Tag Archives: Bear Bottom

Family Fourth at the Lake

Wendy and I were blessed to have the family together for a summer celebration at the lake. Taylor is our firecracker, born on the 4th of July. Taylor, Clayton, and Milo joined us on a trip to the lake on July 2nd. Madison and Garrett, along with Bertha, drove from South Carolina to join us on the Fourth. We had such an enjoyable time together.

We enjoyed time at the beach at Captain Ron’s. We swam off the dock and got lots of sun. We took the boat to Bear Bottom. Milo had his first experience driving the boat with Papa and going down the Water Slide. We had enjoyable family meals. We watched “Men in Kilts.” The SC crew headed back south after lunch at the Branding Iron. A good time was had by all.

Labor Day Weekend at the Lake 2017

Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer at the lake. For the second straight year it was a long adult weekend with the JPs and VLs. They left the kids at home and joined us on Thursday night. We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend to spend together enjoying lots of sun and fun together.

Mornings were quiet and lazy. Everyone generally took their time getting up, having the first cup or two of coffee/tea, and easing into the day. Eventually the six of us ended up chatting around the table over a bite of breakfast. Time typically flew and it was suddenly mid-day.

Friday we took the JPs’ boat to the Red Head and spent the afternoon in the pool there. Lake traffic gets pretty hairy on holiday weekends and makes for unpleasant boat rides. We chose to make the long jaunt to the Red Head on Friday figuring it would be a little less crowded, and we were correct.

On Saturday morning Shay and the ladies coerced the men to join them on the dock for yoga. Shay did a great job leading us rookies. I will say that doing yoga for the first time on a floating dock made balance even more of a challenge. Despite the occasional attack of horse flies, we managed to make it through. I think more yoga may be in the future for Wendy and me.

 

That afternoon we took the much shorter boat ride to our other favorite hang out on the lake, Bear Bottom. We didn’t arrive quite as early as we’d hoped, but were still able to get prime seating at the swim-up bar. We enjoyed a couple of hours of fun and conversation before heading back. We took the boat back to Bear Bottom that evening for their fireworks.

Sunday was a lazy day on the dock. I enjoyed scoring the Cubs game on the deck (despite their loss) while everyone else hung out on the chill raft. I eventually joined them. JP’s sister and family swung by on their boat and hung out in the water with us for a while.

Each evening together was spent enjoying a meal along with good conversation and Wendy’s cheesecake. There was also reading, playing cards, and watching DVDs.

On Monday morning we headed to Chances R for breakfast together before the crew packed up and headed home mid-day. Wendy and I are working remotely this week and welcome some more friends tomorrow.

Hello Summer!

Storm clouds gathered. Rain poured. Sirens blared. But we survived the tempest!

It’s well established that summer at the lake starts on Memorial Day weekend and ends with Labor Day weekend. We typically try to start summer early each year because May often provides the weather for it and it’s nice to get in some time at the lake before the summer crowds arrive. It just wasn’t in the cards this year. The spring has been cool and wet, and Wendy and I have been busy at home with landscaping and work among other things.

Cubs on the radio. Moscow Mule. Good book. Hello, Summer!

So, we were really looking forward to getting the summer kicked off on Memorial Day weekend. We headed down Thursday evening to get the Playhouse opened up. The VLs joined us on Friday. We enjoyed afternoons at Captain Ron’s beach and on the dock, boat rides, and of course there was lots of good food, drink, and conversation. We did have some rain, and even a tornado siren or two, but that just afforded the opportunity for reading, eating, drinking, and chatting indoors. The VL boys, meanwhile, enjoyed the addition of the PS3 in the lower level.

The Puddle Effect

The VLs headed home on Memorial Day. Wendy and I stayed for the week and worked remotely. We did, however, afford the opportunity to spend an afternoon at Bear Bottom and enjoy some French Open tennis while hanging out at BWW’s in Osage.

My folks arrived on Saturday afternoon with our niece Emma. We hung out on the dock and went to Captain Ron’s for pizza. Rain washed out our plans for an evening boat ride so we watched a movie. Wendy and I packed up and headed home this morning, leaving the folks and Emma at the lake for the week.

It was a nice kick-off to summer. Here’s to a great season of making good memories with family and friends!

The Latest 09-13-2015

Wendy and I have spent less time at the lake this summer than ever since buying my folks’ place back in 2008. There are a number of reasons for the reduction in lake-time including our increased involvement in Tulip Time, our trip to Scotland to see Taylor, Taylor’s move back home, a new house that still requires a  number of projects to get settled and finished, my parents transitioning into a retirement community, three weddings in August, and Suzanna’s final summer home and launch to college. As summer wanes, we figured we’d better get in some time down south before it’s too late.

