Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lake Coeur d'Alene (man that's hard to spell)

I am embarrassed by how long it has been since I last posted. As much as I love keeping a blog and knowing that it's a record that I'll have forever, sometimes life gets in the way of updating said record. It has been an eventful - nay, transformative - few weeks, dear readers. I promise that I'll make quick work of updating it, starting with a long weekend in Idaho 3 weeks ago.

My friends Robyn and Paul own and manage a marina on Lake Coeur d'Alene (CDA to locals) in Idaho on the southern part of the lake. Saturday, August 21 was the marina's 100 year anniversary party, and I volunteered to help them pull it off. It was great for them since I'm a useful person to have around at events, and it was great for me since it was a long weekend on a beautiful lake in which I got to indulge in two of my favorite things: delicious diner-esque food, and free stuff. There is nothing like knowing the tab is on the house! Of course, I tried not to abuse the freebies.

The lake is gorgeous. Here is a view of the marina and the lake from the cabin porch where we stayed: (look closely for the nearly-full moon!)

We left Thursday afternoon and unfortunately got stuck in some random brush-fire-related traffic, so a 5-hour drive turned into about 8. By the time we got there we had just enough energy to make our beds and have a quick "manager's meeting" since the brothers who run the marina generally sleep there during the busy days. I loved being included, so maybe I should admit that I got to partake in THREE things I love, the third being having some authority/power. Again, I tried not to abuse it, though I definitely pulled rank over the 16-year-old helpers when I felt like driving a golf cart.

My friends wake up EARLY. We were up and at 'em by 7 am and that was sleeping in for them. This was Friday, the day before the big bash. This way was spent in running errands to the city of Coeur d'Alene about a half hour away including picking up the sno cone machine and 6 sheet cakes from Costco, making signage, coordinating with the staff, and a late afternoon swim with Robyn's dad. The water is dark but extremely clear and it is populated with big, bold fish that were not afraid to swim with us.

The next morning - party day - started even earlier at about 6 am. We wasted no time in getting right down to business hanging historical photos, twisting and draping streamers, blowing up balloons, setting up chairs and tables and taping down tablecloths, and on and on. There was plenty to do and it's a wonder I found time for free breakfast in there (but if you were worried, never fear; I did).

Probably hardest working of all were Robyn and her dad, affectionately nicknamed "White Stag" (it's a great story). Check out their awesome t-shirts; we all wore them but Robyn and I styled ours up by cutting off the sleeves and tying ribbons around each shoulder to create a 'boat neck,' for which we received many compliments.

I was tasked with manning the sno cone machine, which was set up next to the free airbrush tattoo lady on the lawn across from the restaurant. The day got off to a slow start but by mid-afternoon things were in full swing. We had normal sno cone flavors and also an 'adult' version which could be any flavor plus a shot of vodka or rum. Although we did sell quite a few of these, the majority of the consumption was by "upper management." Just because we were working does not mean we weren't enjoying the party.

Here I am at the antiquated hunk of metal churning out some shaved ice. Notice the sweet syrup bottles - I made them the day before and was proud of my handiwork

After a good long stint as the sno cone operator I took a break to eat some barbecue and watch the kids' games on the other lawn. I preceded these games by making a loud announcement via the DJ's microphone to all in earshot - that is, everyone on land and dock - about the various games and prizes. I believe at this point I was as buzzed as I was going to get that day, which I'm proud to say was hovering around what we liked to call in college "essentially sober."

The kids' games were really fun to watch and I got to run the video camera for a few of them. Here is a shot of one of the potato sack races:

Then there was adult tug-of-war whose prize was supposed to be a Derailer (and through some bad communication ended up being SIX of them). Imagine, if you will, a Mai Tai in a bucket with 6 straws. That, my friends, is a Derailer. It is a sight to behold.

The final game event was another tug-of-war, this time between the marina staff and "upper management," or Robyn and Paul plus their friends who they had talked into helping them. Of course everyone wanted the staff to win, and win they did, in a big way. I will never forget Robyn's dad screaming, "Pull! Pull dammit, PULL!" Robyn was so into it she got a giant rope burn on her arm from being dragged across the sand, refusing to give up.

A few of us went swimming afterward to wash off the dirt and the shame of loss, at which point I observed Robyn do the most amazing thing I have ever seen: a silent karaoke (in which the singer is listening to the song on headphones) of "Baby Got Back." She knew every word and danced her booty off for the entire 4 minutes. This most amazing record was broken mere ours later when Robyn and the same instigator of the silent karaoke did the Gator on the dance floor. Words are not enough... Note that in the video, it's just one dude; in real life it's supposed to be six dudes doing that same movement while hopping over a seventh dude on the floor. I can't imagine why this dance went out of style...

At various points during the day I decided I wanted to drive the golf cart. There were some teenagers helping out with the carts, ushering people from a far-away parking lot to the marina and back. So, a few times I pulled rank, booted one of the sulking teens, and drove to my heart's content. I even drove at night, holding a Mag light up as a headlight through the pitch-black back-woods Idaho roads. Good times. It was during one of these night shuttles that a 10-year-old boy gave me a $5 tip that his dad had given him to give to me. I thought about protesting but took the cash and tipped with it at breakfast the next morning - the only $5 I spent the entire weekend.
Let me take this opportunity to say that people in Idaho like to PARTY. This crowd was not messing around. There was a daytime DJ, then a popular local band that played from 6 to 10 to which people were dancing like crazy (and during which an overly intoxicated man - he'd gotten his fair share of the Derailer prize - with no warning just fell forward, striking the bridge of his nose on the stage. Yikes.) Then there was a late-night DJ and people were STILL dancing, even though most of them had been partying since about noon.
The festivities finally started to wind down at about midnight and we all fell into bed, exhausted after a 18-hour day.

We lucked out on the weather since Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day and Sunday was the first day of rain they'd had in weeks. We packed up the car, drove back to CDA to drop off the sno cone machine and take a tour of CDA since Paul insisted I should see it, and then started the long drive back. The highlight was pizza in Ellensburg. The lowlight was crappy traffic directly outside Ellensburg until Snoqualmie. Overall I had a great weekend and now I can say I've been to Idaho instead of just having driven through it.

Upcoming blogs to pique your interest: "Day Trip to Mount Rainier" and "Ch-ch-ch-changes: is this my life?"

1 comment:

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