Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wisconsin Northwoods

And the winner is … Monika. Dear Monika, my former Alberta neighbour who is actually Dutch. Monika, you win my friendship. Oh wait, you already had that!

Mosquito bite.

Yes, it looks like I took a baseball bat to the head, but it was an insignificant mosquito that wreaked that havoc on my face. Within literally seconds of leaving the car and entering the Wisconsin Northwoods resort landscape, I had two mosquito bites and was applying Deet to every square inch of my exposed skin. Apparently, the Northwoods of Wisconsin had a record wet spring and a bit of a late spring so we were lucky enough to time this with our trip deep in the woods on a body of water next to bodies of water and the last time I checked mosquitoes breed in wet areas and did I mention the mosquitoes had recently HATCHED? So full families of mosquitoes with new babies and extended families of mosquitoes and friends of the mosquito families were partying all around our cabins during our stay. As I stated, this required covering every square inch of exposed skin on myself and my children with some form of Deet (lucky Brian is unaffected by mosquitoes), only logic dictates eventually this Deet will fade and need replenishing as proven by the goose-egg on my forehead. I love that not only do mosquitoes devour my blood with vampire prowess, but also they leave behind whatever it is that causes me to swell up like Pamela Anderson’s boobs. That, my friends, is sarcasm. Not the swelling up like Pamela Anderson’s rack, but the part about loving it. I don’t really love it. REALLY. Brian was very understanding and compassionate about the mosquito problem I have by shrieking in horror or squirting his beer through his nose whenever he caught a glimpse of my profile and the mosquito bite that only lasted for TWO of our FOUR days in the Northwoods. Also, he only gagged and coughed the first night in bed when he came in to snuggle since the mosquitoes were resourceful enough to infiltrate the screens and enter the cabin requiring Deet application after showers and before bed. He only gagged once because he did not attempt to snuggle next to the Deet drenched lady the rest of the week. He also didn’t attempt to snuggle again because we had another uninvited guest named AUNT FLO (guys go ask a girl) and he knew it wasn’t worth it.

So, let me recap the REST of our Wisconsin trip. First off, we headed to the Wisconsin Dells, which is a strange tourist trap of an area about 4 hours from here and 2-3 hours from Chicago. This area used to best be known for its damming of the Wisconsin River creating the Upper and Lower Dells – lakes. Now, it seems it is best known for its Water Parks. Sitting in the middle of Wisconsin is a strip of hotel after hotel claiming to have the biggest waterpark, largest waterpark, tallest waterpark, best waterpark, fastest waterpark, extremist waterpark, family-friendliest waterpark, etc. We stayed at Kalahari and it was great fun for the kids. I enjoyed watching the kids have fun riding the waterslides, playing in the wavepool, climbing on the water structures and even surfing. And when I say I enjoyed watching the kids have fun it means it doesn’t matter if I had fun, whether or not I had fun became irrelevant the day I had kids.

After the Dells, we headed to Rhinelander for a 4-day trip to Thompson Lake for fishing and whatever else. Besides the mosquito issue outlined above, the fish were biting. The boys were catching them left and right and Grant had quite the attention span for fishing. Once he figured out how to bait his own hook (with a worm) and take his own fish off the hook, he was off and running.

Gavin also learned, but didn’t have quite the enthusiasm and steadfastness at it as Grant did. So, naturally, Grant began to smack talk Gavin. “I’m catching way more fish than you. I am the perch master. I am a great fisherman. I caught that all by myself.” Etc. Gavin handled it like any brother would and threatened to beat him up, occasionally did throw a punch, and cried and whined. Oh yeah, and he caught the biggest fish (of the kids) –
a Walleye over 15 inches long and the only keeper Walleye of the weekend. This naturally, sent Grant into a meltdown since Gavin’s fish received lots of attention.

The week was cool, though. Literally cool – temps in the 50s and 60s. Which ended up being pretty fine by me since I needed to wear long sleeves and long pants to mitigate my mosquito problem. One afternoon the ladies went into town for some shopping and lunch. It was a nice change of pace for a non-fisherperson like me. The men were left alone with the kids. When we were finishing our time out, we went into a microbrewery and got a Growler of a Pudgy Possum Porter for the guys to thank them for our freedom for the outing. We did not feel we had time to stay for a beer, though, and when the bartender asked why, we replied “we have been away for a few hours now and the guys are back at the cabins watching all the kids themselves.” To which he replied, “Do you honestly think if the situation were reversed and they were here and you were there, they would be saying they couldn’t stay for the same reason?” Good point. We didn’t stay, though. Probably mostly because Jen couldn’t drink due to reasons un(bun in the oven)disclosed and Jan couldn’t drink due to Vicodin in her bloodstream.

When we returned, I asked Brian if he had fun. He said, “I had fun watching my boys have fun.” I repeated the question and he repeated the response, which we know once again is code for – it doesn’t matter if I had fun, whether or not I had fun became irrelevant the day I had children.

But, you know what? It really is fun watching the kids have fun.

Know what else is fun? – even if you don’t fish, sitting back and watching the man of your dreams pass on his passion – his legacy - to his children. Instilling in them a love for a sport/hobby that burns deep within him and watching those boys catch on, succeed, and develop the same enthusiasm. That, my friends, is great fun.

Also, it’s fun to play cards and drink beer. Just sayin’.

