May 6, 2010

Opening Weekend

My BFF and his family own a really big, really old cabin up in the mountains of Vermont. Every year around this time the menfolk of his family head up there for the ritual "opening" of the cabin. After being shuttered for several months of predictably balmy Vermont mountain weather, there is a host of de-winterizing tasks that need to be completed before the property is fit for habitation. And, as expected with a house that is several thousand years old, there is always a litany of repair projects to tackle. (OK, I have no idea how old the cabin really is, but it's old enough. Old enough to make the annual repair list unending.) So each year a group of guys, some more talented than others, gathers on the mountain, all with the same goal in mind: to fix more problems than he creates.

This year I got my first tap on the shoulder to join this beer swilling, tool wielding expedition into the harsh wilderness of The Green Mountain State. I have no earthly skills to speak of, so it can only be assumed that I was brought along due to a shortage of available qualified help and because they needed someone to drive the rental car from the airport to the cabin. Actually, I wasn't sure why I was volunteered to drive the rental car until, five minutes from the airport, we stopped to pick up, um, drywall lubricant.

The other important reason for bringing along a rookie like myself is because of the water supply at the cabin. All of the water comes from a natural spring further up the mountain. Getting that water to the house requires jumping in a well and opening a valve that lets gravity bring the water back down the mountain into the cabin's plumbing system. This isn't a "hot" spring and there was still snow on the ground, so you can imagine the temperature of the water in the well. The low man on the totem pole, me, is of course responsible for jumping in the well and opening the valve. This year, though, I actually had the fortunate misfortune of there being several failures in the plumbing system. I say fortunate because the plumbing challenges automatically rendered me under-qualified for jumping in the well. I say misfortune because the lack of running water for several days meant for some serious stank coming from the dirt covered, deuce dropping, beer marinated sweat machines with whom I was sharing a roof. If the paint on the walls wasn't already peeling, it would have been.

Though far from being literally cleansing, this short weekend in the mountains was certainly figuratively cleansing. Four days of wood chopping, drywall hanging, limited showering, late night bluffing, all while sustaining on Bud Heavy and encased meat products alone does something good for the soul. This is especially true when you've spent the last month living under your in-laws roof with your four small children. When it comes to problems, hopefully I fixed just enough more than I created and will garner myself a future invitation to opening weekend. Especially if it's someone else's turn to jump in the well.

I brought my camera with the intention of snapping hundreds of picturesque shots of the cabin and the surrounding natural environment. Instead, I remembered to break out the camera only a handful of times and didn't even grab a photo of the cabin or the mountain. My bad.

Oh, and by the way, jumping through a piece of drywall ain't all that difficult. It's the landing that's the hard part.

Here are some of the pictures I did remember to take. Click on them to check out larger Flickr versions.

First things first -- stock the fridge.

Just in time to enjoy the sunset.

A registry of past visitors.

PICT8282No shortage of jobs.

PICT8285View from the front room.

It gets damned cold at night. Best warm up from the outside and inside.

One of the elder more experienced members of the tribe.

Another veteran.

The sun goes down, the poker chips come out.

Hold it right there.

C'mon, Bug, you can do this. Two cards per player. Two cards per player...

Yes, we had chainsaws at our disposal...

...but where's the fun in that?

Die you dead piece of wood! Die!

Will wake for log chopping.

How not to hang drywall.

But seriously, who can hang drywall with Blitzen staring over your shoulder?

Meat. It's what's for dinner. It's the only thing for dinner. And lunch. And probably breakfast, too.

So what's your favorite PP&K Championship memory?

Did I ever tell you about the time I bought the wrong outlet box?

Old creepy trees are creepier at night.

Fire worshippers.

Wood chopping put to good use.

The ultimate space heater.

Front so warm. Back so cold.

Two generations of fire worshippers.

PICT8404But after the fun, there's always more shitty drywall hanging to do.


Rebecca said...

Okay, love the fire, the beer, the poker, the shirtless men chopping wood, but you still used the term BFF...Hahahahahahaaaaaaa...I don't know you at all, but I feel that I could kind of giggle at that one!

Cheryle said...

Great pics. And it looks like you had fun in spite of the work. (I'm sure your in-laws welcomed the break, too! :)