Archive for August, 2010

Sometimes I wish I could be a mouse in a corner just watching.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Yesterday we all received an email from our over-worked under-paid building “mom”. There is a cookout at work tomorrow and she has selflessly made all of the arrangements. This is all part of her job description but still. (Well, arguably part of her job. I am certainly not privy to what her job description is, just that she does it well.) Anyway, she works hard and we are not always a very responsive bunch. We are geeeeeeks, roight? Yes. But we are also parents and sons and daughters, et al, and we have some idea about what it takes to throw a party. Her request? That each team provide a dessert. Yes, that’s one measly dessert. Between approximately six people. How hard can that be? It was a request that was well within reason and yet, I panicked just a wee little bit. Food? Dessert? I wondered who on my very geeeeeeeky geriatric-type team would field this one because, even though I enjoy being the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at the Landfill, I have no food energy left this week. It has to do with my own personal brand of jet-setting, the kind that involves schlepping up and down the I75 SUV Speedway in some dusty old land vee-hickle with a potty in the back made out of a drywall bucket and a seat.

Yeah, I am a little stressed. Menu planning and laundry and kitchen reno stuff and work and flotsam, jetsam, and cosmic debris. Today, I felt a bit lot (bit lot?) like that light in the video down there. Blink. Menus? Blink. Laundry? Blink. Packing? Blink. Blink-blink. Blink-blink-blink-blink. Blink.

And so. One of my loverly team members took the lead on foraging for a dessert for our party. We went off on a “team bonding exercise” this afternoon to the nearest grokkery store (the Saline Rd. Meijer) in search of a dessert. I drove the getaway vee-hickle, my loverly old Dogha. It was in the low 90s today and I was panicked at the very idea of going inside yet another grokkery store, so I tried to hand my friends some cash. “Here, I don’t care what you buy. I’ll stay out here and watch the car, so we can leave the windows down.” They talked me down off that particular ledge and we ended up purchasing some cookies, figuring that was easier than cake or pie, which somebody would have to cut.

Y’all, do not worry your pretty little heads. I am just kvetching. I am boomerang woman at the moment so I’m kvetching about that. If I am home without anything to do [besides domestic drudgery] on a Sunday, I kvetch about that. Y’know. I walked over by the stove just now, to stir the lasagne sauce I’m taking up north and guess what? That blasted blinkin’ light blinked totally ON!!! After an hour or so. Maybe my karma changed or something. I can’t figure it out.

Doodle-oop: a PSA

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Doodle-oop! It was that batscope time of the night when, if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, you face your death. I was sleeping in a sleeping bag (or half out of one, it was hot) on the floor in front of the upstairs front window at Houghton Lake. Doodle-oop! WHAT the HECK? I groped for my phone. About the only time my phone goes doodle-oop at that batscope time of night is when somebody texts me that they’ve landed somewhere. When I am doodle-ooped, I fumble groggily for my phone, reply “xo” or “<3”, and fall back to sleep. One time I received a “just landed in sf, xo” doodle-oop. I replied “xo”, or so I thought. The next morning, I discovered that my loverly phone had autocorrected “xo” to “so”, which could easily be interpreted as “so what”. Don’tcha love autocorrect? (Actually, I do! My phone guesses when I’m spelling things like “moominbeach” and “expotition” but I guess that would be a whole ‘nother entry.)

But nobody was flying anywhere when the doodle-oop came in at that particular batscope time, aka three AM Saturday morning. So. Who was texting me? And why? I found my phone and it was a FACEBOOK message letting me know that somebody had commented on something. Did I CARE about that comment? I probably did! But not at three AM. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. It’s three in the morning and I am going to diiiiiie. Someday.

I had been getting these text messages or whatever they are from Facebook for about a week. My FB iPhone app errored (errorred?) out a while back and I deleted it and re-downloaded it. And then. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. Doodle-oop. Why am I getting these messages all of a sudden and how the HECK do I turn them off? I looked around in my Facebook account settings. Nothing useful. I tried “Help”. “Help” on most websites is not very helpful but what the heck? Actually, help looked promising this time. It told me to text the message “off” to FBOOK (the numeric equivalent of it anyway). So I did. And, voila! I got a confirmation message and I didn’t get any more of those stoopid text messages. Until that batscope hour of the morning last Saturday. What the…?

The next day, I was randomly fooling around with the settings on my phone aaaaannnnnd, I noticed a category called “Notifications”. I touched “Notifications” and I got the screen in the photoooo there. Hmmm… Facebook is one of the items in this category. I touched “Facebook” and turned everything on the next screen to “OFF”! Voila! No more text messages push notifications! This time for real. Who’da thunk to look at the PHONE settings?

I can’t exactly call myself an expert in web usability. Although I have studied it and worked in the field for years now, web usability is a slippery aminal. Hardware and browsing agents are constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up. But that is why a good web designer doesn’t hide things from people. Especially things that ANNOY THE HECK OUT OF PEOPLE! Who on earth at Facebook thought that it would be a good idea to install push notifications in the latest iPhone app update and not give people an EASILY LOCATABLE out? Last I knew, it seemed that old bags like meeeee are the fastest growing Facebook demographic. Believe me, we do need our beauty sleep. Not to mention that we all too often wake up all on our own at that batscope time of the night. It’s when we face the fact that we are gonna die. And you will one day do that too, oh young and fair-of-face Facebook designers.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

In which Kayak Woman actually, uh, drives a, uh, powerboat. A rather big powerboat.

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Jeezus drives jeezus drives jeezus drives. Okay, not sure where that came from. I guess I am still high even after driving all the way home from Houghton Lake and spending the last hour unpacking and scrabbling up some sort of dinner. Um, “high” means high on life and an absolutely gorgeous weekend with my beloved fun-loving in-laws. I didn’t have anything stronger than coffee before starting the drive home. I even had water at the tiki bar this afternoon. I promise. I am having a ‘hattan now.

Anyway, I drove a powerboat today! That exclamation point doesn’t tell it all. It doesn’t tell about how, when I was a beach urchin on the moominbeach, I never drove a motorboat. I could row like a champ and I was a great canoe paddler — if you put me in the front with a strong steerer in the back. My family never had a powerboat in those days. Grandroobly had a sailboat, the Sacré Bleu. My poor little pea-brain always spelled that title as the “Soccery Blue”, I didn’t realize it was an old sorta French sorta curse back in those days. The old coot once won a sailing race on our beach. All that’s left of that exciting day is my vague little kid-type memories and a winner’s plaque on the wall in the moomincabin. Anyway. Powerboats. Mostly in my family, the boyz do those. Us girlz just sit around and look pretty.* Once when we were about 12, Uber Kayak Woman and I tried to take a small motorboat out. It was Duke’s motor, I think. That was her dad. I am not sure if it was the motor that he bought Radical Betty on their first wedding anniversary when the Duke was a young air force pilot stationed down in Biloxi, Mississippi. Anyway, I don’t remember that UKW and I ever got the dern motor going but we didn’t get very far with it and maybe that was a part of a plan that we didn’t know about…

I got off the track there… The Courtois boyz and and girlz grew up going to the beeyootiful Courtois Cabin on Houghton Lake and Grandpa Garth had a whole bunch of boats and snowmobiles and trail bikes and lawnmowers and whatever. What can I say? He was a mechanical engineer and he LOVED motors.

