Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We've got a horseshoe pit!

The Olin family has done it again: another successful road trip to the beautiful McKenzie River!
*Please feel free to click on links or pictures to see an enlargement*

Dotty and Mt. Man Olin and their favorite hobby

As some of you may know, this year’s Oregon summer adventure proved to have a problematic prefix as Mountain Man Olin’s ticker was a little off track. To digress, my father had heart surgery in early June to mend a leaky heart valve. After a victorious procedure and a triumphant recovery (only 5 days in the hospital!), Mountain Man Olin made it three weeks before he started to feel the effects of what is called atrial fibrillation; when the heart has trouble keeping a regular beat - sort of like asking a nine-year old with ADHD to be the drummer of your rock band. Suffice it to say, Mountain Man Olin was worn out and in no shape to head up to Oregon with his fair-skinned Macedonian goddess for a summer work extravaganza. So, the Olins pushed back their departure time to June 25, a Saturday. While on loads of meds (enough to sedate an elephant dancing the Can-Can in a thong) and the collective energy of a slew of sloths, Mountain Man Olin prepared for a procedure that the doctors said would put an end to this exhaustive irregularity. Cardioversion is a process that literally shocks the heart back into regular rhythm. Yes, it is sort of like what you see on E.R. when Dr. Carter rubs those paddles together to revive that dying patient. Only, my father wasn’t dying and there was no trauma. What took only minutes to do has had weeks of success. Immediately after Mountain Man Olin’s heart received the Ben Franklin treatment (as I like to label it), he was racing to the car, off to get a tuna melt sandwich at a local restaurant only to follow that with a double back flip and a brisk 5 mile sprint back home. The writing was on the wall: the Olin family was ready to head up north earlier than planned.

Now, the unseen consequences of moving a departure date up for the Olin family must not go unrecorded. Trying to leave on time is enough of an ordeal for this family, just think of what chaos two days can do, because that’s exactly what was the plan. Firstly, Dorothea and “getting ready in 24 hours” go together like oil and water. Secondly, adjusting my schedule was like playing with those toddler toys: trying to fit a square block into a circular hole does not work. For the Mountain Man, everything is simple and we found him sitting in the front room working on a puzzle. So, after some cancellations, reschedules, and lots of coffee, my mother and I were able to get our shit together in time to leave for Oregon on Thursday noon: one day and a half earlier than planned. It was a joyous moment.

Despite horrific gas prices, the boat we towed, and the giant dresser strapped to the top of our car, giving us the aerodynamics of a parachute, the drive was excellent. There was no snow.

Pulling up to our property on the McKenzie, we were greeted by Amy Cirincione, the daughter of one of Dorothea’s high school friends. Amy visited with us while we settled in and we got to know her well for the two days she stayed with us. Amy is an east coast transplant to Oregon where she works for a company in the “wilderness therapy” industry. Wilderness wha…? Think of what would happen if you took eight at-risk youth and stuck them in the wilderness (with professional guides) for three weeks. We were all fascinated by the stories Amy told us.

Our second guest to the Oregon house this summer was our close friend and sailor, Marsha Furman. Staying with us for three days, Marsha brought her usual spunky self, complete with witty remarks and a keen eye for avoiding mistakes. She would often warn me when I was about to make a faux pas laying tile or framing something.

Our work schedule for the house went as follows:

Mountain Man Olin and I grouted the downstairs bathroom tile.

We also built a temporary hearth for our fireplace as well as two bed frames.

We completed two thirds of the ceiling in the upstairs bathroom and did some finish work on two closet doors.

In order to get our electrical inspection signed off we completed a few tasks including installing outdoor light fixtures.

Dorothea had been in a perpetual state of vacuuming since our arrival. She even was found vacuuming in her sleep because, “the mice don’t stop pooping and peeing just because we are living in this house!” She also sealed the bathroom tile floor and Verathaned the remaining windows. In addition to this, Dorothea was in charge of all laundry, food, and kitchen tasks, taking them all on simultaneously.

Our second weekend was spent on the coast, where Alexandra (flying in from New York) crewed for me at Tenmile Lake, in Coos Bay. The week can be best summarized in this way (and please note that Alexandra and Christopher’s combine weight is equal to 260 lbs.):

Friday: Absolutely no wind and lots of drifting. Alexandra and I spent this time catching up while the other, more serious sailors, had aneurisms due to mounting frustrations.

Saturday: Wind speeds are 20-30 mph in ghastly shifts. Alexandra and I proceed to flip our boat turtle. We were not heavy enough to right the boat, so the mast filled up with water and became lodged in the mud at the bottom of the lake. Total rescue and tow-in time was 1 hour. No injuries.

Sunday: Boat has been repaired and morale has been lifted despite unmentioned fears. Wind speeds are now 25-35 mph. In the first race our main sheet block bursts at the tackle fitting; effectively turning our boat into an uncontrollable tool of Mother Nature designed to instill utter horror into the minds of its crew. Rescue and tow-in time was 45 minutes. No injuries. I told Alexandra she should consider bringing a weight belt to the next regatta.

Back on the river we welcomed Alexandra’s boyfriend, Erich (also from New York), to our house for what he believed would be a relaxing and tranquil vacation. Turns out it wasn’t. Erich quickly found himself digging 3 ft. deep holes in the forest; sanding, moving, and stacking lacquered yellow cedar ceiling boards; felling a tree and building a horseshoe pit. Hah, way to pick a vacation E!

Dorothea switched gears from vacuuming to sewing as she helped Alexandra make new pillow covers for her new apartment in Brooklyn.

On days when Mt. Man Olin wasn’t operating at Energizer Bunny speeds, the Olin family had dinner with our beloved friends, Paul and AlVerta Williamson, went hiking on the McKenzie River Trail, visited Sahalie and Koosah falls, chased a storm up to Clear Lake, and visited the McKenzie Bridge Ranger station for an education in salmon mating dances and the things you can find in bear poop. We were fascinated.

Paul and AlVerta with the Olins

The end of our trip included some wonderful recreational activities. The Olin home hosted a taco night for the neighbors of Drury Lane. The horseshoe pit was completed and put into great use. And, to top things off, the youngsters taught the parents how to play UC Santa Barbara beerpong. The Goucho past-time that always makes spirits bright.

Here is a link to our photo album for this trip to Oregon: Picasa


lynxo said...

Metaphors! Similes! Metaphors! Similes!

Great recap Chris. Wonder if there is a way to upload some of those short movies of when we got rained on by the waterfalls. Or when Mt. Man Olin recorded the pensive clear lake on the movie setting, so we get audio of him trying to figure out what R-E-C stands for (and Alexandra in the background shouting "recreational!")

Anonymous said...

hello from greece !!!!!!!!!


Christopher said...

Evgenia! Thank you for the comment. How are you? What is your contact info? I'd love to catch up