Sunday, July 15, 2012

North Shore Weekend

John's grandma used to live in Silver Bay, MN.  It is a sweet little town about an hour north of Duluth.  I wish we had visited more when she was there but unfortunately I think we were only there once during the years she and her husband, Bud, lived there.  

Bud is gone now and shortly after his death Grandma started forgetting things.  She has forgotten most things now and lives in an assisted living building with a memory care floor.

But the house is still there.  It has been empty for nearly 3 years.  John and I stayed there a couple years ago as a little anniversary weekend.  The beds aren't really very comfortable but it is a cute little house in a cute little town and we enjoyed being there.

John's mom manages things now and the house needed a new roof.  She asked John if he would be able re-roof for her.  What we thought would be a quick 2 day job on a tiny house with a simple roof turned into a 5 day project.  He realized when he arrived he would need to do a complete tear off instead of just putting on new shingles.  Add to that an entire day last for rain and 1/2 day spent replacing some rotted plywood and suddenly your 2 day project has you up in Silver Bay alone for a week.  He called a few friends hoping they would want to come up for the weekend and help and asked around town but was unable to find anyone available to help.

Isabelle and I decided to go up and keep him company for a couple days while he worked.  I wish I was more helpful construction wise because that is what he really needed but I was just not built to stand on a roof and do hard labor.  God bless him, my husband knows this about me.  However, I did help toss shingles into the dumpster once they hit the ground.  It pretty much maxed out my laborer skills but I was happy to help.  As I was saying, we went up to keep him company.

With record heat that weekend John didn't work too fast or too long.  So while Isabelle and I had to go on our morning hike alone, John was able to join us for a couple hours when we went swimming.  Once cooled off he was back on the roof for the cooler evening.

Isabelle was excited to get up on the roof.

Straddling the short distance between the house and garage.

She helped out by tossing some shingles  into the dumpster...

Right in the dumpster it landed.  Rock star.

It was an interesting weekend because with an empty house we had appliances but nothing to cook with or on so we ate all our meals out.  And although John found 12 wireless networks in range they all had passwords.  So no internet for the whole weekend.  I pushed my little computer junkie to experience life rather than simply watch it on netflix.  We took 2 hikes during the 2 days we were there.  The first one was about 2 miles and she complained virtually the entire time.  The great thing about hiking in the middle of a 4 wheeler route is that there is nothing else around.  So she when she would announce that if I didn't pick her up she would not go any further I knew I could keep walking because there was nowhere else for her to go and nobody to see me abandon her.  And sure enough that bluff lasted about 2 seconds before she realized who really had the upper hand.  The second day she actually seemed excited for the hike.  We went left instead of right the second day and stumbled upon an access to the Superior Hiking trail about a 1/4 mile from the house.  SO exciting.  Isabelle doesn't do new so the moment we started a different route and then the whole time on the superior trail she complained.  Holy smokes can that girl complain.  But I was undeterred and I know she enjoyed it.  Someday I will get her to embrace the adventures of life instead of fret over them.

After lunch we went swimming in the Baptism River.  Some friends told us about a place to swim right at the mouth to Superior.  It was literally right at the mouth.  Climb the rocks around the corner and you are in Lake Superior.  The rocky beach and and river bed were a little too much for my sensitive feet (have I ever mentioned I am high maintenance?) but all I really wanted to do was sit on the beach with my legs in the water and that is exactly what I got to do.  We ended up being there about 3 hours and toward the end Isabelle randomly announced, "This is WAY better than TV".  So apparently she had been listening to me telling her living life was better than watching it.

We got a late afternoon start home on Sunday and by the time we reached Duluth I was ready for a treat.  I got off at Canal Park and found a parking spot right in front of Caribou.  It was like a sign from God.  I got my drink and went around the corner to pick up a DQ for Isabelle.  We decided to get a meal and then I made her walk 3 blocks to the lake before I would let her sit down and eat.  TORTURE!  She had no vision for where I was taking her and complained for 3 blocks.  Of course when we arrived I couldn't get her to sit and eat!  She did quickly gulp her melting ice cream but there I was holding my purse, 2 drinks and our food bag following her around as she climbed the rocks, dipped her toes in the lake and chased the sea gulls.  I think we might still be there if it wasn't for the fact that she had to go to the bathroom.  I started directing her back toward Caribou but she actually got excited by the site of a Biff and went in.  You really have to go when a Biff sounds more exciting than a 3 block walk to indoor plumbing.  I waited till Caribou.  On the walk back we went past a shop FULL of sparkling jewelry all displayed on pink satin drapped tables.  It was almost as if a force beyond our control sucked her in.  How can you possibly resist such a thing when you are 7 years old?  I agreed to 5 minutes which was more like 10 minutes and as we walked out of the store she announced, "this was the best vacation EVER."  I had to laugh.  For all her complaining it turned out her mom knew what she was doing.

Now we are looking forward to getting up there again to enjoy all that Silver Bay and Duluth have to offer without the stress of a roofing job.  And HOPEFULLY, having discovered how much fun it can be, Isabelle won't complain the whole time.

I can hope.

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