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Of Lake Piles and Lists

by Lori Wolak

I have to begin this article by making it perfectly clear that I love my lake house and the lake. I would not trade them or give them up for anything. That being said, however, I must say that having a lake house is more work than I could ever have imagined it would be in many ways. Having been brought up in a house with a pool, I always said that I would never have a pool, because they were too much work. Now that I have a lake house, I understand that there is more to taking care of them than meets the eye.

One way I try to deal with the never-ending need to get things done is to organize and simplify. During the week my husband and I will slowly purchase or gather up things that need to go to the lake. This is how the "lake pile" was born. We needed a place in our house to put the food, clothes and other supplies that needed to get to the lake. The spot needed to be out of the way, but not too far out of reach. It also needed to be somewhere we would not forget to scoop it up and throw it in the car, in our usual Friday evening hurry to hit the road and get to the lake.

This 'piling' system works great for making sure that things we need at the lake get there. Inevitably, however, things started needing to go back in the other direction. So, now at the lake house there is a "take home pile" that has evolved. Sometimes even as I am unpacking at the lake on a Friday night, I will find something that has been brought to the lake, which actually belongs at the other house. So, the take home pile begins. This pile continues to grow until it's time to go home, but it is never as large as the lake pile.

Luckily for us our kids are old enough to take care of their own clothes and amusements, so we don't have to pack for them as well. We all keep some basic lake clothes at the lake house, and only carry a few personal items back and forth every week. I am lucky that my husband and I had the foresight to install a heavy duty washer and dryer at the lake house, so I can throw in a load of towels or clothes before we head out to the water for the day. This saves me from having to tote the laundry back and forth.

Things that aren't in the lake pile yet are on the list. The 'lake list' is a list of all the things that need to get brought to the lake the next time we visit. Usually as soon as I see we are running out of something I add it to the list. Sometimes we need to put things on the list that we have never had at the lake before. For instance, we noticed that we had an ant problem this spring, and needed ant traps. Sometimes my husband just decides we need some more speakers. Onto the list they go. With the list established, we know that we can get the things we need into the pile, and we are living large!

Besides the piles and the lists, there is work that has to get done at both houses. Ordinary chores, such as cleaning and lawn maintenance don't take too long. Still, we have to fit them in during the week at one house, and during the weekend at the other house. Now that the kids are getting older we are starting to get their help with these chores, so they can take some ownership in upkeep on the houses.

Needless to say, our cars never get cleaned, and there are a lot of things we have given up on getting done, like painting. We just have to wait until we can afford to pay someone to do the big jobs for us. We also try to do most of the bigger jobs in the off-season, or when the weather is less than perfect. But, when you are out on the water enjoying the lake none of that seems to matter very much. What matters is that you spent the day in the company of friends and family, and had a great time. So, make the list, make the pile, let a few things slide, and have a great weekend at the lake!


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