We arrived about 3pm, and it was raining, so we decided to take Kurt out to eat for his birthday. Only, we were in the middle of nowhere. We stopped at a grocery store and got a restaurant recommendation from one of the cashiers. She told us the name of her favorite place to eat and directed us there. We followed her advice and pulled up in front of a "butcher shop and bbq smoke house." We read the sign, I vomited in my mouth a little while thoughts of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ran through my head, and pulled back onto the winding, country roads.
I kept pointing out of the window saying, "Woah, look at the storm clouds gathering over that one room school house/cemetery!" and "Why does that guy have a beard on each side of his chin, but nothing in the middle?"
After about an hour, we located the historic town of Saxonburg and went to the only restaurant we could find. Inside, I felt like we had gone back in time, and had also teleported to the middle of Mississippi, or something. At the counter, there was a row of hunched over old men with various remnants of teeth, nursing cups of coffee. The waitress asked one of them, "Do you want anything to eat yet, Norm?" He didn't, he said. Not yet. I wondered how many of their days were spent in exactly this way? It was a Monday afternoon. There was a teenage girl in short jean shorts making milkshakes. It was kind of scary, kind of awesome, and completely outrageous.
The only vegetarian thing on the menu was french fries and a shredded iceberg salad with a single cherry tomato on top. Oh, and cheese. There was cheese on that "salad," too. Scouty was thrilled at getting to eat only french fries for dinner, and Kurt had his first ever "country fried steak." Complete with the white stuff. I wanted to write a novel about the dark secrets kept in the shed, out back.
Anyway, the restaurant wasn't the point of my post about our trip. It stopped raining after we let ourselves into our adorable two room cottage with the most comfortable bed I've ever laid on. We decided to strap on our tennis shoes and go out adventuring.
The farm spans several miles, and there are different buildings and ponds and things to see as you hike a marked trail. For miles. Carrying a baby. Wearing your workout shoes that you're scrupulous about keeping clean. Through the mud and sometimes mud puddles that are deep enough that you sink to the knee. And so then, you're carrying a baby and a four year old, who is complaining about water in her socks.
We saw so much awesome stuff and the farm was so beautiful.
A storm was sweeping up on us, so we headed back over the challenging terrain, carrying unbelievably filthy children and feeling mud and cow poo seeping into places on my body that are usually reserved for my husband, only. We all got showered and snuggled up on the porch swing to watch the lightening in the distance. It was nice. Tiring, but nice.
...And then it was bedtime.
This was Louise's first sleepover away from home.
She was not happy about falling asleep somewhere other than her own bed, in her own house.
Mommy and daddy were not happy about not being able to utilize the hot tub outside.
Louise screamed and screamed and screamed, oh god, she screamed, every single time we got into a position that suggested sleeping. Laying her down was the beginning of the apocalypse. Laying down with her and stroking her precious, evil little cheeks only encouraged her to scratch out my eyes and pull out my hair. Holding her and rocking her resulted in a crying in a decibel so annoying that it was almost unhearable by the human ear.
Here is where I admit something to you. Sometimes, this baby makes me crazy. My husband claims that my first baby made me this crazy, too and that I just don't remember... but, I don't remember that. Louise is stubborn. She is so stubborn that she's the only person in the history of the world who has been able to out-stubborn me. She is going to kill me someday, with her persistence about doing things her way. She's nine months old, let me remind you, and she's smarter, meaner and more cunning that I could ever dream of being.
Here is where I also admit... that I broke down bawling at 11:30 at night in the middle of a rainstorm on Kurt's birthday. I told him that Louise and I were going home. We were going to drive 60 minutes back to our house, and we would return in the morning. I packed my screaming, stubborn baby into the car, and went driving around the back roads of where the fuck are we? Louise fell asleep immediately. I called my mom, crying, and told her that my sweet darling baby makes me crazy. She told me, "Yeah, that's what they do." I finished my tantrum and we returned to the cottage.
We eventually got Louise to sleep in a makeshift crib in the bedroom closet next to our bed. About an hour after snuggling up and drifting off to sleep, Scouty decided that her room was too scary. She wanted to sleep with us. It took about, oh, four seconds of her flipping and flopping and whispering, "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom," for me to decide that this sleeping arrangement wasn't for me. I totally blacked out on the for-real cow hide that covered the couch.
About four hours later, the girls were awake and ready to start the day. I stumbled, puffy eyed from crying and being up all night, back into bed while Kurt played with Louise and Scouty. I slept off and on for an hour, having troubled dreams about camping with Scout's soccer coach who was forcing me to practice my soccer skills for a tournament that was coming up.
But then, the farmers brought us breakfast. (In real life, not in my dream.) Fresh fruit and tea and home baked cinnamon rolls that each contained at least two days worth of calories, which I vowed not to eat, and then ate. Of course. I finished mine in about 43 seconds, to be precise. I refuse to regret that sugar, white flour and hydrogenated decision. I've never tasted anything better.
We spent the morning wandering the farm. We met a white cow and a few mommy cows with their babies. It had rained all night, so the trails leading to the other parts of the farm were impassable, but that was okay. We found a giant, weeping pine tree that you could crawl inside of, like it was a cave. We spent some time on a dock, dangling our feet above the water and watching the wind make ripples. Louisey and I became friends again on the porch swing and she slept in my arms while Kurt and Scouty played soccer.
At lunch time is when I discovered the bugs.
Tiny, flying insects were pouring into our cottage by the bazillions. They were covering the living room window. Some of them had made their way to the couch, and some were foraging their way through the carpet.
I'm not a person who calls and complains. (I once found what could only be a tiny splotch of poop on a blanket in a hotel room and didn't call and complain.) I'm not even a person who is squeamish about bugs, but this was too much. We hastily packed up all of our stuff, contacted the farmers, (who explained that they're having a problem with some kind of water gnats swarming, because of the extremely wet and warm weather. They made everything better and refunded us for the second day of our trip, and they're sending us a gift card for a free two-night stay, sometime in the future, during non-swarm season, I assume.) I'm only slightly ashamed in a City Slickers sort of way, that we fled the farm, leaving a day early because the bugs and the mud and the stubborn baby simply got the best of me.
I'm only a little bit more embarrassed to admit that we drove to the nearest chain restaurant and had a civilized lunch with lemon wedges in our waters. Happy Birthday, Daddy.
Do you even have any idea how many times I've apologized?
(The farm was actually really nice. The facilities are beautiful and it's amazingly quiet and peaceful. I totally don't blame them at all for the weather and the bugs. The owners explained that sometimes this problem just happens during a wet spring. They were very apologetic and kind, and we will be totally thrilled to try a farm experience again. Maybe without Louise, though...)