Friday, August 30, 2013


Most of the time I act and feel younger than my age, but last weekend was an exception. That’s when I learned that when you’re really tired, it’s probably not such a good idea to hang around with much younger, more energetic people.

Just before midnight on Friday night, my two dogs were playing, pouncing on each other and having a great time. Well, to make a long story short, Raven ended up with a severe neck injury and a trip to the emergency animal hospital, where she wouldn’t let anyone who even resembled a vet come within 20 feet of her. She made the dog in the movie “Cujo” seem like Lassie in comparison. Needless to say, it was a long, stressful and exhausting ordeal.

By the time I got back home, the sun was up. I finally crawled into bed at around 8 a.m. 

Unfortunately, that also happened to be the day I’d promised a friend of mine I’d finally be over to visit her at the summer cottage she and her husband recently purchased, located on a lake only about 20 minutes from my house. She had been inviting me for weeks, so I’d told her I’d be there about 2:00.

I crawled out of bed only three hours after I’d climbed into it and felt as if I’d just run a marathon – on my knees. I momentarily considered calling my friend and canceling the visit, but then thought I still should go, even if just for a short while. Besides that, I really wanted to see the cottage.  She’d told me about the great view from their deck, so I had visions of myself, a cold beverage in hand, relaxing in a lounge chair on it and watching the boats go by. After the stressful night I’d had, it sounded heavenly.

I arrived at the cottage and my friend, who was out on her deck, called down to me, “Hi!  Come on up!”

The only thing that stood between us was a staircase that was so steep and tall, I expected to see the Statue of Liberty’s torch when I reached the top. By the time I made it up to the deck, I was puffing like a locomotive and begging for oxygen. I collapsed into one of the chairs.

On the plus side, from that height, the view of the lake was incredible. I could see all the way to the other side. There was a nice breeze and plenty of shade, so I was ready to relax and enjoy the scenery. Appropriately, the name of the cottage was “Serenity,” which I desperately needed.

“So,” my friend – my much younger friend – cheerfully said, “what do you want to do first? How about kayaking!”

I just stared at her. “Kayaking? Doesn’t that involve using a paddle – and my arms?”

“Yeah, it’s great exercise!” she said.

The way I was feeling, exercise was a four-letter word. “I don’t think so,” I said. “I’m really tired.”

“Well, then how about going out in the pedal boat?”

“Would I have to pedal it?” I asked, hoping she would do all of the pedaling, so I could just sit back in the boat and relax.

She nodded. “You have to pedal it to move it.”

“I really don’t have the energy,” I said.

“Then how about a walk around the lake?  There’s a nice trail that circles it.”

“How long is the trail?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s pretty short. Only about two miles.”

  To me, at that point, even two feet seemed like the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.  In fact, I was wondering how I was going to make it back down the stairs I’d just climbed up to the deck. Curling myself into a ball and rolling down them seemed like a pretty good option.

“Do you have any activities that don’t involve so much…activity?” I asked. “I had only three hours of sleep and really need about five hours more before I can even think about moving any part of my body.”

“Well, then let me give you a tour of the inside of the cottage,” she said.

I was pretty sure I could handle that, so I followed her inside. The cottage was really nice – cozy and rustic, with a lot of wood and wide-plank flooring.

“And there’s a loft way up there,” she said, pointing toward the high ceiling. “For additional sleeping space.”

I didn’t see a ladder or any stairs leading up to the loft. “How do you get up there?” I asked, looking for a Tarzan-like rope swing.

“Over there,” she said, smiling. She pointed to a wall that had a bunch of strategically placed rocks sticking out of it. “It’s a rock-climbing wall! It’s good exercise!”

I envisioned myself hanging by my fingernails and toenails from the rocks as I tried to hoist my Titanic-sized butt up there. I couldn’t help but wonder how someone sleeping in that loft would make it down the wall in the dark to use the bathroom – especially if there was a really urgent need to “go.”

So I hate to admit it, but I definitely was a party pooper that afternoon. I sat on the deck, sipped bottled water and watched other people kayaking and swimming.  And just watching them made me tired. Meanwhile, every 20 minutes or so, my friend would look at me and ask, her voice filled with hope, “Are you sure you don’t want to go kayaking? It’s really nice out on the water.”

“Not today,” I kept telling her. “But I promise I’ll go the next time I’m here.”

She smiled and said she’d hold me to that promise.

I’m thinking I probably should buy a bunch of flotation devices to wrap around myself before I even get anywhere near a kayak – mainly because if I fall out, my particular method of swimming involves frantically dog-paddling for about 15 feet and then sinking like a brick.

And that’s on a good day.

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