So Much Fun, It Hurts

24 01 2013

A month and a half in the new house and we finally had visitors. And the visitors where my besties, whom I haven’t seen in almost 5 months due to world travels. Reunion at last!

With the long holiday weekend, we had tons of time so bask in each other. I almost peed myself when I saw them pull in the drive. A flurry of hugs and hellos and more hugs later, I ushered them in to see my new house.

I’ve written you stories of my dear friends Ash and Morgan before, but I’ll just toss in a reminder that these kids are pretty much family. We’ve been apart for too long, and lots has changed. First things first, Simba needed to meet his cousin, Osa.

The shelter told me Simba was great with other dogs, but who knows, they’ll also tell you their dogs are “house broke” and know how to sit. And Osa is no ordinary dog – she’s a beautiful, full-grown St Bernard, out-weighing Simba by about 100 pounds. Literally. So of course I just hauled him out to the car to let them come face to face….or face to knee, I should say.

Let’s pause for a second. Really, there are two parts to this hurts-so-good weekend: us humanoids having fun and the canines having fun. They’re pretty unrelated, so I’ll give you each side. And I think the humans get to go first…

Not long after they arrived, I had my little family-away-from-my-family settled into the guest bedroom. My little heart glowed with happiness as we headed to the brewery for burgers and catching up. I’m sure I looked like a moron at dinner, barely able to stop smiling long enough to stuff my burger in my face. We laughed over our beers for a nice long while, then headed home to see what other trouble we could dig up. J busted out the liquor, I found the cards, and our wild and rowdy game night began.

We finally hauled ourselves to bed, WAY past my bedtime. J had to work Saturday  morning, and Simba had to pee, so I went ahead and got up at our usual 7am. A nice long, cold walk and I was wide awake, so I entertained myself while the others got in some well-earned sleep. Once I heard stirring, I revved up the coffee pot and got breakfast going. I was soon reminded what an amazing housewife team Ash and I are, as we whipped up the most amazing little mini-quiches you’ve ever tasted! We also managed to figure out several alternative, creative ways to brew coffee, since the coffee pot decided to get temperamental. This was a potential day-ruining catastrophe for my darling coffee-fiends, but through our combined efforts, overly-strong coffee was brewed!

Faced with a beautiful day and two hyper dogs, we set out looking for adventure. We headed to a nearby snow park, strapped on our snow shoes, and tromped our way through the crunchy ice/snow to the locally-acclaimed ice caves. We paused for a picnic in the snow with some spiked hot chocolate to warm us from the inside out, then started the return trip.

picnic at ice caves, gifford pinchot forest

Relaxing for our snow picnic. Looks like we’re in the right place!`

All the while, we yammered away, laughing like loons while we navigated the trail on our awkward snow shoes, made worse by the fact that I had forgotten my poles. The dogs zoomed around us, birds chirped above us, the sun shone down on our faces – it was a fantastic day. We made it home giggly and worn out, ready to regale J with tales of our expedition.

After another insanely-executed meal by the crazy domestic duo, we hit the cards again. After discovering some miscalculations in the score keeping from the night before (i.e. J’s a big fat cheater cheater pumpkin eater), the competition became a bit more heated. Spiking our delicious mulled cranberry tea helped amp us up even more. We finally turned in, again past my bedtime, but anticipating the excitement of the next day.

Breakfast eaten and cleaned up Sunday morning, our party once again moved outside, this time to attempt some cross country skiing. We haven’t had much fresh snow since the big dump in December, so I was a little concerned with the conditions, but the day just begged us to come play. We hit the trails ready for some fun.

skiing Lava Loop, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Besties in the snow, pausing to catch our breath.

The trail we chose was gorgeous, winding through the open forest with views of the mountains. Then came a little surprise: great big hills! My blood starting pumping in anticipation – I love flying downhill, out of control, a maniac on my cross country skis due to my lack of ability to steer. The first hill, however, proved to be quite different from what I’m used to. The ice made it much less fun. The first hill had a big curve at the bottom, so I decided to stop before attempting to turn. Stopping for me means falling over, but I forgot to take into account my landing  surface, and still have the giant bruise to remind me. Several hills and falls later, we were all starting to feel a bit worked. (Ok, all but J. He doesn’t count and is possibly not human.)

Our good buddy Issac Newton was on to something with that “gravity” business…what goes up, must come down! Well, that goes both ways when in the mountains. What goes down, must come up. We had conquered the downhill…so now we had to climb. On skis. And it was brutal…with a capital B! My arms were tired, my hands were tired, my toes were tired…. The sight of the parking lot was like gazing on the pearly gates of heaven – sweet Jesus, we survived!

We were delightfully rewarded for all our hard work with burgers, beers and football. (Go 49ers!) You’re never going to believe this, but we rallied around our card games yet again for another evening of fun. We actually turned in a little earlier this time, all of us tired and sore. The next morning, my fabulous friends had to pack up and leave. It was a sad good-bye but filled with the promise of our next meeting. Even the pups seemed reluctant to part ways.

Best weekend in a long time. A much needed weekend of fun, friends, and more FUN!

And if you think we had a good time, guess what kind of crazy times the mutts had!!

From the moment Simba met Osa (and was reassured she wasn’t going to eat his face), he acted like I had a cow-sized chewtoy delivered to the house for him. Thankfully, Osa is quite playful and rambunctious herself, and tolerated his rowdiness like a champ. When she’d had enough, she would retreat upstairs. Worked great.

Saturday, we took both dogs with us on our snow shoeing adventures. I decided to test Simba off leash, hoping that Osa would help show him how to be a good boy.


I have never seen such exhilaration, such uninhibited joy. He did really well responding to my “come” commands, but he probably covered 4 times the distance as the rest of us. He would run so fast, his legs would get tangled and he would tumble through the snow. He slid on his face time and again as he would fall off trail into snow banks. Down the trail at full steam, back again, several circles around his people, repeat. It was exhausting just watching him. Osa would sometimes join him, mostly she would watch. His relentless energy was nothing less than astounding. By the time we got home that evening, the pup could barely stand. He played so hard he made his toes bleed.

dog playing in snow Gifford Pinchot National Forest

One happy pup!!

After sleeping like the dead, Sunday was a new day to play! He wrestled the morning away, gnawing on Osa’s elbows every chance he got. Soon, his head and much of his body was coated in a nice film of St Bernard slobber. And he seemed to be delighted at his new … accessory? He was not at all delighted when he realized we were going on another adventure without him. But his feet had taken a beating the day before in the snow, and I didn’t want him to hurt them any worse. Oh, but the pathetic look he gave me as we left him behind!

When we got home that evening after watching the game, he went back to wrestling. I had to make him go lie down and leave the poor girl alone. At one point, I caught them curled up together, Osa with her head on Simba’s pillow, Simba’s head using Osa’s tail as a pillow. Besties!

dog friends st bernard

Friends despite all their differences.

Monday was rough. I was sore, tired and happy as a bear in a blueberry patch. I had to run some errands, but still made it to bed pretty early. I should have expected this, really. Ash and I have a history of playing super hard, having as much fun as we can until we’ve completely exhausted ourselves.

But that’s half the fun of it, right?!





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