I’m back

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I'm hearing it from my mom again, which means that I've been slacking. That isn't to say that things haven't been happening – I just haven't taken the time to write. I've actually got a decent backlog of topics, some which I will mention here. Others will get their own posts. Lets get started!

Last week started off with a trip up north for the annual closing of the cottage. This year's closing also brought with it some non-trivial repair work on the cottage itself. Earlier in the summer, during a pretty intense thunderstorm, a tree blew over and landed on the roof, breaking two rafters and punching a few other holes in the roof. The holes were patched up shortly after it happened, but the structural damage still needed mending.

I headed up sunday night, and was preceeded by my dad, my Uncle Rick, and Ryder, a good friend of my cousin Carl. Cousins Carl and Bill arrived mid-Monday, and second cousins Brian and Jeff arrived a little later. Ryder had started tearing the shingles off the roof by the time I woke up on monday, and I went up and helped when I had gained a sufficient amount of consciousness. We had a decent portion of the roof cleaned off by the time the other guys arrived and started helping. Things went faster with the additional hands, and once the roof was clean, Bill and Carl got down to the task of fixing the broken rafters. That whole process didn't take nearly as long as I would have expected, but that might be because I have absolutely crap for knowledge about this sort of thing. The whole removal process took Bill about 10 minutes, and once measurements were taken, installing the new rafters and replacing the boards making up the 'outer hull' of the roof took about 30 minutes if memory serves. Once the structural damage was repaired, we laid the tar paper for the new set of shingles, and called it a day.

Bill, Carl, and Ryder were up on the roof somewhat early the next day attacking the shingling task. Those guys are machines, let me tell you. When I woke up, I asked my dad how long they had been at it, and how much they had done. His answer was about 45 minutes, and about 1/3 done. They certainly had a system, and had the bulk of the roof done in under four hours. The rest of us stayed out of their way, and took to a few other tasks around the property. My dad, Brian, Jeff, and I cleaned up a few fallen trees out of the wooded lot across from our cottage. We dragged the smaller stuff down to the beach so it can be burned at a later date. It will make one hell of a blaze, that's for sure.

Wednesday and thursday saw a lot of lethargy on our parts. Bill, Ryder, and Carl brought up a few guns for the trip, and shot them off into a big sand hill a few miles down the road. Brian and Jeff rode their four-wheelers for a while. The rest of just sat around the cottage watching movies, napping, or reading. The same pattern played out on thursday as well.

One thing that always makes the closing trips memorable is that we eat like kings. This time was no exception. Rick bought a 18 pound cut of ribeye steak before he came up, and that was prepared monday or tuesday night. Man, I've never seen steaks so huge in my life. I beleve the meat was cut into eleven steaks, which puts each at about 1.5 pounds pre-cooked weight on average. My steak covered about three quarters of my plate, leaving almost no room for the baked potato or asparagus spears. And boy, was it tasty. Wednesday night, we cooked up the 30-odd pounds of whole chicken that someone had brought up, and that was magnificent as well. Bill headed up that effort, and aside from pulling the birds off the heat a little early, they were perfect. Each of the five birds needed a short trip through the microwave to make sure they were cooked all the way through, but that did nothing to disrupt the flavor or moistness of the meat. Both were superb.

I made my journey home thursday night though the area's first bout with old man winter. My trip, which should only take about 3.5-4 hours, took more than 5 due to low visibility and snow covering the roads. There were quite a few points where I had to slow down to around 25-30MPH due to visibilities less than 50 feet. I have a harder time driving at night due to my eye issues, but this was many times worse. I made it though, after much annoyance, beef jerky, and caffiene.

I wasn't home for long though. This weekend was set aside for a trip to Toronto for Andre's bachelor party. The trip out had no major delays, and we arrived at the hotel around midnight. Following bachelor party protocol, no details will be provided about the debauchery that ensued except the following, which certainly merits recognition. A very special event took place saturday afternoon, and we were quite happy to be able to experience it as a band of brothers. The event? The Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics to take the American League crown! Nobody would have expected this six months ago, but it happened, and we were all together to witness it! It certainly made for a special night. Our trip home was unnecessarily long. We ran into the Toronto Marathon on the way out of town, which blocked our planned escape route and forced us to take a long trip through the city. About 45 minutes and many side streets later, we met up with the highway and made our way back to the USA. Our trip came to a halt at the border, where things were very backed up. It took around an hour to make it through the last mile of Canada. Those two delays made the whole trip take around seven hours total.

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