Random bits of my so-called life.

Buyer’s remorse?

April 23rd, 2014 by kayak woman

I will admit that at a random moment during the afternoon, I actually mourned my ugly old chitchen. What is it with people (like me) who assign feelings to inanimate objects. Stuffed aminals? Okay, they are at least anthropomorphic. Vee-hickles sometimes. But furniture and chitchens and snowballs (um, they melt) and some random plastic toy that’s still floating around from a Happy Meal back in the Jurassic Age?

Once upon a time, we were hit by a tornado on a 4th of July weekend odyssey to Houghton Lake and the yooperland. The POC was sandblasted but its occupants were only rocked around a wee bit. Rough weather had also hit the Landfill and so when we got to Houghton Lake, we *called* the Landfill landline and left a message for all of our stuffed friends. That message served a dual purpose. It reassured the beach urchins (and us) that the aminals were okay [grin] and it indicated that our house was probably still standing, since the answering musheen was working.

Probably the stupidest example of this phenomenon was the time that The Planet Ann Arbor set aside a Garbage Day for folks to put their crappy old-skool metal garbage cans out. We had just received our new handy-dandy planet-issued garbage cart that got picked up by a garbage truck with a mechanical arm. Our garbage cans were old and beaten up when we moved in to the Landfill and I was excited to be able to get rid of them in a legal way (instead of dumping them in a parking structure or something…) But then, after I put them out by the curb on the morning of the pickup, the GG saw them there and asked something like, “You’re getting rid of those [loverly old garbage cans that have been here since we moved in]?” Instant tears! WTF? (But I DID get rid of them.)

I don’t understand why I have feelings like this toward inanimate objects. I am actually pretty good at flinging, although I have to take breaks from it sometimes. I think that this is one of the *many* reasons that some people become hoarders. Hoarders are people and their psychological makeup is just as complicated as all of the rest of us.

Hoarder or not, does anybody else assign feelings to inanimate objects? No obligation to answer this question.

P.S. The GG is on his second trip to the hardware store this evening [lol].

Emerging from the depths of Spreadsheet Zen

April 22nd, 2014 by kayak woman

submarineHello! No, yer fav-o-rite blahgger did not blahg yesterday. It wasn’t because she didn’t have anything to say, even though she in fact *didn’t* have anything to say. It was because she could not get onto her site during her sorta regular blahgging time. It’s okay. She needed a break. Like I said, she didn’t have anything to say. Is it easy to write a blahg every day? No.

Today, yer fav-o-rite blahgger has managed to descend far enough down into the depths of Spreadsheet Zen that she has had to go to extreme lengths to dredge herself up and outta that in order to do things like, oh you know, cook dinner…

KW still remembers the first spreadsheet application she met. It was called Visicalc and KW immediately started entering all of her checkbook entries into it. Guess what? It was not useful for balancing your checkbook. Still, KW was entranced and Visicalc evolved into something called Excel and KW has a long, happy relationship with Excel (but she refuses to refer to it as *Microsoft* Excel, even though that’s who makes it now).

Spreadsheet Zen? Entering data into spreadsheets and manipulating it is soooooothing for me. I now use it mainly at work but one of my favorite Spreadsheet Zen memories is dragging all of the elementary school PTO treasury records into Excel, balancing the checking account (after five years), and figuring out the tax reporting mess (don’t ask). This prodject took me a few weeks and, given the era, involved a lot of paper documents, which I kept on the floor beside the computer so I had to keep diving down there to look stuff up…

At some point one afternoon, I dredged myself up out of Spreadsheet Zen and ambled out into the Old Landfill Chitchen and found that someone had cooked spaghettios. Apparently the Beach Urchins could not get my attention to tell me they were hungry so they took matters into their own hands. It was okay. They didn’t burn down the house or even the pan.

We all live in a yellow submarine…

American Epotitionary Forces at the Canton Zoo on an impromptu Easter Sunday

April 20th, 2014 by kayak woman

aefThere’s a zoo in Canton? Say what? Somebody commented in the Ann Arbor Snooze or somewhere that their wife had made them spend the afternoon at the Canton Zoo. Guess who’s wife made him spend the afternoon an hour or so at the Canton Zoo? If you guessed the GG, you are correct. Did KW buy anything at the Canton Zoo? Noooooo. (Did she get dizzy in the self-serve furniture area? No but only because she looked straight ahead.*) Did the GG buy anything at the Canton Zoo? Yes, he did. Also Lizard Breath, who met up with us at the CZ and then continued homeward with us to the Landfill to see what the heck we did with her childhood chitchen up close and do some laundry.

What’s that? You still don’t know what the Canton Zoo is? Oops. It’s Ikea, of course. I have an iffy relationship with Ikea but I do like to go there once every couple years or so. Even though it makes me dizzy. Grundtal rails were the main thing on my agenda today. I want to hang pots and pans on the wall. I do not do well with cupboard or drawer diving for pots and pans. Do not even talk to me about organizing pot lids. I had a loverly system in the old chitchen but it will not work in the new world. In the end we didn’t buy any Grundtal rails today. We hadn’t really hashed out exactly where they will go. After we got home, I think I got it figured out.

