Random bits of my so-called life.

Polly-tickle post

October 19th, 2018 by kayak woman

Can you stand another goose/sunrise pic from my parking spot at Cubelandia? I know you don’t want me to rant and rave and talk back to the news media. Fake or not. I don’t feel as though we have landed on an intelligible definition for “fake” in this context, same for words like “collusion” and “due process”. It would be a lot easier to talk to each other if we shared common understanding of the vocabulary of the year. The Chief Twit doesn’t help that with his propensity for spewing out volumes of Word Salad. Where I work, we get into the greatest difficulties when we are all speaking different “languages”. That’s when people like meeeee channel our former leader, the LSCHP, and clamor to slow down and define things. I need a PICTURE!

I don’t remember the term “fake news” being front and center during the 2016 election. What annoyed me at that time was what I was loosely calling “clickbait”. That term meant a couple of things to me. One, links to news articles that when I clicked over to them either had nothing to do with the headline that led me there or I had to read all the way through a bunch of unintelligible gobblety-gook to get to the one sentence that had to do with the headline. I am no journalist but I think that’s called a “buried lede”? Something like that. Secondly, I used “clickbait” to refer to articles that people (mainly on facebook) were sharing without reading. At least it seemed that way to me. After it (the election) was all over, I shared one myself. It was a link to a Huffpo article with a headline saying something like “Bernie Sanders can still win the election”. Well, I knew that wasn’t true but I clicked over out of curiosity. The first paragraph explained how he could win. The second was haha, gotcha! No way! The article went on to explain exactly what I experienced over and over, people sharing an article without READING it, then going along on their merry way. Clickity-clickity-click. Disclaimer: I was not a Bernie Sanders supporter, but you can damn betcha I’d’ve voted for him over the Orange Baboon!.

I am annoyed in general with people who do nothing but share other people’s content on social media. I have muted a few people because of that. I could almost see them sitting with their computer or phone, having their first cup of coffee or a cig, surfing and clicking share over and over and over again. Polly-tickle articles, cat and dog “funnies”, you name it. That said, I may mute people but no one has ever done anything awful enough to me that I have *unfriended* them, even a person who sent a couple creepy direct messages about the huge crush he had on me in high school. Unfriending is Middle School Behavior. Plus, you don’t know if someone has unfriended you unless you actively investigate whether or not you are still friends so what’s the big deal? If FB sent a nasty message to the unfriendee, like “Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyaaaaaah-nyah, so-and-so has unfriended you”, that would be different. As it is, it’s just sorta like, “Okay, whatever, buh-bye”.

Here I said I wouldn’t rant and rave and that’s exactly what I did. No worries, I am actually in good spirits. It has been a difficult week for me to process the news so I guess this is a bit of a “meta” take on news media. From someone who is NOT a journalist. Anyway, we are heading over to Knights (in the rain) tonight and I gotta get goin’.

See y’all later. -KW

Taking off

October 18th, 2018 by kayak woman

Not the best pic but I did do a burst and therefore was able to choose the best out of something like 60 or so. Working at Cubelandia all these years, I am able to watch the geese go through their life-cycle. Goslings turn into teenagers and then one day I get over there and a flock is taking off as I am parking the Ninja. Like today. That is about it.


October 17th, 2018 by kayak woman

Finding hotels on a road trip is easier than it used to be now that we have GooMaps and online reservations. Lemme see. 600 miles from here to Chattanooga on a Friday almost a couple weeks ago and when we got there we had a reservation at this loverly Best Western. It doesn’t look very special in the pic but it was really okay, in some ways my fave of the trip. It was hot out and after walking up to the Roadhouse Up The Hill for dinner, we chilled out a bit with the door open. I love this kind of ambience.

After that super-easy reservation experience and finding out that Best Western had pet-friendly rooms (most hotels probably do nowadays though), we aimed for that chain for the rest of the trip. We managed it except for the next night. We planned to stay in Gainesville so we could take my niece and her SO out to dinner. Unfortunately, it was a FOOTBALL SATURDAY! As a Planet Ann Arbor resident, I am well familiar with FOOTBALL SATURDAYS. Best Western Gainesville? $370? No, I don’t think so. I would pay $50 extra or maybe even a little more but $370? Nope. We did get to Pengie and cBear’s house and they fed us wonderful snacks and a couple adult beverages and we took them out to eat and then we got on down the road, staying in a chain that I am not crazy about although it was okay this time. At least it was not at the end of an airport runway.

Okay, Bradenton, Fla. Technically we could’ve stayed at Uncle Ed’s house. We love him and he has a nice house but FlaMan was gonna be staying there too and there were a couple of dogs and I love them both but… and I was planning to telecommute and we had umpteen bazillion things to do and a new problem seemed to crop up just about every other nano-second or so. Nope. We needed a space of our own to retreat to at the end of the day. I found a fancy new(?) Best Western right in the middle of megalopolis (just off the intersection of Cortez and Tamiami Trail) where most of our business was shaping up to take place. Trailer park, big box stores, U-Haul, Subaru dealer 🐽. Not the most picturesque location but very comfortable and the folks on staff were wonderful. Anyway, this was *not* a trip to the beach. Even if we’d had time to spend even a few hours at the beach, as soon as we parked outside Home Depot upon our arrival, some weather app sent my phone a red tide alert. Okay, eating at the beach is probably not gonna happen. So two nights in that place (Sunday and Monday). Our hotel was mostly empty and prices were very reasonable because Red Tide.

