Archive for March, 2012

It’s been surreal

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Ended the day by having dinner with a bunch of folks from my Soo High graduating class. The idea is to meet up once a year in the Lansing area, which is a good south-central location, accessible to folks living on both the west and east coasts of the Great Lake State and other points in between. I am always nervous about these things and then I always have a good time even though I am just about the most awkward person on earth when it comes to socializing. My classmates either don’t remember me from high school or they have forgiven me. Anyway, people were showing off pictures of their grandchildren. Even though I know a lot of people my age have grandchildren, I am still processing that. Alas, driving over to Lansing for dinner means you have to drive back and you don’t get home until it’s past that pumpkin stage so it’s late and I need to decompress a bit more so I can sleep.

Love y’all and good night,
Kayak Woman


Are you gonna drink tonight?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Say what? I was re-entering the near empty (at the time) beer tent at Fool Moon and a pseudo-security-looking guy milling around at the entrance asked me that. I could not process the question. I was not going to drink beer in the beer tent. In the first place, the only place I drink beer any more is on the beach. In the summer. Also, we were planning on walking home and I needed to be able to make it to Maryfield Park without, well, you know, needing to, uh, pee before then. Because that’s the first place there’s a woods between downtown and home. But also, I had had a couple of ‘hattans over at the Oscar Tango… So… “Are you gonna drink?” The truthful answer was, “Yes, I’ll probably have a glass of whine after I get home.” But I wasn’t going to drink in the beer tent and my answer wasn’t particularly clear. I said something like, “Nooo-o-o-o. But I already have.” Why were they asking? Did I actually just get carded? Or what? It has been a loooonnnng time since I got carded but it *was* getting pretty dark… Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo (to the tune of the Twilight Zone).

Fool Moon is a very cool event hosted by a local org called Festifools. Festifools holds a series of workshops for folks of all ages to make luminaries. On the night of the Fool Moon, several groups of folks carrying luminaries converge upon Washington between Main and Ashley and various festivities begin, movies and moon pies and the beer tent and whatever. I love Fool Moon but its starting time just about coincides with the time I turn into a pumpkin and so we stayed long enough for a couple of contingents of luminary bearers to arrive and then we hoofed it back over to the west side.

Good night. Sleep tight. Somebody else can prop up the beer tent tonight.

P. S. The GG was particularly UNresponsive to text messages today. Turns out he spent a lot of time slodging around on the couch playing Bejeweled on his iPhone. What have I wrought…

It may be raining around here but at least nobody is singing error messages

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Here’s a glimpse into a late 1950s kitchen. This kitchen was in the Superior Street house in Sault Ste. Siberia. At least I think it is the late 1950s. I vaguely remember an earlier stove and I vaguely remember when we bought *that* stove. I remember those buttons along the top of the stove. It could’ve been the early 1960s though. Close enough. I definitely remember that apron.

I remember that kitchen very well. It looks kind of dirty and shabby in the photooo but I don’t remember it that way at all. That cupboard on the right behind The Comm held cleaning supplies, brooms and things. There was a cartoon of the long-suffering housewife Gertrude taped to the inside of the door. I think she was collapsed on an ironing board…

My parents bought this house not too long before I was born. My mom often told me in her later years that she was lukewarm about the house. Apparently Grandroobly made all of the arrangements to buy it without consulting her. But I don’t remember this as a bad house at all. It was *my* house and I went to Lincoln School (right across the street, thank you dad ;-)) and I could walk down the alley and 7th Ave. to my friend Laurie’s house. And just a bit further was Aunt Marion’s store. Not a bad house to grow up in. Thank you mom for going along with that purchase. Mortgage $35 a month, I think…

If I can manage to put down Bejeweled for a few minutes, maybe I can write a blaaaahhhhg entry?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

First of all, please please please pretty please with sugar on top. Please don’t text and drive. A local mom of four died in a car accident yesterday. It was a single car accident and there was no one else in the car with her. Somehow they figured out that she had been texting.

I am not gonna be judgmental about this tragedy. We have a no-texting law in Michigan but people do it anyway. *I* have done it. I admit that I do it VERY rarely. Have you ever tried to write a text message on an iPhone while driving a 6-speed manual transmission vee-hickle in stop-and-go traffic? I can barely *answer* the iPhone and shift at the same time, let alone text. But we all spend so much time in our cars these days. I remember when I had middle school-aged kids — like this woman did… I drove the darn POC (automatic tranny) all over hell’s half acre every darn day — like this woman did… It’s probably a good think thing I didn’t have a cell phone back then because maybe I *would* have tried to use it while driving.

I keep imagining this woman driving along multi-tasking in her car thinking about all of the stuff she had going the rest of yesterday, today, this week, spring, summer, and beyond. Like we all do. Not thinking for a minute that the grim reaper was lurking about and that less than a minute or two later she would be dead and her children would forever after have to deal with that fact. Please please please do not text and drive. Please learn to enjoy driving for what it is and, even though city driving can be very stressful, try to use the time to chill a bit. Listen to the radio. Process the events of the day. Whatever. Just don’t text. If you need to text, pull over into a parking lot.