We made our first MESS today! We had a party! NpJane was scheduled to inspect the place so Lizard and I bought a bunch of snacky stuff from the Plum Market. We were quaking in our boots [grin] about this particular inspection but npJane placed her stamp of approval upon it albeit with the recommendation that we install a disco ball and some strobe lights to bring out the “sparkly” in the quartz counters. Why the heck didn’t WE think of that??? She also brought over a bottle of some sparkly stuff and two of the four of us passed out on couches for a couple hours or thereabouts after a glass or so of that. npJane went home to garden aka rake out old dead leaves and things and KW did the same.

The GG asked me if I wanted the American Expotitionary Forces tile in the photo to be incorporated into the backsplash. That was an intriguing idea but in the end, I said no. I don’t want it to have to be carefully extricated some day. I think I want to display it but I will frame it separately or figure another way to mount it. I remember making the picture in this tile or maybe another one billion like it. I don’t remember why there are five fingers on my left hand and two on my right (blue ones at that). I don’t know why there aren’t about eight crossbars on the E in Emily. More is better, right? That thing on my head is NOT a crown, it is a BOW! Can’t you see the two loops (rounded) in the middle and the ribbon ends (more or less rectangular)? Man oh man, I had to explain that to so many people! I found this tile at the bottom of one of the tall skinny built-in dish cupboards in The Commander’s kitchen when we were cleaning out her house after she died. There is an exact copy in Radical Betty’s Grinch’s kitchen, along with tiles her kids and our cousins made. Maybe the Grinchie will give me my tile someday. I’m sure he doesn’t want it [grin].

Impromptu Easter dinner here. I didn’t know who would be here so I bought the smallest ham I could find that might still feed four people, just in case. Lizard plans to stay for dinner. Mouse may stop by after hanging around with fellow cast members. Whatever happens is fine with me. If you want to come home for whatever, that’s great. If you are busy with your own life, no guilt! Love you and please continue to make the world a better place!

* The Commander would never have gotten dizzy at Ikea. She never made it to Ikea but she would’ve loved it! She would’ve swung her cane cudgel up at everything she had questions about, like she did at the grokkery store the last couple years of her life. Uh, moom, please do not hit anyone. Ikea would’ve been fun with that old babe, especially since she grew up not too many miles away from it…

Growing beef and visiting Poland

April 19th, 2014 by kayak woman

Loooonnnnngg day beginning down at the Farmer’s Market, where we bought lettuce and kimchee and radishes and scallions and whitefish (did you know there’s been a great lakes whitefish shortage this winter?) and, yes, a couple of wee beef sirloin filets. We seem to be gravitating a bit towards buying hunks of protein down there at Monahan’s and Sparrow Market. I guess that’s a good thing but when it gets to be high harvest season, somebody in addition to me is going to have to start schlepping a backpack.

growbeef

The GG spent the morning installing this spice drawer in the three-inch space between the end of the counter on the north side of the kitchen and the wall.

spicedrawer

Spent a good chunk of the afternoon running around to the big box stores chasing after just the right lumber for a new raised garden bed for Mouse’s Garden, then Ace Hardware because it is so much fun, two walks to the Plum Market and, and, and, just when I felt like totally crashing, it was time to head over to Ypsilanti, where the GG channeled Grandroobly by pretend shooting me.

channelinggrandaddy

Dinner at Haab’s, then over to the Riverside to watch Mouse play Roseaura in Life is a Dream (that’s a facebook page). Here’s a commercial (it’s a youtube video). As a child, Mouse used to ask for pussywillow bouquets when she acted in plays. Her fuddy-duddy parents had planned to get some at the farmer’s market today but they forgot. Fortunately, big sis was on the ball.

riverside

Good night! -Kayak Woman

P. S. Oh yeah, there is a clown of sorts but she is a cute, sparkly little blonde woman who wears a black shirt and pants and a jester hat. No scary makeup [grin].

Coming soon to a facebook page near you

April 18th, 2014 by kayak woman

kwpostholingMy kitchen! Today was the day that CKL and a marketing colleague came over to take photographs. They brought some of their own props but they liked my little chicken and The Commander’s old wooden salt and pepper shakers and my Le Creuset crocks. So we’ll see what lands on DreamMaker’s facebook page, if anything does.

Everybody seems to love the backsplash. I knew they would. The marketing gal was talking about all of the dark colors people are putting in kitchens. That’s okay. It can certainly work. Not in my kitchen. I had to laugh though. Today I showed my kitchen photos to W1.5, who lives in an adjacent neighborhood (his wife and her friend are regulars on my 0-skunk-30 walking route). When I showed him the before pic, he said, “That looks like our kitchen!” When I showed him the after pics, he was amazed at the backsplash. If he and his wife are thinking about renovating, I hope my photos encouraged him because I am sure happy with the result. I still haven’t moved back in. That’ll happen this weekend. Except for whatever I decide to fling.

Weird weird workday today. I telecommuted until 10 AM when CKL came over. I got to work a bit after 11 to find that we were on “half power” or whatever it is. Some people had power in their cubes. Others, including me, did not. Well, not exactly… It’s hard for me to believe that I have FOUR lucky-shuckial outlets in my cube (as do all cubes). There is a power strip attached to ONE of those. The others are UNUSED! It was even odder that I plugged both my phone and my laptop into the power strip and my phone charged but not my laptop. At any rate, my laptop died around 2:40, so I bagged work early. But not all that early because they let us go at 3:00 today anyway for Good Friday.

