Monday, May 26, 2008

The City Mice Go To The Country...A Couple Of Times

It's Memorial Day Weekend!! I know how you all enjoy tales about what we make our children do in the name of "Family Fun", so gather around the campfire, kiddies, I gots me a story to tell.

The weather man said it was going to be nice all weekend, so we planned to do something outdoors. After racking our brains, we came up with going fishing and having a picnic on Saturday, and then there would be swimming at my mom's pool on Sunday. We looked up fishing spots online and came up with a little gem of a spot, but it was 2 hours away. It was decided that it was fine and we would probably be closer to the drive-in and we could go and see the new Indiana Jones movie after fishing.

I had a doctor's appointment on Saturday morning, but it was really early. Everyone was still sleeping when I left. I got kind of lost when I was coming home, so I was a little later than I expected. It really didn't matter because no one was ready when I got home. So, we got a later start than anticipated.

We went to the store to pick up supplies. About 30 minutes later we left with fried chicken, salads, fruit and 2 children's fishing poles. We were on our WAY!!!

About 1/2 way there, I realized that I forgot the camera. This is something that is going to haunt me as the day goes by. You are just going to have to trust that my descriptions are accurate.

We were getting close and we needed to find a Walmart. We had to get fishing licenses and Matt thought that you had to get them in the county that you were fishing in, (he hasn't been fishing in YEARS), it turns out, you don't. You can buy a license anywhere in the state. 20/20 hindsight, we still had to find a Walmart.

We had brought a map that I printed out from Mapquest to show us where the pond was and we brought the GPS to help. I LOVE GPS!!! I know it's a little "Big Brother" and I suppose if someone wanted to find out where you are and where your going, they can. But I get lost a lot as you can can see, and I need the GPS.

We typed Walmart in and we picked the closest one and started out. We got a couple of miles away and we realized that the Walmart that the GPS chose was in Wisconsin. We were not fishing in Wisconsin, but the GPS didn't know that. We chose another Walmart in Illinois and had to turn around.

We followed the directions and ended up pulling up to a CLOSED Walmart. It was either closed up for lack of business or new construction or something. Bottom line... no Walmart.

Thankfully, there was something called Farm and Fleet, and they sold fishing licenses. Once again, we were on our way!

We followed the Mapquest map and just to be safe, we punched the park address in the GPS. After a couple of turns, I noticed that they were both in sync and the park should be right ahead...

What it turns out to be was a really old grain mill in, what seemed to me, an abandoned town named Kent. Both the GPS AND Mapquest were WAY off! There was no park, there was no pond, there wasn't even a gas station! All we saw was an old man and his dog. Seeing Deliverance one too many times, Matt hit the gas and we went in search of a gas station. The GPS gave us two choices, turn left and go 5.5 miles or turn right and go 5.9 miles. I don't know why we choose to go right, (it was a 50/50 shot), but the gas station the GPS lead us to was only about 2 blocks from where we wanted to be in the first place! Weird! Well, miraculously we made it to the pond.

We laid out our blanket, and the girls had some chicken and fruit while Matt got their brand new poles together. We used hot dogs for bait and the girls casted out for the first time. Vivi loved to reel her hook in. Emerson left hers sitting while we watched the bobber.

While we were watching the bobber, I noticed something right by it. It was small and sticking out of the water. Then it was touching Emerson's bobber, then it was trying to climb on the bobber. It was a turtle and he wanted to play! He also really enjoyed the hot dogs because he ate the bait and then watched and waited for Matt to bait the hook again and went chasing after it when he casted out again. The turtle was stalking us.

Well, our turtle friend had seemed to disappear for a little while, when something caught Emerson's eye. The turtle had climbed out of the water and was sitting on a log. Emerson called us all over to look at it. After letting us watch him for about a minute he "leaped" into the air, legs all out, and did a belly flop into the water.

Here's where our "Turtle in the Grassy Knoll" conspiracy began. As we walked back to our fishing spot, Emerson noticed right away that her bobber was not seen in the water. As she went to grab her pole... Her pole was MISSING! A fish grabbed her hook and ran with it, pulling her pole right into the water! We decided that the fish and the turtle were in cahoots with each other and the turtle used himself as a distraction while the fish robbed us of our spoils.

At this point, Vivi thought it was probably a good idea to reel in her line. She picked up her pole while stating, "I got a BIG one!" (Please note that this was said EVERY TIME she reeled in her line). But to our, and her, surprise at the end of Vivi's hook was a small fish! Vivi caught her first fish!!!! When she saw it, she said with a gravely voice, "I gonna eat it!" But after see her catch, she ran away from it and let daddy take care of it.

Meanwhile, Emerson was handling loosing her pole quite well. We could tell she was upset, but she tried not to show it. Matt saw her disappointment and that's all it took. He had to make it better.

While I relaxed and read a book, the girls played and ran around with each other and Matt took one of the "adult" poles, tied a weight and a bobber on the end of it and walked to the other side of the lake to try and "catch" the bobber floating in the pond.

Well I'm happy to say that after an hour of trying, he did it! On the end of Emerson's hook was a fish and Matt pulled the line until the pole came out of the lake. Emerson couldn't have been happier! Not only did she have her pole back, but she had caught her first fish as well! All in all, quite the productive day!

Now, never being in this part of Illinois before, we really didn't know where we were. After packing and loading up the car, we put the address to the Drive-In Movie Theater into the GPS. Travel time = 3 hrs!!! Time until the movie starts = 1 hr. Going to the Drive-In = No chance!!!

We stopped in at a small little drive-in diner, (the kind complete with car hops), and had dinner and then headed back home with the promise to the girls that we would go to the Drive-In Movies the next night.

The next morning we all got up and headed out to my mother's place. The weather called for only a 30% chance of rain, but the skies looked OK. Just before we got there, it started to rain. But thankfully it didn't last long. We all went down to the pool and the girls had a ball in the pool. The sun came out and the temp jumped up about 10 degrees. It turned out to be a wonderful day.

Then it was time to fulfill our promise to the girls. In about 2 hours we were at the Drive-In Theater and we were about an hour early. It's a good thing too! By the time the movie started, the place was PACKED!!! We backed the car into our parking spot and set up the girls in the station wagon trunk while Matt and I put out our lawn chairs. We watched the first movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, (which was REALLY good, by the way). But as we watched the movie, we saw lightning getting closer and closer and CLOSER...

By the time intermission happened, the rain became to fall. Just a few drops at first, then a little sprinkle and then... TOTAL DOWNPOUR!!! We all hopped into the back of the station wagon and sat like sardines packed in a can. We stayed for the second feature, Ironman, (which I have to say was also really good).

After the movie we got everyone situated in their seats, but Matt noticed that the people next to us couldn't get their car started. I don't know what it is about Matt and wanting to help total strangers out all the time, but he stood out in the pouring rain and gave them a jump start. Then it was time for the long drive home.

We made it back okay and Memorial Day was spent just lying around writing blogs and watching a "Keeping up with the Kardashian's" marathon.

After our adventures it's just time to "chill out".