Random bits of my so-called life.

Suddenly greeeeeeen

April 11th, 2021 by kayak woman

When I walked yesterday things were not green. This morning I took off and look at the green leaves everywhere. And yes there is forsythia. It is everywhere. Except there is only a bitsy little sprig in my yard. But we had a bit of rain yesterday and look at all the green.

The GG did a bunch of trail maintenance today on the North Country Trail. 20 trees down on whatever section he was working? Yeah maybe. I did a small amount of trail maintenance here at the Landfill. That is, I cleared a path to the back door. Moved faaaarwood and kindling outside and put newspaper and non-metallic xmas wrapping paper into the recycle.

Other than that, I dumped off a couple garbage bags of old clothing into a drop box. Yes, really. Man oh man. Back in like September 2019, I put together a garbage bag of crappy old clothes. I put it in the Ninja’s trunk. I had every intention of dropping it off somewhere. It didn’t happen. I dunno why. Then the pandemic happened. The bag stayed in the Ninja’s trunk forever. At some point I think the GG took that bag and a couple others, including a lot of my bizcaz clothing to the Salvation Army once they kind of opened again. But then a lot of those places kind of closed up again. This was a different bag but still one that I had a hard time dropping off. But I did it!

I’m kind of taaared in general tonight. I don’t get depressed in general but some days are “happier” than others and parts of today I felt kind of down. But things that helped with that low-level depression were that 1) I was able to quickly fix an issue with the Hoton Lake webcams and 2) fun flute convo with a daughter and 3) connecting on FB with my late cousin’s husband.

Life is like a river and this last year has not been all that fun. Love y’all, KW.

Haaaaaanging around

April 10th, 2021 by kayak woman

Worked on Deep Purple today. I have been sporadically working on decluttering Deep Purple for a while.

Deep Purple is a bedroom. During our tenure at the Landfill, it spent a short period as a spare bedroom, mainly one where The Grandparents stayed when they visited. I slept with my infants the first year and a half or so. And no, no one EVER rolled over on them. As a new mother, I was a very light sleeper.

By the time the second beach urchin came along, we had pretty successfully moved the first one into Deep Purple, which was NOT purple in those days. Green green green. Grass green.

When it was time for the second beach urchin to join the first (they shared Deep Purple for quite a few years), the first was NOT particularly happy until I suggested it might be nice to have a “little warm breather” in the same room. I dunno why but that seemed to make it okay.

Eventually we converted the third bedroom-like space into an actual bedroom for the older beach urchin. Maybe 6th grade? And Deep Purple turned into the younger’s bedroom. Which she painted deep purple in high school. With permission. I had to laugh though. This prodject took a looonnng time and she moved stuff outta that room into our front living room for the duration. LofPNet across the street came over cracking up one day. HIS daughter, a middle-schooler, had been viewing our living room through a telescope and was convinced that one artifact was a cage for a MYNA BIRD! If you know me, you know I was rolling on the floor laughing.

So Deep Purple goes in and out of various phases of clutter and today I finished emptying the closet of abandoned clothing and HANGERS! The abandoned clothing is in five grocery bags awaiting perusal by its owner. If it isn’t raining tomorrow morning, this box of haaaaangers is going out to the curb. We’ll see if anyone picks any of them up. Do people want old hangers? Note that most of these hangers were not, uh, hanging anything.

TOMORROW so I don’t forget… I am gonna… 1) UNBLOCK that back sliding door in the back room. It is blocked with faaaaarwood, which we aren’t gonna use any more this year and I HATE BLOCKED DOORS, even though that door is probably the last exit we would use in case of emergency. It’s more a feng shui kinda thing, not that I know anything about feng shui, just that blocked doors drive me BANANANANANAS. 2) BUILD MY BLASTED DAFF ALREADY!


April 9th, 2021 by kayak woman

I’m pretty dern taarrred tonight but here is our first robin’s nest. I’m not sure mooma and daddy robin have finished yet. The GG is helping them by putting up a platform.

I was startled this morning here on TeleCublandia aka the Green Couch when a couple of robins were fighting or whatever and one of them slammed into my window. Yikes! I watched it ricochet off into a bush and I think it was okay. But yeesh.

Zippity zap bang bang bang

April 8th, 2021 by kayak woman

Hail to the victors valiant! Hail to the conquering heros! Er, the conquering heroine, that is. Conquering tech issues left and right. Wham bam thank you ma’am.

Zip file issue? READ THE ERROR MESSAGE and fix what it’s telling you to fix, fer kee-reist. If it is telling you the file name has invalid characters, RENAME IT, even if you can’t SEE any invalid characters. (I hate the use of the underscore character in file names but it IS valid so that wasn’t the problem.) Worked like a charm. I still don’t trust zipped folders as secure long-term storage. Thinking about that (within the infrastructure of our digital environment at work). Not really my job but I use all these old files frequently for archaeological digging so I don’t want them to go away.