I knew that the GG was home futzing around with various prodjects and I knew that would drive me nuts so I went shopping (yes, really) on the way home. The traffic was AWFUL! I didn’t buy anything. I was looking at dish-draining racks (SimpleHuman), organizing systems for my huge drawers, and doing some initial research for a new and smaller microwave. Anyone have any experience with late-model microwave brands? I think that my beloved behemoth came from JC Penney but I’m not particularly inclined to shop there at this point (not for any particular reason besides the fact that I hate going to the mall). I need a white countertop model and it’ll be used mostly to heat up small quantities of food (think salad plate) or a cup of something.

Enough is enough so good night!

Hey, I’m thinking in five dimensions here. I do not have any words!

April 17th, 2014 by kayak woman

bloughIn my particular little corner of the systems analyst world, the job varies greatly from day to day. I might spend a week or two making mindless changes to our very hi-fi prototype, a huge trove of html web pages augmented by some old-skool javascript. Then there are times when it might take me a few days or even weeks (yes) to flowchart or matrix some extremely complicated piece of functionality. Yes, they really pay me for this stuff.

A meeting was scheduled this morning to talk the CRD off the ledge. He had six questions. We hashed out all of them. I believe number five was actually answered via some of the previous questions. This morning was my coffee morning. The morning I meet MMCB and today TBS, who has the week off for Passover, so I was jazzed up on coffee when I got to work. It doesn’t take much coffee to jazz me up and that became a running joke (KW has a coffee high so watch out) throughout the meeting. That wasn’t as funny as W1.5 finding out that he was in the Electric Chair though.

When you get designers and developers and legacy folks into the same room, it often sounds like you are in the Tower of Babel and although I was on my game this morning (coffee, maybe? hmmm…), the Cube Farm hallways reverberated all afternoon with follow-up questions. At one point, I threw up my hands and said something like today’s title. But then somehow, a few minutes later, I had a simple answer. I was mentally exhausted by the last half hour of my day. Fortunately I have some mindless html / javascript coding to do for one of my other prodjects. Exciting or not, it needs to be done and it was a relief to switch to mindless coding for a bit.

And then I came home and I am thinking in five dimensions with this gorgeous new kitchen too. What do I put where? What do I even *want* back in? Pot racks? Dish drainer? Paper towels? Cupboard / drawer organizers? I have some huge drawers here. They are gorgeous but I’m still not sure how I will want to use them. And CKL is coming tomorrow morning to take pictures and collect DreamMaker’s storage bins (and also whatever dollars we still owe) so I need to make sure it isn’t cluttered with dish drainers and lunch bags and things.

I hope you are thinking in fewer than five dimensions tonight, unless that’s the kind of thing that turns you on of course. If so, GO FOR IT! (It does turn me on but I also need downtime.)

Okay, so this was largely a work blahg. Deal with it! [grin]

Chitchen Sicken

April 16th, 2014 by kayak woman

chitchensickenI won’t tell you which of the beach urchins called chickens “sickens” as an early talker. If you know anything about the beach urchins, you know which one it *wasn’t*.

I *think* that this cute rooster belongs to the one it *wasn’t* but I’m not sure. It has been bubble-wrapped in a milk carton in the Landfill Dungeon along with some other bubble-wrapped things that belong to that urchin (I think). I have been eye-balling it throughout this whole renovation and thinking it would be a good artifact for the new chitchen. I hope that urchin doesn’t care if I UN-bubble-wrapped it and put it on my new shelf. Alas, some of the stuff I had in the Old Chitchen will probably be bubble-wrapped. Unless somebody in the family or a friend wants it. Meaning that there are a few things I’m not ready to part with. Yet.

Guess what is on my grokkery list? Dishwasher detergent! Guess what? I am USING MY NEW DISHWASHER! And I am loving it! A few little detergent pods came with it but I have used them up. I looked for dishwasher detergent today on a lunchtime Whole Foods expotition. I was not successful, at least not in the form factor I was looking for. I kind of knew that would happen. BTW, I am not all that happy about the Whole Foods checkout experience these days. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes not. The hipster cashier today rhapsodized about my single serving tetra-packs of chocolate coconut milk. I couldn’t understand him at first. You work here and you do not know about these non-dairy milk packs? What? That was okay. At least he didn’t ask me if I wanted to donate to the cause of the day. A few weeks ago, I was asked that and I said, “Okay, I’ll donate $5.” Next thing, the clerk set off a bunch of noise-makers. Yay, somebody donated. KW is a very shy, private person who likes to make donations anonymously and that was not a good thing. Next time somebody asks me something like that I will say, “Only if you don’t broadcast my meager donation.” Way to get customers, Whole Foods…

I am still “moving in” slowly. I have some shopping trips ahead of me. Wall-mounted pot racks. Possibly a few of those newfangled drawer / cupboard organizer thingies. A new dish drainer because I will still hand wash some things but I need something I can stash if I want to. What else? There are some other things. I need to make a list, I guess. Requirements anyone? Oh yeah, a storage system for a subset of my cookbooks. Although looking through them, I could do some flinging. And a new small microwave? I could probably live without one but they can be handy and I think that the GG wants one. And that’s okay. We’ll find a small one.

Haisley Mafia

April 15th, 2014 by kayak woman

taxdaysnowWe used to be the Haisley Mafia. The volunteer moms who kept the trains running on time at the neighborhood elementary school. And yes of *course* there were volunteer dads too! But today, I met up with two of my best friends from those days and they are both female. Make no mistake! It is not parent volunteers who make the school trains run on time. I think we have a role in the schools but it is the teachers and their support staff who do the dirty work.

