Fatigued and Dehydrated in Paradise

Alpine girls

Avonlea and Rilla picking wildflowers in Bear Creek!


It’s a spectacular, sunny afternoon in Alpine Meadows. I’m alone in the “Munchkin Cabin” while Lucy naps on the cool kitchen floor. The rest of the family is swimming in the brisk Truckee River. Fortunately Craig and the girls understand that I need some down time. Moreover, if Lucy and I accompanied them, she’d drive everyone bonkers barking at the plethora of ducks floating peacefully down the river.

Meanwhile, this past week I assumed I’d avoid updates about Robin Williams since I’ve been unable to receive internet or television/radio in the cabin. I was wrong. It turns out that Robin Williams had strong ties to this area, which was relatively close to his San Francisco base, for over the past twenty years.

He loved taking his family skiing at the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, which is five minutes up the road from our cabin. He enjoyed Alpine so much that he became close friends with the ski director. When the ski director had his first child, a Fed Ex truck delivered a gorgeous rocking chair sent to him by Williams that has become a family heirloom.

How do I know these facts? Well, the other day in front of Truckee Safeway I grabbed the two local weeklies. In my hurry I didn’t see that Robin Williams was on the cover of each one. Since these feature stories were personal, heartfelt accounts that went beyond the gruesome headlines, I allowed myself to read them.

One article discussed Williams’ longtime patronage at an upscale Tahoe City restaurant called Wolfdales. He visited this waterfront locals’ favorite many times. Once he even brought some of his Monty Python friends and they evidently brought down the house.

Today, while Craig visited the Tahoe City Library with the girls to do some work, I walked by Wolfdales restaurant with Lucy. We paused for a moment just ten feet away from where my hero Robin Williams crossed its threshold numerous times. I imagined him having good evenings there despite his troubles, but the darkened doorway was an eerie sight.

I took in a deep breath and carried on with my stroll with sprightly Lucy by my side. Walking in the fresh, lakeside air with my adorable puppy helped me mentally, and I didn’t feel quite as sad as I’ve felt since Monday night.

Meanwhile, Craig and I noticed that we’ve been affected by the Tahoe altitude more than we have in the past. I know we’re both getting older, but…the entire time we’ve been here I’ve felt totally wiped out. Craig mentioned that he has woken up each day feeling as if he had a hangover. Neither of us drinks alcohol anymore, however, and today he told me he thinks we’re not drinking enough water.

“I bet you’re right!” I agreed.

During past visits to Alpine Meadows, I drank plenty of the delicious Tahoe tap water, but on this trip I’ve hardly had any. Duh! I should have known better. I’m hoping that I’ll get more energy as a result of drinking enough water from now on…

So please believe me, I know how lucky we are to be on this trip, but I’m not going to lie to you – in many ways it doesn’t feel like a vacation at all! My husband has been dealing with work-related crises every day. Our two daughters have been fighting up a storm, which is nothing new. However, before this trip I’ve had them occupied for several hours at a time with their friends on a regular bases, giving me an essential break. Up here for the most part we are around one another 24/7.

We’re in tight quarters in the aptly named Munchkin Cabin, so it feels claustrophobic at times. There are no four-star restaurants on our agenda – that’s for sure. We make most of our meals in the cabin. Due to our trip budget, our activities must be low-cost and they mostly consist of visiting state parks and beaches. Lake Tahoe has some of the most beautiful state parks in the world.

I can just hear some cheesy, woe-is-me, “wah wah wah” music playing in the background as I type this; I’m not sure how I’d take it if I read someone else complaining about a Tahoe vacation! I’m hoping to earn your empathy when I explain that I’m personally really struggling…mostly with the lack of structure on this loosely planned getaway as well as with the other points I brought up.  

Another big challenge is that since I’ve been so fatigued, I haven’t exercised the way I have at home, and obviously that brings down my mood. My sleep has been worse than usual, complete with 2:00 a.m. bouts of coughing. At least last night I finally slept without waking up to cough my lungs outs for twenty minutes – at last I’m on the mend.


Anyway, please…don’t be jealous of my vacation! ;)


At least I haven’t seen a bear through the window this time like I did during my previous visit! Yes, that happened a few years ago. I was taking a shower while my girls watched a video in the Munchkin’s living room. Craig was napping upstairs. When I came into the dining room, I looked out the large window. Five feet away from where I stood dripping in my towel, I saw a BIG bear cub staring right back at me.   I couldn’t believe my eyes!


Without thinking, I yelled out “Bear!!!” The cub ran up the steep hill away from the cabin (No mama bear was in sight!) and I ran to check the front door, which was wide open.


Our metal garbage can was inside the hallway and its metal lid was on the floor. There was some garbage strewn about. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the bear quietly climbed up the long, steep staircase into our cabin while the girls watched the video; it went through our garbage without a peep, and then it took off.


It turned out that Craig had made the egregious mistake of leaving our door cracked open in bear country. It amazed me that the bear was so quiet inside our cabin, and of course I thanked God that baby bear or Mama Bear didn’t explore the Munchkin further and spot our girls!

All is peaceful for now. No bears are meandering outside my window, no ostentatious multi-million dollar homes are being constructed next door (as is happening throughout this area), and I don’t have to hear my girls switching from sweet to screechy within ten seconds flat.

I better get my book and read while I can focus.   I brought up my copy of the recently published “A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness – A Story About Overcoming Postpartum Psychosis” by Jennifer Hentz Moyer. It’s not exactly light reading, I know, but very interesting and relevant to me nonetheless. Moyer was not only diagnosed with postpartum psychosis immediately after her son was born; she also received a postpartum bipolar disorder diagnosis a whopping six years after childbirth. Moyer has become an active mental health advocate and she’s featured in the book “Back from the Brink” which profiles people with depression and bipolar disorder.

Thanks for reading, and take good care of yourselves! I’ll return to reading your wonderful blogs next weekend – I miss them all!