The corrupted excel address file? Duh… We PAY for wi-fi here at the Landfill. That means that any device that CAN connect to the internet via wi-fi can connect to the internet here at the Landfill. The old laptop WORKS just fine, it’s just slodgy and doesn’t have any sound and a couple other things. But. IT STILL CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET! And AIRDROP? Remember airdrop, KW? Hear that banging noise? That’s the sound of The Guru banging his head against whatever screen he’s using.

So I faaarrred up the old laptop AGAIN and YES! it was connected to the internet. So yer fav-o-rite blahgger airdropped her addresses excel file from the old laptop to the new one and then, this time when she opened it up (and it DID load into excel), she SAVED it in what she thinks is an appropriate format. Instead of 1997-2004 [something-something]. Hopefully this will solve the issue. But crapola. It should be easier for users.

Build price daff

April 7th, 2021 by kayak woman

A semi-frustrational day in terms of technology. Work? Zipping folders full of bajillions of files so as to store them in a different place than where they are right now, which is on a Jurassic Age “drive” somewhere. I’m not sure I totally trust file zipping. I mean, it’s fine for short term things like sending big “things” to people. Long-term storage, I am iffy about. I tried to open a zipped file from 2008 (the year I bought the Ninja) and it took something like four hours and I dunno if the files were extract-able after all that. I suggested we just trash all the zip files, at least the old ones. I have the *real* files on my hard drive and can zip them from there. Yes, I know that’s a dangerous place to keep important files and yes, we sometimes DO look at stuff from 2008, at least IIIIII do.

So I spent some time zipping up folders on my hard drive and posting them to, well, wherever. Until I hit a folder that wouldn’t zip because some file name had an invalid character in it. Nope… I won’t try to describe this but it was EOD and I was dun dun dun. I’ll troubleshoot it tomorrow. And maybe advocate for saving all this stuff in a non-zipped format. Somewhere besides my hard drive. Oh don’t worry. The loss of any of these files/folders doesn’t pose a threat to the on-line banking biz. It just provides a place for meeee to do archaeological digs when we’re trying to figure out why we decided to design something the way we did and if we want to change that or not. Some “Young Turk” could come in and cut my head off.

I decided not to try to figger this out tonight but I’ll be dogging it tomorrow.

And then there was family where us remaining MacMu cousins (six now, originally nine, three families have one child left, the fourth has all three, which is a great thing!) are trying to update our contact info in a collective way. This is not the first time we’ve done this but it might be the first time since a lot of us have ditched our landlines.

In the midst of trying to update my billion years old addresses excel spreadsheet, I could 1) not load Excel without setting a new password and 2) my addresses file wouldn’t load, even though I loaded it within the last month, on my NEW laptop, AFTER I bought the new Microsoft subscription and have edited the file since then. Well plus I had to update my frickin’ password today… 💩

My address file is backed up and it’s still on my OLD Macbook pro so maybe I can eventually get it onto my new laptop. The problem is that it doesn’t have a USB port.

I decided not to try to figger this out tonight but I’ll be dogging it tomorrow. Or maybe this weekend, since I have to yaknow, WORK tomorrow,

Nesting season

April 6th, 2021 by kayak woman

People on the bird watching email list I lurk on have been saying nesting activity is slow to start up. I enjoy watching nature in general but don’t have an avid enough interest in anything to learn, oh say, habits or Latin species names, etc.

During my 12-13 years down at Cubelandia, I was pretty familiar with the annual cycle of the Canada Goose although I was always a bit surprised (pleasantly) when the first goslings of the season appeared. Oh, it’s THAT time of year. We got sent home to telecommute before that started last year and of course we are not there this year and never going back. The closest I get to geese nowadays is when they honk their way across the sky during my 0-skunk-30.

Fortunately the yard at TeleCubelandia is popular with quite a few bird species, some I know and others are just Little Brown Birds. Wrens or sparrows or something. The GG calls them junk birds and has made the birdhouse openings too small for them.

Speculation on the birder list is that nesting activity is slow this year because of drought. Although I have noticed we aren’t getting a lot of precipitation, it doesn’t really look much like drought around here. That’s because at this time of year, there is NEVER a whole lot of lush greenery in the Great Lake State. Pretty darn gray and only a few things are beginning to bud. I have a few daffs and NO CROCUS! (note to self to plant some bulbs next fall!). Forsythia. One of our scrappy little flowering bushes has pink buds on it today. It’ll be a while before the oaks and things in “our” woods grow leaves.

The robins are probably the most fun. Mooma (or maybe daddy) Robin has been inspecting the usual locations and seems to be settling on the drain pipe. As of today, the GG saw her putting grass on it. Last year we had THREE robin families so maybe others will show up on our other popular locations. But here we go! Need rain!