And then. Michael is coming! Michael is coming! We gotta git outta this place if it’s the last thing we ever do-ooo. Girl, there’s a better life for me and you… And FlaMan and Jax Junior… But not until we arrange stable sources of oxygen for our passenger for the trip. It was Tuesday and somehow after many crazy gyrations we (the GG) got the oxygen arranged and we got out around noon and somewhere along the line, I made a somewhat educated guess that if we spent the night in Macon, we might outrun anything Michael had to throw at Georgia. My BFF lives in Atlanta and I knew we would be welcome at her house but that was quite a bit further than we thought we could travel that day and I also didn’t want to saddle her with our passengers. So Macon it was and it was another place where we could walk right outside (first floor because oxygen) and that was good for FlaMan and Jax.

Finally, we drove a long day from Macon, GA to Kettering (Dayton), OH. At one point the GG was kind of thinking about whether we could actually make it all the way to The Planet that night. I nixed that and he agreed. I was thinking through the entire arc of the day, knowing that we were all tired and I had no food at home and if we didn’t get back here until late at night, well… So another Best Western. First floor room with no immediate outdoor access but it worked out. And people loved Jax (dog) and I fell asleep with him snuggling up next to me in bed, which is not something I usually let aminals do.

I have stayed a few times at hotels I couldn’t wait to get out of (yes, last March in East Lansing and a few years ago at the end of the runway next to the Knoxville airport). Mostly, I am mobilized and ready to go when it’s time but we had some good experiences this trip in places that we felt comfortable and at home in. Still glad to be home.

If you don’t turn some music on…

October 16th, 2018 by kayak woman

…I will turn National Petroleum Radio on and you KNOW that I will be talking back to it! I always listen to NPR in the morning. I listen to the news but I am really more interested in the weather and traffic. I don’t really have to deal with traffic, at least not in the morning. I have taken to doing the “back roads” both to and from work. It’s a Zen Drive in the morning. In the afternoon not so much, especially since they have converted the major road a block away from my house from four to two lanes with a center turn lane and bike lanes. I am all for accommodating bicycles but these seem dangerous and I have rarely seen a bicyclist use them. And then there’s the part where the four lanes of traffic have to merge into two at either end of our stretch of road. Traffic is now frequently backed up all the way *before* the major intersection I have to navigate to get to where we have to merge. I dunno what to do. I can only imagine it’ll be worse when the snow flies.

Anyway, sometime this summer, I guess the GG got tired of me talking to the radio because one day I came home from Cubelandia and he had some folk music or whatever on the smart speaker thingy. That has become the new normal to the point that if there is no music on when I come home, I wonder where it is. I guess I could figger out how to turn on the dern thing myself but I’m just a girl and I don’t even shoot a blowgun. [Cue major sarcasm here.]

I was actually enjoying the 85 to 90-degree temperatures we had throughout our entire LSD trip to Fla and back. The GG, who was doing the slave work, not so much. He would make use of our hotel shower at the end of the day following trailer duty or broken vee-hickle duty or whatever at the end of our couple of days down there. Temperatures here are taking a turn toward you-know-what. This oogly is me in my new Smartwool hoodie vest and this morning I dredged out my balaclava for the first time. It was 33 when I took my 0-skunk-30 walk. It’s not predicted to be quite that cold tomorrow morning but it’s coming. Are you ready?

Rabbit Hole afternoon

October 15th, 2018 by kayak woman

Soooo good to get back to a regular routine of trundling over to Cubelandia. I am involved in various archaeological digs lately. I love that kind of work. How does this piece of functionality work? How did we design it? Did we change it? If so, when and how? Is it working as we designed it?

I originally spec’ed out the report I was digging up today. It was one of my earlier BIG prodjects and I was still learning my job. I had specified several report columns that I could NOT for the life of me make show up in the report as it works today. Nine years later. Other people have changed and added things along the way. I looked back through all of the relevant specs one more time and, lo and behold, all I had to do was change a certain report setting to get those old fields to show up. Now I have to figure out how to coherently write about this massive mess of functionality.

Okay, work babblety-babblety. Don’t even try to understand it. Just know that it keeps my baggity old brain going 🐸

You’re wondering about the pic? I could not narrate my “LSD” trip in a coherent linear story if I tried (and most of the details do not belong on the internet anyway). But I can do little bits and pieces and this is a pic of my little family when my Mouse was a baby. It is a VERY familiar pic to me and I *think* we are sitting on a log at the bottom of the steps over at our fave Reedsburg Dam. Aren’t my little beach urchins cute? But you want to know what all that stuff is all over the pic, right? Well, it is the result of spending something like 30 years in a trailer in Florida. Apparently it was a xmas (or whatever) gift back then and the person who received it has treasured it all these years, much as he has treasured other artifacts picturing or made by his nieces and nephews when they were young. I got out of our rental truck and looked down and there it was at the edge of the driveway, rescued by the GG. Embiggen it if you dare and remember that people are complicated 🧡

Large meat-lovers pizza

October 14th, 2018 by kayak woman

I hit a wall this afternoon. I had the stamina to make a 6-day rocket trip from here to Fla and back, work a day and a half at work and most of a day at home, walk, do chores (except I am not totally unpacked yet), and listen to the GG rattle on and on and on about cockroaches and how to (hopefully) eradicate them.

Today I drove to a lovely baby shower. It was a 62.9 mile drive to a town I had to look up on Google maps and it was a beautiful day for driving. GooMaps showed me two route possibilities, one through megalopolis on I275 and I696 among other familiar (in an awful sort of way) routes. Hey wait a minute? What’s this? It looks like a section of I696 is CLOSED for construction. I think I’ll take the other route. Which was about halfway on big straight fast roads and the other half twisting and turning all over the countryside. Because I was driving alone, I used the voice directions on GooMaps for the first time EVER and it worked like a charm.