I met up with The Beautiful Jane when Lizard Breath went to kindergarten. Actually, the GG met her first, the summer before kindergarten. I worked evenings in those days and the GG took the beach urchins to West Park for a band concert. Four-year-old Lizard Breath made a plan to Make a Friend! And so she did. It was TBJ’s daughter and they ended up in the same kindergarten class. I think they are still friends although during their years on The Planet Ann Arbor, they went on to different schools and social circles. I do not see TBJ a whole lot any more and I will see her even less when she moves out to the left coast in a month or so. But she is still my friend.

The Beautiful Vicki? Sheesh! Before I got to know her I always figured she was waaayyyy outta my league. One of those over-the-top people that just had to have been a cheerleader in high school. Not, but we won’t go into that. I forget exactly when we started being friends. Her children are others-who-are-not-girls, so it wasn’t our kids who got us together. Oh, no. There have been a few people in my life who have seen something in me that I do not see and have kept after me to be friends. She is one of them and so we are still friends. I remember the days when we dropped our kids off at school and walked all over town. We ran the HUGE middle school science fair together for a few years. I remember the weekend she painted her living room royal purple while her husband and kids were off on a boy scout camping trip. Yes, really.

Moving s-l-o-w-l-y back into the Landfill Chitchen. I have been without Gertrude for approximately three weeks. You’d think I might still know how to use her. Not exactly but at least I didn’t burn the damn house down. Trying to figger out how to use the new space. What should I put where? What should I get rid of? I am reeeallly not wanting to put my old microwave back in. Today the digital display is doing a funky kind of flickering. I think it’s a sign. I only use that microwave to heat small containers of things up anymore. Maybe it’s time to choose a smaller one. Maybe a white one. To go with the new chitchen, of course.

The photooo? That was what was out there this morning. I wavered a bit about footwear. Boots with Yaktrax? Or Keen sandals. I went with the Keens and it was okay. There were intermittently slippery spots but the ground has warmed up enough that glare ice didn’t form. But still. F-word anybody about the weather? Even though this is not really abnormal for the Great Lake State… Really, it’s not.

Done done done!

April 14th, 2014 by kayak woman

I am cooking in here tonight! I cannot find anything! Big-time Box Diving Expotitions!

newkitch1

I have not moved anything in yet. Well, except for a bottle of bourbon and a roll of aluminum foil. And my phone and laptop and their chargers.

newkitch2

Thanks to Kami the Certified Kitchen Lady and Gerry the Genius (the GG’s words) and the young man who installed the tile backsplash and all of the folks on the crew. (And no, they don’t know I have a glahg.)

newkitch3

In case anyone has forgotten, here’s the old kitchen.

ugly

My plan is to move back in slowly. I don’t want to jump ahead. If something somehow doesn’t “fit”, I will donate it. The GG is already asking me where I want the microwave. I’m not sure. I kind of want a new microwave but I kind of don’t because this one (that he and Lizard Breath gave me for xmas in 1984) is loverly.

Oh well, bdah bdah bdah. I do not want to blather on about the new Landfill Chitchen. I want to *bask* in it!

Where are the po-leese when you want them? And why am I slappin’ Mo-skee-toes?

April 13th, 2014 by kayak woman

backsplashThe po-leese are down at the Carbide dock, watching the Roger Blough, roight? You thought I was gonna say they were at the donut shoppe, roight? No.

We did not get stopped by any of the men in blue this weekend (we rarely do) but we had some interesting encounters / discussions about them. On Friday we were taking a slow trip from Gaylord to Sault Ste. Siberia via The I75 SUV Speedway and some old highways. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and we were enjoying life. A cop car came up behind me (I was going about 67, it was a SLOW trip, roight?), then cut over to the Indian River exit, where some big double trailer semi was SLOWLY getting off. Was the cop gonna stop that semi? Naw. A few minutes later, he was behind me again, uncomfortably so. I was still going about 67. I wasn’t doing anything weird and whatever antics Froggy and his buddies were engaging in was going on below window level. So we were cool, roight? The last thing I ever want to do is get stopped by the po-leese.

And we didn’t get stopped. We got off the Speedway at Topinabee that morning. And so did the cop. I have a cop behind me… I moseyed along at five *under* (the speed limit) and he finally got taaarrred of that so he passed me. We watched him follow some others in more or less the same way. The discussion veered off into something like, “He’s scanning license plates and running them to figger out who’s done what…” Well, maybe. I think that we need police in this country but I think sometimes they get a bit out of control and over-step our constitution’s limits. I do not want someone scanning my license plate (even though I have nothing to hide). But I’m still not sure that’s what was going on. I have to wonder if it wasn’t just a slow day in the northern lower (of Michigan) and this guy was just driving along…

And then, the Roger Blough finally got done plowing through the ice and ensconced itself at the old carbide dock. We had nothing to do for an hour or two so we drove down by the carbide dock to watch the fun and, whaddya know, a city cop car drove up next to us. Did they bug us? No. I honestly think that cop was just looking at the Blough. We may have attracted his attention but it was pretty obvious we weren’t terrorists.