Looooong day. Reconnected with a MacMu cousin I haven’t seen in a while. No particular reason for the lack of communication, just we’re both busy but I guessed correctly that he may not have heard our family’s bad news. I had bad [old] phone contact info for him but he was easy to find on the internet via his law firm. Emailed him and he almost immediately replied, “What’s your phone number?” A great convo ensued along with updated contact info. And then a DEEEEEP dive into a rabbit hole of some old-skool javascript that my old boss the LSCHP wrote back in the Jurassic Age and some new things on my plate or more like some old things on my plate that dropped off my radar screen🐽

And then, PS, a facetime convo with a couple other MacMu cousins, these on the west coast. 🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡

Waning crescent and then raaaiiiinnnn

April 5th, 2021 by kayak woman

Finally. It wasn’t huge storms but there was thunder and a couple of good soakings. Boy oh boy did we need it. For weeks and weeks we keep getting these forecasts for days with 100% rain and then… Nothing… The sun rises and beats down on us every day all day. I can’t really complain. I’ve lived through many a month of March with days and days on end of zero or below temperatures and/or never ending snow. We did have some little bitsy snow flurries on April Fool’s Day. Guess what? I bet we aren’t done with snow.

The good thing about snow in April, even significant snow, is that you don’t really need to shovel it. If you do, you are basically shoveling water — water that’ll melt by the next day, if not within hours.

Easter Sunday? What a beautiful day! I knew it was gonna be nice and I had entertained the idea of getting the Purple Kayak (the only one here at the moment) down into the river early in the morning. At 30-something, it was a wee bit cold for my taste. Photo memories showed me that the last time Easter fell on April 4th, we were in the middle of a spell of 80-90 degree weather (yes, really) and we did actually hit the river early in the morning. Baggies of Cheerios and little cans of V8 for breakfast. Yesterday, I was content with an early morning walk, layered and accessorized by balaclava and glubs. And a wee bit of bacon to enhance a humble do-it-yourself breakfast.

When we “do” Easter, it’s in a very secular way. I was brought up and confirmed Methodist (the mainstream flavor) but have been agnostic since about the age of three and my kids basically share beliefs similar to mine (I think). I didn’t (I don’t think) try to indoctrinate them in anything. The GG is Catholic and whether or not he shares my beliefs exactly, organized religion doesn’t seem to be a big thing for him and it’s never been an issue. You can live by the Golden Rule (or try to) without being churched.

When the beach urchins were young, we did the Easter basket, egg, and candy routine with a few gifts thrown in for good measure. It was also the time I usually trashed whatever Halloween candy was still left over, usually the stuff they didn’t really like, untouched for months. I dunno what we did when they got older, probably gifts and chocolate still and maybe egg-dyeing. Then they went off to college and study abroad and one worked in SanFran for a number of years. We gave Easter a nod with a steak dinner for two or whatever.

And then, one year, the younger was living nearby and all of a sudden we were doing a (sort of) Easter dinner again. Her idea. I mean, why not celebrate any holiday you can.

So nowadays Easter dinner is the smallest ham I can find, mashed potatoes, asparagus even though it isn’t in season yet and whatever. This year because COVID it was just the two of us and I ordered some lovely sliced ham from Plum catering. It was just the right amount for us with a day’s worth of leftovers.

Cheerio[s]! Kayak Woman

P.S. Me and my brother in my bedroom with an Easter aminal back in the day. I think I had that skirt in 1st grade.


April 4th, 2021 by kayak woman

I’m not sure how to write any of this so I guess I’ll just jump in. I’ve written before that I have quite a number of cousins and that we all get along really well. I was also lucky enough to be blessed with a couple of female cousins on both sides that are my age or close to it. I lost one of them yesterday. She was a year younger than me.

The shared trajectories of our lives… We knew each other well as children as our families traveled to visit each other a few times a year and we also saw them at our grandparents’ house in Detroit. Her parents (The Comm’s older brother and wife) died when she was in her late teens/early 20s, which is a horrible time to be orphaned and although she was a Force of Nature, I think she struggled a bit. We didn’t see or hear much from her for quite a few years. DISCLAIMERS: This was NOT a feud and when I say “struggles”, I don’t mean lifestyle issues or anything like that. Like so many of us, it was more “what do I want to do when I grow up” stuff. Eventually she found her calling as a teacher and counselor and ROCKED IT!

My mom carefully reached out over those hard years, wanting to make sure Teri knew she still had family who cared about her without overwhelming her. Over the years, Teri married and had a daughter and one summer she accepted The Comm’s invitation to visit the moomincabin, bringing her young daughter and older sister (my beloved cousin Sally) with her. Both my parents were still healthy and my daughters were teenagers and the GG is always fun. We all had sooooo much fun that they came back for more year after year.

Man oh man, I will miss her boundless energy and all of our rapid-fire conversations (she talks even faster than I do) where we were just about finishing each other’s sentences and laughing our you-know-whats off. Talking about our lives and families and all the things we remembered (or misremembered) from when we were kids. It went on and on.

