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Monday, September 17, 2012


I wasn't going to talk about it because I already put it up on Facebook in semi-detail and sometimes you just don't want to re-live certain moments in life after you've already re-lived it on a social networking site. But since I don't feel like re-living anything else like the day my period started the very first time or how horrible it was throwing up like 10 chocolate chip cookies the day before summer school started or what it felt like as I stared at the racing pavement beneath my airborne feet after my "friend" stomped on the brakes and I went flying off the hood of her car, I guess I'll re-live yesterday.

Yesterday was family day! What should we do?! Certainly not go to church after Todd did all that work and took all those classes to become a Catholic! Definitely not drive 90 minutes to Wilcox to pick fruit and buy farmer market produce, because that excludes the dog! I decided that Patton was family too and it would suck to leave him home with the fucking cat all day. So we settled on driving up Mt. Lemmon a ways and finding some pretty place to hike around.

We chose Rose Canyon Lake because neither of us had been there and isn't there something kinda cool about a lake on a mountain? It blows my mind! Something horizontal on something that is vertical? IT CANNOT BE DONE.

Rose Canyon is a small little lake at about 6,000 feet above sea level (just try to wrap your head above that one! Water above the level of water? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS), and it is just lovely. I kept saying "This is such a cute lake!" to Todd. It would have paired nicely with a Fargo accent, or maybe even a Fran Drescher accent. Marshy reeds dot the shorelines, and a paved path hugs one side of the lake and a trail on the other that's more rugged, although still totally doable with a toddler but almost impossible with 100lbs of I AM EXCITE dog.

So there are loads of people fishing. I sort of wanted to stick to the sidewalk side because hey, a baby! but Todd really wanted the trail. "I'll carry her if I have to" he says, which probably should have given us the wise idea to have SOMEONE carry the diaper bag but this is family day! This isn't thinking day! That shit is for suckers!

We take the trail and pass a bunch of college age boys fishing in their swim suits which was just a mockery of Rose Canyon's no swimming rule. I'm not sure how ferociously they enforce it but I didn't actually see anyone swimming. Either everyone was very obedient or else they had my healthy fear of water, especially when I can't see the bottom. And let me tell you, that water is quite clear but when the bottom drops off, I think it literally dropped off the side of the earth. Rose Canyon Lake is a black abyss. A small, super cute abyss.

We pass all the fishing action and stop on this little rounded out sliver of shoreline. Sandy, loads of sticks just begging to be thrown for a four legged maniac. There were some other people throwing sticks for their dogs about 100 yards further down so we figured hell, let's let Patton have some fun. And boy, did he ever! In the shallow areas he was bounding like a ferocious baby deer from hell, and in the deep abyss part he swam like a shark after those sticks. A few times I think he startled the fish cause they started jumping.

I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my jeans and waded in a ways. Alex, always up for a good time, followed suit. "Alex at the beach!!" she kept squealing. After many, many stick tosses, I asked if Alex wanted to sit on a log which is when she informed me that she had a poopy diaper! Considering she ate lunch in the car ride up there, which consisted of a banana, two Baby Bel cheeses, an entire snack cup full of peanut butter cracker sandwiches and two fruit pouches, it shouldn't have come as any surprise. But there we were, on a sandy strip of Rose Canyon Lake, many many many many many many yards from the car, with a poopy diaper and a soaking wet dog.

I was going to go back but my feet were wet and I just do not do wet sandy feet inside of socks and shoes, no matter how many of my fellow triathletes did it back in March. So Todd graciously accepted the challenge and took off. Patton would have nothing to do with the whole sitting and relaxing part of family day, so I kept throwing sticks for him, Alexandra by my side, two laid back ladies enjoying the sun, the cool water and refreshing mountain breezes.

Now, recall how the lake is a black abyss? Well, a lot of the sticks were also super black. A lot of them also sank and considering the fact that Rose Canyon Lake doesn't have a bottom, and considering that Patton WILL NOT SURRENDER to a the idea of a fruitless fetch and WILL DROWN HIMSELF searching for the stick, I had to choose my sticks wisely: light, bouyant and not black. A thin old pine stick was working wonders, but the damage of Patton's jaws and the weakening properties of the water rendered it to just five or six inches.

We weren't even in a foot of water. Dry land was literally one step backwards for me. I glanced back, saw a good candidate for replacing the trusty pine one. I thought to myself, "Watch something horrible happen if I go get that stick for Patton" but because it wasn't thinking day, it was family day! I went ahead and stepped back, turned to grab the stick and turned back to Alex.

She had taken some steps forward and had fallen into the water. I only looked for a split second before rushing to her, but I won't forget the image: Alex on her chest, head held high up above the water, arms and legs out like a starfish. The panic and fear in her eyes was so evident, but she didn't make a peep until I had her, soaking wet, in my arms. Then it was safe to cry.

I took her away from the water and sat down on a log to take her clothes off. As I'm doing this, Patton, bored with the drama, bored with the lack of hardcore athleticism, decides to take off swimming towards the other dogs. I become That Woman who screams ineffectively at her fucking dog, but I can't chase after him; first off I couldn't leave Alex but even alone, there's no swimming allowed plus I would never in that water. The other dog owners watched with curiosity (we had already confirmed with each other that all our dogs were friendly), but halfway to them Patton snatched up a small sheet of tree bark that had been floating there. I said "Oh." and the other guys all laughed.

I soothed Alex, wrung out her clothes and held her close, all while Patton threatened to bean us in the heads with various huge, long tree branches. Todd finally came back and we changed the diaper and re-dressed Alex. I was sort of over it by then. It being family day, of course. I was soaking wet in jeans that were several sizes too big for me (beware H&M jeans, those fuckers stretch a LOT), my baby was in nothing but a hoodie, a diaper and socks and shoes, and for some reason having to deal with a mini crisis and a dog all by myself had sort of worn me out.

We hiked up the hill a bit, and I'm glad because Alex saw her very first horny toad and wild mushroom, and I know she enjoyed it. She's such a trouper. I think most children are. No nap, a long car ride then a long hike, a big scare in the water and then another long hike back, another long car ride back, and the only thing she really had to say about it later that night "A little scary. Alex fall down inna water." Me, I felt like an idiot and a horrible parent.

Todd is going hunting for four days in November and I'll be flying solo. You can bet your bottom dollar I won't be taking Alex and the dog to any mountain lake during that time, that's for damn sure.

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