The UltraParents enjoy a fun Independence Day Weekend
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
Well, here we are, 4th of July 2011. I am sitting in my back yard at near dusk enjoying the sights and sounds of my waterfall/pond. There is a slight breeze blowing, and I am enduring only the occasional mosquito bite. The sound of a neighborhood firecracker just sent Rowdy, my 7 lb. ball of macho, fighting-poodle quivering onto my lap. His brother Murphy seems frozen into a ‘point’ some 10 yards away. This is NOT their favorite holiday.
UltraDad and I have just returned from a fun, if a little driving-heavy weekend in Idaho. I have to take my hat off to UDad, who spent all of Friday afternoon loading up a pickup-full of possessions-left-behind-in-the-move, including a currently-not-running riding lawnmower, to take to sister Pat, who very recently moved to Arco, ID from our town of Carlin, NV. He then loaded up our trip-luggage, instructed me to set the alarm for 3 AM, and did most of the driving while I dozed. Arrival time in Arco? 10:45 AM, Idaho time! I love Pat’s new place. Her house is perfect for her, and there is a nice, big fenced yard for the dogs. She has been busy planting flowers and decorating, and really seems to be enjoying her retirement. She took us out to lunch at Pickle’s Place, which was a total nostalgia thing. Back at Pat’s house, we stood around in the front, saying goodbye. Murphy and Rowdy were being particularly well-behaved, and I was thinking how nice it was that they seemed to have gotten over their bad sometime-habit of chasing cars….and then the motorcycle drove by and it was all over. Murphy only narrowly avoided becoming road kill. I have GOT to stop trusting those conniving poodles.
We got to Jim and Jessica’s house in Rigby mid afternoon. Their puppy Zeke is really growing. He is sweet, but rambunctious. He wanted to play with the poodles; Murphy and Rowdy wanted to kill him, but as Zeke now weighs over twice their combined weight, they had to content themselves with growling, snarling and taunting from the safety of a lap.
So, after the yard tour to admire the numerous new trees, shrubs and flowers, what to do with a few hours of a lovely summer afternoon? Why check out famous Rigby Lake of course….which we attempted to do online with very little success. I defy you to find out anything about a 4th of July celebration except that the local police would have a booth there. Once we arrived in person, we found a regular jamboree of summer fun. The panorama reminded me of a crowded “Where’s Waldo?” scene with paddleboats, canoes, fishing, camping, picnic tables, a karaoke stage, food booths, craft booths, kids diving off a platform into the lake, the promised police presence, and lots of folks with dogs. At $5 a car or $1 a head for walkers/bikers/buses, tiny Rigby lake was doing a booming business. As we skirted the most congested area, walking the perimeter of the lake, it was interesting to note Zeke’s reaction to all this, given his heretofore limited contact with people. “Hi,” he seemed to say with his wagging tail and lolling tongue to each admirer who stopped to pet him, “I’m Zeke! Do you want to take me home with you?” Following in his wake, Murphy and Rowdy, contrary to their usual ability to charm children and middle-aged women, seemed to be on the fight. “So,” they seemed to radiate to anyone in the vicinity of another dog, including Zeke, “What’s up? Do you want a piece of us? Don’t make us come over there,” and so on. It was a little embarrassing, to tell the truth. Jim wanted to see how Zeke would take to the water; after all, he is, ostensibly a pointing-retrieving bird dog. And he did well, swimming a small, safe circle each time Jim lured him away from the shore. Good dog.
UltraMom had been fighting a creeping crud since the morning of July 1st, so was talking in a low, sexy voice and attractively coughing and sniffling every 5 minutes or so. And so, her half-hearted offers to help with meals were turned down, darn it. It did not stop her, however, from taking full enjoyment of Jessica’s yummy steak dinner and fantastic breakfasts. She also gamely trooped along on the nightly property walk, which is Zeke’s favorite time of the day, as he is off-leash and free to explore smells and sounds and terrorize small poodles. ‘The Sheriff’, the large, orange neighborhood cat, whose main job is to quell unruly rodents, put in an appearance also.