I was happy to get to this shower at all given that a week ago we weren’t sure when we’d get back from Fla. The mom-to-be is our sweet oldest nephew’s SO and I’m guessing here but given the various twists and turns of nephew’s adult life I don’t think he expected he would ever have a biological child. I *think* this was a surprise pregnancy but it is a much wanted one and we are all very happy for them. This child will have fantastic parents. I didn’t know a whole lot of people at the shower and I’m no extrovert but there were enough cFam gals (so glad that Beck and a couple daughters made it!) that I found a “safe” place to be happily and quietly anti-social. As it turned out, most of the talk at our table was about my recent “LSD” trip anyway.

But then, about an hour-and-a-half into the event, I hit a wall. I was exhausted, mostly psychologically. I *hope* it was okay that I left when I did. This event was loosely scripted and the few available activities were largely voluntarily. There was no long gift-opening session. The mom-to-be had requested that gifts arrive unwrapped and they were displayed on a table so people could inspect them (or not) at their leisure. The one activity that we were specifically asked to participate in was to choose a ribbon and attach it to a dream-catcher to hang above the baby’s crib. Yes, I will *certainly* do that.

After that, I left. I turned on GooMaps again for the return trip and when I got home, I was ALONE! Woo-hoo! I ended up with at least an hour of spacification. Boy oh boy did I need that.

Oh, and no, we did not eat meat-lovers pizza today. We had a lovely brunch with bacon that was to die for and I had exactly one mimosa. The pizza in the pic was from last Monday night and it was soooooo gooooood! And no, the three of us couldn’t finish it but I boxed what was left and took it back to Uncle Ed’s. He doesn’t like to eat out and I didn’t try to guilt him into going with us. A few pieces of leftover pizza doesn’t begin to thank him for all of the help he gave us but I know he doesn’t want anything more so I’ll be paying it forward whenever I can 🧡🧡🧡

Vermin prevention

October 13th, 2018 by kayak woman

We have brought a lot of memories back from our Rocket LSD Trip to Crazy Old Florida. We have also brought back cockroaches. Or do they call them palmetto bugs down there? Neither the GG nor I have *ever* lived in a cockroach-infested house.

Here at the Landfill, the mice come in, the mice go out, the mice play pinochle on your snout. Mice come in seasonally and we are quite adept at keeping them out. Bugs? Occasionally some ants but mostly not since many years ago when Grandroobly resolutely spread diazinon around the perimeter of the house. Cockroaches? Hmmm. I suppose some people in the Great Lake State have cockroach problems. My house is sometimes messy and I wish we had less stuff but I *clean* areas where moisture might collect and I do NOT leave food out. We have never had cockroaches.

As far as we know, no cockroaches are in the house yet but the GG has set up a decontamination zone in the driveway where he cleans things and removes cockroaches before bringing them in the house. Since we returned to The Planet Ann Arbor on Thursday, he has become an encyclopedia of knowledge on cockroaches. I am a wee bit less worried about an infestation but I think he is a bit traumatized by some of the stuff he had to deal with in a certain trailer during our recent “LSD” trip to Fla.

The GG spent the morning decontaminating various things in the driveway. How the heck does a 3-week-old cordless phone become infested with cockroaches in that length of time? I do not know. I did my usual Saturday chores plus some online banking work, partly to make up time for the days I missed that I could’ve been telecommuting during the week but I didnt because I was in the Frog Hopper biting my nails (figuratively speaking) and obsessive-compulsively checking the traffic and weather and whatever and couldn’t concentrate on anything else except maybe the xword puzzle, which I can dip in and out of. Or driving. And yes, I did drive even though we were pulling a U-Haul trailer. I don’t really like to drive with a trailer but this was a small one and I felt pretty comfortable pulling it. I even pulled it through Cincinnati during rush hour traffic and up to Kettering, just south of Dayton. Yay me!!!

Early afternoon today we hoofed it downtown for lunch at the Griz, which was *slammed* with people because it is a football Saturday and a beautiful day (if a wee bit chilly). The game doesn’t start until 6-something but people were getting ready for it this afternoon, oh boy oh boy.

And now we are burning stuff on a nice li’l faaaaar in the back yard. Great rocket trip to Fla but glad to be back home.


October 12th, 2018 by kayak woman

I can remember when I was a kid and the I75 SUV Speedway hadn’t been built yet, at least not through the Great Lake State. When we “go to Detrite in the middle of the night” as my 3-year-old self thought of it, it meant we got up at something like 3:00 AM in Sault Ste. Siberia in order to catch the first(?) ferry across the Straits of Mackinac. I can remember my mom dressing me up in my little tartan plaid skirt for those trips to visit Grandaddy and Bolette and our MacMu aunts and uncles and cousins down in Detroit and other southern Great Lake State communities.

I remember being on those old ferries. My dad and I would walk on the deck and I would put my hands in my jacket pockets just like he did. It took us *forever* to travel down to Detroit on those old two lane roads. Once I remember having an absolute fit about having to P when we were only a couple of miles from my grandparents’ house in Detroit. My parents finally gave in to my fits and stopped at some crappy gas station with just about the fugliest terlet ever. I think that experience taught me to hold it, not to say that we don’t ever stop at gas stations with iffy restrooms even now, especially in Georgia… I guess picking an appropriate gas station for P-ing is a life-long learning curve…

The Mackinac Bridge replaced the ferry shortly after that memory but it was a few more years before the I75 SUV Speedway got built. One of the things I remember from traveling old US 27 (besides the Underground Forest) was getting stuck behind huge SLOW convoys of National Guard trucks transporting soldiers to or from Grayling. We could maybe manage to pass a truck or two at a time.

