Sisterhood of the Traveling Hat

My god… has it already been a week since I returned from my up north adventure? I guess time flies when you’re trying desperately to develop a time machine so that you can go back to the halcyon days of sipping wine in a log cabin as you watch deer roam the woods, with the distant sound of loons calling from the lake.
The closest I’ve come to recreating that scene was yesterday when I shrieked as a feral cat ran out from under my car by the train station, and then I went home and accidentally drank milk that had turned.
Le Beginning
Dee knew I meant business when I showed up at her doorstep wearing my rugged Chinese cowboy hat from Target. She also knew I meant business when I pulled out my $19.95 Zebco fishing rod and a box of Cheez-its to last us the five-hour drive.
We picked out a selection of wines while we waited for Dee’s friend Patty to arrive in her grocery-laden SUV.
“Is six bottles enough?”
“For four of us? Maybe for the first night…”
Fortunately, Dee-Dee’s boyfriend, Q, had packed another six bottles, as well as a case of beer. And lots of meat.
Le Road Trip
Culvers Butter Burger Baskets.
Le Bait Shop
Everyone said worms, but I said leeches. Trust me, I said. I’ll take a little bloodsucking over poo-oozing anyday. Worms are the worst.
I kind of wanted to buy a sweatshirt with a giant musky on it, but I didn’t. I will regret that decision for the rest of my life.
Patty bought a Leinenkugel’s bobber because perch like the taste of beer. Or they taste good with beer. It’s one or the other.
We did the initial sweep of the cabin to look for any renegade mice, then put away all the food and immediately headed into the boat to fish. Within minutes, we saw a bald eagle flying overhead, and I really wished I had a better zoom on my point and shoot.
Here you can see me looking very rugged in my Chinese cowboy hat from Target. And my camera thrown over my shoulder, at the ready in case I caught anything photo-worthy on my $19.95 Zebco fishing rod.
I didn’t.
Le Next Day
The next morning, I quickly swapped out my $19.95 Zebco pole out for one of Dee’s father’s expensive open bail rods, because only babies use closed bail rods or whatever they’re called.
And that’s when the magic started. It was walleye central all weekend long. I could have opened up Jenny’s Walleye and Driftwood Craft Shack if only we hadn’t been releasing them all. What’s that? BAM! Walleye. Nibble nibble? Lame. I know a sunfish when I feel one. Something’s running with it? BAM! Walleye. That’s right. This one’s 12”. Eatin’ size. Didn’t even see me underneath my rugged hat, did you? Don’t worry… I’d never hurt you. But go tell your momma there’s a new sheriff in town, and her name is Jenny the Walleye Master! Yeah, that’s right. Just do it. She’ll know what I mean.
Le Kayaking
Unlike most of my up north trips with Dee-Dee, my life was only in danger once, shortly after this photo was taken, not because a bear jumped out of the woods and attacked me, thinking my pale, squishy arms were fresh tuna, but because the wind picked up and Dee tricked me into taking the heavy, slow kayak versus the sleek, aerodynamic one she was in. I tried to get across the lake by paddling in a zigzag pattern, parallel to the shoreline, but later remembered that that’s the technique for freeing yourself from an undertow when you’re swimming.
slow kayak
The only technique to get across a lake when the wind is blowing 30 mph in your face is to keep yelling, “Dee! Oh my god! My arms are killing me! What’s that muscle right behind your elbow? Because mine feels like it’s going to rip right out of my arm. Dee! I want you to know how much your friendship means to me. Tell your kids about me someday.. dee? I’m just gonna rest here for a minute… just one minute…”
But somehow, my hat gave me the strength to push through the pain and make it back to shore, where a cooler full of beer was waiting for me on the pier.
Le Paddleboat
Here is where I would tell you all about the awesome time we had in the paddleboat, but it took every ounce of strength for all four of us to lift it and carry it five feet out of the boathouse, so we decided it would not be advisable to try to carry it the remaining 40 feet down a narrow staircase to the pier. We need to adopt teen-boys next time.
Le Board Games
The only thing that took up more room in the car than the wine was the mass quantity of board games we brought with us.
• Scrabble
• Risk
• Yahtzee
• Cranium
• Apples to Apples
Every hour or so, Patty would plead with us to play Risk, at which point we would all groan, “Ugh. That game takes forEVER! No, I don’t want to watch you take over Estonia. Can’t we play something faster?”
We started out playing Cranium, which is the best because you get to play with clay. Patty and Q were partners so Dee and I teamed up. The true test of friendship is when you’re on the Pictionary-like part of Cranium, and one friend is drawing something that is so obvious, but the other friend keeps saying:
“Eggs. Bacon and eggs. A bed. Sleeping. Mattress. Dreaming of eggs and bacon. Eggs and bacon on the mattress. Eggs and bacon under the bed. Eggs and bacon on top of the bed. Sleeping on eggs and bacon.”
“Ohh… yeah. Now I get it. That’s good.”
But then moments later, that same friend will draw two lines and six dots and the other friend will correctly guess “double breasted suit” before 20 grains of sand have left the egg timer.
The next night, we decided to try out the Apples to Apples game that Q brought. He had only played it once before, but swore to us that it was HILARIOUS fun, just as the box cover promised. I was waiting to prove him wrong, but it was every bit as HILARIOUS as guaranteed. Now all we can talk about is how much we want to play Apples to Apples. You should play it, because it’s HILARIOUS!
But don’t just take my word for it, ask the Interwebs:

Le Giggles
After great quantities of wine and an intense round of Apples to Apples, this commercial, followed by the word, dingleberry will cause grown women to weep uncontrollably.