The next morning was a lazy one; we were not due in Pocatello for a BBQ at Heather and Heath’s until noon. We played a couple of games of CLUE; twice Jim just beat me to the punch and the WIN, but the final game of the day went to Jessica. I was still trying to narrow down the weapon when she swooped into the middle of the board for the win! Good job, UltraJess!
We had been trying the poodles out in Zeke’s kennel, with mixed success. The hour they spent there on Saturday, they howled and whined, but it seemed they would at least be contained. And then I spotted a small, light shape halfway up the wire enclosure. Someone was climbing the fence, and on closer inspection, it proved to be Murphy, who based on past experience would NOT have been the usual suspect, as Rowdy was the most renowned escape artist. But each time he neared the wood at the top of the enclosure, he fell back down. He certainly was determined! The plan had been to leave them there with Zeke when we went to Poc, to keep from stressing out Heather’s cats, especially Callie who had been quite sick, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. I would have had visions of escaped, or mangled poodles running through the periphery of my mind the entire time we were gone, so the spoiled little brats got to come along.
We made a quick stop for beer and cherries (my impulse purchase) and arrived to find Heath mowing the lawn, and Heather looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her. I was happy to see she was wearing the black top and jeans I had bought her for her birthday; she looked great in them and she said they were very comfy.
At times like this, it is quite nice having a daughter who works for Sizzler: the steaks, salads, and rolls were delicious, and Heath perfectly cooked each steak to each one’s liking, including my WELL DONE. We were soon too full to move, or even much think, and we had a nice time just talking and enjoying the back yard view, largely maintained by Don (Heath’s Dad) and Marsha Christensen, who live in the upstairs of this duplex. UtraMom and Dad particularly enjoyed the NO MOSQUITOES aspect, as Carlin, NV is the disputable (by someone who has never lived there) mosquito capital of the world. Murphy and Rowdy were quite good at times, and fooled, as they so often do, UltraMom into thinking they could be unleashed. In the end, the leashes became a permanent fixture, much to the relief of Callie and Rocky.
Towards evening, a couples’ pinochle tourney was suggested, and a table was hauled out. Heather/Heath and Jessica/Jim took the first round, while UtraMom rustled up some grub for a light, snacky dinner and UltraDad kept an eye on the unpredictable poodle brothers. The game was a long one; I think the bids were often larger than the cards, as the scores took a while to land solidly in the region of positive numbers. Jessica/Jim took the win, but the most amazing hand of the day goes to Heather/Heath with a Family/4Aces/Double Pinochle and assorted other meld in a game with Ultra/M&D. But the highlight of the day, for UMom anyhow, was feeling my precious granddaughter move!
Monday morning, the 4th of July, saw the UltraParents preparing for their long drive home. We were happy when Jim suggested a joint breakfast at McDonald’s in IF, as they had a little shopping to do in town. He also picked up the tab; thanks UltraJim!
As on the trip out, UltraMom spent most of the trip in dreamland, and besides a brief stop at the Pocatello Walmart for a pit stop (maybe something to do with UltraDad’s 4 cups of coffee and large glass of iced tea), it seemed no time at all before we were nearing Twin Falls. A quick, light lunch at KFC, a quick turn through PetsMart so Murphy and Rowdy could bark at some cute Yorkies and get petted by some cute kids, and we were on the road again.
Once back in Carlin, poor UltraDad had only a brief stop before turning back around to head for Ruby Valley. He had to work the next day. And UltraMom? In the backyard, watching fireworks alone: I long ago let Murphy and Rowdy back into the house as they were both quivering like jello. Which leads me to ponder fireworks and 4ths of July in years past……but that’s for another post.
Happy American Independence Day to you, wherever you are,