As we were driving up through Florida and Georgia and even Tennessee and Kentucky earlier this week, we encountered convoys of utility trucks. We were on the I75 Snowbird Geezerway the whole time so they didn’t slow us down. I’m sure you can guess where they were going.

Pick a title

October 11th, 2018 by kayak woman

1) Bumpity bumpity bump 2) LSD trip 3) Before decontamination.

“Bumpity bumpity bump” could refer to a couple of different events. 1) The Frog Hopper’s wheel bearings going bad on the drive to Fla and getting fixed at Conley Subaru in Bradenton (highly recommended, they treated us right, which enabled us to get outta Fla before Hurricane Michael). 2) The horrible pavement we encountered AS SOON AS WE CROSSED THE MICHIGAN STATE LINE. Let’s fix the damn roads already!

We had a largely smooth trip north, easily out-pacing the hurricane, but there was one momentarily scary incident that I did not report. There were a lot of folks closely following our trip on social media and I didn’t want people to worry about us. We were 24 miles south of our Macon, Georgia hotel stop when the Frog Hopper’s check engine light (and a few other random lights) suddenly came on and one was FLASHING. Whut? The car was driving normally but we were traveling with oxygen equipment that was plugged into an inverter(?) and we wondered if we were dealing with a strange electrical load. We have an onboard diagnostic device that communicates with an app on the GG’s iPhone (remember that his career was computer scientist at the EPA vehicle testing lab, so he knows this stuff well plus he is a pretty darn good mechanic in general). He connected that thing up and the only “code” it announced to us was something about the evaporative emissions system. Huh? He was able to turn that off via the app and the lights went away (and didn’t come back, thank you very much). Puzzling out what could have lit the light, apparently he did not totally secure the gas cap after getting gas the day before. That would generate that particular code but why did the car wait 24+ hours to turn on the check engine light? I do not know.

“LSD trip”? My company is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week and various events have been scheduled every day. There’s a bit of a hippie theme going along with this, so a T-shirt tie-dying event was scheduled for Monday and of course I missed that. This afternoon a picture of everyone in their shirt was scheduled (and there were some gorgeous shirts!). I managed to get home early enough in the afternoon to go over to Cubelandia! Yay! I have a lot of tie-dyed shirts so I wore one to work today. People were asking about my shirt because obviously I did not make it on Monday. I told them that I bought it at the art fair and that I was on an LSD trip on Monday when they were making their shirts. In reality I was telecommuting from a comfortable hotel room in Fla but our whole trip kinda felt like an LSD trip. (To be clear, I have never tried LSD.)

“Before decontamination”. I can’t talk in detail about this but after I went over to Cubelandia, the GG went into Hazmat Washerwoman mode. He apparently used Raid to decontaminate a big pile of clothing *before* bringing it into the Landfill and using the Landfill laundry musheens to clean it.

So, whaddya think my title should be?

It’s great to be home, bumpity Great Lake State pavement or not. Love y’all, KW!

Toadily Roto (and probably more than a bit incoherent)

October 10th, 2018 by kayak woman

10 hours on the I75 Snowbird Geezerway will do that to a person. Leaving from Macon this morning was angsty. There was some weird Batscope hour stuff that had to be dealt with in the middle of the night and although I didn’t have to be involved, when I looked at my phone at that time there were about a gazillion hurricane alerts there. So angst this morning.

We got FlaMan eggs and bacon and coffee and I dunno what else from the hotel breakfast. I. had. nothing. Except OJ and a wee coffee to go. I ended up giving the rest of my coffee to FlaMan down the road a way because he was wishing he had more. Here, you can have what’s left of mine. I’m sorry it’s not very hot any more. And then I bought him a BIG HOT coffee with sugar packets when we finally did stop for gas in the late morning.) And then I finished the GG’s second cup of coffee from the hotel. Which was cold and I didn’t care.

There was no way I was hungry enough to eat anything solid from the hotel breakfast but I did take a few things to go. Raisin bread and an apple. I eventually ate some raisin bread. My raisin bread packet contained two slices and I gave FlaMan one. It was really good bread and he had been rhapsodizing about it and I could NOT eat more than one slice. I do not eat a lot when traveling in general, especially during crazy trips like this one when problems keep cropping up and I have to work hard hard to be calm and cheerful instead of nervous as all getout.

So, we got outta Georgia in good enough time to miss whatever Michael had to throw at that beautiful state. I knew intellectually that we would make it outta there in time but it was still nerve-wracking. And then the trip itself? The weather was wonderful the entire way. Drizzle/mist in Georgia and southern Tennessee breaking into blue sky when we hit the Tennessee River Bridge, as you can see. Traffic? Atlanta was a breeze with only a few light slowdowns. No big fugly 15-mile backups on the northbound I75 Snowbird Geezerway in the mountains like we saw (from the other side) coming down. Oh man, that thing was scary. I don’t think there was a nearby backroad that would provide a bypass.

Angst at the end of the trip. On this trip we are adjusting to a new normal of sorts, traveling with a person who loves bacon and hasn’t been fed quiiiiite enough of that in a while, even though there *was* bacon for breakfast today. I won’t describe our gyrations with trying to get Panera to deliver to our hotel except maybe to say, “You don’t know where I am, I don’t know where you are, I don’t know where *I* am, my Panera app (which I have successfully used before) is finding stores in NEW YORK!!!!??? I love Panera but this isn’t gonna work out tonight and it is not your fault.”

FlaMan had talked about bacon stuff at Arby’s and so we ended up getting Arby’s gyros. They were really pretty darn good.

