With all this talk about beaches lately, I decided to take my little boy for a swim yesterday. I didn’t feel like battling the post-holiday crowds that might still be lingering in South Haven, so we headed out for a nearby inland lake.
That was our first mistake.
Let me backtrack a bit and explain just exactly what was involved in this little trip to the ol’ swimmin’ hole.
First, I had to locate my swimsuit and do my damnedest to squeeze my pudgy self into that tummy-control, cleavage-enhancing, fat-minimizing adventure in lycra/spandex. I twisted, stretched, tugged, groaned and gasped my way into a mass of black fabric that fought back with all its might as I demanded that it do things it was never intended to do.
I think I may have blacked out for a while, but I’m not entirely sure. I like to think I just made a spontaneous decision to take a quick nap somewhere between adjusting the left boob and covering the right ass cheek.
After that, I had to pack the picnic lunch for my boy who has apparently decided that he no longer eats any kind of lunchmeat that isn’t honey ham. The smoked ham, bologna and salami in my refrigerator are now evil entities that he refuses to touch.
So, after I made up cheese sandwiches and loaded them into the cooler with extra bottles of water, we headed out to Osterhout Lake, which is approximately three to five minutes away, depending on how many times I have to stop for ducks or turtles crossing the dirt road.
Unfortunately, I missed the news a few months ago that part of the dirt road washed out during a bad storm, and there isn’t enough money in the state budget to fix the road until next year. With the road closed off, I had to figure out a detour.
That was my second mistake.
I have lived in this area for twenty years. I’ve taken my kids to Osterhout hundreds of times. My daughter’s best friend lived on the road to Osterhout. So did our former babysitter. In other words, I should know my way around.
“Should” being the operative word here.
My son and I did a little unplanned sightseeing yesterday afternoon. We bumped along dirt roads, paved roads, private roads and a grassy field at one particularly embarrassing point. I passed the Christian Fellowship building that my older children used to attend. I saw road signs for the town of Merson and debated making a little side trip to visit my family cemetery.
I was almost in tears when I spotted a familiar street sign. “Forty-sixth street?” I demanded of no one in particular. “How in the fuck did I get to forty-sixth street?”
My son was laughing so hard by this point that he was having difficulty breathing.
“I drove a complete circle around Osterhout Lake,” I wailed.
“Actually, it was more of a square,” he said, and then dissolved into more giggles.
I took a quick left and stopped in my ex-husband’s driveway to get my bearings. “We’re not going swimming today,” I said. “We’re going to have our picnic in the park.”
“Can you even find the park, Mom?”
At the park, which I found on the first try, I texted the friend who was supposed to meet us at the lake. “Got lost. Fuck swimming. Going to park instead.”
She told me to meet her in her driveway in 30 minutes so I could follow her to the lake.
That was my third mistake.
You see, my friend is a lovely person who has absolutely no concept of time. None. Whatsoever. And her three children are just as laid-back. While I waited in her driveway, the kids all wandered out, one by one, in search of something, and just sort of meandered away to the neighbor’s yard. One came back and waved and then vanished again. After a few minutes, I saw movement in the back yard and realized that her kids had started an impromptu baseball game with some friends.
Friends whose parents may or may not have had people sitting in their driveways, waiting to go to the beach.
Finally, we headed out and travelled down some lovely country roads, past cornfields and pastures filled with cows. Down tree-lined streets, alongside pretty streams and lovely old farmhouses. We turned right down forty-sixth street (of course) and veered right at the next T and there we were: Osterhout Lake, only two and a half hours after leaving my apartment.
Which, for the record, was about three to five minutes away.
I learned many things during yesterday’s outing, but one lesson in particular stands out more than any others.
And what did I learn?
I learned to take off my little teapot-shaped necklace if I’m going to be out in the sun.