Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nature au Naturale

My family is weird.  I know that comes as a complete shock to those of you who’ve been reading this blog and marveling at my utter normalness, but it’s true.  They don’t like nature.  Oh, they like pictures of it.  And interesting facts about it.  Even PBS specials about it. Brandon says he approves of nature in a broad sense.  But if you drag them out into the middle of it, they will soon voice objections.
Case in point.  There are precious few places where sea otters actually live and one of them is off the coast of California.  Having a weakness for anything with a face as cute as an otter’s, I booked a family excursion on a boat that takes you out into Monterey Bay to see them up close.  As we were walking down the dock, Cassidy said, “This isn’t going to have anything to do with nature, is it?”  Quickly I stepped in front of a humongous sign that said, NATURE CRUISES, trying to block the first word.  “No, no,” I assured him, “it’s just a fun little tour.”  Ten minutes later he realized he’d been Shanghai’d on a slow boat not to China, which actually would have  interested him, but through kelp beds and bird habitats where otters resembled tree branches and other floating plant material nobody would pay ten cents to see.

Another time I decided to take the entire family to Yosemite for Bob’s birthday because it happens that Bob is crazy about waterfalls.
  Now.  Did I tell this man to have a birthday in the dead middle of summer on what is often the hottest day of the year?  A time when the waterfalls have all dried up?  It was a total bust.  Not only were there no waterfalls, but the rare yellow orchid I wanted to see was hidden deep in mountain passes unavailable to tourists, and the kids refused to walk farther than 100 feet on a hike, claiming there was nothing to see but a bunch of trees.

The pricey Ahwanee Hotel where I had booked us rooms nearly gave Bob a stroke when he saw the tab.
 Cassidy leaned against the front desk and said, “A squirrel just ran across the lobby, Mom.”  As if this were a dive in a bad neighborhood and someone had just sprayed graffiti on the walls. 
Nicole came back from the gift shop reporting a distinct shortage of good chocolate and they all elected to leave a day early.   
In Scouting, Cassidy climbed Mt. Shasta
and came back as fried as a strip of bacon, still almost smoldering as he stumbled through the door.  Nicole counted every ant at Girls’ Camp.  Brandon stepped on a beehive while helping with Richie’s Eagle Project (a bat house) and got so many stings we couldn’t count them all.  Brandon also has the family record for sunburns, stitches from mishaps on fishing boats, and battles with Poison Oak.

Richie seems to be the only one who enjoys camping and getting out in nature.   And according to Brandon, that makes him the weird one. 
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