From Thu Jul 16 12:38:23 1998

Newsgroups: alt.foot.fat-free,alt.slack

Subject: Manse Diaries: Another Big Ass Lake

From: (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

being FORST.


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!