Today. We were in the Lord of Linden’s pontoon boat, heading back to the cabin from the tiki bar (we dropped a monkey off there). The Uncly Uncle was driving and I was sitting in the back under the canopy fiddling around with my phone/camera/secretary thinking about how to capture our trip on video. All of a sudden, the UU jumped up and said, “KW, you drive!” Ulp! He was running around the boat getting his dog Chloe Belle and I panicked for a minute and then I thought, “Okay, just go, KW!” Well. I am accustomed to a 14-foot personal kayak that can turn on a dime. I know how to use a steering wheel because I drive automotive vee-hickles ALL THE TIME! Driving a big pontoon boat across the biggest inland lake in Michigan? Hmmm. It was kinda fun but I kept wondering if the people in the other boats realized who exactly was driving OUR boat. Git outta my way ’cause I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.

Hee hee. The photoooo there is a still from a two second video. After I started driving, I handed my phone to the UU and said, “touch the red button and film me!” He doesn’t have an iPhone and he was like, “what red button, etc.” (It was also *very* bright and hard to see the screen.) I guess the UU has about as much experience with making iPhone videos as I do driving big powerboats and so the video didn’t really turn out. It’s okay. I love you guys. In-laws, that is. I had a fantastic time this weekend and thanks for trusting me to drive that loverly behemoth!

*Er, I do not know why I wrote that. I did everything BUT sit around looking pretty when I was a kid. I was a TROUBLE-MAKER!

11.76 3:24:19 3.45 939

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Those are the statistics on my iPhone pedometer app from the hike I took with the Twinz of Terror this morning. We hiked the Mason Tract trail along the south branch of the Au Sable River. I love it there. Sometimes we do a Death Biathlon there, where we park our kayaks upstream, spot our vee-hickle downstream, hike the almost 12 miles to the kayaks, and kayak back to the vee-hickle. Today would’ve been a beautiful kayaking day but for various logistical reasons, we just hiked. We only hiked one way and The Beautiful Kathy picked us up and took us back to the Ninja.

We slugged around solving the problems of the universe all afternoon and then… We motivated! The Lord of Linden faaarrrred up the pontoon boat and we all headed to the tiki bar over at the Northshore Bar. People have been talking about these dern tiki bars all summer and I have never been to one until today. Was it fun? Yeah, especially when all the shouting started. [Just kidding.] We trundled back to the boat and discovered that the running lights weren’t working. It was just dusk and despite the lack of lights and a few little issues with the motor, the LOL got us home safely. I am kind of rediscovering the joy of motor boats this summer. For a few years, I was just plain snotty about them. “Well! I will just take my own little kayak!” I can certainly still kayak but motorboats are okay too.

There’s a little video from the Mason Tract below and there’s a little video from the tiki bar on Facebook and I have a whole lot more to say but I won’t bore you with my internal psychological workings for tonight. I’m living in the moment these days and I’ve had many many good moments this summer and sometimes I feel like talking about them on my blahg but I’m not sure I have the words, so maybe it’s best that I don’t. Yada yada blah-de blah-de. Good night. Kayak Woman.

Fly Honda Express

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Not sure if it’s cheaper than flying Delta or whatever, or if the carbon footprint is less. But Delta doesn’t fly from The Planet Ann Arbor to Houghton Lake so we have to “fly” up the I75 SUV Speedway. Just remember that when you get to the West Branch area, you better slow down because it is cop city around there.

Yeah. Duuuuhh. One of the perks of *not* selling your soul to working for corporate America is that, if you want to go to Houghton Lake for the weekend (and of course y’all do, don’tcha know) you can actually drive up early on Friday morning, long before the weekend rush kicks in. You can even get off the I75 SUV Speedway and mosey along the back roads for a while if you want. You can stop for grokkeries at the Best Choice Market when you get to town and you will even have time for a hike or, if the weather is right, a bit of skiing or kayaking might be in order. Or, if you are really lazy (and there is *water* on the lake instead of ice), a motorboat ride. Cocktails and dinner and a faaarrrr down by the water or even crash out in front of the TV. We used to do all of that back in the day. The GG works what they call a “compressed” schedule, which is 10 hours a day four days a week, so he can take Friday off if he wants, although he often goes in anyway. But not if we were going to the Great White North for the weekend.

Nowadays? Well. Today, when I got to work, I think there were two vee-hickles in the parking lot besides mine. I guess a lot of people are on vacation but probably some of them just hadn’t gotten in yet. I am always early and I was earlier than usual today. Because… I spent the day busting my you-know-what getting v2 of my latest spec out the door. If you don’t know what a “spec” is, you don’t necessarily wanna know. This one is 218 pages of complicated explanations, tables, screenshots, flow diagrams, you name it. Three o’clock rolled around and my spec was out the door and I had worked more than my 40 this week and I was WASTED and my long-suffering, cat-herding boss just kind of waved and wished me a good weekend as I walked toward the door. He knows all too well, I’ll be back butt in seat on Monday. I texted the GG “out” and I was on my way home.

Earlier today, I had texted him some instructions:

Instructions. Don’t ack till I say to.
Leaving work @3. Need 15 mins to pack. Best if no one underfoot.
2 salads/grape leaves in frig. Get what else you want for dinner @plum.
1 sleeping bag in Ninja trunk.
You can now ack.

Now. I am the Chief Cook & Bottle Washer around the Landfill and it can be a little scary to hand over the reins to the GG. You never know. If you send him to the grokkery store, he might very well come home with ostrich jerky or something. Believe me, that stuff stinks. When I got home, he started hauling these big wrapped packages of meat out of the refrigimatator and I got a little panicky at first. “What *is* that?” Well. Lamb kebabs. With boneless chicken (I hope it’s boneless) for The Beautiful Gay (TBGay) aka The Mother Of The Bride (TMOTB). (She gets to wear that particular crown until about December or so. I decree.) And he had some salads and things too. Not bad!

And so. Bumpety-clunk up the I75 SUV Speedway. Not too bad for a Friday afternoon. One scary-looking rollover where it looked like some construction workers were actually holding the vee-hickle up off the ground until the EMTs could get there. We didn’t *see* the accident but there were no ambulances there or anywhere in sight. Then when I got off on the Houghton Lake exit, a cute little wee deer ran in front of me. I didn’t hit him but my gasp woke up the GG. He was so little, even my little Ninja would’ve creamed him. Alas, he was headed toward the Speedway. I hope he didn’t get hit.

Goooood night y’all. Have a good weekend. I’m gonna have to get one o’ them thar palm trees for the moomincabin! Dooya think The Commander will like it?