We headed to Missouri on Tuesday, Sep 1st. Wendy and I worked from the lake and did some much needed cleaning up before our friends Matthew and Sarah joined us for Labor Day weekend. Matthew and Sarah were celebrating their three week anniversary (one of the weddings in August) and since they didn’t take a honeymoon after the ceremony this provided them with a much needed getaway for the two of them.

As soon as Matthew and Sarah arrived we jumped in the boat and headed to Bear Bottom for an afternoon of sun and fun in the pool. It was a gorgeous weekend and Saturday was also spent in the sun, this time off the dock. We had a fabulous grilled steak dinner on Saturday evening followed by watching the movie A Little Chaos (highly recommend). Sunday morning was spent in some amazing conversation before our friends headed home.

Wendy and I stayed behind and enjoyed some time to ourselves, though we continued to work while we were there. We were hoping for more sun on Labor Day, but the weather didn’t cooperate. We laid out on the dock with our books under overcast skies until it finally began to rain. Later that day we both had an “Awww” moment when we got a text from Taylor saying, “You can come home now!”

The lake gets so amazingly quiet after Labor Day when all the summer revelers have left for the season and only the residents are left. We enjoyed breakfast at local greasy spoon, Chances R, on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday morning we took a nice cruise on the lake (we were the only boat out there) before grabbing pizza at Captain Ron’s for lunch and heading home where we found new sidewalks out front of Vander Well Manor thanks to G&B Concrete.

We got settled back in at home, and Wednesday evening was spent doing handyman duty as we had a couple of nightstands and a desk for Wendy’s office for which there was “some assembly required.” The nightstands were a cinch, but the term “some assembly required” was a bit of an understatement for Wendy’s desk which game in about a half-million pieces. Got ‘er done, however.

Suzanna came home from college for the first time on Friday. It was great to see her. She’s enjoying her freshman year at Hawkeye CC while living on the UNI campus. One of her friends from USP had a birthday party on Friday night and Suzanna came home to surprise her. Wendy and I enjoyed a date night at Kaldera with our friends Dan and Anna on Friday. As always, good food, good friends, and good conversation were a winning combination. We were among the first to arrive and the last to leave our favorite Pella eatery.

Taylor and Tom Coffee on the Patio

Taylor has been house-sitting again this weekend but came home for our routine family breakfast on Saturday morning. Wendy wasn’t up yet so Taylor and I sat out on the patio in the gorgeous early fall sunshine for coffee and conversation. So excited that Taylor has an interview for a job on Wednesday. More on that at a later date.

Dumping dirt for lawnThe one last major project at VW Manor is our lawn. We missed the window for planting grass in the spring. The result has been a muddy, weed infested, wasteland of a yard which I’ve told people was landscaped by the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  We’re finally getting that remedied and on Saturday morning Hackert’s had the black dirt delivered and grading began for what will eventually be an actual yard. Seeding should take place early next week.

Saturday morning was clean-up day as Wendy and I prepared to host the VLs and JPs for an Iowa-Iowa State football extravaganza with dinner following. The crew arrived around game time and we set up in the V-Dub Pub downstairs. Wendy and I, Cyclone fans, were outnumbered by black and gold but it was a good natured crowd 😉 At least it was a good tight ball game which kept everyone interested until the final couple of minutes when the Hawkeyes took the lead and the Cyclones imploded. Ahhhh, as a long-time Cubs fan I’m reminded that there’s always next year.

We ordered take out from George’s for dinner and enjoyed ourselves late into the evening.

Speaking of the Chicago Cubs, Wendy and are still excited about baseball in mid-September for the first time in years as our beloved boys of summer make a run towards the post season. Go Cubs, go!

Our Ninth Annual Kev & Beck Weekend

Speaking of our weekend at the lake, Wendy and I were sitting with Kevin and Becky around the table yesterday and realized that this was the ninth summer in a row that we have spent a weekend together at the lake. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of our annual Ozark pilgrimage.

This was a low-key year for the four of us. The weather forecast was a constant threat of rain and it did shower on an off the entire time we were there. Kev and Beck drove to Pella on Thursday evening and jumped in our car. We arrived at the Playhouse between 10:30 and 11:00. We unpacked, had a night cap, and headed to bed.

Friday morning we made our way down to the dock for conversation and soon realized we were all beginning to burn. It looked like the day might afford us our best opportunity to get out on the lake, and so we hopped in the boat and headed to Bear Bottom for a spot of lunch and a few hours in the pool there. It actually started raining as we ordered lunch and we were driven under cover from our table on the patio. By the time we finished lunch the shower had passed and the sun returned. We walked up to the pool and relaxed.