One of my favorite sessions ever was after our eccentric aunt Roberta died. She was the oldest sibling of the five in our parents’ family and outlasted all but one of them, dying at 98. The convo was something like:

Teri: So, did you know that Roberta died?
KW: Nooooo.
Teri: It was a year and a half ago.
KW: [speechless]
Teri: If it makes you feel any better, I only found out a few months ago
KW and Teri: [simultaneously explode into hysterical laughter]

Roberta did not have children so it fell to our remaining uncle to notify the family about her death and he was just kinda beyond it by then.

The last time I saw Teri was summer of 2019 and we were sitting on the moomincabin deck when she told me she was ill. At that time, I wouldn’t have guessed and, sensing she didn’t want this information widely spread, I kept it quiet.

Although we don’t didn’t communicate online all that often, I’m guessing she was well enough last summer to get to the moomincabin but, well, f*ck COVID.

That last time I saw her, during our 2019 deck convo, I did tell her very sincerely that I loved her. She looked at me like I was being a little maudlin. I said, no, I really do and I just wanted to say that. We went back to cackling away about our lives, etc., but I sure am glad I said it.

Unidentified Non Flying Objects

April 3rd, 2021 by kayak woman

Oh, not the lucky-shuckyal beeceeclette. I mean I’m sure it CAN fly but I hope it doesn’t!

Yes, so THIS was what was in the BIG BOX (not a Ferrari). it took some doing to unbox it and then even more doing to break up the box and accompanying styrofoam. Both our garbage and recycle carts are gonna be FULL this week. I don’t think styrofoam is recyclable, at least not at the moment and it doesn’t go in the cart EVER. There are places that take bubble wrap (there was some of that too).

The idea is that he’ll be able to “spot” this bike when he takes long (like 25 mile) trail hikes so he can go one way and then ‘lectro-bike back to the car. Yes, some of us have some reservations about this plan but he’s an adult and he does have a helmet. Anyway, this is his bday month so I guess this is his bday present. I suppose it’s better than the TWO identical coffee grinders he got last year (it was a pandemic shopping error on the part of the company, not meeee (for once)). But probably not better than the empty peanut butter jar he salvaged out at the geology center.

Alas, Lectro Bike did not arrive in perfect condition. A small plastic part that has something to do with the battery broke immediately and he spent all day getting it to run via a “work-around”, as we say in the web dev world. Fortunately it has a warranty and the company has been responsive so a fix is in the works. But he did ride it down to the river and back today.

The UNFOs? I cleaned out my junk drawer today! Yay! What a mess. I wish I had before/after pics. Some things (non-working pens, etc.) were unceremoniously thrown out and others were returned to their “proper” homes (like how many spools of thread do you have in YOUR junk drawer?). Mine is mainly an office supply drawer at this point. Except that I don’t really need office supplies much any more. Somehow I can’t seem to get rid of old 1st National Bank of Sault Ste. Siberia rulers… And then there were items I couldn’t identify…

I interrupted this for a while to do porterzoomation. At the end of the zoom call, I received bad news from my beloved cousin Teri’s daughter that she passed away this morning. She had been fighting a long-term illness for a couple years but one she hoped to beat. That’s about all for now. I’m okay but processing so maybe I’ll be able to put my thoughts into words tomorrow.

What’s in the box?

April 2nd, 2021 by kayak woman

It’s a cheap and dirty photoooo but that’s what was needed. At first I couldn’t resist the urge to photoshop affinity it and cropped the Green Couch out. I undid that when I realized without the Green Couch, there was no frame of reference for the scale of this BIG BOX, which I had a GREAT TIME manhandling into the Landfill when it was delivered this morning. Turnstyle the seal doesn’t really provide scale. I’ll let y’all guess what’s in it but it is definitely not something I wanted to be porch pirated. Even though my “office” is ON the Green Couch, meaning I see EVERYTHING that gets delivered.

Arriving coincidentally at the same time as THE BOX was my Argus Farm Stop delivery for today. It was filled with goodies including farm-frozen broccoli and asparagus, Zingerman’s pizza dough, apricot-chardonnay jam, and I fergit what else.

Most of the rest of my day was boring. Hardly anybody was working today and we got “early release” for Easter, which feels kinda weird since we are all remote workers now. It wasn’t the most productive day I ever had and I spent HOURS agonizing about re-designing a simple diagram that I didn’t like.

But then. In the afternoon, I had visitors! A mouse and a raccoon. They wanted to use my driveway to change Orange Betty Oriole’s oil but there were some difficulties that I couldn’t describe if I tried because I have NEVER changed the oil in any car. BUT. We’d had a kind of a plan to have whine in the back yard. Problem. It was sunny today but I don’t think we got over 44 degrees or so.

So… We… All fully vaxxed… Had whine in the back room. The “kids” are not really worried about COVID at this point. I mean, they have both worked in grocery stores for the duration of the pandemic. I am still nervous and I think they respect that. But. The Landfill isn’t a huge house but the back room is big enough that we can socially distance there, whether or not we really need to. We are only nine days past full vax so technically we are not “there” yet but it was a risk I could accept. I haven’t processed my feelings about this enough to write about it, as I’m guessing many others have not.