Anyway, watching the Blough pull into its ultimate position was like watching paint dry, so we drove down the river and back to the park next to the carbide dock to see what progress had been made. When we got back, the Blough was parked where *tourists* (like us, roight?) could see it. And there were two (count ‘em) cop cars there. We got out of the Frog Hopper to take pictures. I tried to put some Frog Hopper trash into the trash receptacles but they were all locked up for the winter. Thanks to the Ojibway Hotel for taking that stuff.

countertopI dunno why there were local cop cars down there where the Blough was parked. I think that most of the folks who may have been down there were just boat nerds trying to get close-up photos of the boat. I think the local po-leese know that. So, I dunno why those po-leese were tasked to hang out down there. Or maybe they were just hanging out watching the Blough like all of the rest of us. I think they may actually have been tasked to “watch” the Blough but c’mon, this was a sleepy Saturday morning in Sault Ste. Siberia. I walked the riverfront from our berth at the Hotel Ojibway early in the morning and there was NOTHING going on anywhere. I grew up in Sault Ste. Siberia and I know that there are bar fights and things at night but I have walked around that town early in the morning so many times that I know that one rarely sees anything nefarious going on at that time. Dooya think maybe those coppers were partly tasked to hang out down there by the Blough because there was nothing else going on? I think so and I do not totally think that’s a bad thing.

Today, after the second small vee-hickle tried to cut me off on the I75 SUV Speedway, I wondered where the dern cops were. Nowhere to be seen. I did not see one dern copper all day today. I somehow managed to survive those two horrific encounters. The second one was just outside The Planet Ann Arbor when somebody in the lane to the right of me suddenly decided they needed to take the left exit. Kee-reist. And then. Jupiter or whoever decided to rub my damn nose into this whole thing and so I was trying to back the Frog Hopper into the driveway and I hit the back of the Ninja. YES, I HIT THE BACK OF THE NINJA! How did I do that? I do not know. I was absolutely looking at the backup cam. Still.

P.S. It got over 70 degrees here today. I do not know how to dress for that without feeling like I am naked but also, MO-SKEE-TOES? Yes. MO-SKEE-TOES! NOOOOOO! It is too early for those. Where are they coming from? I was thinking we could leave the doors to the Landfill open because it’s so early in the spring. No. Mo-skee-toes. No. I was just post-holing through deep snow yesterday. No bugs. No.

C’mon, let’s do the Blough Plow

April 12th, 2014 by kayak woman

postholingI keep talking about post-holing but have I ever explained exactly what it is? It is when you are walking on snow and you take a step and all of a sudden your foot goes down through the snow so that it is up to your knee or hip or even your waist. I did some post-holing yesterday but only from the road behind the moomincabin to the bank overlooking the beach. I didn’t even try to go down on the beach.

Today? I post-holed all afternoon. We hiked a section of the North Country Trail near Brevort Lake. I’m not sure how many miles we hiked. My trusty old iPhone pedometer kicked the bucket with the upgrade to I dunno what, IOS7, was it? Somebody said he thought we walked six miles. I think it was more like three unless you count the seasonal road snowmo trail at the end (more about that later). I think it just felt like six miles because you didn’t know from step to step how deep into the snow you were going to end up. It was a long, slow slodge with some people on snowshoes and others (including yer fav-o-rite blahgger) in boots. Boots people did the most post-holing but snowshoers had their own problems mainly that when they post-holed (and they did), they had to pull a long, snow-laden piece of footwear out from under the snow. We made kind of a train, plowing through the snow, taking turns breaking trail. A human version of the Blough Plow? The first photooo does not really show what we were actually doing and don’t let that bare ground up ahead fool you. That was the 1%!

Were we wet at the end of all this? Did I mention it was also raining throughout this hike? Yer fav-o-rite blahgger is still drying out hours later. And she changed out of the wettest of her clothing (in the Frog Hopper) after the hike. Ever try to put on tights in the back seat of an automotive vee-hickle?

backingupOh yeah, the seasonal road snowmo trail? The one where we stuffed eight people into a Subaru Forester and BACKED ALL THE WAY UP IT because there wasn’t any way to turn around without sinking into the soft snow on the shoulders. It was Marilyn’s vee-hickle but the GG was driving and she kept telling him to CREEP or the taaarrrrs would spin and finally we made it outta there. I think we probably drove in reverse for maybe about a mile but it seemed more like 10. And now we have a new meaning to the term “Creeper”. And the second photooo doesn’t really show you exactly what we were actually doing but yes, there were people sitting in the “way back” of the Forester (but no dogs (this time)) and I don’t think anyone was wearing a seatbelt. So arrest us!

Annual HSS NCT dinner in St. Ignace, then a nasty drive down to Gaylord through intermittently heavy rain and wind but NO ICE — although we are ALL skittish about any kind of precipitation after our loverly polar vortex winter.

Can I just say that it is totally surreal to be post-holing along in the back woods and receive a text message asking, “Do you guys have a copy of Microsoft Office that is newer than 2004?” Well. Yes. But. I don’t have a disk. And I can’t really stop to write a text because we are all chained up doing the Blough Plow and, well, I can’t really describe what it is like out here today.

P.S. I love you Mousey and I love the surreal-ness of texts like that when I get them in the back woods, so keep ‘em coming.