With any luck, we’ll be back on The Planet Ann Arbor tomorrow and I am looking forward to grilling some salmon and veggies for us and FlaMan. Come and join us if you can 🧡

Love y’all, KW!

Safe For Work version

October 9th, 2018 by kayak woman

No we weren’t at the Hi Way Bar this morning. Actually, as we turned into the parking lot of the feed store across the street, I thought maybe the Hi Way Bar was long defunct but doing a belated google, it sounds like it is still a going concern. I’m not all that sure I would want to eat there nevertheless.

Why did we go to the feed store? It defies description. Let’s just say because it’s on the way to Sarasota – if you take the s-l-o-w route to Sarasota. My vote to take the freeway was overruled. Because feed store. We eventually made it to Sarasota and our errand there went a lot more smoothly than we had expected, which was a good thing because we were trying to get outta Florida in order to outrun Michael. The hurricane, that is. The problem with going down to Sarasota is that it means going the *wrong* direction.

And yes, we *know* that Michael’s main target is not the Bradenton-Sarasota area. The problem is that after Michael hits the Florida panhandle, it is predicted to make a right turn and clobber Georgia with rain. If we had waited another day to begin our northward journey, we’d’ve likely been caught up in that mess. No thank you. Fingers crossed that tomorrow is a decent driving day.

So finally we were on the northbound I75 Snowbird Geezerway and now we are up in Georgia in a pet friendly hotel room. This is my first experience with a pet friendly hotel room and I am kinda wondering why I am walking around barefoot 🐽 There are about a billion hotels and fast food restaurants at this exit and I was googling for a nearby restaurant that served adult beverages. I found exactly one, Edgar’s Bistro. Boy oh boy, it was definitely close but we had a terrible time finding it. Dark and rainy and felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. All we could see at the address was a Goodwill Warehouse. Okaaaay. I dunno, just drive around to the back and see what’s there. Oh! Hidden in the back was none other than Edgar’s Bistro. It felt a little bit spooky but nevertheless, we persevered.

Turns out that Edgar’s Bistro is not a “regular” restaurant. I still don’t totally understand what it is all about but there is a strong educational connection of some sort. *And* it turns out that the Edgar it is named after was the founder of Goodwill Industries. Hence the warehouse on the property. We greatly enjoyed our meal there although we failed to return with a BLT for FlaMan, who stayed behind at the motel with Junior. I figured any restaurant with “Bistro” in the name would have a BLT on the menu but, as this place has a rather different mission, the menu was carefully curated and no BLTs were to be had.

This was an interesting experience but I think tomorrow night maybe our strategy will be to take out some cheapo food from a fast food place or whatever and bring it back to the room to eat with a homemade ‘hattan or an Icehouse beer. Your choice. For one thing, FlaMan does not like to leave Junior alone in strange places. I agree with that and also feel a little guilty leaving them behind.

I’m taaarrred enough that my writing is likely even more incoherent than usual so I’ll just say over and out.

Nail clippers and lead soldiers and a huuuuuge meat lovers pizza

October 8th, 2018 by kayak woman

So this is where I telecommuted from today. It is a very nice hotel with all the amenities albeit not exactly what I had envisioned. I had my heart set on something like the sweet place we stayed at in Chattanooga. This place I have to take an elevator downstairs to get to the outdoors so I watched this little monsoon from inside a window I couldn’t open. But I’m the one who picked the motel and made the reservation and for good reason. It is a decent place and it is within minutes (if you don’t make a wrong turn and have to backtrack and go through a bunch of stop lights multiple times) of all the places we need to deal with frequently, like FlaMan’s trailer, Lowe’s/Home Depot, U-Haul, Burger King, the underwear store, and, uh, the Subaru dealer 🐽

I started the day biting the heck out of my nails (figuratively speaking, I haven’t habitually bitten my nails for years). The GG took off in the rental truck and I faaaarrred up my work laptop. And couldn’t get it to connect to the hotel wifi. I spent at least an hour trying to troubleshoot this issue with no luck and I am sure my laptop cannot connect to the hotel network for security reasons. And no, I do not think the hotel employs a tech support person who can figure out why my online banking laptop can’t connect to their open wifi.

Then I dialed in to the daily stand-up and after telling everyone [sarcastically] “having a wonderful time, wish you were here”, I explained that I couldn’t connect to the hotel wifi. “Did you try connecting to your iPhone hotspot?” Well, uh, no. Actually I didn’t know I *had* an iPhone hotspot until a couple of days ago and I hadn’t noticed a hotspot in the list of wifi devices. I won’t go into detail but fewer than five minutes later, I was indeed online via my iPhone hotspot.

In the late afternoon I was drafted to walk over to, well first it was the Subaru dealer but then it changed to the U-Haul place. That was all fine but somehow or other, I kept getting turned around, going the wrong direction. I don’t know how you can get that turned around in a grid of numbered streets and avenues, especially when you have Google maps in hand but we have managed to do just that multiple times the whole two days we’ve been here. It’s easy to overshoot your intersection in an automotive vee-hickle but WALKING? Really, KW?

Anyway, we eventually got reconnected after the GG picked up the Frog Hopper and exchanged the rental truck for a U-Haul trailer. We headed out to Uncle Ed’s to pick up FlaMan for dinner and there was a whole bunch of monkeying around trying to waaaar up the Frog Hopper to be able to power an oxygen musheen. Not totally successful so far but I think the GG and Uncle Ed are capable of *anything* given enough time (but see the last paragraph).

Oh yeah, apparently the issue with the Frog Hopper was indeed the right rear wheel bearings. Subaru down here really came through for us and got our car repaired quickly. They were impressed at how bad those bearings were (like how did you guys make it all the way down here?) and they double-checked all of the other wheel bearings. Thank you!

