I Burnt Everything at the Cottage

As soon as we arrived at the Beast’s family’s cottage late Friday night, he reached his paw into the secret basket to find the key and ended up getting himself a pretty nasty sliver that extended deep below the nail of his index finger. He was very brave about the whole thing, despite being in a fair amount of discomfort.  As we both looked around the place for tweezers, the Beast’s mother texted me asking if we’d arrived yet.   I responded yes and asked where the tweezers were.  Then the telephone rang.  It was the Beast’s mom admitting that the last time she was there she couldn’t find the tweezers either.  The two of us got chatting: she wanted to know if we’d seen the note they’d left us where Dave, the Beast’s dad (who is still very sore that a batch of butter tarts he made last summer have never been mentioned in “the blog”) asked us to sweep the pine needles from the steps.  “I will not do it,” I told Marg.  “The needles are precisely the most charming aspect of the cottage.  Removing them would be like asking Leonardo to tone back a bit on the sfumato in the background of the Virgin of the Rocks. It’s not going to happen.”

While I was busy getting out of doing work for the people who generously allow us to stay at their cottage, the Beast was able to finally remove the sliver from his finger. That’s when he motioned with the bloodied appendage for me to get off the phone so I could tend to the wound, which I did by hugging him and pouring him three fingers of Jameson whiskey.

The next morning the Beast was up and at ’em.  He’s taken his recent interest in exercising (push-ups) to the next level (jumping rope.)

The day before we left he purchased the rope plus two 25 lb. weights from Walmart. As he skipped, I marveled at both his athleticism and how funny it is when boys wear jogging pants and you can see their little bits poking right through them in the front part!

I also prepared breakfast.

While we sipped on our coffee and ate donuts the Beast asked me about a few exercises he’d been reading about.  “What’s a squat?”  “What’s a burpie?” What’s a lunge?” After each question, I’d put down my coffee and deftly demonstrate the exercise, impressing him beyond words.

It was pretty chilly and overcast outside so we spent most of the day inside, reading. When I went into the bedroom with the bunk beds in it to look for candles, I found a bag full of DVDs.  “Why is there a bag of DVDs at the cottage?” I asked the Beast, who was in the other room.

“How should I know?” He yelled back.

“There all are sorts–what a weird collection!” I said.

“I bet they’re my dad’s,” said the Beast.

“Want to watch Something’s Gotta Give?” I asked.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Responded the Beast.  “You didn’t bring a computer so we couldn’t watch a movie even if we wanted to.”

“There’s a TV in here, plus a DVD player,” I noted.  “I want to watch movies tonight!”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.  I think we should just read.”

“OHMYGOD.  Julie and Julia is here.  We are so watching this! I only saw it once in the theatre you know.  Hey, why is there a giant stuffed monkey on the top of this bunk bed?”

“How should I know?  You’re watching that movie alone.”

But before any movies could be watched, there was still a dinner to plan.

We didn’t have much in the way of toppings for our burgers: caramelized onions, arugola and some thinly sliced dill pickle for me (the Beast hates pickles of any sort.) But these wouldn’t be any dill pickles: they would be Marg’s dill pickles, arguably the best dill pickles this side of western Ontario.

“Where are the dill pickles in this joint?” I shouted to the Beast.

“I don’t know.  Did you check the fridge?”

“Yes and they’re not there.”

“Did you check the closet?”

“I’ve checked everywhere.  How can there be no pickles here?  Doesn’t your mom make like a thousand jars every year?”

“I don’t know.”

“I can’t understand it.  First, no tweezers.  And now, no dill pickles. Those are cottage essentials, aren’t they? I mean, I didn’t grow up having a cottage like you guys but you’d think you’d find those things at just about every cottage.  Also, there are no cheese slices! This place is falling apart man.”

Slightly distraught over the idea of eating a burger without pickles, I headed outdoors to cook dinner. I did this while sipping on wine and making some important notes about some big ideas.

This may not have been the best thing to do while simultaneously barbecuing because
while the potato and arugola salad turned out quite nicely,

the burgers, including the bun, were slightly overcooked on account of my carelessness.

Despite being charred–and despite the lack of dill pickle–the burger tasted pretty good.

Then it was time to settle in for the evening.  I assembled some snacks,

while the Beast made a fire.

He also hooked up the TV and DVD player for me so I could watch my movies.

I got through most of Julie and Julia by myself but the Beast curled up beside me for the ending.  Then we watched Wedding Crashers together. We laughed quite a bit. Also, I drank an entire bottle of Vino Nobile di Montelpulciano, not out of gluttony but because I couldn’t decided if I liked it or not.  (It was just okay.)

Luckily for us, the sun came out the next day.  So we spent the afternoon on the dock soaking it up.  I even submerged my entire self in the lake–the first person at this cottage to do so this year, I believe.

The Beast prepared me a beautiful hot dog lunch and even delivered it to me on the dock.

Neither of us wanted to leave the lakeside. But there was a second dinner still to plan,

which required using up a lot of lovely fresh vegetables,

and burning the shit out of them, along with the pork chops.

The problem this time wasn’t me drinking on the job: it was on account of me being distracted by nature and trying to document its beauty.

After dinner, we tidied up, packed our things and loaded the car. We did this, as we usually do, without much talking. There wasn’t much talking on the way home either since the Beast played a real potpourri of music including some Bach, Brahms, his own music, Mardi Gras music, Klezmer music and Randy Newman.

We made it home by 10:00pm–just less than two hours after leaving the cottage–and I was relieved to be back in civilized surroundings where one can find pickles, cheese slices and tweezers with ease.

But I do love roughing it in the wild occasionally, too.

Burger dinner: Foodie **1/2 Beast **

Hot dog lunch: Foodie *** Beast ***

Pork chop dinner: Foodie: 1/2* Beast *

One response to “I Burnt Everything at the Cottage

  1. This was the most spine-tingling FATB post yet! The growing tension created by the missing tweezers and the disturbing bag of DVDs and the pickles that had just…disappeared had me convinced this was going to end with “and then we discovered…WE WERE IN THE WRONG COTTAGE!!!” or something clever and hilarious like that. But then I started thinking about the foreshadowing of the bloody finger and the lurker in the woods watching the sexy coed doing his sexy exercises on the deck while his girlfriend got more and more drunk and unable to protect him and it was clear that when you woke up the next morning you would discover that the scratching at the window was…HIS SEVERED HAND!!! or some other classic cottage ghost story twist. But no. Beautifully grilled pork chops and a medley of vegetables. Very post-modern. Well played, madam. Well played.

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