You should have been here last night and heard what the Big Dipper said to me…

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

As you can see, I definitely have a way with the octogenarian crowd. That beast between me and the old coot wielding the cudgel? Well, that is Sam (dog, not archaeologist). He might look like he’s ready to protect me from the cudgel but in reality, I think that Grandroobly probably occupied a higher spot in the pack than I did.

The photoooo is a few years old and both Grandroobly and Sam have left the building. And so has The Engineer, who was Sam’s owner and [arguably] the alpha dog of the pack, at least from a dog’s eyes. I was pretty far down in the pack pecking order, although I did take care of Sam sometimes when The Engineer and Dogmomster left him and their beach urchins at the moominbeach with their grandparents and, uh, yer favo-rite blahgger.

Sam was a pretty darn smart dog. The Engineer and Dogmomster obtained him as a young puppy from some sort of animal rescue situation (that I’m not remembering) and I don’t think they know much about the first few months of his life. They think it was somewhat traumatic and I remember my bro’ once saying something about how he wasn’t gonna pay money for a dog psychologist. He said it in a derisive male chauvinist type way but anyone who knew my brother knew how much he loved that dog. Enough that later on he paid for a knee (hip?) replacement for his beloved dog. The love went both ways. I remember one day at the moominbeach when my brother was packing his car to leave for home. He was leaving Sam with me and Sam darn well knew it. He responded by hanging around the back end of the car the whole morning. “Ohhhh, a dog and his car….” my brother said, in mock sympathy.

Even though I wasn’t Sam’s favorite, I got along with him just fine. I even managed to get him to take his aspirin (or whatever it was) when he was in my care. Nothing like opening a big dog’s jaw, shoving a pill down it and holding it shut until [you think] he’s swallowed it. Actually it’s easier than holding a spirited 8-month-old baby with an ear infection on the kitchen counter and trying to schloop a gloppy pink dose of amoxicillin down her throat! But Sam still missed his owner. Most dogs like to take walks and *I* like to walk, so you would think that Sam would want to walk with meeeeee. Not. Not without his owner. He wouldn’t go anywhere with me. He would stay with Grandroobly at the moomincabin. Except. One day, I walked with all the beach urchins around the rocky peninsula at the end of the beach to Cedar Point. When we got back to the moominbeach, Mouse and Valdemort were still coming along on the rocks. They were having a good time doing whatever they were doing, taking their time, giggling and eating Wheat Thins, etc. Sam sat down on the beach. The rest of us headed back along the beach to the cabin. We knew that the girls were fine. They were about 10, fer kee-reist! Sam? No. He didn’t budge until his pack member Valdemort got back onto the solid ground of the moominbeach.

Sam lived a pretty long life for a big dog but one day, The Engineer realized that his good old dawg wasn’t necessarily going to last forever. His joints hurt and he was having trouble walking, et al. And, worse than that, I *think* that The Engineer knew that his number was going to come up too. All too soon. After years of fighting a devastating chronic illness, he was going to check out way too young. And so, he obtained Ernie as a “replacement” for Sam, figuring that Sam could train his own replacement. If you click on the photoooo of Sam with his “replacement” and check out Sam’s eye, you might guess that Sam had mixed feelings about this snuggly little interloper. I’m forgetting the timeline but Alfred the Fearless Eagle Bait followed Ernie and they are now quite the pair. But they would occupy a whole ‘nother blahg entry or five or six. Unlike Sam, they do walk the beach with me. If you are interested in a video of those two, here’s a link to an oldie. This was the *first* time Dogmomster went to China and I sprung them from the boarding place and took them to the moominbeach.

Okay, I dunno what kind of typos or frogs or whatever are in this loverly post but the GG is home and it’s late and he’s blowin’ ceegar smoke in the window and I am the Chief Book Cook and Bottle Washer and I better git crackin’.

G’night

KW

aWKWard

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I agree with Jay. “aWKWard” is an interesting word. I mean the way it is spelled. I am always catching myself when I write “aWKWard”. I peer at it and think, “Did I spell that right? It looks bizarre.” Note: I was inspired by Jay to mix case like that. Because I think “aWKWard” is a great word for me! I *am* a W(ild) K(ayak) W(oman), roight? Yeah. In my dreams. When people meet me in real life, I think I am a lot more awkward (all lower case) than they may expect me to be if they read my blahg. I mean, not that my blahg is all that exciting. It’s just that writing about your life on the internet <> social butterfly. Yes! In real life, I am aWKWard! I am not exactly shy but I have so many words in my head that I can’t always pull out the correct ones in any given circumstance so I am always blurting out incomprehensible replies and proclamations and what have you. Not to mention that I move FAST! If you are an LOL (Little Old Lady) and you are in the grokkery store or somewhere, WATCH OUT for me and my cart! I don’t MEAN to run people over. In fact, whenever I almost run over someone (any age), I am extremely apologetic! But I just kind of galumph around. Even when I’m not in a hurry, I exude hurriedness. If you *are* an LOL, you should carry a cudgel (did I spell that right?), like The Commander does. As you can see in the photoooo. She uses that cudgel for many purposes. To walk down to the moominbeach or into the grokkery store. To point out something on the top shelf at the grokkery store and ask, “What is that?” And I’m not sure why she’s wielding (spelling?) the cudgel at me here. What did I do? I don’t remember…

The Commander did not teach me how to spell. She did correct my grammar, oh boy oh boy oh. I don’t think she has ever quite realized that I *did* know proper grammar but that I needed to be able to lapse into the kid vernacular of my beautiful Yooperland neighborhood to get along with some of the tougher customers. I learned to keep the street language in the schoolyard or wherever. Horrible words like “ain’t”, don’tcha know. Spelling? Miss Cox, Mrs. Bishop, Mrs. Ala, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Ward and the collection of teachers I had in 6th grade “taught” me spelling. Actually, once I figured out the “code” for spelling/reading (phonics), I was on my own. Because I am good at spelling. It is a talent! That doesn’t make me a good writer, just makes me crazy anal retentive about spelling words correctly. I am good at a lot of code-type things. Musical notation, even the esoteric stuff — quarter-tones, anyone? And computer programming languages, yada yada.

There are a lot of things I am *not* good at. Social interactions? I try… So. Can you spell? What words bother you or just look wrong to you even thought though you’ve spelled them right? Did you feel like you had to speak a street vernacular to get along when you were a kid? If so, where did you live?

Love y’all and answer only if you want :-),
WKW

From the halls of Apler’s ma-ansion, to the shores of Apoli

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Okay, yesterday’s rant is over. I’m sure that renovating our grubby little kitchen will provoke a few more rants before it’s over. Check back in when I am cooking on the gas grill in the rain every night and Sweet Little Roooomba starts choking on the dust. “Zip walls!” says Sam (archaeologist, not dog). She would know. Seems like every time a tree falls on our house, a tree falls on her house. Or is it vice versa.