Okay. The next challenge? Get outta Dodge before Michael shows up? Or… Maybe… Wait until it moves through… Stay tuned for the next episode in this ongoing family dramedy.

Maybe someday this will all be funny?

October 7th, 2018 by kayak woman

Bumpity clunk, bumpity clunk. I first noticed it yesterday morning in Chattanooga but I thought it was just funky pavement and then it went away and by the end of the day, I had totally forgotten about it. This morning, it started up again. It sorta settled down on the I75 Snowbird Geezerway but returned with a VENGEANCE when we arrived at our destination. Plan A was to do a bunch of junk-hauling around Bradenton in the Frog Hopper for a couple days and then rent a small trailer to haul back up the Geezerway to the Planet Ann Arbor. Yes, through the mountains and everything. I have been feeling squeamish about this plan (I do NOT like to pull trailers) and the bumpity clunk did not ease my mind one iota. As we drove around town listening to the worsening noise, which the cowboy channel we found on satty-lite radio didn’t quite cover up, we began formulating Plan B.

After running our morning errands (one of which included getting scolded for buying someone a bacon-less breakfast – Burger King didn’t have a *bacon* croissant so we made the snap decision to get a *sausage* croissant instead and we won’t discuss the rest of THAT story because it takes a gross turn toward NSFW), we ended up at our beloved brother-in-law Ed’s house. He pulled out some tools and he and the GG jacked the Frog Hopper up and poked around, tentatively diagnosing the issue as a bad bearing. Plan B was enacted and we limped back over to Tamiami Trail (aka 14th St.) to rent a small U-Haul truck, then around the corner to drop off the Frog Hopper at the [closed on Sunday] Subaru dealer with a plaintive note something to the effect that we are traveling, PLEASE HELP. The GG will be there in their faces when they open and we’ll see what happens.

I am kind of kicking myself because I have been procrastinating about buying a new vee-hickle. I love my Ninja DEARLY, but she is 10 years old and it’s probably time. I was thinking of buying an SUV this time (Honda CRV or new Outback) because they are good in snow and can tow small trailers, which we frequently do. If I had my druthers, I would pick up a new vee-hickle down here and that option has actually been brought up by me and another [neutral] person. In the end I know I will get push-back on the whole “buying a vee-hickle under ‘duress’ in Fla” idea and we’ll [somehow, eventually] make it back up to the Great White North, through the mountains, pulling a trailer, and I will continue to procrastinate about buying a new vee-hickle.

I wish I could talk about some of the other crazy things that happened today but they are mostly NSFW. Or possibly y’all might think yer fav-o-rite blahgger is dropping LSD or something. I’ll leave you with this Youtube link to a cute little tune from my early adolescence. It may come with an ad. Ha ha ho ho to the funny farm I go ha ha ho ho… … …


October 6th, 2018 by kayak woman

After another epic driving day we are in a cheepo motel, part of a chain that I am not crazy about. At least this one is not at the end of an airport runway but I am iffy about the kind of the clientele I have encountered so far. Last night we were in a sweet Best Western in Chattanooga and I felt comfortable enough there to sit with the door open to the outside for a while in the evening. Tonight? Not so much. Where are the baggy old pensioners? Where are the polite teenage soccer tournament players and their parents? Where are the fishermen? Oh, that was in Steinhatchee (“steen”, not “stine” and if I have it right, “hatchee” means river). We won’t make it over there this trip. The folks hanging around this place sound loud and occasionally belligerent. But the pool is outside our room so maybe they’ll go away once it closes for the night.

Why are we here? Our original plan was to stay somewhere in the Gainesville area but it is a Football Saturday there. Believe it or not, Football Saturdays do happen in other places than the Planet Ann Arbor. We were kinda looking for a Best Western, like what we had last night. I am not sure what it cost but it was NOT $370, like the one in Gainesville!!! Not anywhere near. I would’ve paid a bit of a premium price to stay in a Football Town on a Football Saturday but not three times the regular price or whatever it was. I KNOW that Best Westerns are not usually all that expensive.

Anyway, here we are. We did spend a few fun, relaxing hours in Gainesville. The cBear saved the GG’s life with snacks and a beer and me and Pengie helped the cBear finish a bottle of whine that he wasn’t sure he was all that crazy about. I said, “It’s red! Yay!” Then we schlepped downtown for dinner at the Top, *during* the football game, always good food and good times at the Top. (To be completely honest, we were offered the spare room at their beautiful townhouse and it was tempting but we saw some value in getting a little further down the road, so…)

I posted Pengie and cBear’s tortoiseshell catsas on Instagram (because cats of Instagram, roight and I don’t have my own cats so I have to borrow other people’s cats). Of all things, one of my old YAG buddies commented that her DAUGHTER, who I KNOW, is now living in Gainesville and what the heck was I doing there? Small and beautiful world.

Tomorrow we are into the unknown. I mean we know where we are going geographically but we are not all that sure what we will exactly be doing this week except that I will be telecommuting every single minute I can. Doing my work is soothing although doing it in the car in bright sunlight is a bit difficult because I keep losing track of the dern cursor (and I can’t get to the internet and the battery dies after a couple hours). Anyway, as of halfway through tomorrow, we are forging ahead into a new adventure. Wish us luck.

Rocket [Wo]Man (and Rocket Man) 🚀🚀🚀

October 5th, 2018 by kayak woman

Last winter This morning, Anne Arbour. (46 degrees F.)

