Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

2012 Vacation, Days 11 and 12

Boating on the Natkowski's pontoon boat

Boating on the Natkowski's pontoon boat

We began day 11 in a leisurely manner, hanging around the cabin, playing in the lake, playing catch with a baseball, etc.  About 2:30 we linked up with Barb and Leonard Natkowski, college friends of my dad.  They have a house on a canal leading into Houghton Lake.  This was an opportunity to catch up with them and also provided them the impetus to take their boat onto the lake for the first time this year.  We then went to dinner together at the Spikehorn bar/restaurant, which was quite good.

An intense game of Phase 10

An intense game of Phase 10

We finished the day by completing a multi-day game of Phase 10 on the picnic table outside our cabin with a view of Houghton Lake at sunset.

The boat crew

The boat crew

Day 12 began with Rick and Angie Serafini, Tommy, and me driving part way around the lake to American Oak Resort to rent a ski boat for the day.  The trip back across to our side of the lake was eventful as we ran through the “middle bounds” where we fouled the propellor a few times with seaweed.  Eventually we made it through the “graveyard of ships” to our side of the lake and picked up the others who were interested in tubing and skiing.

Tom on a pull-behind float

om on a pull-behind float

We borrowed the float from Bob, who runs our resort, and the rope from Larry, who runs the Serafini’s resort.  We spent several hours taking turns on the inner tube.  Rick and I were smart enough to leave the tubing to the youngsters — as I’ve recently been reminded on a Scout trip that I’m no longer 20.  I drove the boat.  Tommy and Sammy had never been tubing before, but they both managed to hang on.  In fact, I worked hard to throw off Sammy after a while, but we finally had to admit defeat.

Sam on a pull-behind float

Sam on a pull-behind float

Angie, Mia, Jesse, and Dylan all took turns on the float.  I think Dylan had a particularly good time.  Angie was hot dogging it a bit, getting up on her knees and waving at me.  At one point, the float turned upside down with Mia on it.  She held on for a while until she realized the water was taking off her bathing suit!

Who IS that stud on those skis?!

Who IS that stud on those skis?!

After a short break for lunch, we put away the float and broke out the skis.  I haven’t been on skis since I was a lieutenant — probably close to 15 years ago.  After a few false starts, a pulled thigh muscle, and a face plant into the lake, I got up and was able to do pretty well — even crossing in and out of the wake a few times.  I think Tommy was surprised at how well I did.  I think I was surprised too.

Tommy earning his water skiing merit badge

Tommy completing the final task for his water skiing merit badge

I did most of the boat driving.  It was difficult for Candy to take good pictures of everyone skiing.  With the movement of the skiers and the boat, many of the shots were blurry.  He didn’t get any good pictures of Rick; although, he got up the first time and did a good job.

Tommy had begun work on his water skiing merit badge for Boy Scouts last Summer.  He needed to cross the wake four times as the final requirement to earn the badge.  Though he had trouble getting up at first, he did cross the wake four times.  We’ll submit that to his merit badge counsellor to get him credit for the badge.

The floating rendezvous

The floating rendezvous

We made a long, leisurely oval pattern with the boat.  We would start near the Serafini’s floating raft (which is barely enough water to launch the boat) and make about a mile oval, releasing the skier back at the float.  This provided a nice place for people to wait their turn.  Also others could help the next skier don the (ill fitting) life jacket and skis.  Apparently this is how the Serafinis have done this in the past, and it was really an excellent idea.

Mia Serafini showing off

Mia Serafini showing off

Everyone who wanted to ski was able to do so at least twice.  This shot shows Mia on her second attempt.

Tammy Serafini showing that Angie and Mia have "cool parents!"

Tammy Serafini showing that Angie and Mia have "cool parents!"

Angie was on the boat as I drove around with Tammy in tow.  Tammy got up on her first try and did a great job of crossing in and out of the wake and other tricks.  She was doing so well that Angie shouted, “I didn’t know my parents were so COOL!”

Angie Serafini showing off

Angie Serafini showing off

This is not the best picture, but here is Angie.  Not to be outdone by her newly designated “cool parents,” Angie got up here first time as well.  She did quite well, crossing in and out of the wake and waving to the camera.

Jesse, Dylan, Mia, and Angie (from left to right)

Jesse, Dylan, Mia, and Angie (from left to right)

For us old folks (Rick, Tammy, and me) getting up on skis was to demonstrated to ourselves that we hadn’t completely deteriorated.  Then we let the youngsters show us how its done.  Unfortunately we only had adult-sized skis, so Dylan and Sammy were unable to try.  The skis kept falling off them.  Rick and Tammy have nice kids.  This was a VERY fun day for all of us.  All of us got burned, and the old folks limped to bed at the end of the day.

We don’t get to see that side of the family very often.  Since my grandparents died, we don’t have as much excuse / reason to go to Mark (Illinois) and see that part of the family very often.  I hadn’t seen them since my grandmother’s funeral, since work wouldn’t allow me to get to Uncle Juzzy’s or Aunt Dorothy’s funerals. We planned our vacation to correspond with the annual Serafini sojourn to Houghton Lake, and I’m glad we did.  I don’t know if we interfered with their vacation, but I really enjoyed the chance to get together with them for something other than a funeral and have some fun.  For my kids, they’ve never really had a chance to get acquainted with that side of the family except for the infrequent reunions.  I fear that since all the old timers are no longer with us that opportunities will be even less frequent in the future.

Interior of the Pines Theater in Houghton Lake

Interior of the Pines Theater in Houghton Lake

After turning in the boat, cleaning up, and having dinner, we went with Tammy and Angie to see Spider Man at the Pines theater.  The theater was built in 1941.  See detailed information and pictures at http://www.pinestheater.com/  I wasn’t expecting much from the movie.  I went to see the theater, which was impressive.  The movie turned out to be better than expected.

 


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