The Blough Plows and The North Shall Rise Again

April 11th, 2014 by kayak woman

Nice slow *dry* trip from Gaylord to the yooperland this morning, no ice anywhere, well not on the roads anyway, thank you Zeus! Veered off the I75 SUV Speedway at Topinabee, taking the old highway up along Mullett Lake to the beautiful metropolis of Cheboygan, where we took care of a wee bit of business, then on up to cross the Big Mac.

yooperland1

Made a beeline for Clyde’s Drive-in down by the Sugar Island ferry dock. First Clyde’s (for us) of the season – hamburg on a bun with everything but. There’s the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen facing in the *proper* direction toward the river.

yooperland2

Just for good measure, here is the ferry herself! The water is open enough here that she can do her job without interference but boats are stuck everywhere and I have a loverly little video on facebook of the Roger Blough plowing its way slowly down to the locks. The Blough aka Big Butt was on its way up to Marquette with a convoy of other ships and an icebreaker but it sustained some hull damage and had to return to the Sault. The convoy, as of this morning, was stuck near Whitefish Point.

yooperland3

We had a couple hours between check-in time at the Ojibway, so we headed out to the moominbeach to see what we could see. Good thing we didn’t entertain thoughts of staying in the moomincabin this weekend.

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The obligatory photo of the huge drift that typically forms between the moomincabin and the Old Cabin every winter.

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It took quite a bit of post-holing through soft, sometimes deceptively deep snow but we finally made it to the top of the bank. Did not even try to navigate the beach. Note that it is 50 degrees today with brilliant sunlight and no wind. A beach day under other circumstances.

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The Blough has locked down. An Algo (forget which one) is locking up. We’re settled in to our room at the Ojibway and are meeting Jeep and Pan at Karl’s for dinner in a little while. It was a long fun day and it feels like an early night tonight.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

Already establishing a junk drawer, are we?

April 10th, 2014 by kayak woman

I was just taking a picture. I didn’t notice him eyeballing a possible junk drawer until one of my sisters-in-law pointed it out on facebook.

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Major scramble getting offa the Planet Ann Arbor today. Last-minute stuff at work, Panera takeouts at the lunch rush hour, Jackson / N. Maple left turn during rush hour complete with temporarily stalled vee-hickle. What’s that noise? What’s that noise? What’s that noise? Oh, it is my phone vibrating. Phone call? I am sandwiched in between trucks at the Dexter / N. Maple intersection with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the gear shift. I cannot drive stick and answer the damn phone at the same time. Turned out it was the GG, who was walking over to pick up the Frog Hopper from scheduled maintenance. Could I make a left turn? No, I could not. I did eventually pick him up but not after stopping off at The Landfill to drop off my work laptop. And there, after a quiet week, was a big truck in the driveway and some sort of cutting musheen or whatever and the *countertops* were in (but they are covered up (but yes, they are (largely) white)) and somebody was putting up our loverly turquoise backsplash (which looks a little darker here than in reality but I was not shy about color).

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As much fun as it would be to hang out at The Landfill for the weekend, because they are pretty darn close to being DONE — I mean really, this outfit is FAST — we are not at The Landfill. Can you guess where we are? Here’s Chloe Belle. That’s a big hint.

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Also, there is snow here. Not as much snow as the trip we took here a year ago and drove the last 100 miles or so through an ice storm. But still. Snow. Maybe more tomorrow? On the ground, I mean. *Probably* not coming outta the sky.

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“Be prepared for tremendous melting”

April 9th, 2014 by kayak woman

ninja81degreesWe’re planning a little trip to the yooperland this weekend. I have not been there since mid-October when we closed down the moomincabin for the season and then hiked and camped with our North Country Trail buddies up at Tahquamenon. I have taken exactly half a day off since January 1st. I even worked on MLK Day, which is a paid company holiday. I am taking a day and a half off this week. I am overdue for a little R & R and we don’t even have any Commander-type chores to do this weekend. So we will watch whatever lake freighters manage to make it to the locks and hike post-hole out in the woods and catch up with Jeep and Pan and a certain other entity — if he isn’t hiding — and I don’t blame him if he is because I was kind of hiding last summer too. And maybe we’ll hit Clyde’s for a nice greasy hamburg on a bun. I’m ready.

The loverly photo of the Ninja’s dashboard displaying an 81 degree temperature is not from today. It is from April 10, 2011. Today, Our Northern Correspondent posted “Be prepared for tremendous melting” on my facebook wall and I remembered driving down from the yooperland that day. We had dense fog for much of that trip as the snow, still deep across the north, melted in above-freezing temperatures.

I remember that day for other reasons. When we left The Commander that day, she was pretty much her normal self. I didn’t feel a compelling need to call or text her when we got home that night. I figured she’d see my blahg and know we got home safely. Turned out my mom-dar was off but the next couple days were busy (we bought the Frog Hopper on April 11th), so I didn’t know it until I finally called her on Wednesday and it was obvious that things were not exactly normal. And that is when my life changed forever. I won’t go into detail about that today. You can go back and read if you want. I will say that I was much funnier in those days than I am now even though my life was pretty much turned upside down for the duration.

Or maybe that’s why I was funnier. Thinking back remembering all those days telecommuting from the long term care rehab facility and how I ended one of my work days by pulling Mumma’s baby doll out of the bathtub wastebasket in the solarium and depositing it on her bed. BTW: Mumma is not *my* mother, she was a long term care resident with advanced dementia. My ever-loving mother was horrified at having to live under those circumstances and with those people, even for a temporary period and even though the staff absolutely adored her. She had compassion for those who were less fortunate than she but it was hard for her to live amongst them. And I can’t blame her.

Just take me outside and shoot me. Or maybe death by pterodactyl would be more appropriate

April 8th, 2014 by kayak woman

fools2Oh, okay, it wasn’t that bad a day, although it had its moments. I had a really fun spec review today. There was only one time when the LSCHP boomed out, “No!” but that was an instance where I had not been in the room to ask questions and was led astray by folks who were but didn’t have me around to ask specific questions. This review was friendly and full of positive forward progress, not to mention a lot of laughter.