A gregarious couple from Kansas City came a short while later and struck up a conversation. The rest of the afternoon was spent talking to Chris and Brooke and enjoying the sunshine as it ducked in and out of the clouds. We were all various shades of sunburned pink as we hopped in the boat and headed back to the Playhouse. It was time for showers and a quick trip to Woods for supplies. Dinner was burgers on the grill (Tom grilled in the rain, which had returned) and the after dinner conversation lasted late into the night.

Saturday was, once again, a quiet morning as we chatted over coffee and breakfast and into the morning. Kev and I tackled mowing and trimming the lawn before lunch. The none of us really wanted to go into Osage Beach, so we played a little pool in the afternoon and watched Sabrina which Kev and Beck had never seen. We ordered take out pizza from Captain Ron’s for dinner. Kev and I went down to order the pizza and have a beer as we waited. The manager looked at me and said, “Pella, right?” Good memory. When one of the bartenders brought our pizzas out and began to ring us up he looked at the computer and asked, “Are you ‘Pella 1’ or ‘Pella 2’?” We had a enjoyed a sunset cruise after dinner, enjoyed a little scotch tasting, and broke out the cheesecake Wendy brought along.

Sunday morning we took a little trip down memory lane and figured out from my blog archives just how many years we’d been making our couples pilgrimage. We determined that 2007 was the first year or our annual trips and this year was our ninth (though in 2010 I’d clearly miscounted and wrote a post that said it was our 5th, but it was actually our 4th). We ended up back on the dock chatting away our remaining hours before packing up and heading for home. We stopped at Mickey D’s and Sonic (for shakes) in Jeff City on the way home. It was apropos that we drove through periods of driving rain and sunshine on the way home.

2014 Annual Weekend at the Lake with the Roose’s

Hard to believe it’s Friday already. Wendy and I arrived back from our week at the lake on Monday night. After Memorial Day, we worked from the lake house. Wendy and I are blessed to have jobs that we can often manage from anywhere provided we have our laptops and an internet connection. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent working and trying to get ahead knowing that Kevin and Becky were arriving on Thursday night.

The big news of the week came with finding and buying a cute little boat that we’ve dubbed “Apollonia” or “Polly” for short. For many years we’ve been blessed to have the use of Dad VW’s boat down at the lake. He felt it was time to sell it and so he hauled it back to Iowa last fall and sold it to a guy from Minnesota just a few weeks ago. On the way down to the lake Wendy and I talked about how hard it was going to be (especially for me, I confess) to be “on the lake” but not to be able to be “on the lake” with family and friends.

The conversation continued over the next day or two and we discussed how much we could afford (not much) and what we really needed in a boat (something small, reliable that fit on the existing life and would get us from point A to point B on the lake). A little searching on-line led us to this cute 18 foot bow rider. A quarter of a century old, the 1989 Century shows signs of age and wear, but she’s cute and feisty (and she’s red, a big plus in Wendy’s book). After negotiations, test drives, mechanical inspections, we finally got her in the water on Friday.

Kev and Beck arrived late on Thursday night (Warning to all who come to our Playhouse: trust GPS directions at your own peril). On Friday the girls headed into Osage for a little shopping while Kev and I blew up the Relaxation Station and relaxed in the sun for a while. We got the boat in the water in the late afternoon and enjoyed an amazing steak dinner before taking the boat on a moonlight cruise to Bulldog’s for a nightcap.

Saturday was Bear Bottom day. We arrived early and staked our claim at the swim up bar, though the pool is always so cold this early in the season. It was there that Becky initiated the conversation about what we would call the boat, and we landed on Apollonia/Polly in homage to Apollo the Greek god of, among other things, light, sun, healing, and the arts. We ate lunch at Bear Bottom and hung out until mid-afternoon. A day in the sun had everyone worn out and naps were in order before another fabulous evening meal. Saturday night was spent on the deck in long, meaningful conversation. I’ve always known that the Playhouse is a thin place, but Saturday night’s conversation was a powerful reminder of just how much.

Kev and Beck had to leave at zero-dark thirty to get home for family activities. Wendy and I cleaned up, finished a little work, and then headed out on the lake for a long evening cruise. On Monday we cleaned up the house and packed up for home. My folks arrived about 2:45 and we showed them the new toy grandpa has to play with (He’s already fixed the horn and replaced a broken exhaust cover. Thanks Dad!). Wendy and I hit the road for home about 3:30.