Other than that, I am hanging out ALONE in the Landfill Chitchen. Where is the GG? He is occupying the bedroom along with various Shambling Mounds. Why? Because he is not feeling in tip-top physical condition at the moment. It seems to be the gastrointestinal variety of bug. It’s going around the schools, don’tcha know. I was surprised to see the Frog Hopper here when I got home and when I walked into the house it smelled awful. He had cooked some ramen noodles, which wouldn’t have been my choice. After about 5-10 minutes that I realized that the smell was at least in part because he hadn’t turned off the burner… I DO NOT WANT TO GET THE BUG! I have a spec review tomorrow! I have probably already been exposed but I will be sleeping on the Green Couch tonight anyway.

Last but not least, I am now (thanks to AgateGal) addicted to a new (to me) iPhone game. When Bejeweled first came out, I had one of those slodgy old original iPhones. I’m not sure they even supported 3rd-party apps. Even after I upgraded to the 3GS, I held a snotty attitude toward iPhone games for a long time. And then Solitaire snuck into my life. And the New York Times Crossword. Aaaanndd… Angry Birds got me through all of those horrible days when I sat in The Commander’s room while she slept and I couldn’t concentrate well enough to focus on a book or work. I still like Angry Birds but Bejeweled seems to be my new love. I understand (sort of) how to play the game but I have no idea what the levels and all that stuff means. But I don’t care. It kind of reminds me of that old Spit card game that we used to play in the Old Cabin. It was just about the only card game I was ever any good at.

Good night, love y’all, and please don’t text while driving,
Kayak Woman

I dunno why broccoli gets such a bad rap, it’s a great remedy for a garlic hangover.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Serendipitous morning. After absolutely breaking my neck to get out the door in time to meet MMCB @Barrybagels today, I had an unexpectedly smooth drive over there. I think it took me about three minutes! There was no big garbage truck lumbering up the street as I was backing out of the driveway. I did not have to wait for ANYONE while making my left turn onto N. Maple. I did not hit a red light at ANY of the three traffic lights between the Landfill and Barry Bagels. MMCB and I were kvetching about all the usual stuff… (Do NOT *EVER* get on the wrong side of MMCB on a customer service issue. You WILL lose.) And then. Out of the blue, none other than npJane approached our table! She joined us and good times ensued.

This photoooo is our loverly front lawn. No, it is not very big. Our subdivision was built in the late 1950s / early 1960s. Our back yard is quite a bit bigger and there is a little woods behind that. And no, there is no grass in the front yard. I seem to remember that there was grass when we moved in. For about the last 15 years or so, the grass has mostly given way to moss and weeds and things. Bare spots anyone? We are not lawn freaks by any stretch of the imagination but it seemed like it was time to hire a professional service to re-seed our lawn. We’ll see what happens.

I wanted them to take out that fugly little birch “tree” there. It’s been there since we *bought* the place back in the Jurassic Age. It has always been sickly. But some people have a hard time parting with things. I don’t think you can do hospice care for trees. I will be sad but I think we need to cut it down.

That blue house is the house next door. For many years the Burkes lived there but they are dead and the folks who live there now are the same age as my oldest beach urchin. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, KW! The BIG tree on the right? Well, ever since we moved into the Landfill, tree removal type people have stopped by the house asking us if we wanted it taken down. No… [We don’t like to get rid of things…] May 2000, the top third [half?] of that tree fell on our house at three o’clock AM. Luke of Perrynet watched it. He seems to see everything that happens on our street. No one was injured and I did not get skylights out of that adventure.

Last but not least, Louie Louiiii brought his juice-making equipment to work today (this is Healthy Month or whatever and today was Tasty Something-or-other Tuesday) and he was making all these green juices that a lot of people were skeptical about except that they tasted really good. Somebody said something about how they could probably drink a juice with spinach in it but they weren’t sure about broccoli. I said something like, “but broccoli soup is really good!” Hmmm…

I was remembering when The Gumper didn’t like broccoli but a cute waitress at the old Mountain Jack’s restaurant convinced him to try some broccoli soup and whaddya know, he was kind of a convert. The Gumper didn’t really like vegetables very well (my dad didn’t either). The story goes that before The Gumper got married he liked something like four vegetables. Grandma Sally got him up to something like seven. Not a lot of those were green vegetables but, yaknow, he lived a pretty long time and in the end I’m not so sure his diet had anything to do with the cause of death so who’s to judge?