Asheville? Or Nashville? Actually straight on to Knoxville and beyond. BTW, there exists a highway sign that does direct drivers to Asheville or Nashville. It *think* it comes along *after* you turn off toward Asheville, which we did not do today. I think it is one of the coolest freeway signs I have ever seen but I did not get a picture of it eight years ago when I saw it and have not been to Asheville since, alas to both things. This one will have to do for now.

I wish I could tell you where I was [exactly] right now. I know the city is Chattanoooooooogah. The GG directed me OFF the freeway and through the most circuitous route you could ever imagine, past the entrance to Ruby Falls and the whole works. So I do not know where I am but there was this beauteous tunnel somewhere along the way and a roadhouse is right next door (and up a huuuuuge hill) so after this looooonnnnnng day, I think that is where we will end up obtaining vittles tonight as much fun as downtown Chattanooooogah is.

P.S. The establishment we are lodging at seems pretty darn good so far and it does accept pets, which doesn’t apply to us tonight but may in the not-too-distant future. (And no, we are not going to be getting a pet.)

Oh yeah. 91 degrees F and I arrived still wearing the tights I put on this morning! Jeebus!

“It was grumpy out last night”

October 4th, 2018 by kayak woman

That’s [part of] a text message I got this morning during the daily stand-up. I’ll say it was grumpy out last night! Man oh man. I didn’t sleep on the Green Couch but I left for Cubelandia this morning while the bear was still snorting around in his lair. Apparently things are “better today”. I sure hope so. My day was okay except that I was ON EDGE the whole dern time. This against the week’s backdrop of political crapola. A horrible week for any reasonable feminist pro-choice survivor of sexual assault person. Note I didn’t say woman. There are plenty of men out there who agree with me and fit that description. This kind of crapola is bad for ALL of us! Fortunately I had a coffee date with MMCB, which provided me with someone to solve the problems of the world kvetch with. If that’s what friends are for, she did triple duty today 🧡🧡🧡

P.S. To those few of you who may actually care enough to be worried about me, this is all First World stuff – of the sort that cannot be spelled out in detail on my blahg. About all I can say is that travel and adventure (and maybe the red tide) are in my immediate future.

Love y’all and g’night, KW

Where were you when?

October 3rd, 2018 by kayak woman

When John Glenn orbited the earth? I was throwing up all over my desk and the surrounding area in Mrs. Bishop’s 2nd grade classroom at good old Stinkin’ Linkin’ School. Yes, I was sick with a vomiting virus. They couldn’t get hold of Mrs. Commander for a while (she was off gallivanting around town) so I spent the rest of the morning with the school nurse.

When JFK was assassinated? Mrs. Scott’s voice was breaking as she walked into our 4th grade classroom at Stinkin’ Linkin’ to give us the news. Patty McKerchie tipped her chair over, kabaaammm! I was nursing a sore throat. I was still ambulatory but when I returned home from an after school playdate with a girl I wasn’t all that excited about playing with, I succumbed to a few days of sickness, missing a beauteous couple of SNOWY days off school. Everybody else was outside playing in the snow while I was sick in bed watching not very much on TV.

When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon? I was at the Piedy cabin with all the other teenyboppers watching it on their TV. I WAS SICK!!! Another sore throat thingy! Why did I not go home and watch it lying down on my parents’ bed, which was in the living room then? Because I wanted to be “cool” and watch it with all the other teenyboppers.

When the planes hit the trade center? The GG (then a gov’t employee) walked into the Landfill Front Door at 11:00 AM and I couldn’t figger why he was home from work. I joked, “Did you get a pink slip?” I had been catching up on YAG business from over a weekend I had spent on the moominbeach with my brother and parents. I did not know about the trade center until the GG came home. I DID NOT HAVE THE RADIO ON! I ALWAYS HAVE THE DAMN RADIO ON. Oh yeah. I WAS NOT SICK!!!!!!!

When The President sent his first universal text alert to All Cell Phones? It was at 2:18 this afternoon (as most of you know, of course) and it interrupted FZ’s umpteen gazillion year work anniversary speech. FZ is my dear work buddy and he doesn’t like to give speeches but this was an informal occasion and our mutual boss (Amazon Woman) “ordered” him to talk about his career so he was humorously recalling his long history with the company(ies). And then. bzeep bzeep bzeep bzeep. It was on the CRD’s phone and a couple others. Mine was back at my cube. What the heck was that? I knew immediately what it was. It was a special message from The President. We all laughed and made mildly derisive comments (we do NOT talk polly-ticks at work) and FZ went on with his speech. (In which I even got a little shoutout as a good front-end coder, a skill he hasn’t had the time to focus on enough to thoroughly master! On the other hand, I have never programmed in assembly language. I bow down to those who can do that.) OH AND I WAS NOT SICK!!!!!!!

Speak s-l-o-w-l-y, I’m blonde, 2018 edition, #3

October 2nd, 2018 by kayak woman

And this may be the last of this series for a while, but we’ll just have to see what happens…

There was a weekend a while back during which stereotyping was pretty rampant. I am sensitive to stereotyping not because I am black or Native American or whatever. In fact, I am WASPy white. I am sensitive to it partly because I am female but also because I am both a yooper and a denizen of The Planet Ann Arbor. I won’t go into the details too much for now, just suffice it to say people aren’t always sure where/how to pigeonhole me and that suits me just fine but it can get annoying sometimes.

I was kind of ignoring the specifics of the current conversation, enjoying being out on the water for about the first time all summer. I heard someone say something about how “those Democrats” are so lazy that when the mid-term election day rolls around, they won’t roll outta bed to be at the polls until, oh I dunno when, maybe about noon? Why? Because they are too lazy to work when they can just live off the “dole” and since they don’t have jobs, why get out of bed?

OH REALLY?!??!!!

