Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: The chaos of summer


Okay, for those of you awaiting the report from Lake Tschida on the last weekend of summer… the following might satiate your anxiety. And, for those of you who have tired of my summer meanderings, summer’s over, so I’ll be meandering through fall shortly…

The entire tribe showed up – Kelci, Camryn, Tristan, Brock, and their parents, so Grandpa Dan’s cabin was stuffed full. The first thing to note is that Grandpa Dan really doesn’t have to do much besides assure that all the toys are placed in an accessible positions and fully gassed up. Then he just sits back and waits until something either breaks or runs outta gas.

Friday evening everybody’s rather frisky and in the process of unwinding as they all want to do everything at once and right now would be a good time to do it. Chaos ensues and the evening whizzes by in a blur of activity that can only be attributed to life at the lake.

If you’d like to get a better appreciation of what this chaos is like I suggest you head outside with a rope and see if you can lasso the wind.

Day two the tribe settles into lake mode; there are big kids (parents) and little kids all over the place. Some are watching movies, some are up in the garage piddling with things they shouldn’t be, some are playing fetch with the dogs, some are cruising in the golf carts, some are fishing, some are imbibing in adult beverages… and they all seem to be content.

The morning passes, brunch is served and Grandpa Dan heads off to his nap. The kids keep piddling until it’s their naptime… and when they get up everybody heads to the beach for the remainder of the day.

Suppertime comes as the day fades into night, and since there’s a fire ban the marshmallows just get eaten rather than roasted… the chaos slowly fades into silence and another day at the lake passes.

The next morning Grandpa Dan sleeps in past 8 a.m. When he gets up his daughter says “Bad news, dad, the toilet overflowed.” He responds by saying, “Oh, that really makes me happy,” and goes back to bed for another hour.

When he gets up again he discovers that the plugged toilet is not a dream. His wife informs him that she mopped up an inch of toilet water off the bathroom floor and the toilet overflows when flushed… he says, “Oh boy, that really makes me happy!” and gets a cup of coffee.

Realizing that this day is starting out rather repulsively, Grandpa Dan begins praying that this problem will fix itself. Once he finally wakes up and retrieves his sons, they put together a plan and crawl under the cabin to clean out the sewer pipe… and I’ll spare you the messy details.

Suffice it to say that we got the plumbing working again and Grandpa Dan has once again sworn that he will never go under the cabin ever again. As a matter of fact he told his children that if the sewer line ever plugs up again he’s gonna burn the cabin down before going under there… (Of course, that’s what he said last time too.)

So we once again reiterated that the yellow needs to mellow and the brown goes down and returned to the previously described chaos for the remainder of the last weekend of summer.

So I’m now living proof that not only can folks survive, but oft times thrive when surrounded in chaos. The trick is to keep track of yourself while keeping a watchful eye on the storm around you… good luck, I gotta get another nap before they all show up again…

Oh yeah, and let me know how that lassoing the wind thing goes…