No photooos of our chitchen reno yet this week? Because no progress has been made yet. A lucky-shuckial issue got resolved today but we are waiting for the countertops to come in. Apparently they are “laser measured” (not sure exactly what that means) and ordered after the cabinets are installed. Sounds like interesting stuff will be happening later in the week and we may not be around to see it because we are traveling to the Yooperland for the weekend. Maybe Mouse will come by and drag all of our bins up the driveway and take photoos of the chitchen if progress has been made by then? (Hint hint, Mouse?)

I was channeling The Commander last night, I guess. I was MacMullan Blindsiding the GG like crazy. I can’t remember what we were talking about but I managed somehow to switch the subject without the GG noticing. The Commander did that constantly in her later years. You would be going along talking about something and all of a sudden, she would be talking about something else and you would be left in the twilight zone. I couldn’t always catch the shift when she was talking to me but I could *always* catch it when she was talking to someone else and I was largely a bystander. Missing that old gal tonight, as well as Radical Betty.

BizCaz

April 7th, 2014 by kayak woman

kwfoolYou saw how the GG was dressed up for Festifools yesterday but you didn’t see how *I* was dressed up. Actually, this is pretty much what I wear to work every day. Of course this isn’t me but I loved this costume. I didn’t see the person’s face. It seemed like a grandparent-type person. Male or female, I dunno. Whatever.

At my work, business casual is nominally decreed but every Friday is Jeans Day and very frequently there are Jeans Weeks. In general, people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to what other people are wearing unless it involves something like color, like “all of the BAs are wearing red today”, or all of QA is wearing purple (but they all look alike other than that). Other than that, if you are not showing a bunch of skin, you are probably good to go. It works because so many of us are old and baggy enough that our main goal in getting dressed is to cover up skin. Well, unless you are talking about Summer Casual. In which it’s okay for people to wear long-ish shorts. Picture cargo shorts, if you will. A recent topic of hallway conversation involved something like, “Who would want to see my knees?” We were not being judgmental. We were all giggling. I think people should be able to wear whatever is comfortable for them to work. Bunny Slippers are one of the few things that are kind of banned at my work. Don’t ask.

Me, I don’t do jeans. My carefully cultivated wardrobe of biz-caz clothing is much more comfortable than jeans! And it is filled with cute little skirts not unlike the one in the pic.

It’s daylight in the swamp!

April 6th, 2014 by kayak woman

Yesterday when we went over to Lowe’s, I could swear I heard some spring peepers in the parking lot. So we made a Grand Plan to head out to the Geology Center early this morning and walk down to the floating bog. Surely there would be some peepers. Problem. It was 24 degrees when I got up this morning. We went *anyway*. Of course there weren’t any peepers but there was birdsong galore, including a couple of sandhill cranes hanging out on the ice over on Little Cedar Lake. And frost everywhere, particularly on the floating bog (below).

floatingbog

I’m not sure how many miles we got walking the “lower” trails at the Geology Center but not all that many. But that was okay because our plan for the afternoon was to walk downtown to the annual Festifools parade. And so we did. Me and the Swamp Monster.

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I was skeptical about the GG wearing this costume around downtown but I was also kind of forgetting that a lot of folks dress up like nuts for Festifools. He got a lot of attention in that suit. As he was getting dressed up in it – on the street, I watched a guy video the entire process. He wasn’t using an iPhone and when he was finished, he asked the GG for his name and also how to spell it so we’re wondering where that video will get posted. Other encounters of note included several requests to take selfies with people, high fives with people wearing camouflage, and a drunk guy that babbled on about marijuana. Women seemed particularly drawn to the Swamp Monster, often reaching out to touch his, uh, fur. Babies were a mixed bag. Frightened or entranced.

Festifools lasts an hour and we bagged it about halfway through to get to the Oscar Tango before it filled up. It was empty when we got there, so we were able to grab one of the two window booths. We had a ‘hattan and then launched for The Landfill just as the OT was indeed filling up.

P. S. I will never forget Grampa Garth, my father-in-law, booming out “It’s daylight in the swamp!” mornings at Houghton Lake. I have audio of him saying that somewhere but the GG is bugging me to get going on cooking rice out in the Lyme Lounge, so I have to quit now. The Swamp Monster is hungry!

Polar Vortex survivors in Mouse’s Garden

April 5th, 2014 by kayak woman

pvsurvivorsGarlic, shallots, and carrots. Can you believe these little green sprouty things were under a glacier until a couple days ago? We walked down to the farmer’s market to meet Mouse there at 8:00 AM. All I bought was a couple hunks o’ protein from the Sparrow Market and some lunches kimchee for the GG (thank you very much iPhone autocorrect). It was hard not buying greens and little potatoes and parsnips (yes, really!), etc., but there is no point in buying a bunch of food until I have a functional kitchen again. It’s the awkward dishwashing situation that’s the issue. I’m doing fine but the fewer dishes, the better. Good thing we are doing this prodject in the early spring when only a few hardy souls are out selling produce in our still winter-like temperatures and not at high harvest season when the market is overflowing.