Other pics:

Grandma arming the cavalry with water guns
The actual biggest catch (Uncle Murph)cousinsAunt Jen



  1. GET. OUT.

    A mosquito bite?? I never would have guessed that in a million years. I get tons of bites every year (they like me too!) and I have never had one swell up like that.

    Glad the rest of your trip to Wisconsin was nice!

  2. AnonymousJune 17, 2008

    OK the mosquito thing is hysterical..I get bit like that too. Nana (god rest her soul) always told me that was because i was made with honey and super sweet. Looks like an awesome trip. 1 month til my Hilton Head vacation.

  3. You are spot on about watching your kids have fun. Since we've had kids we've only had one no-kid vacay--just because we love to have them with us so we can watch them have fun!

  4. I cannot believe a mosquito did that to you! I've been bit but never nearly like that. I'm so sorry! And Aunt Flo always shows up at the most inappropriate times. Ugh!

    The pictures are great and it looks like you guys had a great time - despite the mosquito issue that repeatedly came up during the post :)

  5. Dear Angie, Thank your for that fantastic price I won! I will treasure it for the rest of my life.
    I have to admit, I am kind of a mosquito expert: They are all over the world and I am always prepared! Could also write a whole blog about the mosquito. (Especially now I know how to spell it in english!)

  6. "it doesn’t matter if I had fun, whether or not I had fun became irrelevant the day I had children."

    This is so true and it's a real sign of maturity for people who realize it. I feel the same way, and last week when I was out in amazing weather kayaking and seeing glaciers and seals and whales and porpoises, I was thinking how much my son would enjoy it if he was there and planning when and how to bring him out...it's funny how we change that way, huh?

  7. AnonymousJune 17, 2008

    HOLY CR*P.. I can't get over that is a mosquito bite!! YIKES!!

    Your trip looks like it was amazing.. the pictures we beautiful!!!!

    PS.. It took me about 2500 times until I got the panning picture correct last week.. :)

  8. I was thinking mosquito bite too! My body reacts the same way. Have you tried to put Windex on it?

  9. Looks like you had a fantastic time - except for that mosquito bite - that is the nastiest-looking bite I think I've ever seen!

  10. Awesome vacation...

    And I guessed mosquito bite too (sort of)...

    And!! No wonder the mosquitos loved you...you were 'dishing out'!! lol

    You have great pictures...and greater memories!!

  11. A mosquito bite - I have never seen such a thing in all of my life. You could probably get in the Guiness Book Of World Records with the size of that bite - HOLY GET THE "OFF" AND SPRAY IS ALL OVER YOUR FACE - BATMAN!!

    The rest of the trip looks/sounds fabulous!! Love the pictures! Glad fun was had by all - well, at least the kiddos!

    SEe you soon - Kellan

  12. That was not at all what I was guessing!! Holy crap? Exactly how big was that mosquito?
    Sounds like a great vacation (minus the mosquitos). I love the way you talk about your hubby. I can tell you two are very in love.

  13. Oh stop. How big of a mosquito was THAT? I'm so glad you had fun, it truly looks like a blast.

  14. The proof is in the pictures - sounds like you all had a blast! Except for that damn mosquito - did you squash him?!?! I am still stupified! I hope the swelling has subsided. =)

  15. I remember the mosquitoes... The Uhle clan took a trip to the Nort-woods-up-dere in 2003 when we were still in WI. Ryan and I got a huge house on a lake and my whole family came up. The mosquitoes were HORRIBLE. We couldn't even enjoy the fireplace because 1-it was hot, and 2-the mosquitoes used it as their entry point for the house. Reminded me of "The Birds". Also, our 6-Bedroom house became a 5-bedroom because the screens on one of the rooms had a hole, thus encouraging the mosquito frenzy.

    But anyway, you didn't mention... were the mosquitoes bad in Hilton Head too?

  16. Dude, that was a mosquito bite?? And I thought they were bad in Texas!
    We went to the Dells years ago and had a blast! The Zeus roller coaster was so fun and it was funny because we had just seen it on the Discovery Channel the week before so we had to ride it!

  17. What a wonderful vacation! I loved reading about it and seeing your pics.

    My mosquito bites well up like that too! I grew up in Florida and my mom would joke that I had chocolate running through my veins because I was always a mosquito magnet :)

    I heard eating bananas attracts them!

  18. I drooled with the size of the Walleye. It is my favorite eat from water. I describe it to others as "candy".

  19. You should come to our backyard. I think that is where those Wisconsin mosquitos live when they are not on vacation. Sounds like a great trip. I'm very impressed with Grant's skills. Did you miss all of the Wisconsin flooding?

  20. Sincerely thought you got bonked in the head by one of the boys bats or something.. WOW!!! Looks like a wonderful vacation otherwise. :-) Welcome home!

  21. oh yea... I can understand a mosquito problem. Here is Alaska we joke around about it being the state bird :)

  22. Whoa!!!! Mosquitos are NOT your friend!! But I guess that means you just have deliciously sweet blood, right?

    Your trip looked like every boy's dream vacation!!! Loved the boating pics!

  23. From someone who lives in the Northwoods, I hear what you're saying about the mosquitoes....they are sooo bad this year.

    We are about 3 hours north of the Dells and about 40 miles northeast of the Twin Cities.

    Sounds like you had a typical Wisconsin vacation. Glad you had a good time.

    If there's anything we know, it's fishing, beer and mosquitoes.

  24. Looks like a GREAT time! Can't wait to get Dylan out fishing. Non-ocean fishing. I think he's going to love it. Especially if we catch fish.

    Which you guys did, so YAY!