Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spring Break: BELLINGHAM, WA (3 weeks in US/UK/US)

On September 20, we departed for a 3 week trip. September 20th is also Curt's birthday, and it lasted 43 hours this year! Having an extra-long birthday sounds pretty cool until you consider that his 6'2" frame was mercilessly folded into an airplane seat. Actually, it was his birthday ... and then when we crossed the International Date Line, it wasn't his birthday .. and then it was his birthday again. Got that? So he kinda had 2 birthdays. Does that mean he's one year older or two years older?

We stopped in Bellingham for a day to see 3 of the boys (the other one lives in Phoenix), my mom, and my brother & his family. It was great to catch up on everyone's lives: Nolan is taking the exam for admission to law school next week, Austin quizzed us about life in New Zealand, we got to see Boone's house, and my brother is getting a new house built on Chuckanut Bay. We went to see his steep lot where the house will be, and Curt the engineer evaluated the retaining walls, drainage system, etc. As you do.

While visiting his property, we also walked down a trail to Teddy Bear Cove, which used to be the local nudist beach but was turned into a county park a few years back so the nude sunbathers now go elsewhere. I hadn't been to Teddy Bear Cove since my senior year in high school, when I attended a big kegger down there. (besides being the nudist beach, Teddy Bear Cove's isolated location was perfect for underage beer parties) It was 33 years ago, but I still remember the musclebound football players gallantly carrying the heavy kegs down the long, steep trail. My most vivid memory of that night, however, is colliding with a log down on the beach, and the log won. My klutzmanship resulted in massive, multicoloured bruises on my shins and a limping gait for the next few weeks. What's funny is that I was about the only teenager there who wasn't drinking, yet I managed to incur the only injury. Imagine me trying to convince everyone that no, I wasn't drunk; I just tripped. Imagine the scoffing. For the record, I truly was sober. It was dark out, OK?

Besides reminiscing about parties from decades ago, I spent time with all the family and ate too much of their good food. My mom made Ross cookies for me, Gwen made Snickerdoodles, and Scott made a huge brunch plus a typically outstanding dinner for 12. That evening, my mom and I stayed up til 1:00 a.m. - long past everyone else. Having some quality time with her so we could have a deep conversation was precious. We talked about her coming out to NZ again this Christmas, and about her living all alone once my brother's family moves to their new house overlooking the bay. She's been surrounded by my brother's family since my dad died in 2007, so she hasn't yet had to experience the loneliness that usually comes with being a widow. But she seems strong and eager to face it, especially since she knows she can go live in my brother's new bayside house whenever she's ready.

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