Goooood niiiiight,
Kayak Woman

Just try to call the damn phone company

Monday, March 26th, 2012

It was 5:30 AM and one of the iPhones in the room bleated a very annoying notification sound — the “electronic” sound. Okay, okay. At that time of the morning, I’m either wide awake or struggling to surface from REM-type dreams. Time to get up in either case. Still, it practically jolted me out of bed. “Was that your phone?” I asked (with teeth clenched). [I knew it wasn’t mine.] “WHO is texting you at this hour?”

It was our wonderful friend AT&T!

Say what? One of “our” recent endeavors has been to get The Commander’s landline phone disconnected. I say “our” because it was the GG who bulldogged this issue. I was procrastinating about it in part because I am still suffering from PTSD after an unsuccessful experience last summer of trying to change the mailing address on the account. The other reason? You can only call AT&T during “business hours”. Which are something like 8 AM to 6 PM. So, if I can only call AT&T during “business hours”, why can they spam us at 5:30 AM?

Do you know how many phone calls it took to accomplish the disconnection? I do not. Maybe the GG can tell you. I know that it was more than two and that each call up until the last one led to some weird wild goose chase. I am kind of amazed that he could actually even do it without me and my death certificate powers. Is this good customer service? I have no words.

Hey AT&T? Listen up. A lot of the stuff that drives your CUSTOMERS  CRAZEE  could be easily taken care of if you would improve your website (yeah, you have a website) so that it is user friendly. Ever hear that phrase before? If you make your website *usable* and set it up so that users customers can take care of most of the basic transactions that people generally want to do with their phone service, you will get FEWER calls and you won’t have to [try to] train as many [incompetent] people to answer them. [And I am not even going to discuss the phone menus or wait times. Y’all have been there, done that.]

It may be that disconnecting a deceased person’s landline legitimately takes a phone call. That’s okay. But it would be greatly helpful if the website would at least provide easily locatable instructions on how to do that and what is required. I could find NOTHING! The navigation menus took me nowhere, well except navigating anywhere somehow seemed to log me out and then I would have to log in again. Search? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa! Kee-reist!

The GG was ultimately successful. He finally [randomly, I think] reached a person with a blasted BRAIN who could understand the situation and figure out a way to RESOLVE it without me and my death certificate powers. Thank you to whoever that woman was.

This stuff was very annoying for us but you have to know that given the situation we are dealing with, we are not paralyzed by grief (although we miss The Commander — who wouldn’t?). What about someone who is canceling phone service for a [gulp] child? AT&T is a huge company. Surely AT&T can do some user testing of their phone menu system and website? And hire a few business analysts maybe? In the long run, a well-designed website will REDUCE calls. Wouldn’t that be a good way to reduce expenses?

Oh yeah, the text message this morning *seems* to be a confirmation that The Comm’s landline phone service was disconnected. It was not a clear message and I am still cheesed off that I can only call AT&T during “business hours” but they can text me any old time. WTF?

Duke Duke Duke Duke of Earl Duke Duke Duke of Earl…

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

I am just grinding along today. Blahg entry? Say what? But I don’t have anything to talk about really. An exploratory expotition to a new section of the Washtenaw Border to Border trail was kind of a fizzle and a trip to the Jackson Rd. Meijer was a nightmare. By the time the GG suggested kayaking it was noon and I was sorta feeling a little slodgy like if I could just apparate myself and my kayak down to the river, I’d go, but the schlepping and clothes-changing and stuff was too much for me. He really just wanted to sit in the river and read anyway and I had some yucky tax paperwork tasks to get done this afternoon that I have been putting off for way too long. NPJane had a much better day than I did. She was spotted over at the Dairy Queen with a huuuge smile on her face!

I have plenty of random blahg post ideas rolling around in my head and here are some of them. Who knows which ones will ever see the light of day.

  • How ANY EMPLOYER (yes, I am shouting) can think that asking a prospective employee for their FACEBOOK PASSWORD is a good thing. Really? Sure, what the heck, here’s my online banking password too. C’mon people…
  • The Trillium Bandit…
  • My thoughts on the value of liberal arts degrees and why ALL of our kids shouldn’t be encouraged pushed into STEM careers whether they want them or not.
  • (((((My addiction to Angry Birds.)))))
  • Wormholes to generations of long ago.
  • Memories of playing the card game Spit (was that really the name?) in the Old Cabin and hearing songs like Duke of Earl on the radio in between way too many ads and newscasts.
  • What is this Hunger Games mania? Should I download the book(s)? Will I like them (I do like young adult fiction)? Or will they freak me out?
  • Do we need a CG50 movie rating?
  • How nervous I am about going to a high-school mini-reunion next weekend. Even though I have been to one before and am on Facebook with some of the people who’ll be there and even had a wonderful lunch with one of them in the interim. How many ways can we say “introvert”?
  • Rocking along to Duke of Earl as I was leaving the Plum Market today.
  • (((((My addiction to Angry Birds Space.)))))

