From email@example.com Thu Jul 16 12:38:23 1998
Subject: Manse Diaries: Another Big Ass Lake
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MegaLiz)
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 19:38:23 GMT
Periodically, I have the urge to take the pupae to a bigass lake.
Our latest lake discovery is fed by at least six creeks to give it a
shape that resembles a giant chicken's footprint. It's large enough
that its chickenfoot quality can only be appreciated from the air, so
even though it doesn't fully qualify as BIGASS, the mystery of a
previously unexplored lake was enough to get me motivated to pack up
some sandwiches and scold everyone into clothes.
Maybe on a weekend Big Ass Lake is a crowded park area, but during the
week, we only encountered four carloads of humans. The playground was
a much more popular stop than the lake side, and we flung ourselves
around it first. I spent most of the time hovering around the baby and
feeling sorry for her since she's nearly reached the stage of maximum
playground frustration. She can't quite walk, but is still fortunately
contented to fall down a lot and stubbornly try to scale the slides
from the bottom.
While I pushed her in a swing and tried to coax syllables from her,
"MA! BA! FWAB! HI! YAY!" I watched Sparky and Spunky exhausting
themselves in a business-like fashion. They make me proud when they're
not actively trying to kill each other, but before long they were, so
we left for the lake.
At the dock, they wanted to know why we couldn't rent a boat, even
after I explained that we needed at least one more grown-up for
"What about those floating shirt things?" Sparky argued.
"YEAH!" said Spunky, "What about DOZE FINGS?"
"They're for people who can take no for an answer," I replied.
There wasn't any paving beyond the docks, but I talked them into
leading me along a narrow path that wove alongside the water. While
Baby Bobo protested being crunched into the tummy pack, Sparky let
loose with an entire soliloquy on the slimeyness of the water. I
thought it looked pretty good, myself, but she was repulsed by the
clouds of mossy green near the edge of the lake. I was just content
that, unlike some of the rivers around here, this area didn't display
a junkyard full of tires and trash. This Big Ass Lake is pretty clean.
Spunky tried to read all of the signs, which helpfully included little
people figures doing the outlawed things. "No swimming," she said, "No
skating...and no...walking on the water." While studying the warnings,
she tripped over a fallen tree and made sure that every living
creature nearby knew that she TWIPPED and that TWIPPING makes her
TIE-ORD. Her TIE-ORDS can make any TWIP a short TWIP.
Every few yards, Sparky announced the state of the path: rocky, rooty,
stickery or pretty good. She was very considerate about directing me
when to duck or sidestep, but she gave Spunky no clues and was
struggling to maintain her position, being "FORST", with a mildly evil
satisfaction. We wandered the narrow path for quite a while before
Sparky found a spot she could declare not too scummy.
We assessed our little crescent of lake shore and decided that it had
something for everyone. A few big rocks stood just beyond the water's
edge where no mosses or algae or other slimey life had taken hold. A
buggy but sturdy log lay several feet up the sloping shore, and it
made a perfect prop for the baby to inch along while she wiggled her
toes in the dirt.
Sparky unwisely voiced her intention to squat on the biggest rock;
Spunky collected the nerve to jump to it first and then refused to
surrender the prized spot. Sparky could not be convinced that another
rock would do as well and swore that now she couldn't play and would
have no fun forever.
I tried to get her started on a game of Find the Stuff that People
Left, but she just despondently pointed out a couple of cigarette
butts and moped. I found a shrimp shell, curls of fishing line and a
hook and lure. The hook pleased her and brought her out of her
imperfect perch purgatory. She carefully snagged it on the plastic
fish she'd been carrying and moved to a second-rate rock to dip the
fish in the water and catch it over and over again. Spunky wanted
one of my earrings to even the score, but when I pointed out that
she'd have to surrender her rock to get it, she sighed and went back
to her vigil. She curled in a fetal position on the rock, face down,
dangling the tips of her hair in the water. My diaphragm remembered
that position, and it was grateful she was doing it over THERE.
Bobo just stood with me, proudly watching the bugs in the fallen tree.
She may have been a bit disappointed that she couldn't catch any bugs,
but if she had, she would have tried to feed them to me, I'm sure. She
thinks that ANYTHING that is clamped in my teeth is the most
fascinating object in the universe, so we tested this for quite a
while. It's pretty conclusive that sunglasses in my mouth are ten
times more enticing than sunglasses anywhere else.
When it seemed certain that she wasn't going to budge from her tree, I
stood and made the mistake of saying something that sounded
like "no hands"--possibly "snowman". Bobo promptly let go of her tree
to clap and rolled down the bank a little before I caught her. She was
proud of her ability to roll like a watermelon, and clapped even
harder after her lucky tumble.
We did a lot of nothing for a long time.
On the way back out of the woods, Spunky refused to wear her shoes.
She preferred to try to be FORST while chanting OW-ow-OW-ow the entire
way. I forced Sparky to be last until she stopped crying about not
When we finally passed another person, he was optimistically bearing
two coolers and fishing gear and smiled at us around an enormous cigar
that was clamped in his teeth. Bobo was awed.
"Looks like you wore one of them out, anyhow," he said.
He was wrong. I was getting just a little weary, but the girls were
only warming up for the next new contest. On the way home they
invented a new game: Face Danger! The rules are: if you can't get
away, your face is in danger.
It was a long time before I realized that the haze I was seeing was
only baby slobber on my sunglasses.
THANK YOU, Big Ass Lake.
Emancipate a comma! Evict mental ergonomics!