Love bittersweet chocolate. Not so sure about bittersweet vacations.

Our time at the cabin this week was, by turns, both an excellent getaway and a cause for anxiety.

Cabin background: The state of Kansas has a bunch of reservoirs built by the Corps of Engineers. Several of them are easy driving distance from home, and those “lakes” are where we’ve camped since the kids were in grade school. We LOVED our tent camping…but found that every time we went we managed to pick the one weekend of the summer when it stormed like crazy. Guess what? Rain and tent camping don’t mix. More often than not we had to bug out early when we saw lightning on the horizon. Luckily, about the time Oldest went off to college, someone in Kansas had a brainwave: convicts were enlisted to build cabins at all the state reservoirs. With a sad, backward glance we said goodbye to our beloved tents in favor of cabin trips.

One of my favorite things about cabin trips: moving in and stocking the kitchen

One of my favorite things about cabin trips: moving in and stocking the kitchen

The switch turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to our camping experience. Never again was a vacation cut short due to rain – we were snug and happy inside our little homes away from home (or sitting on the covered porches, watching the rain fall). Not to mention that the cabins have electricity and air conditioning, bathrooms, kitchens stocked with equipment and dishes, and BEDS. Pretty much perfect. So our cabin days are filled with games, cooking, music, movies, laughter, fishing, swimming, and memory-making. No wifi. Not even data service on our phones, so certain member(s) of our family can’t goof off online at will. This year the mood for the family was just a little different:

•Oldest is only with us for this week, rather than the six weeks or more she used to have at home in the summer when she was in undergrad, so the time with her was more precious.

•Middle is seriously struggling with her G.I. problems, and was in the midst of recovering from a med that turned out to give her serious stomach pains, so there was great concern about her at all times.

•The Husband kept having to run to the nearest “town” AKA “wide spot in the road with a convenience store and gas station” to check his phone in case of news about recent job interviews. One such run gave us news we’re not entirely sure we’re excited about: He was offered a solid, good-paying job…which will require him to leave soon for six weeks of training, followed by over-the-road work that will have him home only one day each week. Relief mixed with concern.

•The Boy was a joy from beginning to end, especially when I compare him to his pre-college summer. In hindsight I see that last summer our son was anticipating the move from home – and both itching to be gone AND nervous about leaving. His attitude a year ago was often negative and unhelpful. He holed himself up in his bunk to tinker with his brand-new Mac book. This year? He jumped in to assist with any task that needed doing and joyfully joined in with family games. Such a change.

•And me? I experienced relaxation and rejuvenation, mixed thoroughly with intense concern about Middle Sister’s health and nerves about The Husband’s job offer. On the whole the R&R was winning…until I made the mistake of checking my work email on a trip into “town.” What possessed me to do it I do not know, but it was a mistake. In the space of thirty seconds I saw two emails from my direct supervisor asking me to take on two very large projects that – at least at first glance – hold absolutely no interest for me at all. More on that some other time. But YUCK. Full-blown anxiety kicked in immediately. Lesson learned, though. I’ve refused to open my work email since that day this week.

But I’m choosing to focus on the laughter, the peace, the happy times. Here’s a photo précis of the good times. First, shenanigans involving the interesting gaps between walls and ceilings, found througout the cabin: image

A cryptic warning for the opposing side in a battle that involved tossing projectiles through that gap.

A cryptic warning for the opposing side in a battle that involved tossing projectiles through the bedroom gap.


image                 image

And other miscellaneous hijinks:

The Vera Bradley section of the cabin

The Vera Bradley section of the cabin

image image image   Next time: Some of the great camping meals we enjoyed this week.


10 thoughts on “Love bittersweet chocolate. Not so sure about bittersweet vacations.

  1. I love the photos. Looks like a great time. We used to tent camp, then went to RV. After moving across the country and sleeping in it for four nights, we sold it–never to camp again. Now, we rent cabins when we can get away. Sure beats funerals and remodeling houses.


  2. Well done, Kansas. Dorothy had it PART right it seems: in Kansas there is no place like home from home.
    Two things that should NEVER be checked btw: work emails whilst on holiday and internet-based medical diagnoses.


  3. So funny you list how your family has evolved from tents to cabins. We are doing just the opposite. Hotels, to cabins, and now tents. Why you ask? Well the older I get the less I love technology and tenting makes it very hard to even think about checking emails so there is no temptation what so ever.
    Glad you had a great vacation and good luck with the hubby’s job decision.


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