Monday, March 8, 2010

LOST in Teh Wilderness of North-ish Central Joisey!1!

Before I get to the main part of this post, I would just like to mention that today is Have Fun with Names Day, or some shit, and we know this because this morning, when Teh 'Bride and I got up, she put on the channel 4 (Noo Yuck) weather while I did my weird-@$$ step-exercises1 that keep the tendinitis away from my Old Hippie-Pervy Knees, and the red-haired weather wimp on channel 4 was saying it was Have Fun With Names Day, or maybe just Fun Names Day, whatever the fuck, and he had this lake name up there on the monitor that is allegedly the longest lake name and here it is:


Of course, he pronounced it incorrectly and the reason we know this brings me to Teh 'Bride's father, Bob. Because if I had to pick just one factoid from the millions I could tell you about Bob — based on that factoid's ability to impart to you the quintessence of his personality — it would be this:

He somehow convinced his generally sesquipedalian-averse daughter to commit to memory, as a young girl, the correct pronunciation of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg2 and not only does she still remember how to say it, lo these many years later, she can say it really fast. And I think both her sister and her brother can, too. In three-part harmony.

Anyroad, yesterday, when Teh Boy awoke — which was maybe 45 minutes before I did — he asked Teh 'B. if he could come down here and play on teh Macintosh, and she said okay, until Daddy gets up, because then it's MY turn to play.

So when I get up, I chase him back upstairs and tell him "Close the door3!" and almost immediately I hear Teh 'Bride's voice yelling: "Ian! Knock it off! NOW!" and "You're being really obnoxious!" and at some point this argument moves all the way upstairs (because the Macintosh is in the basement) and even though I can't make out the words of the argument, I can still kind hear it and feel its vibrations through two whole floor4.

Upshot: Just before Teh 'Bride leaves for her a.m. yoga class, she opens up the basement door5 and yells down: "Ian has lost computer time for the rest of the day6 and the bedroom doors are closed tonight7! No win backs8!"

And so Ian sobered up pretty quickly after that devastating blow and was being really good and playing nicely by himself.

So I went to him and said, "You can't win back what you lost, but if you're good, maybe later on this afternoon, I'll take you to the park and you can fish for an hour or so." Which makes me Teh Awesome Daddy because I hate fishing, and by "hate", I mean even watching it. But I felt bad for the kid, effing up so early in the day. He reminded me of me.

And I told Teh 'B. I'd done this and she was fine with it.

So after Teh 'B. went to work, Ian and took the short ride to the park, fishin' gear in tow, and walked the trail that led to the brook where our usual fishin' spot was and we climbed down there and out on the island and Ian does his first cast and decides the current is too fast to fish. So we lug the gear back to the car and decide, what they hey, I have my hiking boots on and he his camo boots ... why not just go for a walk on the trails?

Now these trails are not, for the most part, particularly rugged or steep and, as luck would have it,  where they are a little steep, there are these natural formations that look alarmingly like man-made stairs with bolts holding them together and varnish on the wood and smooth hand rails but I assure you they are NOT man-made because if we used man-made help in our hike that would make us total pussies and we're not. Total, that is.

And even though you can't really get lost on these trails — with no leaves on the trees at this time of year, a house, or even a whole development of McMansions, will eventually heave into view and you'll see like a Dad with his kid in backyard chopping wood9— you can end up walking around in circles for quite some time. Because Ian and I went for what I assumed would be like a 45 minute to one hour walk and, thanks to my unerring sense of direction and tracking skills, we ended up walking around, literally in circles at one point, for 2 and a quarter hours.

And having run 8.66 miles that morning, this 2+ hour hegira was especially refreshing.

And of course at just about any point during this walkabout, we could have just walked out into one of these developments and oriented ourselves in the real world and just walked the streets till we got back to the car. But Ian and I are not streetwalkers!

As so we wandered, occasionally backtracking through the mud, snow, rills of water on the inclines and declines, in the wilderness because I was determined to win my trail tracking merit badge. And at one point we had to go off-trail because i was determined to get down to the stream (which I could see below us) because I knew that if we followed it in the right direction, it would lead us back to the park and that I had a 50-50 chance of actually choosing the right direction and I got it right the first time so who's Teh  Fucking Awesome Eagle Scout now, huh? EAT IT, wilderness!1! I win! Because we made it back alive and didn't have to resort to eating each other!1!