Today was a pretty regular day. Except for this morning when I somehow survived jump-starting the Cute Little Blue Honda Civic with the yellow flower stuck in the blower aka Daisy aka Mouse’s car. Er, actually, Mouse did all the heavy lifting. I am terrified of things like battery terminals. I don’t change taarrrrs either. I mean, theoretically I know how. I did take driver’s ed. But the only time I have been faced with that nasty little chore *alone*, it was in my rust-riddled old Ford Pinto wagon (yes, it was a long time ago) and I was all set to go for it and then I figured out that the tools that came with that loverly vee-hickle were even worse pieces of crap than the vee-hickle itself. There was NO WAY I could get those blasted lugnuts off! Leverage. Please!

I think that the real reason I don’t know how to do any of this stuff is because I grew up with Grandroobly and the Engineer and they were car FREAKS and they were always on top of anything that might be wrong with my car long before I noticed it. Grandroobly, after I drove home from college through an ice storm that destroyed my veeendsheeeeld viiiiperz: “Didn’t you notice that the grill was coated with ice? You almost burned up the engine! (Raar raar raar…..)” KW: “bdah bdah bdah.” He could be a bit belligerent about such things but, to the Engineer, car problems (when they happened to somebody else’s vee-hickle) were great fun! Every time I drove to his house with the POC, he would meet me in the driveway with a tire pump and a bit of a smirk. (Miss you, ol’ boy.)

The GG is good at fixing vee-hickles. He used to build them at the old Hamtramck Assembly Plant or Dodge Main or whatever it was called back then. That’s how he paid for his college. But he’s a bit more of a minimalist when it comes to repairs. I mean, he fixes them or gets them fixed if they really need it but he doesn’t hang around the top of the driveway watching to see which tires are low on air when I drive in. What he did do is teach his daughters to drive early. With his manual tranny Jeep Wrangler, out on the defunct Raco airbase up in the eastern Yoop. They weren’t anywhere *near* the legal driving age. Think 10. Or maybe even eight. Or five except that the five-year-olds couldn’t reach the pedals. He has apparently taught them how to maintain cars too. Because Mouse stage-managed our little battery jumping escapade this morning with aplomb while I cowered in my car expecting an explosion or something.

I love to drive and I am pretty darn good at it but I think I will always be a kind of a wuss about car repairs. Here’s my debit card, fix it. And panic if I break down on the freeway or wherever. I am happy that my beach urchins are more capable. You go girls.

Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s.

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Yes, we met with a kitchen contractor on Saturday. Recommended by a friend/neighbor who has been happy with several prodjects (intentionally misspelled). I came out of that meeting pretty discouraged. My expectations? I *thought* the contractor would take my fuzzy little list of requirements and narrow them down so that we can come up with a workable design. Instead, the meeting took on a life of its own with discussions about partitioning work and how to deal with building codes and things. In other words, it felt like we were asking, “how do we do this on the cheap without hiring a general contractor?” The conversation veered off into building codes (which, yes, we will have to deal with) but I didn’t understand the vocabulary and I got frustrated and then panicky and then I started to answer questions that were directed at other people (which I didn’t even realize I was doing until the GG harassed me about it later) and then I spiraled down into checking my email and Twitter et al on my phone. Rude? Maybe. But I wasn’t really included in the conversation and I am meeeee and you get what you get. There was a band playing in my head and I felt like getting high.

The problem? We do not know what the heck we are doing! We *need* to hire a contractor. I certainly canít just grab a hardhat and jump into the fray of ordering various workers around. I donít know the first thing about construction. I don’t know the process. I donít have the vocabulary. I can talk your ear off about the web application design process, virtuoso flute compositions throughout the ages, and the intricacies of garbage-processing here on the Planet Ann Arbor. Donít worry, I wonít. Construction? Not. I cannot tell a plasterer from a midget.

I can make lists and I can make decisions. Really. What I need is somebody to help me refine my fuzzy little requirement list into a detailed specification. Who can help translate my requirements into choices and options. Things that I can make decisions about. I don’t know how to order cabinets and things and I hate to shop and places like Home Depot just overwhelm me and make me depressed. I am at rock-bottom on the learning curve. I am a fast learner but I need to absorb just enough data points to be able to progress. I am not anywhere there yet. Once I get there, I will ROCK it! I will be trying to redesign YOUR chitchen too! Watch out. Alas. I am still down there in the basement with all the mushrooms. Nobody is giving me the information I need, not that it’s anybody else’s fault. I am obviously not asking the right questions! This stuff is all a lot like my job, which involves picking people’s brains for requirements and then trying to translate them into detailed specifications for usable web pages. I am good at my job, so you would think I would know how to do this. Sigh.

I hope we are not stuck in this 1970s chitchen forever. I do not want to bleed money on this prodject but, yaknow, I am kind of ready to at least fling some at it. We have owned this old place for 26 years and it’s been paid off for so many years that we have equity up the wazoo. We are not rich (i.e., don’t ask us for money). But. We are done with [small expensive private liberal arts] college tuition. We both have good jobs. We have made *very* minimal improvements to this place and most of those have been maintenance oriented or repairs after natural disasters. How many trees can fall on one house?

Today I started to feel better about the whole thing. Because my wee leetle brain has already started to think about how to move on from here. We’ll get there. I think.

Go play now. Have fun.

The energizer bunny goes on strike.

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

It’s Sunday and there was a lot of stuff I couldda/shouldda been doing but I guess my brain was rebooting or something because I was totally bored and unmotivated and trying hard not to care about that. I probably needed to sit and read a book or even take a nap or something. Like someone else around here did all *morning*, with That Device in his lap so people would think he was reading. Not. I don’t know why I can’t just take naps like most normal people do. The only place I can manage to muster up a nap is on the moominbeach and that is only when the weather is just right, sunny and windy and just cold enough that I need my polartech hoodie.

I think it was just one of those kind of brain reboot days. I have this big blob of things to do, most of which involve eradicating shambling mounds and evicting boggarts and there are so many shambling mounds and boggarts that I don’t know where to start. I know, I know. I am always whiiinnningggg about stuff like that. In truth, if you walk into my house, it doesn’t actually look all that bad. A little clutter here and there but we are not wending our way through big stacks of newspapers everywhere. Roomba can run without us moving a lot of furniture and stuff. But still. My goal is to not leave the beach urchins with a bunch of crappy old stuff to get rid of.

Anyway. Today I was sitting on the Green Couch watching all the dogs go by slugging around on the Internet. Why? I dunno. I was immobile. Duuuuhhh. Get off yer duff, KW! Fer kee-reist!

I finally twittered — to myself because I think my personal twitterverse was out having off-line fun today — to get off the dern Green Couch and do something productive. That took the form of hoofing it over to the Plum Market to throw money. And try to convince some flirtatious old geezer’s loverly old overweight dawg that I wasn’t gonna adopt him and take him into the grokkery store and buy him treats. I’ll leave that to your imagination. Dog and man were both walking. Give ’em credit! And then there was the old bike-riding geezer who took great delight in sneaking up behind me on the sidewalk and then ringing his bell. Yikes! Which way do I jump?