Enough. My mouse will be here in a bit for a surprise dinner. That means I kept asking “What do you want me to cook for dinner?” She finally replied, “Surprise me.” I doubt she’ll be very surprised (and she wasn’t <grin>). Add to above list: “Why are my kids more creative cooks than I am, especially when the only things they seemed to eat as children were things like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Spaghettios”?

And I think I will download Duke of Earl. Click over to YouTube if you have no idea what I’m talking about. You know you want to. I wouldda wanted to be his duchess but I think I was eight years old when this song happened.

Good night and happy flinging!
Kayak Woman

It’s Saturday and it’s been a month and…

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Oh man oh man. I was kind of between two blahg subjects today and I was almost about to choose one of them when the GG suddenly blasted through the landfill chitchen and shot out the front door. I didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t really care but then I heard him talking to someone, so I had to go out and see who *that* was. And it was our neighbor M across the street and I felt like I needed to go out and talk to her too because, wouldn’t you know, The Commander passed a month ago today and M did not even know that. To be fair, I’m not sure that I knew that her mom was dead either…

I was kind of embarrassed about it anyway. But I am me and I don’t want people to feel sorry for me and so I didn’t seek out neighbors to tell them. Because I am not feeling that sorry for myself, at least not yet. As I have said before, The Comm had an absolutely wonderful life until the last year and then things went from bad to worse and 2012 was absolutely horrible.

For now, I am hanging out in the Landfill Chitchen after a pretty darn productive day. We walked over to the Northside Grille for breakfast and back this morning, traversing the farmer’s market both ways. I want that beeyootiful cedar arbor, especially since one of our existing arbors fell down during a storm and hasn’t been put back up yet.

I think we both made at least small progress in our own de-hoarding efforts here at the Landfill today. I am happy. Goodnight!


In which @tmotu thinks that @kayakwoman does not know where to get hippie hash

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

And then he asked, “Have you ever had hippie hash?” Answer? No. “Why not?” Answer? Because it would probably last me for about three days. Seriously, how can someone live on the Planet Ann Arbor for 30-some years and not know where to get hippie hash. Yes I am rolling my eyes.

And so ends another Friday. A work day for me albeit one during which I think I spent more time answering barrages of text messages from the GG than working. At least it felt that way (more on that tomorrow, maybe). But wait a minute! One of those text messages said something about flinging. What? I am always glad to hear that somebody besides me is flinging stuff at the Landfill. ‘lectronics anyone? Yes. Let’s get rid of some of those old tellyfones and dead ‘puters and printers and things. I was hoping for a run over to the dump this weekend but I guess it is not to be. I love riding shotgun on a good dump run — sitting in the passenger seat of the Frog Hopper doing the crossword puzzle on my phone with the old Courtois trailer rattly-bumping along behind. Good times. Well. As long as we don’t end up on the Spectacle Lake overlook. But that was a whole ‘nother dump run in a whole ‘nother place and time.

This Friday ended like so many other Fridays, with yer fav-o-rite blahgger red-queening down to the Oscar Tango to meet up with the GG for a couple of cocktails and dinner. And walking home through a beautiful warm rain with no lightning (thank you very much). A shower and a wee glass of whine and I am nodding off. This is a Work Weekend and I need to get up and at ’em tomorrow. Daylight in the Swamp!

G’night. -KW

Last year we had the Dexter Bare Bear, now it’s the North Campus Cougar

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Long hard day toiling in the trenches? A little comic relief in order? Here’s the latest Great Lake State Cougar sighting, right here on the Planet Ann Arbor. The UMich north campus to be specific. Honestly, if you have time to click over there, read the comments because they are pretty hilarious.

Cougar? I dunno. There always seem to be cougar sightings around this god-forsaken state. They never seem to get substantiated. And yet I personally know two very reputable, stable, down to earth people who have spotted what could only be cougars, so I have a big disconnect there. But North Campus??? Really? I dunno, did Ted Nugent let his aminals out again? Is it Ted Nugent that hunts and(/or) keeps exotic pets or is it Bob Seger or is it a combo of both or is it somebody I’m totally fergitting? (Or am I on crack?) I grew up in the yooperland so those guys didn’t play at my high school dances (but the Renaissance Fair did!) and I was kind of more into Jimi Hendrix and The Cream and I fergit what else in those days anyway and I think the Renaissance Fair was too…

Anyway. The Dexter bare bear had at least one twitter account and it didn’t take more than about five minutes for the North Campus Cougar to obtain a few twitter handles. I’m following @AnnArborCougar and he/she is following me back. Is @AnnArborCougar on the hunt for @Umsquirrel? Or is *she* looking for cute young 20-something males… (tee hee hee…)

And this photoooo is of a “cougar”. In this case, an octogenarian who was still able to climb steps up to get her pie plates down at age 89. After my dad died there were a few gentlemen around town who seemed to want to get together with The Commander. The Commander was not interested and she squelched them. (Or maybe they died before she did…)

Madonna? Take a note!

