***When reading this, please do so in Tim Allen’s voice.
A few years ago, my Uncle Larry and Aunt Lonna bought a cottage in Michigan. They are the nicest, most laid back people you’ll ever meet. And if you don’t come up to the cottage, their feelings are actually hurt. They want everyone there all the time. It’s a nice big place that can accommodate a lot of people. And thank God, because there are a lot of us. When you’re there you feel like you’re home.
The first few years, Beau and I were too busy popping out kids to be able to enjoy the cottage. Having babies at home is hard enough, but having them in new surroundings is a total nightmare. Then a miraculous thing happened. Our youngest turned two and our lives changed forever. We were now able to throw all the kids in the van and enjoy every last second of cottage life in Michigan.
Now, every summer, we take full advantage. Shelly, Quint, Beau, and I would all load up the vans and drive straight to partyville USA. Fridays are the worst. Waiting for the guys to get home from work and the kids to finish up with camp was painful. Let’s just go already. I’d have the car loaded up so we could take off the moment everyone arrived home. I would spend the day at Sam’s Club buying tons of crap that I would never normally buy. But that’s Michigan for you. Anything goes.
Last summer things got even better. Our friends, Grim and Kerry Mae, bought a cottage right across the lake from us. This was so exciting. More people to party with. They would have even more of our friends staying with them. So it was an instant party. We would load up the boat with all the kids and coolers and head on over for a day of fun in the sun.
The greatest part about Michigan is they have a siren that goes off at noon everyday to let you know it’s time to start day drinking. As soon as you hear it you have to crack a beer or another beverage of choice. Then at six o’clock in the evening, another siren alerts us that it’s time to break out the good booze and really start to party. They really think of everything in Michigan. I wish it was like that at home. I never know when to start drinking. It’s so confusing.
On one particular Saturday morning, we started drinking as soon as the siren went off. Normally we try to keep things light at this early hour, but that’s not always the case. Especially with Shelly. She whipped up some concoction of vodka and cherry Kool-Aid/lemonade in a gallon water jug. It looked harmless enough. But it really wasn’t. By the time we made it over to the O’Ferry’s, Shelly was well on her way. She sat down on one of the beach chairs and a few minutes later was taking a little napsie.
No big deal. Definitely, not the first time this has happened to one of us. But the party went on. It was actually one of the kid’s birthdays so there was a cake and a piñata and some mariachi music. While all of this was taking place, Shelly got up and went and finished her slumber on the more comfortable boat. We sang happy birthday and the drinks kept flowing.
A while later, Shelly came to. She was on the boat and had no clue where we were docked. Because she didn’t remember the ride over. She came up to the house and her first words were, “When I passed out it was June. I wake up and it’s Cinco de Mayo”. Shelly’s good like that. She’s also good at rallying. She started right back up again as soon as the six o’clock whistle blew. This is one of the many reasons why I love Shelly.
The only bad part about Michigan is when it’s time to leave. On Sundays we like to stay as long as we can before heading home. One particular Sunday, the noon whistle blew and we all decided to punch in, instead of staying sober to drive home. It seemed like such a great idea at the time. We would just party all day and then get up at five in the morning and drive home so everyone could be at work on time. We thought it was genius. What could possibly go wrong? It was a full proof plan, after a couple of drinks, of course. We had so much fun all day, it was gorgeous out. The kids were having a blast. It just didn’t make sense to leave.
Then five o’clock in the morning rolled around. The party was officially over. We instantly regretted our decision. Waking up seven kids and trying to get them in the car was not pleasant. It was a rough ride home, to say the least. And the rest of the day was pure hell. And as much as I would like to think we’ll never do that again, I bet we will. Making poor decisions is what we do best. In Michigan.