The Landfill Chitchen? Say what? We are renovating the crappy old Landfill chitchen? Really? Oh yeah. I guess I’m blocking our latest attempt at progress. All I have to say about it is that I am apparently from Venus and others are from somewhere else, Zephron III, maybe? Others? You ask. What others? Oh, well. *Those* others, of course. Oh, you know the ones. Those others who are not girls? You’ve heard of those, roight? They come from Zephron III. Or someplace.

All right! Reboot already, Kayak Woman!

Candlelight summer afternoon

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

For a long time after I started working a full-tilt-boogie career again, my grokkery shopping habits included a run out to the Jackson Rd. Meijer at 0-skunk-30 Saturday morning, *after* my 0-skunk-30 walk, (on the weekends we are actually here on the Planet Ann Arbor, that is) to pick up stuff that I either can’t get or don’t want to pay premium prices for at the Plum Market. You know, like toilet paper. I think I am starting a new habit, at least a temporary one, now that it is late summer on the Planet Ann Arbor and the farmer’s market is at or near its peak. This morning, instead of taking my regular 0-skunk-30 walk, I stuffed some plastic bags (and an umbrella) into my backpack and trekked down to the farmer’s market. And back up. The long hill back to the Landfill. Loaded down with a whole bunch of stuff in the backpack and a bag of corn besides. I didn’t need toilet paper and I can pick that kind of stuff at the Saline Rd. Meijer, which is on the way to work anyway. When I got back, I walked over to the Plum and back. Although I am sincerely trying to buy more local food, as tropical as it feels here this summer, the area farmers just cannot grow things like oranges and avocados and probably never will.

I know some of y’all (all 10 of you) are waiting with bated breath about the outcome of the chitchen design meeting. Well. I have not totally processed it yet, so y’all’ll hafta wait. Aside from that, it has rained nearly all day and we needed that and Pooh and the Marquis are scheduled to stop here for dinner on their journey from the yooperland back to St. Louie. Rrrrp. Well. They are here! Let the party begin. Light some candles! Yes, really. It is pretty dark here this afternoon. And below is about the most boring video on earth.

Old Town Barrrrroooommmm

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I am almost too tired to write anything tonight. It is not quite nine o-clock here and it is almost completely dark out. End of summer. I galumphed downtown to the Old Town Barrrrrroooommmm tonight for dinner and cocktails with the GG. We are meeting with a kitchen-type person tomorrow morning and the GG had a whole bunch of texty kind of stuff for me to read. I don’t mean phone text. I mean documents with a lot of text. Since I had spent my whole day editing a couple hundred pages of texty stuff of my own and playing Vanna for a co-worker who was presenting her own bunch of texty stuff to the world, I had already about had enough of text. Pictures? Okay, maybe, if they didn’t feature Mariel Hemingway because I’m not sure what some celebrity has to do with *my* chitchen. Anyway, we had the usual style of KW-GG arguments about the Landfill Chitchen and about all I have to say about that is that the *requirements* come before the *design*. And maybe that’s been half my problem all along.

We were getting to be on the verge of leaving when, what to our wondering eyes should appear but our very own Mousket daughter. She had just gotten off work and was meeting up with theatre friends who congregate at the Old Town Barrrrroooommmm on Friday evenings. We declined their gracious offers to join them because, you know, yer favo-rite blahgger turns into a pumpkin at about eight o’clock or thereabouts. And so we slogged home through the heat and humidity and I took a nice cool shower once we got here but I am still hot and a little slodgy and somebody is sitting outside the sliding door here playing with That Device (aka, the iPad) and blowing ceeegar smoke in at me and SPITTING!!! Fer kee-reist! Don’t spit!!! He spat every 15 seconds all the way home tonight too, all the while bugging me because I wouldn’t walk exactly parallel to him on the sidewalk, marching band style. What is it with men, anyway? Once when Lizard Breath was small, she was riding her tricycle with Grandroobly walking along with her. He spat. Lizard immediately ordered him, “Don’t spit!” He backed up so he was 15-20 feet behind her and tried to spit again, thinking he was being discreet this time. “DON’T SPIT!” said the little rapscallion. Indeed.

And so, tomorrow, I will be up early beating a path down to the farmer’s market. Chitchen-type person in the late morning and guests for dinner. If you can call Pooh and the Marquis guests. And I’ll let y’all know how the chitchen thing goes as soon as I have processed it, which may not be tomorrow.

Incoherently yours,
KW

Why is the smoke rain alarm chirping? I’ll tellya why the smoke rain alarm is chirping!

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Yes, it was one of “those” days. Why do you ask?

I met MMCB this morning at Barry Bagels and it was the first time we’ve met in a few weeks because either I was outta town or she was outta town, yada yada, and the first thing she said to me was, “You look flustered!” And I was. And I was all, “yeah, the traffic was AWFUL today and I didn’t get my usual parking place at Barry’s because there were no blasted parking places.” And yes. The traffic was worse than usual. I got stuck behind somebody trying to turn left outta the Landfill neighborhood and by the time they finally turned, I pretty much had their political stance pegged by the bumper stickers and magnets and no, that stance did not match the typical Planet Ann Arbor stereotype. Then the BUS stopped on N. Maple. Is it stopping for just a minute or is it stopping for 10? I didn’t know, so I flipped lanes. A couple times. I don’t like when other drivers do that. I HATE when *I* do that!!! Then I got to Barry’s and there were all these blasted vee-hickles in the area where I usually park. I tried to pick a place where I could pull through, which usually isn’t a problem there at that time of the morning. But there was a woman trying to open up the drivers’ side back seat door on her SUV, so I couldn’t do it. I was disgruntled but she looked a little nervous, so I waved her “go-ahead, I’ll wait” but then I *immediately* got tired of waiting so I backed up and swung around and pulled through a space in the next (empty) row. I felt embarrassed then, when I realized she had been reaching into the back seat to get her beautiful little toddler-aged daughter. They were then behind me in line at Barry’s and the mom very sweetly asked the beautiful baby girl, “Do you want strawberry cream cheese today?” I felt like melting into the floor. Patience, KW!!!

But really, what the heck? I had to drive just over a mile to get from the Landfill to Barry’s and none of this stuff was really all that awful. Except that I just about broke my neck to get out of the house! Why? I dunno. I would have been maybe five minutes late at the most and MMCB and I have been meeting for coffee for more than 10 years and if one of us is a few minutes late, so what?

