bound onto the road.  The car was in full view. 
Bambi reached midline. The car was ten feet away.  I began to relax, he made it. 

In the last few moments of breath, the passenger's side headlight caught Bambi’s hind quarter.  Back legs flipped over stately antlers and he landed on the opposite embankment.   My soul wailed as I raced through the Manzanita bushes, leaving pieces of my own flesh behind, to check the people in the car.  As I reached the road and they were looking at the deer.  He tried to scramble away from the car and up the embankment.  His delicate front legs feverishly worked to drag the hind quarters.  I destroyed this beautiful animal.  It was my fault.  I apologized and offered my phone to call for help. 

I walked into the house with two strangers; The Mutant’s eyes blew out of their sockets. 

He asked, "What happened?" 

I said, “I killed Bambi." 

The cute couple called 911 and reported the deer.  The operator informed them that a CHP would be there to take care of it.  We sat and marveled at the oddities of mountain living and speculated what the CHP would do with the venison.  I wondered if we could have some too.  All laughed.  

They left to meet the CHP and I looked at The Mutant.  I was completely shattered.  He looked at me softly, “Go take a bath.  You can’t hurt anything in there.” 

After my bath, I asked Scott, “What would you do after a day like mine?”

  He said, "Get drunk. But, you should call your sister." 

I called my sister and in tears, told her about my day. She laughed.  In sage wisdom she observed, "You experienced all of mountain living in one day: firefighting, rock climbing, picnicking, hiking and hunting."

A Mother Life


  1. From bad to worse - what an awful day!

    1. Too true. It is great to laugh about it now. So awful it was ridiculous.

  2. Life's not all rainbows and unicorns you know ;) ... but seriously, some days are sent to try us right?
    Thanks for hooking up to the hump day hook up


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