Each year we rent a cottage for a week on Lake Huron, and we are just finished unpacking from the 2008 installment. It was a lovely week....the weather was spectacular (the best I think we've ever had), and we slept in, read books, swam in the lake, sat on the beach and generally lolled about. Truly, Southwestern Ontario in the summer is one of the most beautiful places I know.
The cottage is only about an hour a way from home, which is good because we invariably forget to pack three or four vitally important things and have to make a trip home to retrieve them. This year, we forgot to bring the popcorn maker, the fan and the scrubby thing for cleaning the dishes. Like I said, vitally important.
We usually declare the cottage a "nutrition-free" zone for the week, and the girls take this as a challenge to be met and conquered. (I figure it's only one week out of the year, and their shiny new livers can handle the onslaught of salt, sugar and Red Dye #2.) As well, I give them each ten bucks at the grocery store to do with however they like. It makes me shudder, but they like it. Usually they revel in this usually forbidden behaviour, and indulge themselves in Fruit-by-the-Foot, Oreos and chocolate cake at any time of the day. Once, I woke up one morning to find a 7-year-old Thing 2 sitting on the couch watching a DVD while eating icing straight out of the container with a spoon. Mostly I was disgusted beyond belief, but a small part of me was mighty impressed at the fortitude of her digestive system. Mine would have rebelled outright at the first spoonful. (In any case, I figured my "Mother of the Year" award was out the window once again.) I do notice, however, that this tends to wear thin by about Thursday, and someone will express a desire for salad at dinner.
I myself develop a severe potato chip addiction at the cottage. I don't know what it is about that place, but I am overcome with a deep and abiding yen for Baked Lays that threatens to derail my sanity entirely. I try to keep it down to a half a bag a day, but it's tough.
One of the things I love about the cottage is it provides an excuse to do hardly anything else but read for hours and hours at a time. And nap. I read two big fat books while away, and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I "should" be doing nothing else. I think there is a hormone secreted into your brain when you are in close proximity to large bodies of water, whereby you are rendered completely incapable of reading anything more taxing than People magazine. (I know once I tried to read "Anna Karenina" on the beach at Grand Bend and it was impossible.)
We are back to our real life now, and although I enjoy the cottage very much, it's nice to return to my own bed, my own shower and my own kitchen. But I do miss the potato chips.