Archive for May, 2012

I need a week…

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I need a week. Or two. Or three.

I need a week to get my de-cluttering prodject here at the Landfill back under control.

I need a week to finish clearing out The Commander’s beloved house.

I need a week to sit on my you-know-what and play Angry birds.

I need a week to hang out in the Landfill Backyard and try to work on some gardening prodjects.

I need a week to sit on my you-know-what and play BeJeweled.

I need a week to think up some menus so that I am not galumphing over to the Plum Market every day (or thereabouts) after work to buy yet another hunk of carnivorous protein. Not that there is anything wrong with eating meat / fish, just that I am not being very creative about cooking lately. I can do better…

I need a week to sit on my butt and drink whine in the late afternoon while watching the ships go by.

I just need a week. I am not going to get one. I have three (count ’em) functional specs in the works right now. I am loving that I have so much work to do. I cannot take a week right now. But I still need one…

Good night,

Dream kitchen bedroom

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Uh, still working on that Landfill Chitchen thing so what about this Dream Bedroom?

You maybe can’t tell in this photoooo but that headboard is SILVER! I mean it is the most sparkly silver fabric you could imagine. I could not believe that The Commander bought me a sparkly silver headboard. It really wasn’t her style. But she did it anyway.

I think I moved into that room when I was about six. I slept upstairs in a bedroom next to my parents until then and I have vague memories of floral wallpaper being in that room in those days. I don’t really remember what the room was used for. I don’t *think* that The Commander’s loom was in there. Or her sewing machine. That was always upstairs in her bedroom…

Anyway, in a teensy tinesy little bungalow house on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia way back in 1960 or so, this was my teensy tinesy bedroom. I remember the [persnickety] Venetian blinds better than the curtains but I know that The Comm made those. I remember that beauteous toy stove. I remember the Golden Book encyclopedia there on the shelves. We were buying those things one at a time at the grokkery store and I was *reading* them. Yes. I probably stopped at about H or whatever.

I remember that skirt (sorta). I was (and am) a weird combination of girly-girl and tomboy. I think that is a good combination to be but (alas) I wish I were better at OWNING that in my own life. Maybe more people like me speaking up and taking (ulp) leadership roles would help the world value women a bit more… I am outta words about that for now… Sigh…

That boy in my bedroom? My little brother. I guess we were playing nicely that day and The Comm or Grandroobly got a good photo.

I loved this bedroom. The Commander created it for me and it was so beautiful. Eventually it did have a sewing machine in it. One that I used to sew my own clothing when I was in high school. Was it ever messy? Yes it certainly was. But I periodically cleaned it up. There wasn’t quite enough stuff in there that it was ever all that hard to clean up.

Are we having fun yet?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

No, not today. What an un-fun day. There seems to be no rest for the weary in this particular episode. I am actually bored with my derned 0-skunk-30 walk. Bored enough that it is actually tempting to find excuses not to walk. Teensy tinesy little pop-up thunderstorms over on the west side of the state? Maybe I shouldn’t walk… That would be a BAAAAAAADDD thing! I know that. I am making myself slog on…

I was hoping that today would be a smoooooooth day after one of the craziest weekends on earth. Soooo much to process. Alas, it was not to be. I got halfway down the street today and the damn Ninja’s taaaarrrr light was on. Yes. Again. I hate dashboard lights even when they don’t signify imminent danger. Supposedly it’s a different taaarrrr this time. I hope that all of my taaaarrrrs are inflated to the proper goddamn pressure and stay that way for a while. Like a couple years…

And then, after work (which was very smooth, by the way), I got home and derned if the frickin’ internet cable service was out again. I am getting to be an expert on unplugging / unscrewing various connections. No luck. I tried to call Comcast… Their answer? Something like, “We are experiencing a high volume of calls and even if you could get through, we couldn’t tell you if there was a service outage in your area.” In other words, “Screw you.” What am I paying for again?

Eventually, the GG 1) got Grandroobly’s lawnmower working (does that mean we can take the *Landfill* Lawnmower over to the place lawnmowers go to die?) 2) Came inside and figgered out that the *#%@ing internet wasn’t working (again) and somehow his unplugging / replugging touch actually *worked*. Sigh. Why is it that (most) males manage to deal these things more calmly. What kind of karma do they have that I don’t? 3) Checked out the Ninja’s taaarrrs and filled a taaaarrrr with air (different taaarrrr than the last time). Okay, I’m sure my taaarrrs are okay for now. If this happens again in a few weeks… … …

I love the Ninja but I am yearning for my loverly old Dogha (2001 Honda Accord V6) at this point. With its snow-able tires… I am so thinking about buying another Dogha. Not ready yet but not looking forward to commuting on “performance” taaaarrrs next winter.

