Things Eternal

Saturday morning was a full docket as we set sail for the northern pines of Wisconsin. It’s an annual retreat – all of two seasons, myself, but a few decades for the inherited family – and requires a decent amount of planning and logistical wrangling. The discussions and groundwork stretch all the way back to January, your scribe rolling his eyes at it all until at least May when the weather begins to warm sufficiently to warrant considering retreat to the cooler air and waters.

The pup is nestled neatly and happily with a professional pet- and house-sitter, perhaps none the sadder for our disappearance. I, however, miss her dearly – the apple of my eye, a sweet, beautiful creature of endless energy and potential for disaster, just as quick to cuddle up to your lap as destroy your days food preparations. We get updates and pictures when the reception allows, and the Dog Lady’s iPhone X almost does justice to her K9 beauty.

But the first day is long, what with losing a couple hours coming from the Pacific time slice to the Central. Throw in for good measure a stop at the brother-in-law’s sister’s place to pick up clean linens, a stop at Target (for to get a few things we can’t get in town without spending a great deal more, and while we’re at it a cart full of things we could. When the clock isn’t against us. And I’m not hungry. Which we still have two more stops, y’know), a stop for dinner in a town off the main road (but it’s for pizza!), and finally on to the cabin. We arrived at 11:30, it having been now the sole focus for your dizzyingly tired correspondent during the past five hours as my tank ran frighteningly low and the shades began to draw nigh.

Now, I’ve traveled a fair bit. The greater bit of my teens and twenties for this various sport or another, or to get between far corners of the country, with long days and nights on the road, bad food…worse beds. And a man learns a thing or two in these times, not least being that sometimes the best sleep comes from walking in, dropping luggage, stripping to his skivvies and letting Father Time take him ‘til morn.

And that’s all I wanted now. Luggage? We’re in remote Wisconsin; nobody’s stealing anything. Sheets and pillow cases? This thin blanket on a scratchy pillow and mattress will do. Toothbrush? They’ll survive the night. But I may not if I don’t get to sleep now.

And this is where, dear reader, we learn about a vital difference between the sexes.

Lights on, luggage trekked in – which it’s midnight and the stairs are frighteningly narrow, the suitcases neither narrow nor light – and the previously acquired trash bags of laundered linens moved about. Having been hastily (and charitably – thank you, ma’am) done, they are conspicuously short on labels. So, out they come as we make the beds for the littles, being particular about which blankets go where and how they’re tucked and where’s my stuffed rabbit anyhow? And the iPad, too?! Then on to ours, but of course it’s a different size. So more bags. But we can’t leave the items scattered about for pickings, so let’s pack those back up. Hey, come make the bed! Why are you so sleepy, anyhow? And on it goes for nearly a whole hour, the lights finally going off once the cold groceries (on perfectly good ice, mind you) are packed away in the fridge and the makeup removed.

And so I laugh. At the absurdity of it all: that it annoys me; that it happens; that there is so clear a fundamental difference as to make it all so.

But it’s all necessary and, at the end, trivial, so we go on.

I learned about life from that.