Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kidlet's First Fish

Rather than sitting on our duffs this weekend, we packed up Kidlet and Shadow and headed across the mountains. Hubby’s BFF (one of two, the Brothers BFF. The younger is Greg and the elder is Ken) no longer has a cat, so we were able to stay overnight at his house. Not paying for a hotel had the benefit of allowing us to afford gas. We drove a total of 401.7 miles this trip, which works out at current prices to $98.83 (Gas at this moment averages $4.14/gal. For comparison, one gallon of milk from our favorite local dairy cost $3.59, earlier today—and that gallon will last two weeks. But I digress).

Greg lives in Redmond, the same town where Kidlet was born six years ago. When we lived there, the population hovered at just over 12,000. Nice, small town. Bend was a close 20 minutes to the south, a city of around 30,000, if you counted the outlying areas.

Holy Moley. Redmond has exploded. Population is now over 24,000. ODOT has build most of a bypass highway around the downtown area. Walmart mutated like a cancer and became a supercenter, three times as big as the original when we lived there. The north end of town is unrecognizable, with the aforementioned Walmart and both a Home Depot and a Lowe’s (both of which can be found 20 min to the south at the north end of Bend as well). Why so many home improvement centers? You know how predator populations increase the year after prey populations grow? Well, now…just add water to any portion of Redmond and a ticky-tacky housing development grows. Good Lord.

The good part to our visit, though seeing Redmond so bloated saddened us, was that our old house has been well taken care of. (We feel compelled to drive past it whenever we’re in town). The current owners have added definite curb appeal with cedar shingles below the eaves and fake brickwork on the lower third of the walls. They stained the front door a natural wood shade and put pretty topiary trees on top of the little deck that Mom and I built by the front door. In the backyard, our struggling baby maple trees have finally grown and looked both stately and as though they actually offer shade. A covered deck off the back patio sports a hot tub, complete with hanging chandelier. They’ve stained the fence all along to match. And my little orange rosebush is still bushy and where I left it. We were happy campers.

The true reason for this weekend’s visit was an extension of Kidlet’s birthday fun. Greg and Ken had the pleasure of teaching Kidlet to fish (Granny gave Kidlet a fishing pole and life vest for her birthday). The five of us traveled up to Lake Billy Chinook this morning and within three casts, she’d caught her first fish. The two brothers traded off who coached Kidlet and who got in some fishing of his own. Hubby fished a bit and I sat in the shade, observing. Hence, the blog post.

Aside from bass, I saw fence lizards, many many blue-tailed skinks, mourning doves, swallows, seagulls, red-tailed hawks, a crow, and two butterflies—an orange and a blue. Oh, and ants. Amid the juniper, sagebrush and bitterbrush, lupines bloomed and Russian Olive trees lent sweet nectar to the air from yellow blossoms. The sun shone hot from ten to noon, but the shade was cool. Shadow bounded from one of us to the other then dug a spot under a shady tree to lie down.

I’d post a photo or two from the trip but we forgot the camera at Greg’s house while we went fishing (d’oh!). So no “First Fish” photos, sorry.

The first one got away but Kidlet kept the second one—a six-inch smallmouth bass she named “Mermaid.” We placed Mermaid in a bucket and transported her to Greg’s ginormous fishtank, where she will be spoiled with live goldfish and nightcrawlers. No, she’ll not be eaten. She is now a pampered pet.

Saturday night (moving backwards, chronologically), we ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant, visited with Ken and Julie, played with guns in the desert. Got rained on. Seriously—stormy wet weather all day Saturday, complete with thunder. Quite pleasant out in the desert, though, as the rain kept the dust down. I did get photos of Kidlet’s first turn firing her pink Cricket .22, little pink cowgirl boots filled with sand because I’m too much of a city girl to know that one wears one’s pantlegs over the outside of boots to keep the dirt out. Whoops.

We had a great trip. A mini-vacation. And Shadow looooved going with us. I look forward to going back and maybe visiting with my Museum friends next time.