In which the Beverly Hillbillies arrive at Fabulous Ferndale

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Actually, the Yooperland Snowbillies might be more accurate. (Riffing off one of the many little conversational tidbits at Lazy Bob’s Willabee’s this morning.)

After a bit of storminess in the moomincabin driveway, we embarked upon the long and winding road that [eventually] led us to the crappy old Landfill door. We hit a bit of a bump on the Birch Point loop and the GG did a little mini freak out (and so did I). That’s only because we were pulling the rickety old Courtois Trailer (it does have new shoes) with a full load including five boxes of dishes. Otherwise, what the heck is a little bump? “I remember when Don, Jack, and I (or whichever set of brothers) got the Gumper’s car airborne!” Roight… I said, “You know, there are large stretches of the I75 SUV Speedway that are way bumpier than this.” And there were but I am a good packer and somehow we made it…

And so. Breakfast with the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie at Lazy Bob’s Willabee’s in Brimley, then back down to Troll Land. Grand Blanc to snag the Ninja from Dogmomster’s garage and then on to Fabulous Ferndale to drop off probably 90% of the contents of the Courtois Trailer. Even though Lizard Breath intended from the beginning to live in California for five years or so and then return to The Great Lake State, I can’t help but wonder if The Commander had a hand in the timing of her move back. Because I was feeling overwhelmed by how to get rid of a lot of the everyday stuff that The Commander owned. And then here is a grandchild moving back across the country into an empty apartment. Leaving some of the larger items behind and needing various things.

So there we are, at our penultimate destination. We unloaded the trailer and Liz served us sandwiches on the patio in her woodsy little back yard. The shelf units that The Comm built herself (one of them in a woodworking class in *college*) look absolutely fantastic on the hardwood floors in Liz’s beauteous apartment. No, I didn’t take pictures. Well, actually I did but I’m not posting them. She’s just moving in and it is *her* apartment.

Anyway, we were sitting out there (it is REALLY hot today) and we kept hearing train whistles and the GG asked if those train whistles were irritating. Train whistles are almost never irritating to me and I don’t think Lizard feels that way either. What I was thinking about was… Lizard Breath’s apartment is something like 2.5 miles from the GG’s childhood home. There is a railway that goes through the vicinity of Royal Joke, Berkeley, and Ferndale. When the Twinz of Terror were small boys holy terrors, they had a great time climbing up the railroad trestle near their house with a bunch of eggs and lobbing them at cars going underneath. Problem? One day they got home from one of those escapades and their dad (the Gumper of airborne vee-hickle) was *waiting* for them in the driveway… Yes. They had egged their dad’s vee-hickle.

I am done. I may get in trouble for posting this. For a few reasons and from different people.

Good night,

Black Thumb Banana

Disclaimer: The Comm wants ALL of her grandchildren to adopt parts of her life. Liz is in an easy situation to adopt some of The Comm’s stuff at this point in time. That doesn’t mean that she will want to keep all of it forever. And there is plenty of stuff. I know. I have bubble-wrapped a crap-load of it in the last few days and there is [much] more to do.

Another disclaimer: the dern GG wears that dern shirt because, well, I don’t exactly know why except that it’s a *joke*. I know that it isn’t funny to everyone. But. I think we are both against religious *extremists*. We both know, like, and work with many people of many faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Including Islam. This t-shirt could just as easily depict an extreme Christian pastor. It is a dern joke and it is meant to highlight the folks in any religion who are intolerant. I am not religious but I am definitely tolerant of those who are. As long as they do not try to convert me. That’s where I get off… Okay? Okay. Live and let live. And don’t blow things up.

Kerplink Kerplank Kerplunk

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

I missed a baby shower today. I hate to miss baby showers. I love to be at those events. I like to support the new moms in my family and cackle with the old moms. I had to miss The Beautiful Renee’s shower. I felt awful about that. But. I live in a tangled web of Fin and Macmu and Courtois and it goes on forever… This weekend I spent inordinate amounts of time packing up The Commander’s beauteous things. Wrapping all kinds of stuff in bubblewrap and packing it into boxes. Separating out a very very few items that I remember from my childhood and deciding how to distribute the rest. Even though The Commander was not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, at the end of today, I felt just a bit overwhelmed. But I do have to pack this stuff up myself… 10 more boxes and another gigantic reel of bubble wrap and I might be done… … … … … Maybe…

So I was not down in Megalopolis today to attend The Beautiful Renee’s baby shower. Fortunately, Lizard Breath was able to attend, bring one of her fave childhood books for the new baby and extend my apologies.

Me… Well, after we got back out to the moominbeach with our latest load, I was tinking around in the moomincabin and none other than my cousin The Beautiful Jan arrived! Soooooo good to see her again. Then I took a walk and ran into The Beautiful Gina on the road. We are not related but our grandfathers bought the beach land together and the Mcs and the Fins have known each other since we were children. So good to see her too.