Mouse wanted to check in on her garden (which is in our back yard) so we caught a ride home with her. I didn’t intend to do any yard work today. After all, until a few days ago, we had a glacier in the back yard. But then, Mouse went out and pulled a few old dead leaves off of the raised bed and voila! Green things! She started raking leaves out of there and that got me looking around at all of the dead sticks and things and pretty soon we had both compost carts out in the back yard. We maybe only worked for 20 minutes or so but those carts are both half full. The photoooo doesn’t show how *many* little green things are poking up out of that raised bed.

Productive day in general. Several loads of laundry, a family excursion to the Plum Market, a GG/KW excursion to Lowe’s to research three inch spice drawers, a small paperwork purge, and a long overdue laptop OS upgrade (not to mention looooooooong). And then. Yiiiy! Photoshop would not launch. Geeesh, what do I do? I use Photoshop every single blasted day. Although I am pretty well trained to do Photoshop editing, nowadays I usually use it only to adjust light levels and crop photos and optimize them to post on the web. The iPhone 5S takes HUGE photos and even nowadays when disk space is “cheap” and broadband is widespread, it’s polite to downsize photos for posting on the web. I own Photoshop CS3, which I bought a quazillion years ago on an educational discount. I did NOT want to pay a couple thousand dollars or whatever for an upgrade. I’m sure there are alternatives but that would take a bunch of research I don’t have time for. I kvetched to the GG and he googled a solution and it WORKED! YAY! (Yes, I could’ve done that too.)

The GG tried to take a nap this afternoon but the Lyme Lounge was calling him, so he got up and began the process for opening it up for the season. And then we had surprise visitors! The Lord and Lady of Linden, on their way home from a work trip to Tennessee (right?). First family members to see the new chitchen besides the beach urchins who grew up here. So much fun!

Fool Moon

April 4th, 2014 by kayak woman

foolmoonThe Soo Locks was open something like nine days ago and the first ship locked through today. It took the Cason Calloway (and the John Munson) NINE DAYS to traverse Lake Superior, normally about a 20-hour trip. The Calloway posts on facebook as Storm Warrior and a couple days ago, when they were ramming their way down through the ice off the eastern shore below Michipicoten Island, Storm Warrior posted something like, “Stuck in the Ice on Lake Superior, starring the Cason Calloway, the John Munson, and the icebreaker Mackinaw.” After another couple days they were finally all in the upper St. Mary’s River, in front of the moominbeach out by the Pickle Finger. The Calloway earned a plaque for being the first ship through the locks for the year. A hard-earned honor this year.

A few years ago, we were up in the yooperland visiting The Commander when the shipping season began. That year there was no ice to speak of and I walked down to the locks at 7:30 AM the morning the first boats were locking through. As I walked into the deserted park, the security guard on duty came out to inspect me and I greeted him with, “Good morning! I’m your first tourist!” Was he befuddled? Yes. I’m sure he knew I wasn’t a terrorist (they get soooooo many terrorists up there at the Soo Locks) but he didn’t seem to know what to say to me so he started telling me about the locks. He didn’t know that I had been hanging around the locks since well before he was born. When I was a toddler, I would demand “Down boat!” whenever I thought we needed to take a riverfront ride. I did talk him down off that ledge.

So, here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we have the Ann Arbor Cougar, the Dexter Bare Bear, and the 20 Pound Carp. They all have Twitter handles and I follow them all. This next is probably not safe for work but I am here to tell you that we now have the Mystery Pooper. Apparently someone has been pooping on the slides at a playground in Ypsilanti. Who would want to drop their pants to poop on a slide during our loverly polar vortex winter? I do not know. Of course, @Mystery_Pooper is now a twitter handle. I am not following it. I cannot quite go there. Also, our own local @Mystery_Pooper is not the only mystery pooper on Twitter. Go figger.

Tonight was Fool Moon. We love Fool Moon but we bagged it tonight. We walked down to the Oscar Tango for dinner and wandered over to Fool Moon afterwards but the festivities hadn’t started yet and it was frickin’ cold and windy and kind of rainy and we didn’t really want to hang out in the beer tent at that point in the evening. I am not complaining. I did not have to think about ice ONCE tonight. But we bagged Fool Moon this time around. We’ll try for the Festifools parade on Sunday. Which will be a zoo. Maybe the idea is to get a barroom seat this year.

Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. My own personal backyard glacier is gone. Mostly. Summertime? Bring it!

Oh, *there’s* the refrigerator!

April 3rd, 2014 by kayak woman

Walked in the front door. Spazzed around for a bit, dropping what was left of my meager little leftover lunch on the FLOOR, which necessitated a nasty little carpet cleanup followed by a bunch of the kind of dishwashing monkey business I’m getting all too used to. 1) Find the dish detergent (keeping it in the bathroom). 2) Find a dishcloth and towel (“Mouse’s” room). 3) Grab dish pan (by front door for easy flinging). 4) Get water (from bathtub). All of this seemed to take five times as many trips back and forth across the living room as it should have. FINALLY got done with that ugly little chore and reached for the refrigerator to check the ice supply… Where was the refrigerator?

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Oh. Yes. Back in the chitchen! Paint! Cabinet hardware attached! Floor trim (is that the right word?) installed and floor uncovered — again. I suspect that means they’re finished until Tuesday when the countertops go in. Anyway, that was an westward view. Here’s looking toward the east. (Er, I have the file names switched between east and west. I keep doing that. I dunno why. I’m not gonna fix ‘em.)

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Look Ma, no snow, and no, we are not selling our house!

dreammaker