Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Thoughts by Candlelight

Earlier today with euphoria coursing through my veins I traveled north on Route 17, on my final leg of a 5.5 hour ride North to the cabin. I rolled the windows down and blasted Bono singing about God's Country despite the fact he's actually crooning about the desert. I unabashedly inserted "Northwoods" at the top of my lungs with my hair swirling while the tingles hit hard in my upper thighs. I looked to my right at a crystal blue lake winking in the sun and actually pinched my cheek while tears sprung to my eyes.

Is this really my home? Yes, it is. Because according to the GPS in my Jeep, I entered "home" in the "where to" navigation system, and I was ten minutes away.

Officially a mid-lifer, not much gives me goosebumps anymore. I'm way past the early relationship butterflies, thanks to a rock solid sexyman who turns me on just by reading about cosmic events over coffee. OK, maybe stars colliding don't really get me going, but my morning spooner with perfect facial stubble sure does. That and the fact that he still tries to scare the wits out of me with fake snakes.

Arrival day (used to be night) at the cabin is idyllic. It's the beginning of a stretch of days ahead that offer promise and adventure. Upon walking into the cabin today, I spied a smidge of Dalmore scotch sitting on the counter and immediately knew who left it: Mr. Boy Scout. The boys just enjoyed another fishing trip, and look who lived up to his namesake.

Yep. Mr. Musky snagged a nice one.

Something special will happen in the next four days. I'll experience something I've never seen, heard, smelled, felt, or tasted before. Friends will descend - friends from different avenues of my life - and yet another social experiment will unfold. I have a little wisdom in the bank these days, and I know they'll all walk away friends.

It's time for me to let the proverbial cat out of the bag. We're selling our Plainfield home. Mr. Musky and I are moving North for good, together forever. Well, as long as our abled bodies will hold out, that is. I've been negligent here and on Apéritif Friday as I purge, sell, and donate like a madwoman. Why do we collect and hold onto shit? That's seriously what it is. It's all shit. We don't need it. We just need people in our lives to create meaningful moments.  The "things" that adorn our walls and collect dust on our end tables mean nothing. It's the memories and experiences with people that matter.

That's why I made the same dinner I always do on arrival night. You can ask my mom or Michelle - if you're with me on the night we unlock the magical door to this happy place that dictates relaxation, we eat sweet potato hash with sockeye salmon. All cooked on my crappy induction stovetop, which I actually love.

I bought myself a $35 bottle of wine to enjoy tonight. An indulgence, to be sure, to drink solo. But I'm savoring every last drop. A few tears accompany my journey down memory lane.

As I sit here in the candlelight after eating my stupid simple dinner, I put my phone down and listen to spotify "relax and unwind" (damn you kids for turning me onto the best music app ever - your dad and his Apple obsession are dead wrong on this one).
I look around, and memories blast me in the face like a fire hydrant. I drown in images of Jake as a five-year-old, screaming "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!" as he leaps off the end of the dock. I see our beautiful girl dressed in a red, white, and blue gingham dress as she flings herself into the water versus letting the neighbor boy throw her in. I listen to those little rugrats in the loft, thinking we're fast asleep, as they talk about things that matter most to 9 and 11 year olds. I watch my Mom and Dad glide on the Adirondack swing watching their grandchildren play in the water as the sun sets. My mother-in-law and father-in-law toast chardonnay as we putt putt around the lake on a sunset cruise. Thirteen girlfriends, some of whom I'd never even met before (when you tell your friends to invite their friends, it just works) live harmoniously together for a weekend. Three of my best friends come back. Sheer ridiculousness and buffoonery ensue in later years. Quiet family moments prevail throughout. Mr. Musky's sister gets kicked out of a local bar, the little rebel. Winter Girl's Weekend kicks off when yet another group of women start a new revolution of girls gone wild.

This little home holds so many freaking memories. There's no dishwasher here, which kinda sucks. The stove is shit. The oven doesn't work. There's no central air, no conventional heating, our water's not ideal, and we even had to eliminate a bat once, old school style. We've hosted international camp counselors, extended family members, family and friends who've passed on, business associates, babies, geriatrics, random strangers kayaking by, and 13 people in the dead of winter (and I quote, as I declared to my best friend: "Never. Fucking. Again.").

I cannot stop the tears. I adore this place. I cherish our memories and the love these walls hold.

I'm blathering on because one of our very possible scenarios involves tearing this place down and rebuilding anew. Until that day comes, I will savor every single memory and moment here. I feel to the kneecaps, and at some point it'll travel to the toes. I laugh aloud, even when I'm alone. I cry, smile, and remember. This cabin holds the best memories of my life, with all the people I love most.

There'll be more melancholy to come, to be sure. But up next?

Six women. It's 3-on-3 this time. Each group of three knows one another, but the two groups have never met.

Will they get along? Will we have fun? Will it be awkward?

Yeah, yeah, and yeah. But the best part?

Our abs will hurt by the end of the weekend. So will our heads, our livers, and our souls. We will bare it all (literally? figuratively?) and we will come away recharged, optimistic, reflective, and more deeply entrenched in our friendships.

I know this to be true - I'll be closer to every single one of them as a result of carving time out for ourselves. I predict more laughs, more memories, and more new friends. Those women will all connect on social media by the end of the weekend. And my life will be richer for sharing this piece of my soul with all of them.