I am being maudlin. The photooo? This was my status on facebook in the late afternoon today:

Status: Having a ‘hattan. Watching the Stewart Cort go up. Watching a seiche form. Hotter than Hades on the beach. Cooler up in the woods. Flutterbys flitting by. Launching southbound at 0-skunk-30

Good night and love y’all.


Saturday, May 26th, 2012

I am sooooo taaarrrred tonight. The Commander was *not* a hoarder. But stuff accumulates when you live in a house for a long time. The Comm worked for years before her death to get rid of all of her stuff. But there is still a lot a stuff and we worked on triaging what remains of that stuff for many hours today.

I have to tell you that the GG is the absolute master of the universe in this endeavor. He has been up here for the whole week with the Frog Hopper and the loverly old Courtois trailer. He has taken loads (with my blessing) to the “good will” and loads to the moomingarage where we are staging for loads to various places. Dogmomster was the window washing wizard today and she lent me her fancy new vee-hickle when I had to make an emergency bubble-wrap run to Woldemort.

It would’ve been nice to spend the whole day at the moomincabin but it was a Work Weekend. We took a bit of a break in the early afternoon and got food to go at Clyde’s Drive-in. We took it over to Goosepoop Park to eat so the dogz could get out of the car for a bit.

On the way back to the Squatter’s Paradise, we encountered this bee-yo-tiful baby blue tug-barge thingy going upbound above the Poe Lock.

After that, we did some more work at the SP. Eventually, the Frog Hopper and trailer were full and we headed back out to the beach. We were all pretty much out of energy by then. Dogmomster and I both (separately) walked the beach. We all sat on (or near) the beach for a while. But not together. I made it a point to stay away from the others. I needed some alone time and I bet the others did too. When I was “young”, I sometimes mistook my own crankiness (on an otherwise fine day) to be due to perceived faults of some other person. Nowadays I know that I am just plain cranky sometimes, particularly in the mid-to-late afternoon. Other people may or may not be misbehaving (and they certainly weren’t today) but it is MEEEEE who is the problem. No one (including meeeee for the most part (I don’t think)) was misbehaving today but spacification was a good thing anyway.

We reconvened for dinner and the mean old grunchie old grinchie joined us and that is about all…

Love y’all and good night.


Friday, May 25th, 2012

By the time I took this photoooo, I had gotten up, eaten a half-bowl of Cheerios, saddled up the Ninja and droven it to GB. I parked the Ninja in Dogmomster’s garage, transferred my crap into her vee-hickle, we drove through the Starbuck’s drive-thru and got on to the I75 SUV Speedway. The guys had their noses just a wee bit outta joint with me in the front passenger seat. They tend to switch places, one in the front and one in the back on trips north. They have a way of communicating when the time is right that the rest of us don’t totally understand. They were foiled on this trip by my presence in the front seat but anyway, here is Alfarooney, the Birch Point Osprey Treat…

We eventually got to this loverly old gateway to the yooperland, before which you had to take a ferry.

Ernie and Alfred perk up like crazy when they get to this bridge. Of course, I was told that they went a little nuts when the Ninja started up their street this morning and they haven’t seen me in months. Dogs are smart. Most of them. Except when they’re not. <grin> And then we got to our final destination.

It was hazy out in the bay and we could smell woodsmoke. It is very very very dry this year and there are forest fires in the yooperland. We don’t have one near our beach (knock on wood big time) but the wind is blowing smoke here from several fires. One near Seney, one near Tahquamenon, and a third north of Sault, Ontario. This morning, the smoke was so bad that the GG and Lizard Breath called the DNR Forest Service to ask where there were fires and also walked / drove around the area to make sure there were no fires on our near our property. There were / are no fires but we are doing a rain dance. No lightning please!

I am dead taaarrrred and there is work to do tomorrow. Good night. Sleep tight.

Some days…

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Yesterday was one of *those* days…

A flurry of sorta angst-producing phone calls at work (not work related). At one point, I felt so close to crying that I had to take a walk. I didn’t (cry, that is). I talked myself down off that ledge. Calm and patience. Not my strongest suits but I am learning. (Don’t worry, in the grand scheme of things, this was a teensy tinesy little blip. Nothing to fret about. Just some unexpected stuff to deal with on a previously boring day and it overwhelmed me for a few minutes.)

A nexus of angsty-type text / email / phone calls after work. (Not sure if “nexus” is the right word here but I’m gonna go with it anyway.).