 

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Fourth of July Family Weekend at the Lake

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As I mentioned in my earlier post this morning, it was a fantastic weekend at the lake with family. Wendy, her sister Suzanna, and I drove up on Wednesday morning and spent the afternoon getting the Playhouse ready for the onslaught. Clayton jumped in the van with my folks, they picked up Taylor (flying in from weekend with a friend in L.A.) and Madison (flying in from her home in Colorado Springs), at the Des Moines airport and headed south, arriving in time for a late dinner of pizza from Captain Ron’s. My sister Jody, her husband Scott and their kids Solomon and Emma left after Sol got off work and arrived in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

The Fourth of July was spent outside in the sun. Other than a brief, intense rain/hail storm that evening, the weekend was gorgeous with highs in the mid-80s and night time temps falling low enough to open the house. There was a lot of time in the “relaxation station” on the water on Thursday. Tom and Wendy served up a wonderful meal of smoked salmon for dinner that night as we celebrated Taylor’s 23rd birthday. It was a chilly evening and we headed out on the water to watch the fireworks at Captain Ron’s, only they didn’t shoot off fireworks that night (oops). Our neighbors, however, shot off a mess of them and we enjoyed the private show. Taylor brought sparklers and glow bracelets to enjoy.

Friday morning a bunch of the crew headed out on a neighbors boat so that Jody could (attempt to) water ski. The rest of us hung out. Mid-day we headed out on the boat to Bear Bottom resort for fun on the water slide and in the pool. We were going to eat lunch there but it was going to take forever to get served. We tried Captain Ron’s but there was a two-hour wait there, too. So we ate at the Playhouse. Jody and Scott made enchiladas for us that night. A tradition in our house is to answer questions from the “If” book after dinner and we spent a long while gathered around the table answering questions like “If you could read one person’s diary, whose would you read and why?” We learned a lot about one another and enjoyed a ton of laughs. As night descended we sat out on the lawn  by the lake to watch Captain Ron’s fireworks.

Saturday started with the requisite run to Sunrise Doughnuts. Between doughnuts, grandma’s cinnamon rolls, grandma’s chocolate chip cookies, Jody’s monster cookies, and Wendy’s cheesecake, and an anniversary cake for Scott and Jody we all got fat ‘n happy through the weekend. More sun and fun on the dock on Saturday. Scott took the kids into Osage to shop at the outlet mall. Wendy and I snuck off on the waverunner for a while. In the afternoon people kind of did their own things. People read, Maddy and I went out to Bulldog’s Beach House for a daddy/daughter date. People watched movies.

Saturday night was Grandpa and Grandma’s turn to treat with barbecue ribs and chicken. We celebrated Jody and Scott’s anniversary with a cake. That night we played Quelf together and had an uproariously good time. The kids stayed up to watch movies while the adults pooped out early.

Sunday morning Wendy and I made one last, big meal to have together. The crew did a wonderful job of helping pick up and clean and then packed up and headed out a little after 10:00 a.m. leaving Wendy, Suzanna and me in an odd sort of quiet.

The Calm Before the Storm

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Wendy and I spent a working vacation at the lake this past week. Our friends the VLs had been there for a family weekend when we arrived on Sunday and we got to spend an evening together before they headed home. I call it a working vacation because we both had work to do which was accomplished remotely on our laptops. It was also a working vacation because, while we enjoyed the quiet of the lake for a few days, there was a lot to do around the Playhouse. I power washed the deck and sealed it – a task I’d been putting off for two years. There was also a long list of little “honey dos” that we worked on throughout the week.

On Thursday Wendy and I took a personal respite, got out on the water, and enjoyed a meal at one of our favorite haunts. By Friday morning it was clear that I didn’t do a good job of putting sunscreen on. Yikes! My chest and belly were splotchy patches of alternating beet red burn and pasty white.

On Friday, our friend Cyndi arrived with Megan and Ben and we got to play for a few days. We enjoyed time on the water. I got to teach Megan how to drive the Waverunner. We watched movies and enjoyed an afternoon and evening meal at Bear Bottom Resort, one of our favorites.

Our friends left late on Sunday morning and Wendy and I had a couple of hours to get things cleaned up for our next round of guests. Newlyweds Michelle and Austin arrived to spend their honeymoon week at the Playhouse. I was also pleased to get Father’s Day phone calls from Madison in Colorado and from Taylor and Clayton in Uganda and enjoyed catching up with them.

So, the (semi-)calm week is over as I stare down a stormy couple of weeks with multiple business trips around the country along with some impending big deliveries for work.