Is it a bad idea to overeat and not exorcise?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Y’know, I think I need a new Etch-a-Sketch. I’ll take the kind that, when I turn it upside down and shake it, I can say some magic words and change something from my past. Maybe I can make Bad Boyfriend disappear from my history?

Seriously, I am pretty disgusted with this whole Republican political campaign season (you know that) but how stoopid can it get? I am a somewhat complicated polly-tickal aminal and pro-choice feminist is only a part of that mishmash — although I will admit that women’s rights are my own personal deal-breaker. I am also a fiscal conservative. I don’t like big government either. I just think that shrinking it needs to be approached carefully and with a lot of thought to what the unintended consequences might be. As a systems analyst doing design work on a huge web application, I am always thinking about stuff like that, i.e., if I make this change on this page, how does that affect this page and that page and this other page waaaayyyy over in an obscure little corner of the application.

I’m digressing a bit. There are things I don’t understand. Mitt has always been a “moderate” Republican (in my memory anyway). It seems obvious (to me anyway (but I’m just a raggedy old kayak woman)) that he is bending over backwards to pander to a bunch of extreme conservatives. Those extreme conservatives have a right to their opinions and [choke] a right to run for office to try to change our country’s laws to conform to their world view. If I were one of those conservatives and Mr. Etch-a-Sketch courted me throughout his campaign by promising me an extreme conservative paradise and then erased all of those promises once he was nominated, I’d feel like I had been sold down the river. I don’t recollect. I don’t recollect. I don’t recollect.

Bad day? Not really, although I couldda used a couple more miles of walking than I got in (3 miles). I have had to wear real shoes to work for the last couple of days because we hosted a user group seminar at our facility. The only place I ever encountered any of these people was in the bathroom and they were definitely not looking at my feet but I understand. I usually wear Chaco hiking sandals to work. I also wear biz-caz outfits, even on jeans days. I probably get some points for that but it’s a pretty dern casual place anyway. You can’t wear bunny slippers though and yes some people have tried. Anyway, I keep “real” shoes in my cube for when I need them. Today, I almost forgot to change into them and remembered just when FZ was in my cube and my boss (and a waaayyyy above me uber-boss from outta town) came by my cube. Everybody was in hysterics watching me scramble to change into my beeyootyful biz-caz flats.

Alas, as I was packing up to leave today, I *fergot* to change *back* into my Chacos. I did not realize that until I was getting off the I94 18-wheel Clogway at Jackson Rd. This was a tragedy. Without my sandals I can’t do my 0-skunk-30 walk. There was no way I was going back to work at that point. But wait! I ordered a new pair of Chacos a few days ago and they were shipped oh, I dunno, yesterday? Would I arrive home to a package on the porch? As I drove up to the Landfill, I couldn’t tell if I was seeing a package or not. But. Yes! My new Chacos arrived today!

The terribleness of low-flow terlets

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

To paraphrase a tweet by somebody at Slate. I would not know. The Blue and Only Toilet is not a low-flow terlet, thank you very much. It is an *old* toilet and when we moved into the Landfill back in the Jurassic Age, it trickled. You know how some toilets run? (Jiggle the handle!) Well, this toilet didn’t run. It trickled. All the time. I would wake up in the middle of the night to feed my baby and my hyper-sensitive ears would hear the trickling. I could also tell when the heat was coming on before it came on because I could hear the gas thingy squeaking in the basement but that’d be a whole ‘nother story.

Anyway, by the time we bought the Landfill, I knew how to fix a running toilet and an overflowing toilet and how to baby a slow toilet with fingers crossed that we wouldn’t need to call Dr. Nassoiy. I did not attain this knowledge until well into my adult years. As a young adult I was *terrified* of the idea of toilets overflowing. When I was a child back in the Jurassic Age, my otherwise totally competent parents would *panic* if the crappy old white toilet on Superior Street overflowed (which was not often). It was not until I had been hanging around with the GG for a while that I learned enough about toilets that I wasn’t afraid of them overflowing.

I learned just about everything I know about toilets at the *old* Houghton Lake Group Home. That would be the toilet in the photoooo. For one thing, when we still had that loverly old cabin, we could heat the place in the winter but we had to shut down the water for the duration. We could use the toilet because we could pump water from the well in the yard and throw buckets into it to flush it. Secondly, if you didn’t FORGET TO JIGGLE THE HANDLE, the toilet would often run. And it would usually run after I used it at that batscope hour of the morning. I would flush it and head back upstairs and the toilet would run and Grampa Garth would hear it running and have to get up to jiggle the handle. Garth 1, KW 0.

In a way, I miss those days. In another way, I appreciate the beautiful place that the GG and his sibs have built in its place.