Oh yeah. And then I remembered the faaarrrr… We’re having breakfast-for-dinner tonight and I had some little potatoes and I thought I would boil them up this morning before work so I could fry them later without having them turn gray or whatever. I put them on to boil and I was going about my business and I was *in* the chitchen a couple feet away from the stove and I heard the water start boiling and I smelled something burning and I thought, “oh, there’s something burning in the burner pan”, and I continued to go about my business and then the smoke rain alarm went off and I thought something like, “that frackin’ thing”, (‘cept you know what I was really thinking) and then… I actually looked at what was going on over on the stove and there were FLAMES licking around the bottom of the pan! Oookaaayyy. Turned off the burner, got the crappy old fan going after about five tries and started thinking, “how do I put this faaarrrr out if it doesn’t burn itself out?” Water? On a lucky-shuckial faarrr? Except the burner is off, so is it still lucky-shuckial? Faaarrr extinguisher? I bet we have one around here somewhere but where? I do not know.

The faaarrrr did burn itself out and in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t worth writing home blahgging about (but that’s why this is a “blahg”, roight?), and eventually I managed to get the smoke rain alarm down off the wall. And it stopped screaming but then it started chirping…

That is all. Good night and kids carful lucky-shucky (and cars and everything else).

Love,
Moom aka KW

Man oh man, it is Wednesday already?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

My little robot brain is spinning! Oh the other hand, my long-suffering cat-herding boss has hit a bit of a lull. I’m sure it’s a temporary one. When he asked this afternoon if there was anything I could use help with, I blurted out, “You could go open up a cash register!” Ooops. Wrong job. Wrong boss.

I worked at the Sault Ste. Siberia Tempo store back in the Jurassic Age on my college vacations. Excuse me, that would be “your Tempo store” as the managers used to say. It was a discount department store, a lot like KMart back in the old days, something like that anyway. It is long gone now. I think it was a Wolohan’s Lumber for a while and I am not sure what it is now. Odd Lots or something? Before “our” Tempo store opened, virtually all of our shopping was done “downtown” on Ashmun Street and thereabouts. There was a variety of stores down there but us kids liked the dime-stores the best. Woolworth, Kresge et al. The shiny new Tempo store was out at the “plaza”! Siberia’s first strip mall. We were pretty excited about that and I can remember going out there and spending an hour or two shopping. Er, when I could get a *ride* out there. I could *walk* downtown. I can’t believe I could’ve spent that much time walking around a discount store. Meeeee? I hate shopping. But I did end up working there, so I guess I was practicing?

Siberia has a few more strip malls now and it has its second Woldemort. I will never understand why they tear out about a billion trees to build one Woldemort and then maybe 15 years later decide that Woldemort isn’t adequate, tear out a bunch more trees and build a new Woldemort in a different location, leaving a trenormous empty building and a gargantuan parking lot. Park park park park ooooh park park park park, put up a parking lot. Sigh. Anyway.

I worked for Mr. Drysdale at Tempo. I started out running a cash register. I was paid minimum wage, which I think was $1.45 in those days. No sooner did I get my first pay envelope, which contained actual cash in the princely sum or $30 or thereabouts, the Engineer asked me if he could borrow some money. Say what, bro’? I dunno what he wanted to do with the money. Put a down payment on a vintage Corvette down in Georgia or somewhere maybe? My first day at Tempo was not auspicious. I was SICK with a cold virus. I mean feverish with a raging sore throat and the whole works. It was a Tuesday. The assistant manager who was training me said, “come back Friday.” (I got the job because Mr. D. knew my dad and I’m sure the asst mgr was not terribly impressed…) Of course I went back (it was a jooooobbbb) and somehow I stuck. They liked me enough that they put me to work back in the “office”. You know, where you go to argue with somebody when you want to return something or whatever. That was a promotion of sorts, although I doubt it was associated with a raise. Whenever there was a big backup at the cash registers, Mr. Drysdale would say, “KW, will you please go open up register 4?” And I would promptly go open a register and get rid of the backup. One rather slow afternoon, Mr. Drysdale was hanging around the office and he said, “I don’t have anything to do!” What do you think I said? Fortunately, he saw the humor in that.

Today when I told my LSCHBoss that story he laughed and I dunno what he found to do but there is plenty to do and I think it was just a very transient loss of direction. Now, I don’t remember my boss back in my *old* computer-type career ever asking me something like that. He would just disappear for a few days weeks. Yes, really. Oh, it was okay. He would show up to take care of stuff that I didn’t do. Like wrangling the snake pit.

What do you do if your boss asks you for something to do? And, if you are a boss, do you *ask* your employees that kind of question?

Rock of ages, cleft for me

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I have been going to the moominbeach since I was less than one year old. I can remember lying in the back of our old black Ford as a maybe-five-month-old infant listening to the gravel hit the bottom of the car as we drove Six Mile Road. I can remember the wind sussurrating sussurating susurrating (one “s”, two “r”s, KW) when we turned onto the old Birch Point Road. The one my granddaddy and his friends originally built back in the 1920s or whenever.

The moominbeach is a beautiful wide sand beach. My iPhone pedometer app measures it at about three-quarters of a mile but that may be overstating it just a tad. At either end of our beach is a rocky peninsula. Or peninsulae, would probably be more accurate, if you can remember your high school Latin. You walk the rocks for a while and then there’ll be a bit of beach and then another little rocky peninsula and another beach. The destination if you go west is Birch Point and if you go east, it’s Cedar Point. Neither of these hikes are very long but they were both adventurous expotitions when we were kids.

We don’t walk the beach to Birch Point much any more. There are more cabins/homes in that direction than there used to be and we can’t use the little paths through the woods because, well, there are buildings where those were. And once when the beach urchins were small, I DID try to walk them over there and a BEAR came along. Mouse and Valdemort each climbed up one of my legs, which left poor ol’ Lizard Breath with NO climbing space. So she just stood there and screamed. Well, of course, it WASN’T a bear. We have bears around but they are pretty rarely seen, especially on the beach. It was Mr. Armstrong’s St. Bernard. Zoe. *I* knew she was harmless but the beach urchins didn’t even begin to wait for an explanation.

The rocks in the photooo are on the way to Cedar Point. That expotition is a little longer and more treacherous and, up until the last couple years, there were no homes or cabins on the way over there. I certainly don’t know every rock on the way over there but there are quite a few that I know well, including that split rock in the middle of the photo. I dunno if Valdemort reads this these days but if she does, maybe she can tell us what it is, since she’s doing a grad program in geology and I fergit what else.

I took a picture of this rock earlier this summer because I wonder how long it will be there. There are humans living along this boulder beach now and they have big bulldozers and things. They are not supposed to have them on the beach or in the water but I have seen them out there. I don’t really wanta pimp my own blahg entries but here’s the link. It is sad to me that a rock that I can remember seeing when I was five years old and has maybe been there since, I dunno, the retreat of the last ice age maybe, could be thrown 10 yards away by some big Tonka Truck in a few seconds by a guy who has never even walked down to the water to see what the rocks look like there. I don’t understand it but there’s so much that I don’t understand.

