The Future and Frozen Tundra

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Happy New Year. The future has arrived. Possibly possessed by sun flares and perihelion – as Earth neared its closest distance from our sun – I decided to ring in the new year in wild fashion. The boys and I headed to Yosemite with their girlfriend Minnie’s family.

“You are completely insane,” Jon informed me as he kissed us goodbye. “God speed to you all.”

We arrived at the national park in the late afternoon. It was gorgeous. The last time I was in Yosemite it the fall of 1993. I was a worldly eighth grader ready to prove my independence. Mostly by spending a week at a school sponsored trip.

That's me - bottom left.

That’s me – bottom left.

When we pulled up to the Yosemite Lodge, I had vague recollections of familiarity. I remembered the amphitheater arena for educational lectures, rock climbing and hiking Half Dome. (In retrospect, the rock climbing was a single boulder with an instructor hoisting us up. We really did go on a hike, but I now have misgivings about how far/high we *really* went. There was totally a scary ledge at some point though.)

Mostly I remembered the cold. We’d stayed in small cabins, in groups of four or six stacked in bunk beds. My little cabin set our alarms for 4:30 a.m. so we could race to the bathrooms while there was still warm water. Running back to our cabin in towels and sneakers with wet hair turned us to adventurous middle school studentcicles.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's crazy talk.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That’s crazy talk.

This time we were camping Troop Beverly Hills style. I was sharing a hotel room with Search and Destroy. Running water in room was key. Also a modern heater. Oh – and a large flat-screen TV with PBS Kids for mornings/evenings when muppets refused to sleep/settle. (Tangent: I now know more about aardvarks than I ever thought I cared.)

Minnie’s parents and I promised the gaggle of kiddos s’mores if they behaved during dinner. After the meal, Minnie’s dad asked for an adult quorum vote. “Do you think the kids were good enough to head over to the lounge fire pit for s’mores? Because I personally feel that I deserve a drink.”

As it turns out, our preschool quartet was not nearly as enthusiastic about melty marshmallow and chocolaty goodness. Search seemed a bit concerned about the disintegrating gelatinous puff ablaze at the end of his stick-turned-branding-iron. No matter, kids gorged on non-toasted “marshmallow sandwiches” while the adults partook in sugar-laden memories of childhood made new by the accompanying adult beverages. (Mine was of the coffee variety. Because warm drink.)

Grown-ups are weird.

Grown-ups are weird.

The next evening was the big day. New Year’s Eve.

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Party hats for everyone!

After a day of exploration and snow we got gussied up for a fancy dinner and party. Only this time, it was all about the kids. Dinner was at five. But we were going to party until the ball dropped New York style. By which I mean 9 p.m.

Partying the night away.

Partying the night away.

We’d planned to enjoy nature even longer, but decided we were pushing our luck on good behavior. My new year’s resolution: Incite fewer tantrums. Besides, some of the kids started to look a little ill.

They literally passed out where their heads hit the bed.

They literally passed out where their heads hit the bed.

When Minnie’s baby sister puked up her pasta, it was time to go. Think what you may. But I’m calling this adventure a smashing success.

May 2015 be filled with discovery, excitement, warmth and the continued enjoyment of good friends.

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