Le Call of Le Wild
Patty and I learned where the phrase, “Like a moth to a flame” comes from, when we both forgot to flip off the lights above our beds while we played Apples to Apples into the wee hours of the morning, only to return to find our pillows covered in mayflies and gnats and aardvarks.
Le Circle de Life
On our last morning at the cabin, Q and I woke up early to get in one last round of fishing. Once again, we ruled the water and reeled in walleye after walleye, followed by a huge rock bass that Q landed. As it got close to 9am, we decided to toss our remaining worms to the panfish and head back to shore. We were motoring back to the pier when I reached down to catch the worm container from flipping into the water, and my rugged Chinese cowboy hat from Target flew off my head and spun high in the air. I cut the motor and watched my hat land in the lake, drifting further and further away.
“Don’t you want to go back, Jen? It’s still floating. We can get it.”
“No. I think this is the way it’s supposed to happen. We took from this lake all weekend long. I think it’s time we gave back. Plus it was only $12.99 from Target and kind of started to make my scalp burn.”
Somewhere, out there, I just know there’s a giant walleye swimming around with my hat on. Or a family of otters that got tangled in the neck tie and nearly drowned. Either way, nature is a beautiful thing that must be respected.

18 Responses to “Sisterhood of the Traveling Hat”

  1. Dave Says:

    You chose leeches over worms. Be still my heart! Now I’m even more tempted to say yes to your previous post. :-)

  2. claire Says:

    See, stories like this are why marrying you seemed like a good idea despite my puppet biker concerns. It’s been ages since I’ve been to Toronto, but I really liked it when I was there. I’ll even buy you a new hat, en francais s’il vous plait. Bon soir!

  3. natalie Says:

    i think this is one of my favorite posts ever written by anyone. a perfect recap of what sounds like a perfect weekend. and giving back to the lake…you are so generous!

  4. jenny Says:

    dave: i’m telling you – once you go leeches, you’ll never go back!
    claire: seriously – the puppet biker is out of the picture. it’s just you and me and my new Canadian hat. and maybe a few other bloggers, but you’ll totally like them, honest!
    natalie: hey thanks! it really was a perfect weekend… lost hat and all.

  5. Jessica Says:

    Jenny, it’s MY love that’s true…I have no issue with puppet bikers OR giant rabbit heads.
    Heck, I might be willing to tattoo your ever-changing cat names on my body.

  6. pants Says:

    I played Apples to Apples with a bunch of my Utah relatives and thought it was going to be boring as hell…until my black-sheep cousin’s little girl threw down “going to church” for insincere/fake. LOVE IT!

  7. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    Culvers Butter Burger Baskets
    Sweet tap-dancing Jesus. Are you telling me that there’s a place that actually makes entire BURGERS out of BUTTER, then hands them to you in a BASKET?!?!?

  8. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    Culvers Butter Burger Baskets
    Sweet tap-dancing Jesus. Are you telling me that there’s a place that actually makes entire BURGERS out of BUTTER, then hands them to you in a BASKET?!?!?

  9. jenny Says:

    jess: i would never make you get tattoos of my cats’ names. although *my* name is a whole different story. i’m thinking something tasteful across the entire width of your back with snakes wrapped around daggers. and maybe a frog with dreadlocks flashing a peace sign.
    pants: i think my favorite answer was when someone chose “wheat” when the clue was “lazy.” damn lazy wheat.
    sir: are you trying to tell me you don’t have a culver’s where you live? you poor, poor child. come to the midwest… it’s a butter burger bonanza!

  10. shari Says:

    You left behind the hat?? Aw man… I bet it looks awesome on that walleye matriarch that’s wearing it though.

  11. churlita Says:

    I’m all for bringing teenage boys on every trip. Wait. What were you going to use them for again?

  12. Robin Says:

    Mmmmmmmm…..Butter Burgers!
    What? The hat didn’t survive the trip! ;-(

  13. SDJen Says:

    Ahhha! We have been playing apples to apples for years! I am glad that it is catching on, bought our first one at the Chicago ComicCon…very worth the laughs if you don’t play “the right” way!

  14. jenny Says:

    shari: i bet that hat is the talk of the lake right about now.
    churlita: brute strength and cleaning up all the leftovers.
    robin: i know… i made sure we stopped at culvers there and back! and no… the hat is in a better place now.
    sdjen: really? i had never even heard of the game before – i thought it was new. it really was a lot of fun!

  15. Cheryl Says:

    There used to be a place in L.A. called Mo’ Better Meaty Meat Burgers. But Angelenos aren’t big on butter or meat, so maybe that’s why it went out of business. Veganaise Tofu Patty Purse might stand a chance.

  16. dee-dee Says:

    When are we moving up there – I can’t believe you left out the coyote, perigrin falcon (or whatever that was), hippy farmers and the “it’s not that cold dee really, jump in” … we could have died in that water … can’t wait till the next trip!

  17. Sybil Law Says:

    Hi! I’m visiting from Avitable’s… I love your fishing recap! Made me laugh. Also, I have played that Apples to Apples game, and it really is fun! (Especially if you’re drinking lots of alcohol and on vacation with your husband’s crazy family… )

  18. patty Says:

    Jen- I’m still cracking myself up with dingleberry flashbacks. And 12 bottles of wine was not enough, luckily we found a bottle or 2 that belonged to the cabin. we have to go back soon I miss the lake and the walleye.

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