Saturday, August 14, 2010

Varying degrees of insanity

This is kind of long, but I hope you enjoy it!
If you weren't already aware, we are in the middle of moving, 1/2 to 2/3 of the way across the country. This all came up rather fast and has been a pretty rushed process, with about a week and a half to go from everyday (i.e. cluttered) house, to "staged for sale" (i.e. very spare) house. And now we are in the process of selling, which has been the most stressful aspect to date of this moving business.

In the midst of it all, there have been two birthdays in our house this week, neither of them celebrated with much fanfare, much to my discredit as a mother.

Various friends over the years have gone to pick blackberries along Oak Creek each summer and made jelly/jam, and we have often talked of going with them, and even attempted once or twice, but the berries weren't ripe or were gone. But because I either a.) really needed something else to do, b.) had a lapse in my ability to make wise decisions, c.) it was G's birthday, or d.) really needed something different to think about and do besides pack and think about the house, we decided to go give berry-picking a try and play in the creek afterward for fun and to cool off. We only have a limited time left to enjoy this beautiful spot!Berry picking turned out to be some form of ancient torture. For one, they are berry bushes - brambles - thorn and pricker covered vines that have no mercy. Second, one must bushwhack through these dense vines on rocky, sometimes steep, banks of the creek for hours to find even remotely enough berries to make a batch of jelly, especially since hundreds of other people have been there hunting for the same thing. Every berry that could be fairly easily reached had been stripped, so the girls, who weren't feeling well, didn't last very long at picking and probably found 1/4 to 1/2 cup of berries before they gave up. Little G, who has a little more interest in this sort of thing, lasted longer, and probably managed to scavenge up 2-3 cups of berries.

Birthday boy braving the chilly waters:Someone else who had a birthday this week:This poor girl hardly had any breaks from coughing and felt pretty bad:

At this point (when G was done) I took them back to the car to put on swimsuits so they could play in the creek while I continued to pick up the bank where I could still watch them. They got in the water and were happy so I went back to picking. I was about 5 yards up the hillside picking through thick bushes and after slipping a bit on a leaf covered rock, thought, "What if I hurt myself doing this?" About 5 seconds later I stepped on an area that was covered with vines and leaves which gave way and totally wrenched my ankle, falling bum and back first into the brambles. I lay there waiting for the flash of pain to subside for a minute and starting to think through what to do if it was badly sprained or broken, since I was alone with the kids, 45 minutes away from anyone who could really help me. Could Little G drag me out of the brambles? Who could I call to come get us if I couldn't walk or drive? Etc.
I attempted to extricate myself from the brambles and was able to stand up and to put weight on it without any extra pain, so gingerly went back down to the creek and soaked the ankle in the cold water for some time while the kids played.(G asked if it hurt when I landed in the brambles, and I said that I really didn't know because the ankle hurt so bad and I was so worried about it, that I didn't notice the thorns.) After a while they were done and we started to head back toward the parking area, at which point G crossed to the other side of the creek and started exploring. A moment later he called to me that he found some more raspberries. Not wanting to miss out on the potential mother lode of berries, I too forded the slippery creek with my tender ankle and climbed another hillside - all for a few more cups of berries.

In the end, we had a large whipped topping container full of berries.I think I could have spent what we paid to park to buy the equivalent at the store and avoided all the drama, pain, and pestilence. (I discovered last night and this morning, that besides having lots of scratches, there were plenty of bites around my ankles as well.) And now I feel compelled to make jelly, too. This whole adventure sufficiently labels me as all kinds of crazy, I'm pretty certain.

We ended the afternoon feeding the fish at the Trout Farm, at G's request, which he had never done and was very happy to have gotten to do. It was all worth it to hear him say several times last night that it was a good day and "thank you" for taking him and doing those things that day.
Shrimp pizza for dinner after it all was a nice treat!


  1. What fun memories you made! It'll be a birthday none of you will soon forget. :)

  2. Way to push through the insanity! Your kids will love and remember these moments! And hopefully you will forget the painful parts. :)

  3. I'll be praying for your house to sell, too.

  4. Sounds like a really fun day (other than the owie ankle! Ouch!) Moving is hard...hope that you are continuing to do well.

  5. We will miss you. I'm glad you're getting your AZ adventures/tortures in before you leave. I hope your ankle feels better soon.