Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Story #2: Holed Up on President's Day

I told you I'm going to do a post per day this week!  This is Day 2 and here I am!

Stories.  I'm still on blogworty stories.

Jeff had the day off for President's Day last month even though he doesn't have a government job.  He works for a Japanese company and they take take this President's Day business seriously.  For some bizarre reason, *back when we used to homeschool, we would do all sorts of craftsy crazy dorky homeschooling activities on President's Day. This year we just went hiking.
*back when we used to homeschool....a phrase used by my sons when they talk about the "early days" of our homeschooling adventure.  they actually remember very little of it, which is why I quit that nonsense.

We headed for Enchanted Rock, which is a huge chunk of granite jutting out of the ground.  Like HUGE.  Not Half Dome Huge - but big enough to be fairly impressive in the Texas Hill Country where we're talking about, you know, hills.

On our way, we stopped to pick up Austen - so right away - things were bound to be exciting.

As you can see, he's always upside down.
 After a picnic, we headed up The Rock.  I mentioned it's granite, right?  And it's all uphill.  Parts of it are slippery.  If you fall, you are going all the way back down in a fraction of the time it took you to get up. So when the teen boys said, "Later..." and took off, I was hoping they weren't going to roll past me as I made my way up.  The three of them are more than a little adventurous, but I had Jasper with me so I couldn't waste a lot of time worrying about them.  Jasper, at the age of 7, began to run up the hill as if he were being chased by a herd of lions.  Now then....I CANNOT RUN UP THE HILL.   Jeff took off after Jasper, but he's just not as good at being neurotic as I am.  I disapproved of his calm demeanor in light of Jasper's full-speed jaunt up the rock, but I was too out of breath to properly express my discontent.  Camille also headed up at quite the pace, but being a girl, she LOOKED WHERE SHE WAS GOING as opposed to RUNNING BLINDLY AND INSANELY UP A STEEP AND SLIPPERY CHUNK OF GRANITE. 

I forgot all about the teen boys because I was entirely focused on being ready to catch Jasper in the event that he stopped, dropped, and rolled on down my way. 

Did I mention I was a tad out of breath during all of this?  'Cause I was. At one point, a little kid took a tumble and came up all kinds of bloody and started the wailing and although Jasper saw the poor kid I could tell he drew no conclusions as to what that could mean for him if he continued running across/up the granite - so I was trying to yell, "See what happens?" but it came out as a sad little whisper and he didn't hear me.

Did I mention that I did this climb without oxygen? Nor was I strapped to the back of a Sherpa.  I know, it's impressive.  I give all the credit for my being able to reach the summit to Jasper and his perilous climb.  It's what kept me going.

When I finally reached the summit I plopped down and pretended to appreciate the view of the clouds while my pulse thundered in my head and I heaved for breath.  I heard some commotion and lifted my head to see the SAS Shoe Crowd heading my way.  If you're unfamiliar with the SAS Shoe Crowd, let me just say that SAS Shoes are a type of shoe manufactured in San Antonio that is favored by the senior crowd.  You see SAS Shoes retirees running all over the damn place and they're hardly ever out of breath and it's freaking annoying.
"Lovely day!" they said as they stepped over me. Since I couldn't speak I opted for a friendly finger gesture behind their backs.

Eventually, I managed to stand up, but it was probably a little too soon because I immediately suffered a hallucination.  In the hallucination, Joel ran up to me and said, "Jules is in the finals!"

"The finals for what?" I asked.

"The Limbo Contest!" Joel said.  Then he ran off.

"Aha. The Limbo Contest," I said to my hallucinating self.  "Of course."

I looked across the top of the chunk of granite, past the SAS Shoes Hikers, to where it appeared a group had gathered.  In my hallucination, it looked a lot like this.

You can't make it out, but two kids are indeed holding a limbo stick, and three people are still in the running and one of them is Jules. That's right - you make it to the top of Enchanted Rock and there stands a Church Youth Group (like the SAS Shoe Crowd they're freaking everywhere and also hardly ever out of breath) and they've already indoctrinated your kids by luring them into the fold with a freaking limbo stick.  You can't turn your back for ONE MINUTE. 

Seriously, these were some nice kids.  Jules came in 2nd, and then we all went our separate ways.  And when I say we all went our separate ways, I mean that the three teen boys screamed, "We're headed to the cave!" and then disappeared on the Other Side of the Granite Rock.
Jasper yelled, "Me too!" and took off.

I yelled, "JEFF!" and he yelled, "I'm going!" and Camille said, "Can I come?" and then they all disappeared and I brought up the rear.  By the time I arrived at what is known as The Cave, I found Jeff and Camille staring at a hole.  Jasper was climbing out of the hole.

"What's that?" I asked.

"That's the cave," Jeff said.

"That's not a cave, that's a hole."

Jeff pointed to a sign that said The Cave.  Jasper said it was very dark in there and that he lost the boys.  Hmmm...I looked at Jeff.  "They said they'd be out in ten minutes or so."