So, whaddya think is in the box? 👀👀👀

Back to school

April 1st, 2021 by kayak woman

I think it was a week ago last Monday (that’d be March 22, THAT Monday) that I got home from my walk and saw headlights shining through the woods. And there was this sign but the signs on the front of the school were inscrutable. One day I noticed a guy walking a little girl with a backpack to down the sidewalk at about the school starting time. Was school in session or not? The district website did not provide much information. Amazon Woman has a daughter in the public schools here but she’s in middle school and those kids were still totally virtual at the time. The website was updated when I checked it today. It’s spring break this week but it turns out that yes, the schools are phasing in a “hybrid” version of classes.

As Michigan COVID cases rise, I am not a fan but I don’t envy anyone connected to education their jobs right now. Teachers, parents, students, administrators, whoever.

In general, I was *happy* when my kids left for school each day. Whether I was walking them or they were walking themselves, middle school bus or carpool, and eventually driving the Indefatigable down Miller to “Commie” High. (That’s what us parents *affectionately* called it. I’m sure our high schoolers were rolling their eyes.)

I did a lot of volunteer work throughout and met up with my then walking buddies at Haisley every morning. I was in and out of that office constantly and therefore overheard a lot of “stuff”. I usually kept my mouth shut but once, the principal and secretary were kind of kvetching about people calling their kids in sick all the time, when the kids were probably not sick. I mentioned that if my kids were not sick, school is where I wanted them to be, as much for my sanity as their education.

Public school is not perfect. Lemme see… My kids are pretty intelligent but as small quiet girls they didn’t always get “noticed”. There was the one kid who took off into the reading stratosphere halfway through first grade but it didn’t get noticed until second grade. There was the first grade class (different kid) in which there were so many kids with serious special needs that my kid kind of got ignored. There was a hugely different middle school experience for my kids based on the fact that one went to an alternative “open” school and the other had to deal with a large bureaucratic middle school. She once told me (as an adult) that she thought middle school kids would learn more if they worked on a farm and I cannot disagree. And then… One of the kids, at our beloved alternative high school, went through three years of weird “forum” (kinda like home room but more) experiences before finally finding a decent forum home.

But! Overall, the public schools do a good job. It can be difficult to endure a year with a less than satisfactory teacher. But it’s important for kids to learn that life is not perfect and you are going to encounter less than perfect people/teachers/bosses/partners/whatever. In my case, when my kids encountered imperfect teachers, I think I was able to support them until they were old enough to handle their own interpersonal relations.

My adult daughers? They aren’t rocket scientists but they could be if they were interested. They pretty much rock the world these days. And I am kinda done here. I have more to say but not necessarily the words to say it.

Tough love

March 31st, 2021 by kayak woman

I dunno where the heck to go here. Whaddya do when beloved family members follow the extreme right Orange Baboon crapola and refuse to get vaccinated. And what about those rich folks who insist that COVID-19 is a hoax even as they get vaccines for themselves. Like the Orange Baboon did.

I am fully vaxxed but I know it’ll be a while before my immune system fully kicks in against COVID-19. I am happy to keep doing grocery curbside/delivery for grocks with a side serving of Amazon. I will probably continue to do curbside/delivery forever although I will definitely go back into stores again.

But this is where I am. If you want to live with me or even socialize with me, you need to get vaxxed. It’s not all that bad. I had NOOOOO side effects. None. Nada. No sore arm. Do it do it do it do it. COVID is NOT a hoax. The only way we’re gonna get rid of it is by vaxxing everyone. Go for it. Please.

Love, Kayak Woman

Sayonara, Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen

March 30th, 2021 by kayak woman

I’m not sure if my blahggy friend Margaret remembers this but when I posted this pic almost 10 years ago, I was searching for a name for our new Subaru Outback and she came up with the Mean Green Musheen. That worked for me but don’tcha know with this family “Frog Hoppin'” almost immediately got inserted into it. Because green. And frogs.

The GG wanted to buy a brown car. He was thinking of woodsy type colors. I vehemently nixed brown. I said something like, “If you buy a brown car, you know what it’ll look like in 10-15 years.” Brown? Really? Why does anyone even make brown cars?

This loverly vee-hickle has been in the fambly for almost 10 years now. We turned it over to one of the beach urchins two summers ago when we bought Moooon Yoooonit. After she bought Orange Betty Oriole a month or so ago, the Frog Hopper returned to our driveway. Why? How do I count the ways? 1) Because our driveway is a MUCH more convenient place for folks to come and take a look than the “mountain” roads surrounding the beach urchin’s house. 2) Because ALL of the service/maintenance records are HERE in The Landfill, neatly filed. 3) The GG knows the vee-hickle inside and out and is willing to talk to people about it because… 4) He is retaaaarrrred (and doesn’t have anything better to do 🐽🐽🐽).