Fast forward to maybe a dozen years ago… I was up at the Moomincabin and the grandparents were bumbling around getting ready for bed and I used the Moomincabin bathroom. I flushed the toilet and everything was all right. No sooner did I get upstairs when there was a minor panic. Apparently the next person who flushed the toilet encountered a near overflow. I went downstairs again and vigorously plunged the dern thing and was met with a barrage of questions about who might be putting “contraband” into the toilet. Nobody, Moom, at least not knowingly. We have a lot of people here using the toilet and stuff happens.

The Blue and Only Toilet has not trickled in many years. It took a while for me to get it to not trickle. The GG does not quiiiiite have the same uber-sensitive level of hearing that I do and I think he was thinking something like, “WTF is she talking about?” Eventually, he got it and fixed it and I have been using it ever since then, occasionally jiggling the handle or vigorously plunging it.

No, I was not on the phone with my mom…

Monday, March 19th, 2012

First and foremost, this is not a sad post, at least I don’t think it is. Who knows what I’ll get up to by the time I finish it. But it is inspired by what the GG said to me when he walked in the door tonight: “Every time I walk in the door, I think you’ll be on the phone with your mom.”

Of course I was *not* on the phone with The Commander tonight. I do not know how to phone someone on the other side. What I *was* doing was dealing with a few little snippets of her affairs, thank you notes and things mostly. Although I have certainly called my mother about a billion times in my life, in the last few years, the phone calls have been rather tortuous. If she didn’t answer the phone I would wonder, well, uh, you can maybe imagine what I might have been wondering… When she did, we often had a horribilus time talking. She couldn’t hear me. She couldn’t understand me. I couldn’t hear her. I couldn’t understand her. My blasted iPhone would drop the call… Her blasted iPhone would drop the call…

One of the great reliefs of my life was when she moved to Freighter View. I called her there every day. If she didn’t answer the dern phone, I didn’t worry. I knew that I could call FV if I needed to find out how she was doing and I knew that FV would call me if there was a problem. All too soon they did start calling me, over and over again. Emergency trips to the north country ensued… And then there was this winter, which I don’t even want to think about right now…

When you spend hours and hours and hours and days and weeks with someone who is desperately ill and in constant pain, you feel relieved when they die. And you hope that they feel relieved too. The Commander and I spent hours and hours and hours talking about death this winter. She was constantly asking me existential questions that I had no answers for. How do you decide to die… Etc., etc., ad infinitum… In the end, I told her that it was her decision. And… 1) I loved her, 2) She had been a wonderful mother, 3) I would miss her, and 4) I would be OKAY. I cannot tell you how many times we had a version of that conversation…

There have been a few times that I have wanted to ask The Commander something but really, I am still in a sort of numb state of mind. I go to work and fling stuff or whatever. It’s a relief to not have to worry about my mom being ill and five hours away from me. That may be “bad” but it is reality.

I’d rather remember “us” in the photooo at Tahquamenon Falls back in the day when it took forever to get there.

First world hoarding in the early 21st century…

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Yaknow, we don’t (any of us) start out to hoard stuff. I can remember when the first iPhone was released. I can remember telling The Guru that I would buy a $600 cell phone when it came with a GPS and I fergit what else. Wouldn’t you know that a couple months later we ended up with these things. The GG dragged me out in a heavy pouring rain to the Briarwood Apple Store. I was convinced that I would not buy an iPhone (aka spend $1200) that day. Guess what? I spent about 30 seconds playing with an iPhone and it was mine. MMCB took the first photooo. It was of bagels and it was accidental but I have never deleted it. Just because.

That was late summer 2007 and we are now on the 4S. These are our third iPhones and that stack is our two original iPhones plus our two 3GSs plus The Commander’s 3GS plus our two 4Ss. And a cute ducky rides the iPhone cruise ship. And just fergit the cosmic debris in the background there. So what do you do with your old iPhone when you upgrade to a new one…

This weekend? I actually got a lot done for once. We have a lot of stuff to do at the Landfill here and so this afternoon we headed down to the annual “home show” at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. Those shows drive me a little bit nuts but we did run into a few businesses / folks that we think we will do business with again.

And then, in the late afternoon, I went for a walk… And I ran into a good friend of mine… I love her… But fer kee-reist, does she brag about her kids? Yes.. Except. I mean, her kids are wonderful and they *are* doing well. Braggity braggity. This day she actually *asked* about my kids… I never brag about my kids. They are wonderfully cool and talented people who never ever gave me one ounce of trouble. Do I need to brag about that? I don’t think so.

If you want to get to Ypsi from here, go all the way to the bottom.

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Say it in a British accent.

Once upon a time our fav-o-rite theatre group was performing or rehearsing or whatever somewhere over on the EMU campus. That’s in Ypsilanti and one of our board members reported that she had asked the artistic director how to get to the rehearsal space and got the response, “Go all the way to the bottom.” We gnoffed and gnoffed about this ridiculous set of directions for a while and, when we finally got up off the floor, I realized that it sort of made sense. In an eccentric British theatrical director kind of way. It doesn’t involve hills. It has something to do with the way the one-way streets work out. You have to travel *past* your destination and then double back to get *to* it.

