A scare during a weekend in paradise

View of Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe from a baot
Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe.

This past weekend I went to Lake Tahoe, Nevada for the first time. We have friends who lived near us in Palm Springs who also have a house in Tahoe. They sold their California home like we did this past year and we discovered our new Arizona homes are less than a mile from each other. We got together as new neighbors before they headed for the cool Lake Tahoe weather — and they insisted we come visit them.

Lake Tahoe view
View from our friend’s kitchen.

We finally did it! I was a little apprehensive because although we’ve been friends for years, we don’t have a “stay with them in their home” type of friendship. I’m close with the wife through our school parenting days, but our husbands have only met during formal school related events.

Anyway, it turned out to be a memorable, fun, amazing gorgeous weekend of hiking, boating, eating, touring and building on our friendship. I can’t get over what a perfect weekend it was.

Until I got the phone call.

The unknown number came in while we were on their gorgeous speed boat. The day so far had included a morning hike, mooring the boat for lunch — in front of their private country club’s lake house — a $10 million house that had been renovated as a restaurant and place to hang out on the lake. Access to it is through their golf membership — although it’s miles from the golf course. Next, we toured Emerald Bay and then anchored at Rubicon Bay, which had turquoise blue water, warm enough for a quick dip. I’m not sure where the next stop was going to be.

Turquoise water of Rubicon Bay Lake Tahoe
Rubicon Bay where we went swimming.

We pulled up anchor and were racing through the water to our next destination when I answered the call. It was hard to hear over the roar of the boat’s engines, I was breaking up to the person on the other end. I finally heard that my dad had pushed the button on the device I insisted he wear around his neck. They said they called him and he wasn’t answering. Then the phone went dead. After three attempts, I got the rest of the story. Dispatch was on their way to my dad’s house.

wake from a speed boat on Lake Tahoe

I tried calling my dad. The phone was answered but it was pure static and garbled. I tried again. No answer.

My friends told me to wait to call until they got me to a place with more bars for cell reception.

I was shaking. I felt so helpless. What could I do for my dad while racing around in an exotic boat on Lake Tahoe? How quickly could I get a flight to Palm Springs? Why had I moved away from him? Maybe my brother was right after all. My brother has been insisting that I move dad to Arizona to be closer to me. Dad is turning 90 next year and my brother said that he can’t live alone because of his age. That’s when I insisted my dad get the “help I’ve fallen button” to wear around his neck. I also hired a friend to stop by and see if he wants her to run to the store or do anything for him.

Up until that moment, I disagreed with my brother. My dad lives in a senior community near Palm Springs. He golfs three times a week, has friends (who are currently out of town), takes ukulele lessons, drives his golf cart around, and he started a new hobby of remote controlled yacht racing last year. He’s happy. He’s active. He’s engaged.

If I were to move him to Arizona, what would he do? Sit in my casita and watch TV? Or alone in an apartment with no friends? Wait for me to play golf with him at the surrounding super expensive golf courses — instead of his current situation of getting out to play a few holes at affordable rates whenever he wants? I honestly think he’s happier in his own environment. And I believe he can make a decision about where he lives. At least that’s what I thought until I got the call.

Lake Tahoe Lake House for lunch.
View from the country club’s lake house where we had lunch.

Back to the boat….I called my dad when we were in an area where I got better reception. Dad answered. He said it was a false call. He had been working on the misting cooling system on his golf cart and accidentally pressed the button leaning on something. He also said he called the company to tell them it was a false alarm, but they put him on hold! He said dispatch had come and was ready to haul him to the hospital, but they figured out he was fine.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was. And I don’t think it’s time to take him out of his own home and active lifestyle. Not yet.

What are your thoughts about leaving aging parents in their own homes versus moving them to live closer or with you?

It’s all about the YETI

Yeti cooler "The Roadie."

It’s an especially hot week in Arizona — and in Palm Springs — my old home. I’m talking high teens hot.

We splurged this weekend on two things. We rented a boat for a half-day and bought a new cooler.

view from the boat on Bartlett Lake

View from the boat.

I hadn’t heard about YETI until I was writing an article for a trade magazine about top Christmas gifts at hardware stores. Exciting stuff? Eh. I got paid ūüôā

I also learned something new. Everyone I interviewed mentioned YETI as a top seller.

“Can you spell that?” I asked the first time. “Can you tell me what that is?”

Then my son, his girlfriend’s family and my daughter went camping last summer in the Redwoods. My son said he bought a YETI cooler, the Tundra — which is the biggie. His girlfriend’s family are seven adult siblings who are athletes. They eat a lot — especially the youngest who is the only boy and is rowing in college. Hence the need for the largest YETI made.

My son said it was unbelievable — both the redwoods and the cooler. He said his ice lasted the entire trip of three days and all the food stayed cold.

I’ve wanted a YETI since he told me that last summer — the summer of lots of camping with his bubble during the pandemic shutdowns.

We rented the boat and invited new friends who are moving here from Seattle. They asked me if there was water around here and I told them about the lake. They currently live by Lake Washington and love the water. I told them next time they were in town, we’d show them the lake. They’re here visiting and we decided because of the heat and hours in a boat it was time to invest in a YETI.

I sent my son the photo of the new cooler and he gave me instructions on how to use it. He said the secret is to cool it down the night before by putting in a block of dry ice. That wasn’t going to happen, so I used ice from our freezer. He also told me to pack the cooler full, no empty space. So, I’m glad a got “The Roadie” model which is smaller than my son’s. The third secret he told me was to make sure anything I put in the cooler is already cooled. For example, if you put in warm water bottles they will absorb all the energy to get cold. To top off my son’s advice, he sent me a YouTube of how to pack my YETI! You’d think at my age, I wouldn’t need YouTube to pack a cooler! It was actually helpful.

We spent four hours yesterday touring Bartlett Lake by boat, dropping an anchor to dive into the water and cool off. It got unbelievably hot, which meant lot of anchoring and swimming. The YETI cooler was smack in the sun, but the sandwiches, water, veggies, watermelon and dips all stayed ice cold.

view from the back of the boat on Bartlett Lake

It was a beautiful day at the lake with our friends. One day, I hope to repeat the fun when it’s not quite so hot.

What is your favorite way to stay cool in the summer heat?