Anyway, she seemed to go to a good home to people who have experience with older cars and asked good questions. Like, when was the timing belt last changed?. Uh, [after much rummaging/googling] she doesn’t HAVE a timing belt, she has a timing chain…

The Car Gods were apparently shining down on us today because a half hour or so before the Frog Hopper sales transaction was scheduled… A car drove by. It drove by again, more slowly. It tentatively parked. I have various Amazon deliveries all week and I can’t really keep track of them and sometimes those folks drive unusual vee-hickles. This seemed different. Guess what? This young man was interested in my NINJA!!! He had spied it up in the top of the driveway with the Frog Hopper and Mooon Yooonit in front of it. Holy Toledo!

What’s a little crazy is that I have a new vee-hickle almost “built” online. I just need to double-check everything, “pull the trigger”, and write a check. So we will be selling the Ninja soon as much as I HATE to. But for now, the Ninja is not posted for sale anywhere. I don’t drive it very often in these COVID days but I do drive it, especially when the GG is outta town.

I dunno if this young man will end up as the new owner but we did take his number, so he has first dibs if he still wants it and can pay for it, etc. “Is it stick?”, he asked. Yes, it is. He shared that he wasn’t very good at stick yet but that he wanted more practice. I was encouraging.

“Beats having to run a hose across from your uncle’s house”

March 29th, 2021 by kayak woman

Today degenerated into first-world household pandemonium and this is the “money” shot. Yes, really.

So the city is installing new water meters. You know the kind. They infiltrate your brain with the dreaded 5G network or whatever it is. Or do they infiltrate your water supply with microchips that implant themselves every time you take a drink of water? I don’t really understand this stuff. I do NOT subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Anyway, piece of cake right? The city recently replaced our gas meter and that took like five minutes (inside the house to check that the furnace/water heater started back up) plus weeks of entertainment out in the street. What could go wrong?

Water meter? Not so much fun. Five minutes to replace the meter but then they couldn’t get the water back on. As this saga dragged on, I was getting nervous. I can live without heat. I can live without lucky-shucky. And we have a generator that can help with those. Water? I cannot live without water. We RARELY lose water here. We have city water (not a well) and a gas water heater so no matter what the other utilities do, we ALWAYS have nice hot running water.

Today? Hmmm… Trying to think it through… I am very familiar with throwing buckets of water down terlets but there’s no supply of water hanging out here. I am not a prepper. Plus there’s drinking water and if you KNOW me, you know I don’t do well without a shower first thing in the morning.

I was emailing back and forth with my cuzzint Pooh this afternoon and she reminded me of what “running water” meant days gone by at our cabins at the moominbeach. We had cold running water in our kitchen sinks (and big kettles to heat it) delivered via a garden hose connected to our uncle’s well. If that system failed (and it rarely did), there was always Gitchee Gumee. You could do what my old coot called running water: “You run down to the lake with a bucket, fill it up, and run back up.”

The city kept saying we’d have water TODAY (they don’t want people pooping outside) but I was still nervous until I heard a strange noise behind me in the chitchen. An open tap was starting to RUN WATER! Yay! Until that happened, it was looking like they might have to dig a big hole out by the street. I’m glad they didn’t although it would’ve given me a much better pic for today.

P.S. Neighbors on both sides offered water if we needed it. I am grateful 🧡 but so glad we didn’t.

Generational rabbit holes

March 28th, 2021 by kayak woman

So, after MUCH procrastination, I finally kick-started myself into starting what I know is going to be an excruciating process to organize and weed out family photos. One. “Album”. At. A. Time. “Album?” They aren’t all stashed in neat albums, instead there are albums in many form factors and boxes and ziploc bags and some old framed photos. You name it.

The first album I grabbed was greatly encouraging. It was filled with crappy photos of European scenery my parents took with a cheap camera. I trashed almost all of those. The second album… I got rid of a whole bunch of identical CRAPPY sunset photos my dad took at the moomincabin in the 1990s. I took a bunch of similar ones. My iPhone takes photos 100 times better than those. But there were also other things in there. Parties at my dad’s bank for one. I stashed those to reconsider later.

Today. I hit a bit of a snag… It was MacMu relatives that I mostly have never met because they died before I was born or I was too young to know I was meeting them. The Commander had LABELED THE PHOTOS! She didn’t usually use last names but I’ve been hearing about people like “Aunt Lillian” and “Grandpa Lathers” and “Carrie Chapman” my whole life. The Comm obviously knew these people intimately. Me not so much. Plus, her family lived in the Detroit area and I grew up in the Yooperland. We certainly visited her family a few times a year so I know all my first cousins, etc.