I am done. I don’t really want to go in that direction tonight (except I guess I already did). I had never heard the term “boulder beach” until the Full Circle Superior folks got going this spring but it applies to our rocky peninsulae. I think that the days the Superior walkers have to navigate boulder beaches are beautiful but long and tiring. It is easy to scamper over boulders when you are a kid and even then you are tired when you are finished with the short little stretches of boulders on either end of the moominbeach. When you are coming back from Cedar Point and you get back to the good old sand moominbeach, you take off your shoes (if your moom has insisted that you wear them) and you walk in the soothing, cold Lake Superior water.

Cheers to Full Circle Superior and may our rocks stay forever.

In which I am eeeeeevil.

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I participated in a leetle wee bit of goodnatured workplace teasing of a young man who has recently become a father for the first time. When I walked up to the conversation, the subject was something about toddlers and tantrums and food. My mind went straight back to the egg days. One surefire way to stuff a little protein into our first 0% growth-rate kiddo (our kids were very healthy, just small!) was to feed her an egg every morning and we had many versions of scrambled eggs that she could choose from: Mama Egg, Daddy Egg, Rolled-up Egg, Grandma Egg, and Ron’s Egg. For the life of me, I cannot remember the difference between all of them, except that a Mama Egg was made in a little bowl in the microwave and I think the only difference between a Daddy Egg and a Rolled-up Egg was that the Rolled-up Egg was, well, rolled up. I can’t remember exactly what a Grandma Egg was and, alas, Ron’s Restaurant is out of business. Just ask the GG about his walking trip over there.

I decided to kick it up a notch and started talking about having a 23-y/o college grad in the house and how I hardly ever interact with her unless I am actually somewhat sentient at that batscope hour of the night. You know. 3:00 AM or so. I exaggerate. She doesn’t always stay out that late but I work during the day and she usually works in the evening and by the time she gets home, I am usually crashed out. And she isn’t ready to sleep yet because she has just gotten off of work. Yada yada yada. You may know about this…

And then somebody said something about waking up at that batscope time of the night to the smell of something cooking. Ohhhh yes!!! Kids cooking in the middle of the night! One of my favo-rite memories was the time that Lizard Breath and TBJess made a loverly dish for the multicultural potluck at their high school the next day. I think they were making a Thai recipe and I’m not sure what happened but it, uh, stunk up the whole house and, if I’m not mistaken, there was a bit of a “discussion” the next morning about whose vee-hickle would ferry the dish down to the school. Thank god my vee-hickle wasn’t one of the choices.

The talk went on and eventually we began the inevitable slide back down toward poop and stuff like that. I was thinking about telling the whole “dinosaurs poop in the grass” story but then my long-suffering, cat-herding boss told a poop story that sent us all running for the hills screaming. I won’t repeat it except to say that it involved a toddler, a poopy diaper, and a dog. You can use your imagination.

Our new father still has stars in his eyes and he may think he knows what’s ahead of him but, really, you never know until you have lived through it. He is at the beginning and the baby is healthy and *gorgeous* and her poop isn’t messy or even stinky yet.

Scrambled eggs and stinky Thai food experiment aside, my beach urchins are better cooks than I am these days. Or at least more imaginative. I still make eggs for the quarter-centenarian when she’s home from SanFran. Except that nowadays, it’s more often than not a once-over-easy egg on an English muffin with lettuce, tomato, bacon, and avocado. If I can find a decent avocado here in the god-forsaken Great Lake State. Do not send a man to buy avocados here in the GLS, that is all I can say…

In which KW gets the grand prize!

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Actually, that’s not quite accurate. It was Mouse who got the grand prize and, although I texted her a photoooo, she’s at work, so maybe she hasn’t seen it yet. But let me back up.

I bumpety clunked over to the Motor City suburbs today for The Beautiful Renee’s wedding shower. She is being married on my older daughter’s birthday this fall. “Spilling your guts on the Internet every day” is not synonymous with “social butterfly” and I always feel a little awkward when I first galumph into one of these events in my raggedy old Chacos et al. Not to mention… Small talk? Me? Not. But I married into a big happy Catholic family and I’ve been around for a heckuva long time now and I’m one of the aunts, so I immediately grabbed a seat next to The Beautiful Betsy and The Beautiful Kathy’s three beautiful grown daughters. I was okay. The food was wonderful and there was sangria but I was my own designated driver today so I only had a bit of that. But maybe I’ll make it at home next weekend if The Marquis and the Grand Poohbah come through the Planet Ann Arbor again on their way home from the moominbeach.

I never liked those little games that get played at showers but fortunately, the bride and her friends are sophisticated young women with successful careers and the few games that were organized were pretty low-key. I do think that if the GG ever gets hit by a beer truck, I will not marry again if only to avoid the bubble-gum game. Only the bride gets the honor of playing that game and I think TBRenee had a glob of about eight pieces of bubble-gum in her mouth at the end of it. Fling *that* at the front windshield of The Exxon Tanker Valdez while the GG is driving and see what happens ūüėČ

TBRenee left with many beautiful gifts and several Courtois in-laws scored on the game prizes. I did not win any prizes and that was OKAY with me because, if you have been reading here for any length of time, you know I have enough stuff. I do not need anything more, even if it is useful. But then. It was time to leave. TBBetsy snagged me and said, “hey, if you pull up next to my [cute little] FIT out there, I have something for you.” I was a bit taken aback for a minute. The Courtois family owns a lot of artifacts and I have a few lot of them around and I was thinking, “what could it be?” and “I don’t need any more stuff” and “bdah bdah bdah bdah”. But guess what it was? It was that spinning wheel up there in the photooo. It belonged to the GG’s Grandma Myrtle who got it from her mother or maybe m-i-l, I am not clear about who. And I also cannot imagine Myrtle using a spinning wheel but I could well be wrong. [Grandmothertrucker and TBKathy, I know I am mangling the story, so keep me honest here.] The important thing here is that it has actually been passed down to someone who KNOWS how to use a spinning wheel! No that is not me! It is my daughter Mouse. In fact she already owns a spinning wheel and here is a short video of her spinning. Mouse is probably one of the few college students in the early part of the 21st century who had a spinning wheel in her college dorm room.

Anyway, it was a wonderful wedding shower and THANK YOU Courtois family, especially Grandmothertrucker, for making sure that spinning wheel got to a descendant who will be able to use it. It is a bit mind-boggling to think of all the generations it has NOT been used but whatever. Love you all!

Mouse will think this post is about her deepest, darkest inner thoughts but really it’s [mostly] not.

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

It’s about mine, largely. Life, death, the universe, you know the drill. It was a phone call to Mouse that started me in on this not terribly productive train of thought. I was at work and she was five hours north up at the moominbeach. We had been texting back and forth about typical stuff (KW: please bring me the necklace I forgot up there, etc.) until I finally got to a point where typing 140 characters on an iPhone just wouldn’t cut it. So I called. We were going along talking about toasters and things when, suddenly, she hit me with a barrage of what sounded like complaints. Now, I am Mouse’s moom and part of my job description is (arguably) to listen to her when she’s feeling down or complaining or whatever. The thing is, my kids rarely complain to me. At least not about their lives. They may complain about political stuff or some sort of *ssholery they’ve encountered. But I think they are made of steel. They are more likely to try to comfort *me* when they think *I’m* having a bit of a rough patch. So this took me a bit by surprise. One of the main complaints? “No one will go down on the beach…” Yeah, I know how you feel, not-so-little one.

