Back from the peaksWell, it was an interesting few days up at Big Bear. The picture, above, is what I was expecting. But that's a postcard.
It didn't snow.
Not one miserable flake. Though, to be fair, there was evidence — on the singularly attractive front porch of the cabin we rented — that it had snowed before we got there ...... and it always looked as though it was about to snow, with leaden skies that looked heavy with the stuff.
We did, however, get a night of rain, with sleet the next morning. Our last morning.
And the 'cosy chalet' that 'sleeps ten' we rented? With all-weather patio and spa?
With spacious bedrooms and room for all? For $325 a night?
Well, it was very much on the shabby side, to be honest. Verging on the scruffy.
David will need physiotherapy, and we are both on painkillers, to recover from the bed we slept in. It sank not only in towards the centre, but also out to the edges. So we spent almost every minute of every achey night clinging on to something to stop ourselves rolling about.
When we regained consciousness each morning (you could hardly call it sleep), we discovered we had slipped — mattress and all — down towards the end of the bed as well, leaving a gap of about a foot between the mattress and the bedhead.
And the room's unspeakably gorgeous paste-on mural of a lake scene, in which the horizon was on a definite and dizzying slope down to the right, only added to our general vertigo.
But, once I recovered from the conviction that we had been seriously ripped off, we had a great time with lots of laughs, and the four kids — well, young people, really — absolutely loved it.
The boys hit the slopes all day every day, where there was plenty of snow, even if a fair bit of it came out of a machine every morning. They started with a day's tobogganing and tube-riding, and then tried snowboarding. By the end of their first day of this, they'd moved beyond the beginner slopes, and by the end of their last day, they'd managed to snowboard down the entire mountain.
Dave and I went on a few walks with Lily and the two dogs, and spent some real together time watching the Iowa caucuses, and on our last day, with the Storm of the Century looming over the entire west coast, the Weather Channel.
That night, as wild weather and snow storms hit from Seattle to Southern California, we were buffeted by high winds and a lot of rain. We lost power just after dinner, and the six of us sat around the little coffee table in the firelight — three on the one sofa (repeat, one sofa) and the rest on the floor.
In our lake-mural room, everything started to leak, which really added to the aquatic ambience. Though there was another floor on top of us, water dripped steadily from the massive log-cabin-style beams in the ceiling. And, in contrast to its inability to let in much light by day, the tiny window let in a truly surprising amount of water all night. Despite my artful arrangements with towels, rain ran down the wall behind the bed. It also cascaded down the edges of all nine slats of the tasteful venetian blinds and splashed gently on to my face, and my pillow.
I had visions, as I fell asleep, of that boat that ventures into the mists at the bottom of the Niagara Falls ...
:: In the morning, with one eye on the Weather Channel again and another on the California Department of Transport's website for road closures and traffic warnings, Lily packed up her car and headed off with Dev and James for the long drive north to Olympia, while Dave, Will and I drove home.
I had a little weep when I got home, because of the gap created by our girl's departure. I miss her dreadfully, and hate it that she lives so far away. Though I'm thrilled she's so happy, and doing brilliantly, and enjoying her own shared household, I just wish she was living nearer.
:: Hey: it's 2008! My big resolution is to carry on much as I have done, as well as to read more, write more, make more stuff, knit more, paint more and lose weight. But only whenever and wherever possible, of course!