It was enough to get me to dust off my Ancestry app. I bought a subscription a few years ago but don’t use it often. Today I fell into a rabbit hole. I think I sorta knew that Carrie Chapman was one of my great-grandmothers but I didn’t know which one (mom’s dad’s mother). She may also have been the person who claimed Johnny Appleseed as an ancestor. His real name was Chapman so it may or may not be true. If true, I certainly didn’t get any of that DNA since I have a Black Thumb when it comes to gardening.

Today’s rabbit hole doesn’t mean I am diving deeply into genealogical research. What I did today was to stand in the center of it all swinging wildly and probably some of it was not accurate. What helps with that branch of my family is that many of them settled in what used to be a farming area near Detroit. Now not so much. The big multi-generational farmhouse that The Comm grew up in was replaced by a Burger King and not sure what’s there now. (I was able to tour that house once but only vaguely remember it.)

And then… Man oh man. When I want to put something in the trash. I NEED TO PUT IT IN THE TRASH. I MEAN OUTSIDE! I put the photos I trashed in a small wastebasket near my “office”. This afternoon, I heard the GG rummaging in that area. WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING? He saw photos and wanted to investigate. NOOOOOOO. These photos are MINE to save or trash and I will trash them if I don’t find value in them. I have been in the cFam family forever and I SHOULD KNOW BETTER. I think The Commander would approve but I am glad that she at least lightly labeled the pics in that one album because a better picture of my MacMu family tree is emerging.

Brotherly love

March 27th, 2021 by kayak woman

I chose this title because when I posted this on FB, a couple people who didn’t know my brother (who died in 2005) thought this was my husband. There is a resemblance in this photo but they do/did not really look alike.

It is interesting that my family and the GG’s share similar heritage, being mainly British Isles/German. I am mainly Scot and he is not. He has more German and Irish than I do but I have some of both. I have NO French but my children do 🐸.

Years ago, we took a trip to Fla to visit the GG’s parents with our then toddler (first child) and her Mean Old Grumpy Beautiful aunt Susie. We had a great time but it was interesting that often when were oot and aboot people sometimes presumed that Suz was married to the GG and I was his sister. Why? I think it was because she was a beautiful redhead and me and the GG both have(had) blond(e) hair. If you don’t spend a whole lot of time analyzing our other facial features, I suppose we could be taken for siblings, especially if you were trying to assess whether the redhead or the blonde was somebody’s wife.

Facebook kinda blew up (in our little corner of the world) after I made this my profile pic and then the GG did the same. My brother was kind of a heart throb for women but he wasn’t someone who “horned around”. He married at 22 (or so) and never cheated on his wife or family unless you count borrowing a tuba from the local high school cheating. Actually that might equate “horning around”. Sorry to get down into that rabbit hole.

I attended his wedding (WITH THE GG!) in Houghton Michigan. I didn’t marry the GG until a couple years later. Now that I think about it, we picked up my step Grandma Bolette and drove her to my parents’ house in Sault Ste. Siberia. We continued to Houghton that night and the parents drove her the next day. We drove her back afterward. Man oh man…

Done done done for the night. Love y’all/yous.

Grumpy Cranky and Dopey

March 26th, 2021 by kayak woman

I’ll ‘fess up to waking up SUPER grumpy and cranky today. I have still experienced ZERO vax side effects so I couldn’t help wondering if “grumpy” was a side effect. I suspect it’s more related to the marital discord we experienced over the taxes last night. Oh don’t worry, this is a First World problem. We go through a version of it every year. Voices may be raised but violence doesn’t ensue and the tax stuff was signed and sent off this morning.

Because “everybody” at work seems to be getting the vax this week, we spent probably the first 15 minutes of the morning stand-up talking about our vaccine experiences. The stand-up is supposed to last 15 minutes total 🐽. I mentioned that I remain side effect free after two days. Except that I was EXTREMELY grumpy. Could that be a side effect? That got a laugh. People in general are experiencing mild things like arm pain and I don’t think grumpy is a real side effect.

My work team is not exactly the youngest bunch of folks except for our colleagues on the Indian subcontinent. I would place a strong wager that I am the eldest at this point. I so miss W1.5 and FZ and others who have retaaaaared. It’s such a nice cozy little job and somehow I managed to snag it after the age of 50. I wasn’t even really looking for a job. I don’t expect I’ll ever get booted out because of age, unless I get truly loopy but that is unlikely for at least another couple decades. It’d be more likely because of downsizing (and I am not naive enough to think that age isn’t ever a factor in the decisions involving who to lay off). It’s okay. I would be sad to be laid off but I am prepared for it if it happens.

Dopey? That would be the GG. I tried to tell him something like THREE times this morning and he kept walking out of the room or the front door or wherever like he hadn’t even heard me. Sometimes he does that when he’s wearing earbuds but not today. Fortunately it wasn’t important and anyway, iDeep pinged me from India at that moment and I knew HE was interested in my opinion. Eventually the GG came home from dropping the taxes in the mail and a “ride” and crashed out on the couch in the back room for a few hours. He was a bit more lucid after he woke up.

Gradient anyone?