About that time, Jules comes climbing out of the hole.  He looks a little panicky - he's claustrophobic.  "I'm not going back in there," he said. "It's pitch black and I could barely squeeze through some places."

I looked into the hole.  I am not claustrophobic, but I do have a strange and intense fear of being crushed by boulders.  I immediately broke out into a sweat.  "So they get to the end of the hole and they come back out, right?" I asked Jules.

"I don't think it ends," he said. "It just goes on and on and you can't see anything and you have to crawl through tight spaces..." he stopped there so he and I could share a spontaneous shiver.  At that point I yelled into the hole.  Nobody answered.  I looked at Jeff and he looked guilty in the way that he always looks guilty when the boys are having fun.

"Give them ten minutes," he said.

I gave them ten minutes.  Then I gave them ten more.  And ten more. Then I started to get a little excited.  I was perfectly reasonable with the excitement.  I began walking in circles and repeating over and over, "Oh my God, they're lost, they're never coming out..."

Jeff took a swig of water and said, "I'm going in after them."  It was dramatic.  I would have been turned on except my boys had disappeared in a hole.

He squeezed on in through the hole....and disappeared.  He didn't come out.  Jules had a dark, faraway look in his eyes as he said, "It just goes on forever and ever..."

I started yelling into the hole again.  No response. I began the pacing business, and Jules, being the little barometer that he is, became alarmed and began pacing, as well.  We began feeding on each other's panic.  I yelled down the hole some more.  Jules yelled down the hole.  Jasper offered to go in after them.  I finally took in a deep breath and yelled one last time and then I heard a faint response. "Oh my God...WHAT? Would you stop yelling at me?!?"

Jeff was still alive! And he was bringing out my boys! Jules and I did a happy dance.  We'd been so silly.  Hilarious. Ha ha...we'd laugh about it later.  We thought the boys had disappeared into a hole - how ridiculous!  Jeff climbed out and he had an adorable smudge of dirt on his face. I threw my arms around his neck.  My hero! I looked expectantly at the hole. 

Nobody else came out.

"Seriously?" I shouted. "You freaking LOST MY KIDS IN A HOLE? Who told them they could go in the dang hole in the first place?  You dared to come out without my boys? Really? AGAIN?"   

"They're not lost," he said with a grin.  A GRIN. "They're down there in that hole."

"You mean the way Baby Jessica was not lost because she was down there in that well?" I shrieked.  Yes folks, I shrieked.  Then I started mumbling a bunch of nonsense and insisting that Somebody needed to Go Get Help.  "Find the Baptists!" I shouted.  "Send them in after my boys!"

"Dude, I think you're having an actual Panic Attack," Jeff said.  "Like not a fake one.  An actual panic attack! Cool!" Then? He tried to hug me.  And then? He began describing to Jules how he'd crawled down multiple levels and had to use the flash on his phone in order to keep from falling and dying.  He had thoroughly enjoyed himself.

"My babies are trapped in a hole," I said through gritted teeth. "And one of them isn't even mine.  YOU call Nicole and tell her we lost her kid down a hole."

"They'll come out eventually," he said.  That made me crazy.  "You want a granola bar while we wait?"  That made me crazier.  Camille and Jasper each took a granola bar and settled down as if they were at the circus.  They were not alarmed at all - I've completely desensitized them to trauma and I feel badly about that, believe me.  But what I feel worse about was how Jules was spinning and looping and worried as hell.  I couldn't help him at the moment, though, because his brother and friend were MISSING.  In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am not anybody's idea of a Calming Presence.

I started to cry.  And then?

"Hey guys, what's happening?"  Joel and Austen stood on a ridge above us.  They had come out a DIFFERENT HOLE. 

They were quickly filled in on the drama they'd missed.  They found it amusing.  As we climbed back down the rock, yelling at Jasper to slow down the entire way, I told Jeff, "You have to promise me, PROMISE ME, that if I die in a fiery crash..."

"Because it would totally be in a fiery crash," Jeff said.

"When I die in a fiery crash, you will not let the kids jump off a cliff because they think it might be fun.  I have to know that someone will be responsible for their safety."

"Sure thing," he said as Jasper climbed up a boulder with his full approval.

I just have to live forever. No problem.

Here's a picture of Camille heading back down the rock after a full day of hiking and hysteria.  Because that's how we roll.

The boys were waiting for us as we approached the trail head.  See how close to the edge of that boulder Jules is precariously balanced? I was all out of adrenaline so I just shrugged it off.
Until tomorrow,
Signing Off as Sardine Mama, the Fairly Lame Protector of Teenage Boys


  1. I would sooooo freak out... Looks like very nice weather though! Enjoy it!

  2. Sardine Mama - ARE YOU THERE? or did you disappear into the hole too? its Friday... I'm missing some posts I think... Enjoy your weekend in the meantime!

  3. This is brilliantly told! Though a part of me began to worry when the guys went down the hole, it was sounding like the film, 127 Hours....that's enough to make anyone hysterical!