I don’t go to Ypsilanti very often, not because I have anything against the place. It’s just that I live on the west side of the Planet Ann Arbor and for the most part my beat involves shuttling along the I94 18-wheel Clogway corridor over to the south side of the Planet Ann Arbor to work and back. If I can at all plan my errands along that corridor, you can bet I do.

Tonight we ventured over to Ypsi to meet with a bunch of my out-laws for dinner at Haab’s and then a play at the Riverside. I’ll let you guess which play and I’ll give you one hint, which is that Mouse’s role was Stella. And that is about all. Thanks you guys for coming out to see the show and good night. It is way past my bedtime.

Nosmo King

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Nothing I’m gonna write tonight is gonna make any kind of sense in any way shape or form so if you are looking for something intelligible, move along.

Everybody is marveling at the unseasonably warm weather around here. I mean, it is March and tonight I walked downtown in a tank top and my dangerously raggy old Chaco sandals (note to self: order some more before this pair craps out in some catastrophic manner when I am three miles away from home or whatever). And I was hot. And it has been warm like this for days and there is seemingly no end in sight. So is this “global warming”? Who knows. We have had weather like this in March before. I remember it. I just don’t remember what year(s) it was. And then there was the March I was trundling around town in the POC through several inches of new snowfall every day.

We didn’t sit in our usual place at the Oscar Tango tonight. Our usual place is right in the middle of everything and near the theatre crowd. Tonight we sat by the window and I got to watch all the smokers outside and remember not too long ago when we would go to the Oscar Tango (or any other barrrooom) and I would have to wash my clothes afterwards because they smelled like smoke. Oh, I am not an anti-smoking militant or anything. My first couple of boyfriends smoked and I can remember working over there at that darn EPA when my boss and some of the keypunchers kept ashtrays near them. You could smoke at work then and just about anywhere else. I can remember when the smell of cigarette smoke didn’t really bother me that much. I do not have allergies or anything like that and it just wasn’t that big a deal to me. Live and let live.

In fact I can even remember being about 23 or so and being reeealllly bored at a barrrroooom a couple of times and experimenting with smoking. The big problem was that since I never learned to inhale (yeah, I know…), the habit never really caught on. Plus I’m sure I looked really stupid because I think I was trying to affect all of the typical smoking gestures that you see in old movies and I was probably greatly exaggerating them. So there you have it. A 23-year-old emulating a 15-year-old trying to act grown up by smoking.

See? I told you I was gonna be incoherent tonight. Anyway, we are back home from the Oscar Tango and I am totally exhausted and the GG is… Well, whaddya think he’s doing? He is smoking. A ceegar… Yes, he is outside. I won’t tellya what else he is doing because it is kinda gross. I’ll just say that he is emulating Grandroobly.

Good night! Sleep tight! Do not let those bad, bad bed bugs bite!

Good morning!

Friday, March 16th, 2012

When I wrote that post last night, only one house in Dexter had been hit. After that, Dexter got SLAMMED by what some folks are calling an F3 tornado! (Dexter is a small town a few miles west of us and I do mean a *few* miles. The GG fairly regularly *walks* over there.) And yes, people were hanging out in bathtubs and closets et al. See Aaannnd a video posted on WUOM.

When the tornado sirens blow, the GG goes OUTSIDE!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Jebus frickin’ aitch Mackinac kee-reist! THAT WAS A BIG COUPLE O’ THUNDERBOLTS! THOR! Shut down yer dern bowling alley!

I had this niiice boring little post planned about the seagulls (two of them) that took up residence on my loverly little Ninja ALL afternoon. Yes, my cute little vee-hickle is now covered with bird crap. At least it was before this storm happened. That might be the least of my problems now…

When I left the office today, there were severe storm watches and warnings and even a tornado watch (or warning?) for some areas. The sky looked a little iffy and I sort of hemmed and hawed about whether I should take the I94 18-Wheel Clogway or surface roads. If there *was* severe weather on the way, I did NOT wanna be on the freeway. But everything seemed okay so I did take the freeway and I made it home with maybe 20 minutes to spare. Thank you god that the left turn signal from Jackson onto N. Maple was letting more than 5-6 vee-hickles through at a time. So…

I futzed around at the Landfill for a while and then the GG texted me. “ACK”. Wellll… “ACK what?” He wanted to know whether the Landfill was being hit by a tornado. Well, not so much. Actually it didn’t look bad at that point. It looked like the worst of it was going north of us and although we were getting hail, it was this kind of piddly stuff that didn’t make a clinking sound when it hit the ground or the roof or the car…

The GG has never been one to shy away from a good thunderstorm so he drove home during the storm and then things got really bad, which meant that he went *outside* to check things out. I was never really concerned about a tornado here because it never “felt” like we were gonna get one to me. I *was* concerned about lightning.