Over the last few years, I have begun to finally get accustomed to the fact that our beach is practically deserted on most days. Even in the summer, when it is not covered with thigh-deep snow. As you can see in the photoooos (click them to enlarge), our beach used to be loaded with people! Little kids splashing in the shallows and digging in the sand. Big kids swimming out to the raft or water-skiing. Grown-ups yabbity yabbiting off on all kinds of crazy topics of conversation. Like, how to cook a bat, should you find one flapping around in your toilet at that batscope hour of the morning. Or. A rather strong-willed old-school doc declaring in no uncertain terms, “I am NOT a Taurus!”, despite his Taurean birthday. All the while wearing a women’s straw sun hat. Meeeee, reading “The Indian in the Cupboard” to anyone who wanted to listen. Radical Betty affecting an old friend’s Dutch (?) accent, “Beer is goooood fooorrr you.” Wet dogs walking into the middle of the crowd to shake. Clamorous discussions about the time. “What time is it?” “Well, where is the sun?” “Yes, where is the sun?” [yada yada yada] The young KW replying, “Over the yardarm”, then decisively picking up her beach chair and striding home, suntanned beach urchins with golden hair trailing in her wake.

Those were the days. A couple of generations of them. The last few years? The G2 generation began to have trouble handling the beach. The heat, the wind, walking down the bank through the deep sand. And they have started dying. I’ve written about that before and I’m not gonna go there tonight. I’m not really in that kind of mood. I still spend as much time on the beach as I can. Walking, swimming, slugging around soaking up the sun. I am often alone. I am trying to get used to it.

In which I [partially] explain what to do with Twitter

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Because people are always asking things like “I don’t know how Twitter works” and “whaddoo I do with Twitter”, etc., ad nauseam. Fer kee-reist, you figure out what YOU want to do with Twitter and DO it and don’t take the whole thing too seriously. Fer kee-reist (okay, I’ll quit with the “kee-reist”). A Twitter example: I have been slodging along on the Planet Ann Arbor this week. Nobody else has been home. This is okay. They are up on the Shores of Gitchee Gumee and I wish I could be there too. But I have been kind of happily hibernating here, doing my morning walk, going to work, scrabbling together leftovers or Plum Market takeouts for dinner and downloading movies in the evening. I figured I would do some sort of variation of that tonight.

I checked Twitter on my iPhone in the mid-afternoon aaannnd, educaremom, a very old friend of mine, had tweeted me! Wanna meet at Knight’s for dinner? Well. Yes!! Sheesh, I am a good old mother bear but I can only hibernate so many nights in a row. And so, we met at Knight’s (her husband too) and it was so wonderful to reconnect with each other. That’s one thing you can do with Twitter. I don’t think either of us would have actually called the other on the, you know, telly-phone…

I walked home from Knight’s. Yes, of course I could still walk, what were you thinking? Oh yeah, one or two of you are probably remembering the time I put on my snowpants right in the restaurant. Of course, I walked home *then* too… Anyway, after I got home tonight, I looked out the front window and there was a car parked in front of the Landfill. Aaannnd, a guy was changing his pants right outside his car where I could watch (and even video it but I didn’t). The Engineer and I once witnessed the GG do this in the middle of the Engineer’s street in Grand Blanc. We were dying laughing and it was a year before the Engineer died and I don’t think I will ever forget it.

The GG sent me a couple of little KW-style videos from the hiking/camping trip he and Mouse took to Lake Superior. I posted both of them on Facebook and one of them on YouTube, and that one is below.

Cube Clinkin’ on Steak Day’s Eve fer Kee-reist!

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

After the Engineer died, somebody told me they envied my relationship with him. If you have been reading for any length of time you may (or may not) know that the Engineer was my little brother. My immediate reaction was something like, “Say what?” Because I did get along with my brother. But we were siblings, fer kee-reist (my brother used to say “fer kee-reist” a lot). Of course we didn’t always get along! With 3-1/2 years between us, we were a little too far apart to be best buddies but not far enough apart that I was the admired caretaker kind of older sibling. For the most part, I think we got along fine until and unless a more interesting opportunity came my way and then I would abandon him. I know that I wasn’t always the nicest kid. I teased him a lot and he got me back when he could manage to do so. I had Big Sister Syndrome and we didn’t have any other siblings to bounce off of. Fer kee-reist, I was almost an only child! With all due respect to anyone who is or has an only child, I did want siblings. And I *think* that the Commander would have liked to have more children. But it was not in the cards for us.

Then we grew up. A funny kind of thing happens to siblings when they grow up. The Engineer and I got along fine for the most part, particularly when we were on his turf or my turf. Our own adult homes. When we visited the moominbeach with our spouses and children? Not always so much. We won’t go into the gory details but I realized that when adult sibs meet back on the homestead with the parents, oftentimes all the old crap, trivial as it may seem, rears its ugly head. We would take on our old roles plus our adult baggage. Add in our spouses and children and the fact that our parents (like most parents) couldn’t get out of their heads that we weren’t quite the same people as we were when we were newborn and 3-1/2 and things could get ugly. I think this kind of thing is universal. I see it with my own beach urchins when they come home. We all know how to push each others’ buttons and even if we tell ourselves we aren’t going to do that this time, somehow, we do…

But. My brother had a chronic disease. Hepatitis C. He knew that he was going to die early. Some of us were blocking that fact. In the last few years of his life, my brother and I let go of all that childhood crap. We (or he) had outlived it and we made peace somehow. We accepted each others’ shortcomings and tried to draw upon each others’ strengths. Something like that… He died five years ago in June and I have had to go on more or less alone. As a sibling, that is. I am certainly not alone in the world. I slog along doing my job and watching the beach urchins grow up into who they have become. I miss him though. I wish he could’ve been around when Grandroobly was dying because I didn’t know what the HELL I was doing. And I wish he could be around now to help me deal with The Commander on the days when I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job communicating with her… And I just wish he could be around to sit on the moominbeach with me and watch the lake freighters go by.

Last evening, I was home alone and somebody clinked ice cubes. Today is what would’ve been the Engineer’s 53rd birthday. Fer kee-reist. I think that Grandroobly and the Engineer were doing a fly-by on the Edmund Fitzgerald to remind me that the next day (that would be today) was the Engineer’s birthday. Love you, old boy.

P.S. I am shamelessly stealing Steak Day from Pengo Janetto (or maybe Dogmomster, not sure here). Because those who are up at the moominbeach today are definitely making a steak dinner, which was the fave of both the Engineer and Grandroobly. I think that some of them are drinking margaritas (fer kee-reist!) instead of the Manhattans that the old coot and the old boy would favor. But whatever. The Engineer would approve.