Well. With the disclaimer that I am NOT a registered Democrat, I jumped into that conversation PDQ. Registered Democrat or not, I will be voting in the mid-term election and I will be voting for democratic candidates. And. I will probably not be Voter #1, Mister Mxyzptlk gets to claim that honor. But I WILL be there BEFORE the polls open. And guess what I’ll be doing after I do my civic duty. I will walk home and do my morning chores and THEN. THEN! THEN!!!! I will trundle over to my JOB. A gol-darn decent one at that!

I love the folks who were having this conversation. I think they were trying to be funny and I get that but I have not found a whole lot of “funny” in politics since the advent of the Trumpian Bombasty. I love the folks in the pic too. These are not the folks involved in the stereotyping conversation. They also have a bit of a different political slant than I do, not that I am exactly sure what it is. Er, especially in Mr. Security Froggy’s case…

More lost and found, turtlenecks, and kitchen fans

October 1st, 2018 by kayak woman

That other item I mentioned that was lost? Safe deposit key! Jeebus. For umpteen gazillion years, I kept it in a particular little cubby where I knew I could always find it. Chaos intervened in the form of dealing with The Commander’s safe deposit box (key confusion) and eventually the GG’s new status as The Pensioner. It got moved. I was probably TOLD that it got moved. Neither one of us could find it. I don’t even know if there’s even anything IN the safe deposit box at the moment. We certainly don’t own anything valuable. But this situation became emergent because the bank branch we have been using FOREVER is CLOSING! So we have to move our box. By the end of next week… A Major Rummaging Session ensued and yesterday the key was finally located. There’s a reason we have a BASKET for keys to automotive vee-hickles and there is a reason to never move safe deposit keys.

And then there is that integral part of my Winter Uniform (and sometimes summer, given our northern climate), the silk/wool Chico’s turtleneck. This is one of the pieces and parts of my wardrobe that basically allows me to dress identically EVERY DAY in the cold weather months without people noticing that I am wearing the same outfit every day. For the last 10 years, I have been able to reliably get tnecks in black and various jewel tone colors from Chicos. My two remaining black tnecks wore through on the left elbow last winter. I seem to have a habit of leaning my left elbow on my desk when I’m sitting with my feet up thinking. I am allowed to do that. It’s a major perk of my job. The Thinking Time, not the Sitting.

I looked up tnecks on Chicos last spring and there were none to be found. Okay, they’ve got their summer clothes out. I’ll just wait until the fall/winter stuff comes around again. I’ve been checking since August and all they have are a couple leftovers in colors like ecru, which is not a COLOR in my book, at least not for clothing. Today they spammed me with an email notification about a leopard dress. Leopard dress? I don’t need no stinkin’ leopard dress! I need some black and jewel-toned tnecks for my uniform. So I tweeted at them. Of all things, they replied to my tweet saying to stay tuned for the rest of their fall clothing to come out. I am cautiously optimistic that they will have their usual tnecks, especially in black.

And then I was in a one-on-one with Amazon Woman today and after we [quickly] dispatched with what I am working on and what I should be working on, we got into a discussion about stove hoods, etc. She has spent the last year having a house built in the development “behind” our work and often regales us with tales of dealing with various clashes with the builder. Today’s tale involved her stove hood.

I couldn’t help dredging up this photo of my kitch literally the day it was finished. If you embiggen it, you can see a piece of paper on the counter. That paper indicates that the job was finished. I kind of expected I would end up with a hood over my stove. Certified Kitchen Lady took one look at the fan and had other ideas. “That is so cool!” said she, “mid-century modern yada yada”. So it got cleaned up and reinstalled and she was right. It is a small kitchen and a big hood might have been overwhelming. And the fan works and is kinda pretty.

I like to say that the kitchen is full of carefully curated clutter nowadays. It sorta is but at this particular moment it is also kind of a mess 🐽

P.S. I have nothing against leopard clothing. I froze to death regularly in a CUTE fake leopard skin coat that I coveted at Barish’s back in high school and somehow convinced The Comm to buy for me. It was not a very warm coat and I was also wearing nylons (or did we have pantyhose by then?) walking up Superior Street to Sault High when the temperature was something like 32 below zero and I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT WIND CHILL! I dunno how I never got frostbite.

Lost and found 🐽

September 30th, 2018 by kayak woman

Yes, it is a laundry basket! What is in it? Laundry, my friends. Clean, dry, folded up laundry. And a soap dish that took a trip through the Landfill dishioshio washer. Down on the bottom, where you can’t see them are Radical Betty’s beach towel and my fave light blue bath towels.

This laundry is the last of *last* summer’s (I mean 2017) moomincabin laundry. I *thought* I had sent it up to the yooperland with the GG to drop off during one of his north country trail boondoggles. And then we couldn’t find it. I looked *everywhere* at the moomincabin. I looked *everywhere* at the Landfill. Could he have dropped it off at the Hoton Lake group home? That wouldn’t make any sense because there is a washer and dryer there so we don’t normally take laundry home from there and therefore don’t drop it back off. Nevertheless, I looked *everywhere* there. Nothing. Anywhere. How does one lose a whole basket of clean, dry, folded up laundry (plus a soap dish)?

But then. Today. We were rummaging the Landfill for another missing artifact. We did not find the other artifact but we (the GG) found the missing laundry basket. It was in a closet. A closet in the guest bedroom. A closet I am sure I looked in fifty times but somehow did not notice a laundry basket. One full of clean, dry, folded up laundry (and a soap dish). Jeebus!

Now if we could just figure out what we did with the other artifact because it is a much more important artifact… 🐽

P.S. We found the other artifact! Yaaaaay!