We spent Memorial Day at Moreau Lake State Park. Loved it. Do you ever go on an outing for the first time and you find yourself saying, “Oh, now I realize why everyone was telling me that I had to go”? That was what it was like. First, it seemed easier to get there, for me, than some of the other state parks. I think because the entrance was right there off of 87. Often, when we’re heading to a lake, it seems like there are a jillion winding roads, and I’m spending the entire time feeling anxious that I’m getting lost, lost lost. Because I’m good at getting lost. The entrance fee is $8 a car. Will I be recruiting my friends with minivans to carpool with me next time? Oh, yes I will. And I’ll go during the week. Yesterday, it was crowded. This was expected: it was bee-yoo-tee-ful, and it was Memorial Day. But the good news is that it wasn’t horrifyingly crowded, and they actually stopped admitting people because they’d reached their limit. During the week, I’ll bet it would be lovely.
Anyway, it was a pleasant beach with super-vigilant lifeguards (for those of you new to state park swimming, they don’t let you use floaties or other non-Coast-Guard-approved flotation devices). Apparently this year there’s a new rule: no smoking on the beach. I heartily endorse this one. I’m always surprised by how many incredibly unhealthy-looking people go out camping–you know, I have this vision of toned, wholesome-looking hikers with large backpacks, but then you see a lot of folks who are enormous, sitting in their camp chairs with a cigarette in one hand, a bag of Fritos in the other, and a brewski in the cupholder. Anyway, it appeared that some of the regulars were having difficulty complying with the New World Order. But all they had to do was trot over to the picnic tables. The many, shady picnic tables. Which were in between the beach and the large-ish playground. We didn’t even get a chance to try out the playground, because I couldn’t drag the girls away from the water. We could have taken a little hike, too, or indulged in an educational program. Nope: it was all about the beach for us.
You can rent a boat–I think that it was $12/2 hours, $22/4 hours, $28/day. Plus, there was a snack bar/miscellaneous necessities store. Of course, I’m too cheap to actually buy lunch, but it’s comforting to know that you can get food and other essentials if necessary. In fact, I couldn’t find any sunscreen (they had some) and I realized that I’d forgotten to bring any reading material whatsoever–a real crisis for me. Would you believe that they had a little rack of used books? Mostly not great literature, but I did spot a Carl Hiaasen, so not bad, right?
When it was time to go, I practically had to drag M out of the water, and she groused, “But we only got to stay 2 hours!” It had been closer to 5. I was sure that they’d both fall asleep on the drive home, but instead, we played a game of “I’m going on a picnic.” Oh, man. It was excruciating. First, I’ll disclose that I really can’t stand playing this game with my family because they’re always naming things which are completely inappropriate for a picnic. Like, umm, aliens & flamingos. I don’t know why this drives me crazy, but it really does. Plus, I was overtired and cranky. Then I foolishly added my own contributions that made life more complicated–gherkins and kimchee. Why oh why didn’t I say grapes and a kite? Because my children kept forgetting these words and of course we couldn’t tell them the answers because that would make everyone bitter, so instead there would be long, elaborate hints.
Plus, when J would recite what she was taking on her picnic, she’d say it slowly and with this intonation as if she was actually pondering and coming up with the list for the first time. Every time. It was sloooow. I’d start to knock my head against the window in frustration and then realize that of course that would hurt her feelings, and so I’d start to giggle. And as J was coming up on the letter J, she mentioned that she was waiting for an “ahh, ahh” sound (no— she doesn’t remember the phonics or order of the alphabet yet, please don’t ask me about this). She wanted the “ahh” sound so that she could bring artichokes, her favorite vegetable. And so we have to break it to her that her opportunity has already passed. And then it appears that she might burst into tears because she can’t take imaginary artichokes to her imaginary picnic. We’re all very tired, remember. So we go with juicy artichokes. By the time we got on the bridge near our house we were skipping the recitation portion so that we could at least get through the alphabet before arriving home. W had X and when he said that he was bringing Xanax, I couldn’t stop laughing. Phew. We finally made it, and I hung all of the wet-and-dirty towels and blankets outside, where they continue to be rained on now, 24 hours later.