The MNF group made its annual pilgrimage to Central Oregon last weekend. Kris and I joined:
- Kim and Sabino Arredondo
- Ron and Kara Kropf (Ron is Kim’s brother)
- Kristin and Roger Oakes
- Jeremy and Jennifer Gingerich
- Jeff and Stephanie Roth (Jeff is my brother)
I think this is the tenth year that Kris and I have joined the group, though some of them have been making trip since the early nineties. We always rent a house and then spend the weekend sleeping, cooking, chatting, playing, and laughing.
In recent years, Kris and I have felt the trip was almost more trouble than it was worth. We were surprised to hear several other people express the same opinion this weekend. Fortunately, this year was relaxing — it was a wonderful trip.
On Friday evening, those of us who arrived early went out for Italian food. I ordered mussels and clams, but was unimpressed. They were cool. They hadn’t much flavor. There was very little broth.
Saturday morning, we were all up surprisingly early. It used to be that most of us slept in, but we were all up by 7:30, and were finished with breakfast an hour later. Kris and I then drove in to Bend to watch our nephew, Michael, play soccer. Michael’s an athletic kid — he’s muscular and wiry at the same time. He scored his team’s two goals. After the game, Kris and I helped Tony work on Michael’s pitching. (He had a baseball game in the afternoon.) Mostly he was too unfocused to pitch like he ought, but when he put his mind to it, he did a good job. Considering he’s only eight years old, I think he’s going to do well.
In the evening, the group assembled at The Blacksmith restaurant. This place is fantastic. I ordered mussels again; they were creamy and delicious. For dinner, I was adventurous: I tried the swordfish, and was pleased to find it a thick, meaty fish. Very good. But dessert was best of all. Kris and I ordered a chocolate sampler plate for two.
“Oh my God,” she moaned at the first taste of chocolate fondue.
“You don’t believe in God,” Sabino teased.
“I do now,” she said. “And it’s in this cup.”
Kim and Sabino rode home with us. We spent the entire twenty minutes rehashing old episodes of The Office, recalling funniest moments and favorite lines. Back at the house, we watched one of our favorite recent episodes, in which the employees are subjected to safety training because Michael, the boss, caused an accident in the warehouse. When Michael decides that office workers don’t get enough respect for how dangerous their jobs are, he decides to feign suicide. Meanwhile, the staff has begun to bet on various things. The funniest bet involves Kelly’s litany about how Netflix works.
Then we all went to bed early.
On Sunday morning, Kris and I went horseback riding. We did this several years ago at Diamond Lake, and we loved it. It’s expensive, and you don’t really get to do much besides sit on the back of a horse for an hour as it wanders well-worn trails, but it’s totally worth it. My horse, Doodle, was belligerent. He kept stopping to eat the new grass. No amount of tugging or kicking could convince him this was a bad idea. Kris’ horse, Warrior, was well-behaved, but a dawdler, always lagging behind the group. On our ride, we got to see a bald eagle perched high in a pine. We were also startled by a herd of deer. Doodle was surprised by them, and started to bolt, which scared the living daylights out of me. Fortunately, he stopped after just a few feet.
In the afternoon, we lounged around in the warm spring air. Most of the men soaked in the hot tub. The women drank mojitos and ate bean dip.
In the evening, Tony came by to see the gang. He stayed for dinner, and we all recounted old stories. Then, again, we went to bed early.
We were all up early again this morning, and it made us realize that we are getting old. “In a few years we’ll all be getting up at 4:30,” somebody said. On our drive home, Kris and I stopped to see Tony and Kamie at the horse cookie factory in Redmond.
We came home to a couple of mysteries. The kitchen chair was placed — seemingly at random — underneath our pot-rack. The basement light was on. A lamp in the living room was knocked over. The cold water in the bathtub was on full-blast and, from the looks of it, had been on for several hours (and likely a couple of days). When we checked the basement, water was coming from somewhere, but we could not find the source. (Naturally we assume that the fact the tub was running for so long had something to do with it.)
We’ve only solved one of these mysteries. Tiffany came over on Saturday to take a bath. She moved the chair so that Max could sit with her. However, she turned off the bathwater before she left. It is my suspicion that Max was playing in the tub (which he does often), and managed to turn on the faucet. This then caused the water in the basement. I also suspect he’s responsible for the broken lamp in the parlor.
In all, it was a great weekend. I did a little writing, but not much. Now I find that I’m behind. I have nothing to post at GRS in the morning!