A few months ago I looked on Airbnb for a rental in Maine. I typed in “Maine, entire home, waterfront, dog friendly, under $200/night.”
I didn’t actually expect to find anything under those parameters, but apparently Airbnb has no sarcasm filter.
Amazingly, something did come up in the search…
A tiny cabin on a tiny private island in the middle of a lake. Incredible, right?
A person cannot be hung up on things like electricity and plumbing.
I looked at the photos and I was sold. A rustic cabin with a water pump and a sleeping loft. The girls would think they’d been written into a Laura Ingalls’ book.
Fast forward a couple of months and the girls and I (and Louie) are packed and ready for the four and a half hour trip to Monmouth, Maine. (Never heard of it? Me neither.)
I got off to a rocky start. I’m a last minute packer, and despite having gotten very little sleep the night before, and the awareness that we had to leave at 6:30am, I got into bed late. Once in bed I had a restless night.
I sprung out of bed, though, and consumed enough coffee to feel marginally human. On the ride up the girls were quiet, exhausted from having been woken up two hours earlier than they have been these past two months.
We found the meeting spot and the hosts weren’t there. I knew I was in the right place, though. Beau put Louie on his leash and decided to take him for a little walk while we waited. Suddenly I heard a crashing sound and looked to see a thick, forty foot birch tree come crashing down onto the dirt road ahead of them.
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but had Beau been forward ten feet, that tree would have killed her. We were all a bit shaken. It was a (nearly) crushing reality check that nature is unpredictable and we were about to be left alone on an island for three days.
We put on our brave faces, though, and the host arrived to ferry us out to the island.
We got a lesson (not a demonstration, thankfully) on how to use the composting toilet. We were reminded to boil the water before using it to wash dishes, and not to drink it. We had brought a cooler with ice for our food, and the hosts had provided us with drinking water. Baths were to be had in the lake – use the biodegradable soap, thank you very much.
The host left and there we were…an island unto ourselves.
We swam, caught fish and frogs, had lunch, and relaxed, all while peering off and on at the solar eclipse happening that very afternoon. (A friend had saved the day, supplying us last minute with three pairs of eclipse glasses.)
It was a beautiful and memorable day.
Late afternoon I was reading on the dock while the girls were swimming and playing on a rainbow colored lounging floatie we’d found in the shed. (I know, not very “Little House on the Prairie” but neither were the eclipse glasses. We aren’t purists, you guys.)
The girls suddenly erupted in a screaming match yelling, “You get it! No you! You!” I looked up to see the floatie…floating. It was already too far for either of them to safety rescue it. So what did I do? I panicked (it was not our float to lose!). Having already gotten fully dressed, I dramatically flung off my clothes and lept into the lake in my underwear...to rescue an inflatable piece of plastic.
I guess I’m either really awesome or really bad at “emergencies.”
Off I go after this float. The wind had picked up and I got out pretty far before I realized – This is how I will die. I will not reach the float. I will not make it back to shore. I will drown in my underwear in a lake in Maine because I couldn’t fathom replacing a $20 floatie from Walmart. My children will be found three days later, motherless and wrought with a crippling, lifelong fear of floaties.
Finally, I grabbed ahold of the damn thing and dragged us both back to shore where the girls were sobbing. Having witnessed my swimming skills, they had also been certain I was a goner.
In an effort to restore my self esteem after having emerged from the lake in a wet thong, clutching a rainbow, lounging floatie and sucking some serious wind (like, for an hour) I decided I was going to cook us dinner on the fire pit (dammit!).
So the girls and I got a fire going, and we cooked rice and chicken for dinner right on the pit. My earlier humiliation went up in smoke, and I felt like a pioneer woman once again.
We had planned on s’mores and skinny dipping under the stars after dinner, but by the time we were done eating and cleaning up, we were all exhausted, full and content…so we opted for bed.
Besides, technically I’d already been skinny dipping anyway.