July 8, 2011

The Lake of the Ozarks

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “Ozarks” I get ~ got ~ an image of hillbillies, broken-down unpainted houses, with lots of hound dogs and barefoot kids out front ~ you know, sort of like I was raised. We certainly did see some of that when we took a “short cut,” thanks to the navigator ~ ahem, me ~ but turns out that the Lake of the Ozarks is pretty developed and a little bit of a tourist trap. It’s one of those places that makes city folks feel like they’re in the country without missing any of their modern conveniences.

I’m just sayin.

But I loved it, and we had such a good time! Every other year, my husband’s family takes a vacation together, and we rent a huge vrbo (vacation rental by owner) house on the water somewhere. We’ve been to Phoenix, the Keys, Michigan, and now Missouri. It’s so great to hang with the inlaws and to have the kids spend time with their cousins. They’re all such good people. We take turns making dinners and we go and do all the things there are to do.

Our house had eight bedrooms, all of which were occupied, and its own dock on the water. We had two jetskis for the whole week and a boat for a day. Most everyone spent all their time down by the water. My two have just been learning to swim, as they’re five, so we were concerned that they would go in, literally, over their heads, but we made the rule that whenever they were outside the house they had to wear their life jackets, which worked out great. I think their swimming came a long way during the trip. Most of the time was in the water, but some of us with young kids took in Cars 2 and some went for a helicopter ride and my mother-in-law got to visit a great friend of hers who was having a bit of a rough patch.

The only challenge we had was on Friday. It was just my husband, kids, and I in our rented van. We’d just come out of the Camdenton Walmart, got in, and were driving through the parking lot, when ~WHAM! ~ we were rammed by a row of 23 shopping carts! Turns out, the young guy had only worked there four days, and he wasn’t paying attention and used the cart pusher to ram the carts into the side of the van. It’s funny now. What insued was 45 minutes of standing in the steaming hot parking lot directing cars away and talking with the manager. They were all very nice about it, and the poor kid who did it kept pacing back and forth and rubbing his hand over his crew cut.

I was in the middle of revising my story for workshop at Bread Loaf, and it was so fabulous because I had the time and space to do it. The house is large and rambling, and our bedroom was on the lowest floor, fairly isolated. My husband would take the kids down two swim and I would be able to just go to the room and write. I was able to get the very intensive revisions done over the course of the week. Lovely. I also got to sleep in every morning, thanks to my husband!

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