March 25th, 2021 by kayak woman

I was looking for this pic whatever day it was I wrote the book blahg about Firekeeper’s Daughter. No luck and yet another note to self, ORGANIZE YOUR DAMN PHOTOS!!!

Today my “memories” served it up. 10 years ago today, we were at The Commander’s house in Sault Ste. Siberia for the weekend and I got up early as usual to walk down to the locks and back. That particular morning, Mr. Golden Sun was NOT hiding behind a cloud. Instead he served up this beautiful gradient. I had an early iPhone at that time and look what it did to the colors. The one I have now (it’s just the XS, not one of those fancy 3-camera ones) would probably take a more accurate pic but I really like this old one.

The Comm was hopping around that weekend, cooking for us and carousing just like the old days. A few weeks later, I had to make an emergency trip up to the yooperland with the result that eventually I had to move her to an assisted living facility. I was hoping this would work out in a positive way. We did not have to sell her house and it was a half mile up the escarpment so she could visit it pretty much whenever she could get a ride there. I once suggested she take taxis and we acted out *this* little “twitter” play:

The Commander [indignantly]: WELL! Do you know what a taxi costs?
Kayak Woman: No mom, what does it cost?
The Commander [outraged]: FIVE DOLLARS!

For a split second or so I toyed with the idea of giving her an envelope full of five dollar bills to pay for taxis or trying to arrange to pre-pay the taxi company for rides but I let it go. I couldn’t help remembering though, that when I was a small child and we only had one car, she called taxis all the time. I think they were 50 cents then, which was probably as much as five dollars is in 21st century dollars.

It is very hard to lose your independence. She maintained hers into her early 90s and gave it up with great difficulty.

Anyway, I don’t walk this part of the escarpment any more. Her house is long sold and when we go up there now, we stay at the moomincabin, seven miles or so up the river as the crow flies, to where it makes the turn into Gitchee Gumee, and I walk the beach.

One and done

March 24th, 2021 by kayak woman

So far I am feeling FINE if psychologically a little muddled due to the surrounding background emotional and non-specific anxiety issues. I mean, it’s been a looooong year. But it’s okay, I know how to deal with that kind of crapola.

It was harder than heck to find a vax here in the southeast Great Lake State, even for us old baggies. In the end, it was my mouse who found it. She doesn’t qualify via age (yet) but she is a grocery worker. Even so, grocery workers didn’t seem to be prioritized anywhere. Why, I cannot fathom. They are front-line essential workers! Nevertheless, she persisted and found a church in Ypsilanti that was partnering with Rite Aid for a popup clinic. Grocery workers were on their list. We registered and got in. It was very well organized and the staff was lovely.

Oddly enough, the day after I told my boss I would be MIA for a while today, she and a whole bunch of co-workers had also snagged appointments. Most of them are going to Ohio. That state apparently has more vaccine than it has demand for and some stores are taking walk-ins. One theory put forth by the “experts” on nextdoor neighbor is that more people in Ohio are resisting the vaccine, the implication being that political reasons are in play.

Thanks to my mouse who drove me over there and my lizard who ordered us a pizza for tonight. I am in fine shape for cooking (knock on wood) but it’s a place I’ve been wanting to try and I think she wanted to do something for us. Best daughters!

What’s disheartening is that our state’s case numbers are skyrocketing again. There were a couple days of 500 in February. Today we had over 4000. And we won’t even talk about Fla, where everyone seems to have given up. People, keep those masks on and get those shots into your arms. We are not done with this yet.


March 23rd, 2021 by kayak woman

Well. One thing that happens tomorrow is that the Soo Locks opens for the 2021 season. It’s happening a day early, midnight tonight, March 24th. I’m not exactly sure when this pic was taken. It was at least 10 years ago or so? It prob’ly wasn’t the Polar Vortex Year (2014) because we wouldn’t have been walking the beach that winter and the botes navigating Gitchee Gumee were ramming through the ice they were locked in.

I continue to be extremely upset and befuddled about some of the incoherent political rants I see on facebook from people I think should know better. I dunno if any of these folks read my blahg but I am kinda horrified. I dunno why y’all/yous (facebook posters) think that the Orange Baboon did anything to help our country. Did y’all/yous ever read any of his tweets? No. You didn’t. And you said so. Y’all/yous should have. He doesn’t care about you.

I’m angry but I kinda get that you are concerned about your/our retaaaaarment income. I am concerned too but I’m probably okay but I am concerned about other folks. Read (or watch) Nomadland. I LOVE to travel around in our cute little Lyme Lounge camping trailer. But. I DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN THE LYME LOUNGE FULL TIME! I love sleeping in it parked next to the moomincabin or the Group Home or a state park near a bathroom with showers, or even the driveway at our house. We do not live in the Lyme Lounge because it’s the only dwelling we own.

And if you are in a position to actually pay your employees enough wages to pay for housing, food, utilities, and health care, PLEASE PAY FOR THAT! And don’t complain about Obamacare…