"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Saturday, July 9, 2011

When the Tractor Beam Was Out of Commission

Every time I hear the phrase "out of commission" I can't help but think of Han Solo's line from Star Wars: "Let's hope the old man got that tractor beam out of commission or this is going to be a real short trip. Okay, hit it!"

So, anyway, not that the above has anything to do with anything, but I've been out of commission for most of a week due to severe vacationing. Nothing especially noteworthy happened, and I think that's the way I like my vacations. Just get away, hang out, read a lot, golf a little. That's all I ask.

The pond at Avon, Colorado,
where you can paddleboat in the rain.
It was a massive reunion. Thirty Wescotts (two parents, six offspring and their spouses, sixteen grandkids) converged upon a large chalet in Avon-upon-Vail, Colorado, for a week of relative closeness, which in my family means light gossip, wicked banter, and surface revelations about how life really is. The most profound item revealed to me: I will forever be the father of the oldest grandchild, but I am currently the father of the youngest grandchild as well.

We went into Vail for the Fourth of July parade. I'm not one for parades, but my parents like them. The Macy's parade is on every Thanksgiving morning, and they've taught us that at least the grandkids like it when the paraders throw candy. I have to admit that it was pretty decent for a parade (the "lawn chair brigade" was especially excellent; I tried to find a video on YouTube to demonstrate what is was like, but every video I saw seemed lame compared to what they did in this parade), but I think everyone in the Eagle-Vail area swarmed the town for the event. The traffic was lame.

That night some of us went out to view the fireworks. I opted to stay in. Xander would not have made it.

The Beaver Creek slogan: "Not exactly roughing it."
One day we went into Beaver Creek and hiked a ways up the ski slopes. All of us took a leisurely stroll up the hill following a babbling brook. My wife and I made it maybe half a mile with Xander in the BabyBjorn before we needed to get him back down for feeding and sleep and oxygen. My second child came with us, while my oldest continued up the mountain with the others. While we were headed back down, there was one case of "uncle falling upon nephew" in an effort to give a piggy-back ride. And only one person twisted his ankle bad enough that he hobbled around for the rest of the week, posting pictures of the development of his swelling and bruising on Facebook. I didn't get any pictures as the batteries in my camera died at just the right time. I am impressed with myself, though, that I brought the camera at all.

Don't judge it if you haven't seen it.
We had a game night, starting with my dad calling Bingo and giving away prizes, everything from candy and gift cards for Quiznos, to a 48-inch diameter beach ball (which took three people twenty minutes to blow up at the pool, and which was played with for about ten minutes before the kids got bored with it) and "mystery" prizes for the adults. These mystery prizes were mainly items my parents swiped from their own shelves at home, items that we used to look at or play with every day as kids. My brother-in-law got the cow bell my mom used to ring to get us to dinner. My wife got a VHS copy of Ishtar. (My family's fascination with Ishtar deserves another blog post altogether.) I felt a little like Charlie Brown getting his rock for Halloween when all I got was a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

A few of us then went on to play Settlers of Catan, which I never win. Still, it's a lovely diversion. My sister introduced us to Hoity-Toity, which is basically just rock-paper-scissors with cards. We rediscovered Boggle, which I can win, due to my OED-esque vocabulary. (Is "OED-esque" in the OED?)

Another day four of us went golfing. About the only time I golf any more is with my dad and brothers and brothers-in-law. And only four of us wanted to spend the money on it. The first two holes went pretty well (bogeys on both), especially for not having played in a couple years. Then my game went downhill because we came to a par-3 hole and I can't putt. After nine, storm clouds rolled over the mountains. We only got rained on for two holes, and it was only slightly Caddyshack-like. Despite playing through in cold, wet clothes, my dad got a birdie by chipping in from about twenty yards out. That's pretty rare where I come from, so we were sufficiently impressed.
The best part was that each hole was a variation on this beautifulness.

It seems I've written a lot about nothing noteworthy. I guess that's the way it goes. Vacation seems to drag along, then when you return home, you wish you could do it all again.


  1. *sigh* I'm envious.

    I'd like to take any vacation, even one with my family. Alas, not until next year.

    Glad to have you back, though. I was wondering where you'd gone off to.

  2. We were all wondering where you were. I'm taking vacation next month and going nowhere. Mainly just getting some projects done around the house, I think. Sounds like your vacation was nicer than mine's going to be.

  3. Ah...Family reunions. I've got one coming up this week. 4 days trying to keep my kids from drowning in the pool or getting eaten by bears. Wish me luck!

    I don't golf. I can barely survive a miniature golf game. However, my husband likes to golf when he can. Usually with my dad and brother in law.

    Anyway, I'm glad you got to go and enjoy some time with your family. And it's good to have you back again. :)

  4. Thanks, Shelly!

    Chanel, don't be too envious. The more vacation you have, the harder it is to get back to the real world.

    darev, even when I'm on my summer break from school, I don't seem to get much done around the house. Maybe I should take a vacay from my vacay.

    And I'm sure you all just sit around talking about me when I'm not in the room.

    Candice, babies and pools don't mix well. I threw my daughters in the water (metaphorically) at a very young age, and I haven't had to worry about their swimming ability since. Now with Xander he just floats around (except that his floatie thingy popped last week). But I watched my siblings chase around their toddlers. It's fun for about five minutes. :)

  5. My ankle is now a very lovely shade of greenish yellow to compliment the purple.

  6. I love Settlers of Cataan. What a great game. This fascination of the movie Ishtar is something that does warrant some explanation. Hopefully your family is not mentally deficient?

  7. First Vegas, then this. All this severe vacationing is making me RIDICULOUSLY ENVIOUS.

    I too love Settlers of C. Though I'm a BEAST at that game. Probably because I abhor all sense of strategy and just hope that Lady Luck's on my side.

  8. Charlie: I hope your footsie's all better soon.

    Michael: I don't know anyone who's played Settlers tat hasn't loved it. Does that mean that only game-loving people play it, or that it creates game-loving people?

    I guess I will have to explain Ishtar to the masses at some point. And I wouldn't rule out the mental deficiency thing.

    Nicki: One the few perks teachers still get these days is a few weeks off in the summer. I try to take advantage.