Depicted above are the actual boots — mine: hiking; Ian's: camo — that we wore on our grueling trek through Teh Wilderness. Note the dirt. This was AFTER we knocked most of the mud off. Yeah, we'd've gotten back earlier, except Ian wore those girl sox, the kind that reach only to your heel, and he kept having to stop to reach down inside his boots and pull them back up. I was like, "I'm not waiting, Ian!" because at a certain point I was worried Teh 'Bride would beat us home, and if she did, that would mean I'd gotten us lost for 4 hours in a couple of acres of wilderness and there goes the last remaining shred of what I laughingly refer to as My Manhood. But we beat Teh 'Bride back by more than an hour, in part because Ian eventually just took the girl-sox off entirely and I forced-marched his @$$ back to where we started with no rest breaks allowed.
1 On our stairs. Where else?

2 Aka, Lake Webster, in MA.

 3 Yeah, it's really just better all around that you not even ask why the door "has" to be closed, but I think you can guess. But your guess would be wrong because it's even worse than that because Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg isn't the only really long thing hereabouts that can also be dealt with really fast (that's what she said, disappointedly!).

4 Full disclosure: Our house is made of cardboard, and not the good, corrugated kind, either.

5 No worries. I was finished my "work" long before that.

6 Am I a bad Daddy because my first reaction to this was "Woo-Hoo! More computer time for me!"?

7 Ian's big thing of late is asking that his bedroom door be left open at night and that ours be too. He's not scared of anything, but he just likes the communal feel of this arrangement, I guess. And so when he starts to misbehave, all Teh 'Bride usually needs to do is put her two hands out in front of her and slowly bring them together, miming the action of two doors slowly closing, perhaps accompanied with an oral door-creaking sound, and Ian's all, "OKAY! I'll be good! I love you, Mommy!" and he straightens himself out right then.

Evidently that threat did not work yesterday.

8 Yeah, neither I nor Teh 'B. is an especially good (i.e., rational) disciplinarian, because we usually make outright ridiculous punishment threats — "That's it, Ian! NO TV FOR A YEAR!1!" — and then, later, after calming down, we inform Ian he can "win back" what he has lost by being good. He almost invariably wins back what he's lost, along with a cash reward for having such hot-headed (albeit guilt-ridden) parents.

"No win-backs" was Teh 'Bride's way of saying that Ian had been especially obnoxious and her reasonable punishment would stand and I was NOT to undermine it. Which I could have done with the computer ban, because Teh 'Bride had to work from 1-5 at the library yesterday.

But I didn't.

9 Which at one point when we were lost for roughly an hour and a half, we did see and Ian whispers to me seriously, "O, this is not good!" because he evidently thought this guy and his three-year-old intended to axe-murders us.

Full disclosure: They didn't.


  1. Ooooh. I can try that with my two. They insist on sleeping with the bedroom doors open and the hallway light on. Though I eventually can fall asleep with this light, hub can't. I'll try threatening them with having to fall asleep in a dark confined space next time they misbehave. Will keep you posted.

    Speaking of hubs getting lost in teh woods - mine did that not too long ago. We're backed up against a hunting preserve, so there's nothing but woods behind us. Hub decides to head out back with a machete so he can clear a trail to a creek back there. Why he'd want to do such a thing, I have no clue. Why I let him buy a machete, I dunno either.

    Anyhoo, the man gets lost for 2 hours out there. I'm out with the kids & oblivious to that fact until we get home & he proceeds to tell me how me got completely LOST out back. He ran into some hunter's den of camo tent & other such stuff, but was glad that the den was currently unoccupied because if you knew the cast of characters around here...

    He meanders around & around in the woods with NO eartly clue how to get out until he runs into the road that runs past our development. 2 hours of dicking around and he ended up less than a mile from our house.

    The BEST part? He walked the road back to our house, but didn't want to be spotted swinging a machete (it's a busy road). So he stuffs the machete down his pants and tries to be subtle about shuffling along Route 50 doing so.

  2. Manhood?? You're married and *still* have some, and are worried about losing because you got lost when there isn't anyone there to ask directions from. What a long strange trip THAT is.