our six-hour pond visit

Even though it got us all sick our outing a week ago was pretty fantastic, so I wanted to note some its positive aspects. Because there's not much better than boating with friends!

the view from our canoe to our friends' kayak on Walden Pond

delightful

Even though there was no forward planning—I just thought of the outing that morning and invited our friends at around 7:00—we were able to throw things together in time to meet at the pond at 8:30 (we had to make sure to get in before it closed!). We took a leisurely paddle across, and all around, the pond, then set up camp at a nice spot to swim. Of course, when there are boats pulled up on the shore they exert a powerful pull, and before too long the swimming was well-mixed with boating. Left on shore without a boat I could only hope they would come back! (Of course they would: I had the lunches!)

kids and boats out in the pond

can you spot them all?

As the morning wore on our beachy spot got a little crowded, so we re-loaded the boats and headed to another cove which, besides being less occupied, gave us a chance to swim in the shade! It was also right by the rail line, and we were lucky enough to be by the tracks right as a train went by. I should have shot a video!

Zion and Lijah holding their ears as a train roars by ten feet away

whoooooosh

Soon afterwards our friends needed to head home. We saw them off, stopped by the bathroom, then re-embarked to find a quiet spot to have lunch. People definitely spread out more at Walden now than they did pre-Covid, so it took us a while to find a private space—we never would have managed it without a boat! After lunch I tried to nap while the boys swam, then I joined them for some water play. Then finally it was time to leave—not to go home, but to visit the Farmers Market in Lexington. What a full day!

Lijah sleeping in his car seat

zzz

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at least it wasn't Covid..

I thought that the boys' illness was due to too much sun, and attributed a weak spell I felt myself to vacuuming in the heat, but in retrospect we may have actually been sick. The clue was that by 9:00 on Friday morning I was so weak and dizzy I couldn't stand up, and that I wasn't able to eat anything between Friday breakfast and Saturday supper. There was also some time spent in the bathroom; I won't trouble you with the details. So I guess, as well as heat exhaustion, we all picked up some sort of stomach bug among the throngs at the pond. A 24-hour bug, thankfully, rather than the coronavirus—which I assume was also a possibility if we were in a position to be taking on germs at all. I wonder if four months of social distancing and mask-wearing have let our immune systems start slacking off?

The most notable thing to me about being sick—besides the kindness and consideration of my family—was that I was able to reach a point where Gatorade was palatable. More than palatable, even; more like the nectar of the gods, at least when it was watered down with ice. It had the stuff my body needed! I wonder if any of that appreciation will linger now that I'm almost back to normal? I don't think I'll risk a trial.

moments from the week

the kids swimming beyond the beached canoe

our happy place

Moments from the past week.

Lijah going down a zip-line

zzzzip!

the dogs swimming in the Old Reservoir

reservoir dogs

Lijah climbing up a partially fallen tree above ferns

tree, ferns

Harvey paddling the canoe on the lake

Harvey on the water

Zion in the car with a big bag of blueberries and a donut

blueberry picking spoils

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hard labor

The boys were prostrated by a day at the pond; I survived that fine, but barely made it through a half-hour of vacuuming this afternoon! While the days have been hot lately it's been getting cool enough at night that we haven't had any problems keeping the house cool, at least until 3:00 or 4:00 every afternoon. But there's still latent heat in the air or something, because if we so much as turn on a burner the kitchen becomes an unendurable sauna. And it turns out the vacuum cleaner puts out just as much heat! If I could have avoided running it I would have, but there are these dogs. It was getting so we couldn't see the rug anymore with all the bits of chewed-up pencils and plastic bags they'd strewn everywhere, to say nothing of the dirt they track in from their delightful romps in many local mud-holes. So I cleaned up a bit: it took, as I said, about half an hour. Then because of the heat I had to rest of the couch in front of the fan for 45 minutes. Some people get lots of things done in a day. I'm not sure how they manage it! Maybe they have air-conditioning.

too much!

Saturday evening after our delightful outing to the pond I was talking with Leah about how well-adapted the boys are to the sun, since they eased into it by being outside every day all spring and into the summer. They're basically sunburn-proof, I said. That was after we'd been at the pond for two hours in the middle of the day and all three of them had a delightful healthy glow. Well, yesterday we went back to the pond, and this time we stayed there for six hours: all the way from 8:30 until 2:30. As we finished our lunch I suggested they take a little break in the shade—there were places where they could be in the shade and still be sitting in the water!—but they were having too much fun. They were feeling great, and talking about what all they could do the next time we came. Could it be tomorrow? As we made our way back to the car, though, I noted how red they were looking. Harvey scratched an itch on his face and found that it hurt some. And we were all super tired.

As it turns out, the sunburns weren't actually very bad. All the redness was gone by mid day today. Hooray, but it turns out sunburns aren't the only thing to worry about from a full day of sun exposure: between the heat and the dehydration and all the exercise, all three boys were totally wiped out today. And worse than wiped out, downright sick, with almost feverish symptoms. Zion threw up a couple times in the morning and slept for an hour in the middle of the day; Harvey threw up after supper. Leah and I tried all day to get liquids into them: water, gatorade, lemonade, chocolate milk. Lijah and especially Zion couldn't find anything to their taste—trust Zion to worry about taste when he's dehydrated and throwing up. As the symptoms kept on towards bed time I started to wonder if they could have actually picked up a bug of some sort at the pond. After all, they were around people more than they had been any time in the last several months! But right now I still do think it's just dehydration and heat exhaustion. "Just"? That's plenty! Zion told me this afternoon that he's never going back to the pond again. I hope he feels better in the morning!