Maxed Out 

At home in the neighbourly Cariboo

By G.D. Maxwell

Ah, the sounds of summer.

I'm doing my best to be pragmatic about the chainsaw screeching next door. It's a temporary aberration. I'm sure it'll stop sooner or later. Darkness will either intervene or time will run out on my neighbour's vacation. I can't complain; the couple who own the place use it sparingly, are generous with cocktails and have offered to lend me any screaming machines I'd like to borrow. Right neighbourly when you get down to it.

On the other hand, the bozos buzzing the lake on personal water crap are a new development. There are three of them - jetskis, that is, I suspect there's a whole nest of bozos accompanying them - all coming from the resort downlake. That's the good news, they're temporary. So far, no one who owns property on Sulfuric Lake seems tasteless enough to actually own one of the annoying machines.

Still, self-help isn't far from my mind. I discuss it with Chainsaw Al, the neighbour with the hate on for the big trees blocking his afternoon sun, and we decide we'd probably get caught if we just walk into the resort and beat the snot out of the miscreants with baseball bats. A Roman at heart, Al favours hanging a twisted, broken SeaDoo from a tree next to the road at the entrance to the lake with a big sign reading "This is what happened to the last jetski some a**hole launched on our lake. Sheridan Lake is 15 minutes back down the road."

"Nice touch, Al, but it hasn't been my experience that any of 'em can read. Besides, they might think it's a joke."

We decide on a compromise, something efficiently devastating but involving no bloodshed. A midnight raid with a pot of quick-setting epoxy. "Bet those little jets won't breathe so well once this stuff hardens inside 'em, eh?" we laugh, being careful to leave just enough passage to ensure the engines will start and run long enough for the backpressure to reduce them to scrap metal.

I'm not sure which privatized ministry we might petition to get jetskis banned from the lake but I am sure it would take a lot longer and not be nearly as gratifying as direct action. Power to the people.

There are, at last count, about 496 major things that can go wrong when you buy what is euphemistically referred to as recreational property. The most devastating include gems like discovering your house's foundation was built on stumps of trees instead of proper footings. Don't laugh, there's a rustic log home across the lake from us whose northeast corner rests on just that, a composting cedar stump. Given the precipitous slope of the lot it's built on and the unknown quality of the rest of its foundation, I fully expect to wake up one morning and see it doing a passable imitation of a houseboat.

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