February. A Saturday. I am not sick. Mimi is not sick. It is sunny. It is above freezing and getting warmer. There is snow on the ground, though. What better day to get a picture of some log cabins in the snow…? So, “Mimi, wanna go to the log cabin place?” I ask, and “Yeah!!!” she says.
A hour later we are showered, dressed, coiffed, and breakfasted. We have a picnic basket in the trunk and Whiskey Before Breakfast on the stereo. What could be better?
1. Partway through the drive I start to feel that some hair on the top of my head has gone agley. Not surprising, with the air vents blowing everywhere. I ignore it. Ten minutes later, a large brown house spider falls off of my forehead onto my sweater. I whisk it off, figure I have killed it, and congratulate myself for not disturbing the child.
2. Some time later, Mimi screams like a banshee. She has seen the spider. More screams, hyperventilating, hysterics, for the last ten miles of interstate before we can pull off for me to kill the spider. Spider, need I say, has long since disappeared.
3. So we go on our merry way, laughing about the naughty spider. We arrive at the park. There are three other cars there. Oops. Oh well, the website said the park is technically OPEN, and we have a picnic, so we eat it then enter the park.
4. They don’t shovel the walkways in this park. Good thing I insisted Mimi wear her snow boots. Except it turns out that hers are purely ornamental snowboots. She immediately begins to whine that her feet are cold, and shortly convinces me to sit on a bench to warm them up. Inside her boots, her socks are soaking wet. I strip them off, warm her tootsies in my hands, and put the wet boots back on.
5. Repeat, a hundred yards down the path. Convince her to keep going only with promises of stick candy at the general store.
6. The general store is closed for the winter.
7. Warm her feet twice more on the way back to the entrance. Normally, when a cabin’s re-enactor isn’t in for the day, the cabin door is open with a fence across it so you can peer in. The cabins’ doors are all closed for the winter.
8. We make it back to the entrance with only two foot-warmings because I tell her we’ll get cake at the canteen. The canteen is closed.
9. Get in the car. Take off her soaked boots. Put her mittens on her feet. Drive away. Oh well, at least I got fifty lovely pictures of the outsides of log cabins in the snow, and Mimi has swallowed the disappointments manfully. She is singing happily in the back seat and… she screams like a banshee again. The spider, warm and friendly after hibernating in my car for who knows how long, is crawling on her car seat waving his feelers at her. She tries to bat him away with a granola bar wrapper. In the rear-view mirror, I see the spider fly somewhere. She insists he fell into her car seat and is in her clothes. Ten miles of hysterics while I look for an exit.
10. Child climbs onto me, clings like a monkey, all the while demanding that I kill the spider without bringing her anywhere near the car. Pause for a brief lesson in physics and logic. Look for spider. Don’t find spider. We agree the spider is not in her car seat. I still have to karate-chop her to get her back into it. Tiny gods, get me home now.
11. Full stoppage of the interstate. Emergency vehicles have both lanes blocked a quarter of a mile ahead. Yahoos behind me begin to drive down the left lane. Shortly thereafter a string of fresh emergency vehicles wants to get down the left lane. I feel smug, but we still sit in traffic for fifteen extra minutes with a spider in the car and no cake in our bellies. Still, I bet the poor blighter who flipped his car had a worse day.
12. Finally, home. Phew. The trip was objectively a disaster… though to tell the truth, February is such a horrid month that even all that was better than staying home.
We won’t go to the log cabin place in the winter again. Lovely photos, though.