You’ve heard of golfball-sized hail? I have *never* seen that before this evening. I am afraid to go out and look at our little fleet of vee-hickles at this point…

Disclaimer: Okay. We were under a tornado warning tonight here and we had a pretty big storm. One house north of Dexter was hit but everyone is apparently okay and I am happy about that. Here at the Landfill, there wasn’t one single moment that I felt like I had to go down to the Landfill Dungeon. We get tornadoes around here sometimes but they are usually the small F1 type that might destroy a garage or a roof or something. I have been in one real tornado in my life (in the POC). It was scary as hell but it did not wipe out a whole town (or even the POC). I cannot even imagine being in the path of a big F5 tornado and my heart goes out to all of the people who have experienced those. I cannot even imagine hanging out in a bathtub or closet holding onto all of my children with all of the strength that I have, waiting for a huge tornado to blow through and hoping it won’t rip my children out of my arms…

No, I did not have my moom as a teacher…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The main reason that I never had my mom as a teacher was because I took “academic” classes (and band) and she didn’t teach “academic” classes (or band). This was back in the days of “tracking” and I was on the “college track”. Mom was a home economics teacher who taught in the high school “skill center”, which was geared toward training kids for careers that didn’t require a college degree. Although I get the feeling that *many* of her students went on to obtain one. Like K, one of the head nurses at FV. One very smart woman who is probably more highly educated than yer favo-rite “college track” blahgger with her music degree…

One of The Commander’s claims to fame was that she created a class in child care education. I can’t remember exactly what the format was but she and her students actually ran a short-term nursery school / day care program. This was a popular program that even quite a few of the “college track” kids took. I get the feeling that some of them took the class because they figured it would be an easy A during their senior year. It may have been easy to get a good grade in that class but I’m sure those kids learned some life skills that were ultimately a lot more valuable than how to graph a sine function or solve a differential equation. (Oh, not to put down trig or calc. I *loved* math and I was very good at it and that’s partly why I was on the “college track”.)

It is probably for the best (for The Comm) that I was never in her classes. I remember what I was like when I was in her Bluebird troop. I was a pain in the frickin’ a**. I was a goody two shoes in a classroom environment, always doing what the teacher said to do. In my warped little mind, having my mom as a leader gave me “permission” to act up. I would speak out of turn and tease other kids and generally be disruptive. Do I regret that? You betcha! Had I outgrown that stuff by high school? I would like to think so. I really did admire my mom for the programs she created at the skill center but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptation to be disruptive and disrespectful. Things I would *never* have done in Mrs. Velde’s Latin class, for example. Although now that I think back, I bet The Comm would’ve put up with my guff for just about soooo long and then squelched me by kicking me out of her class or sending me down to the [gulp] principal’s office…

The photoooo? I remember this one. The yearbook staff captioned it “What’s cooking?” Boy oh boy, was The Commander mad! The Commander was a fantabulous cook and during her teaching career she did teach some home-ec classes that focused on cooking. Heck, cooking is an important skill. How many people do we know who nuke things in plastic containers and call it dinner? (I don’t actually know all that many but still…) Overall, she pioneered a few programs at that high school skill center that taught valuable life skills and she regarded her work as valuable and even back when I was a snobby little “college track” idiot, so did I.

Retaaarrrrment? Nooooo…

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This projector head is my mother The Commander in the early years of her high school career. It was a yearbook photo that my brother’s (and my) very dear friend Matt scanned and posted to facebook after The Commander died. I never saw my mom actually deal with a projector but it looks to me like she was a pro. Maybe all teachers were back in the early 1970s…

Well. I keep writing and erasing about how rebellious I was when I was a teenager. I was. But. I wasn’t as rebellious as I dreamed about being and I guess that is all. The fact is that it can be pretty cool to have your mom teach at your high school. I mostly walked to school (and wanted to (until I had my driver’s license, that is)) but I could catch a ride with mom if I really needed to. If I needed an aspirin (cramps, don’tcha know) and didn’t have one on me, I could go down to her classroom and get one (or two).

I am not a teacher. I would kill the kids! Oh not really. I wouldn’t kill any living thing (except for a mo-skee-toe or a biting fly or one of the crappy malfunctioning tech devices I’m struggling with this week). But the trajectory of my adult life and career(s) is similar to The Commander’s. Both of us had one career, a hiatus during which we raised children, then a second career. I do have to say that neither of us were just hanging around the house baking cookies during our hiatuses. We were busy volunteering in our communities, working to make things better.

Anyway, I wish I could remember the year that The Commander retired but I can’t. It was before the Beach Urchins were born. I know that because The Comm (and Grandroobly) were able to drive down here to greet both of my children into the world. I have been working at my second career for five years and I am not ready to retire yet. I love my job and I love bringing home my own paycheck. I guess that is all.