Monday, September 16, 2013

Great (Apple) Expectations

Expectations are stupid.  And the thing that's really stupid is I know better.  I know not to have high expectations about well, anything.  I usually try to keep expectations about anything super low so maybe I can be pleasantly surprised by life or say "see, I told you that would suck."  But this weekend, I did it, I had this expectation that an apple orchard in Michigan on a picture-perfect weather day would be a good idea.  I expected, no I knew, it was going to be glorious and all kinds of apple loving, sunbeam catching, holding hands, skipping through the orchard kind of perfect.  

Unfortunately, the orchard I wanted to go to was too expensive. "Nine dollars per person to walk through a field and pick apples?" Tim asked truly dumbfounded with my perfect plan.

"Fine," I said, still believing my vision was possible.  "There's a cider mill that sells Michigan apples we can go to.  And the admission is zero dollars."  I had him at "zero dollars."

As we drove up to the cider mill, I put the window down to let in the cooler fall air and soak up the September sunshine.  The closer we got, the higher my expectations soared.  I wasn't going to let any bickering in the backseat get me down.  No, we were going to have a perfect day.  Even if it wasn't an orchard, it was a mill and it was still apple-y and fall-ish.  

It turns out, I wasn't the only one that had the orchard/cider mill idea.  Every person in the world was at this particular cider mill.  What the hell world?  Even though traffic was stressful and parking was challenging, I wasn't yet deterred from my vision of perfection.

There was a line of people, a long line, winding around a fence and through the parking lot.  At first, I got excited.  There must be something magical if people were waiting in a line that long.  What was it?  I thought of a few things: Free apples? Kick-ass face painting? Oh my god, was a celebrity here, sweet Jesus, a celebrity was even more than I had even let myself envision.  This day was going to be better than perfect.  

"Oh, we're in line for cider," the kind old lady said to Tim.  

Cider? Cider they had to pay for.  Who waits in line for cider? I started to feel a little bitter and judgemental.

We bypassed the long, stupid line and headed to see goats in a cage and feed them seeds.  My cheerfulness was waning big time.  Why were there goats in the same cage as a llama and a cow?  They were so overfed by the world that was visiting on this supposed perfect day, that they looked bitter and judgemental.  I locked eyes with an angry goat with one horn.  "What the hell are you looking at?" the goat's eyes said to me.  
Look at that goat's stare.
Totally saying "you're an asshole." Right?  That goat could care less about the dumb seeds Lucy was trying to feed him.

"I thought we were going to pick apples?," Lucy said.

"Well, we're going to buy apples instead," I said through gritted teeth and a strained grin on my face.  "And it's going to be FUN."  I was acting like Chevy Chase in Vacation, determined to get his family to have f#&ing fun.

We bought a bag and picked apples, out of a bin.  We bought the kids Carmel apples.  I tried to take a picture.  It was fine.  It wasn't sunbeams and skipping, but it was okay.

We took our apples to the river across the street trying to get away from the world at the cider mill.  

The kids and Tim were pretending to be explorers and adventurers.  They were turning a stupid cider mill experience into the best afternoon ever.

I'd love to tell you that I joined in on the fun.  That would be such a sweet, sunbeam-y ending, such a life can teach you to appreciate the moments you don't expect kind of thing. But I'm going to be real and tell you I was pouting on a bench after my flip-flop broke and my pants got muddy and my feelings got hurt. 

Expectations are stupid.  But sunlight, laid-back husbands, adventurous kids are not.  

Hope isn't stupid.  I hope that I'll fulfill that vision of apple picking perfectness someday.  

Goats in a cage with a cow and a llama are still stupid and confusing. I'm sorry, I'm sticking with that observation.


  1. I feel as if you just wrote about my exact experience here a couple years ago. Except ours ended with someone's sandal floating down the river.

    That place is WAY too crowded...hate that. We sometimes just end up going to Rochester Cider Mill I think it's called and at least they have great homemade donuts and pumpkins and a little of that fall experience without being too crazy...

  2. We don't have an apple orchard too close here, but I've always wanted to visit one. We did go to a pumpkin patch last year that sold really expensive apples, though.

    You sound exactly like me. Grumpy. ;)

  3. Your pictures are still really pretty happy :) Sunbeams and skipping, hahahaha. We'd have winded up at the free mill too. And now I'm envisioning my own family's excursion at an orchard. We're bound to do it. Just maybe in October....