LOTS of activity at the normally comatose Landfill. People *gardening* in the back yard. People (from Callyforny) sleeping in the crumby (read that word carefully) old fold-out couch. (Actually, when I saw the mattress pad down by the washing musheen this morning, I panicked a bit, thinking, “rodent turds?” Thankfully not! Or else people aren’t ‘fessin’ up <grin>) BTW… It is *wonderful* to have 20-something daughters who have lived on their own long enough that, when they visit your house and put up friends overnight, they actually take the initiative to make long-neglected beds for guests, etc. That said, I’m not sure I can take credit for teaching them how to do laundry. That is, I don’t remember teaching the Beach Urchins to do laundry but when they were young and we were staying at the moominbeach for a few weeks in the summer, The Commander and I took them on a weekly trip to the laundromat. By the time they were in middle school, they were doing their own laundry. Boy oh boy, am I rambling or what? Hee! Once, they were mis-behaving at the laundromat [wiggles eyebrows] and the laundromat lady [a friend of The Comm] gave them a little bit of discipline. Yes I felt about two inches high <grin>.

Finally. A loooonnng [but non-angsty] phone conversation with the wondrously patient Planet Ann Arbor uber puano piano tuner / rebuilder / advisor / guru. He helped me immensely in sorting out the steps I need to take to solve my two-old-puano-piano situation. And encouraged me to talk myself down off the ledge if an expert (or two) deems one (or both) of these puanos pianos to be not worth fixing. Thanks Nelson. I think I love you.

Today? Soooooo much more calm. KNOCK ON WOOD BIGTIME!!!

Love y’all,

P.S. Ann Arbor, do not even try to tell me where I can and can’t walk!!

Susie Homemaker aka Desi Arnaz

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Because I feel like I went through the wringer today (and not because of work), I will post the update I got from “Susie Homemaker”, who emailed the contents of the moomincabin refrigerator today. You know you want to know…

Ice Cream
Frozen bfast sausage links
A little frozen bacon

three frozen steaks (from Frans house)
two frozen pork chops (from Frans house)
Two frozen pizzas (one vegetarian) (may get eaten on Thursday)
Frozen cooked shrimp
Three naked breasts (chicken)

Lots of butter
mustard (2)
Italian dressings
Razzzberry Vinegarette
Bleu cheese dressing

two yogurts with nuts

Quart Milk
Quart Orange Juice
Cranberry Juice

Bag of red skin potatoes
One red bell pepper
Nine ears of corn
Two Yellow Onions
One Vidalia Onion
Bag of regular carrots
bag of celery
package of calliflower & broccoli
Seven Eggs

Vegetable oil
Olive Oil
Varios bottles of vinegar
Karo Syrups
Maple Syrup
Lemon and Lime Juices

Ramen Noodles
Two Newman’s Own Marinara (one with sausage & peppers; one plain)

16 oz Fusilli (like Rotelli)
12 oz long grain white rice

Bread crumbs
various boxes of crackers
Hint of lime Tostitos
Pancake Mix

Peanut butter
Half Jar of Instant Coffee

Pop Tarts

One Loaf of Italian Bread
Partial loaf of pumpernickel cocktail bread

Lots of plastic bags of various sizes
Tin Foil
Cling Wrap

Toilet Cleaner
Lots of Toilet Paper
Paper Towels

Gordons Gin
Gordons Vodka
Manhattan Fixins (too much dry Vermouth)

Limited canned foods but do have Hunts Beans

Some of the food items could make a shrimp stir-fry

Some could make a nice chicken dinner

Some of the stuff is perfect for corn chowder


Carted another load from the house today.
Not much food left at the house beyond spices.
Washed the cabin windows.
Planting Impatiens

Bottle of Woodford Reserve :}

Susie Homemaker

I was blowing parmesan cheese off of my computer. Jeebus fricking kee-reist!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

I can haz a family? I am accustomed to the whole empty nest thing and I even like it. I leave for work in the morning and when I get back home in the late afternoon, the Landfill is basically the same as when I left for work in the morning. And there’s the other thing about the empty nest syndrome. When your “chickies” (channeling Grampa Garth here) have left the nest, it means that they are successfully living on their own.

On the other hand, there are so many nights that I come home from work and it’s just me and the GG. “Luuuuuucyyyy I’m home!” Or just me sometimes. If the GG is outta town. For a long time I enjoyed being spacified. Alone. In my own loverly landfill. I needed that as I began building a new career and started de-acquisitioning all my crappy old stuff.

I still do enjoy the aloneness. Sometimes. But over the last year with all the times I was squatting at the Squatter’s Paradise — ALONE — I grew to actually sometimes feel *lonely*. One beach urchin out in SanFran. The other on The Planet Ann Arbor but I hardly saw her because our work schedules don’t often coincide.

I left work a little early today.

When I got home today, the A2 beach urchin was working in my “garden”. Daz!

When I got home today, the A2 beach urchin had made tomato basil soup on my loverly three-burner stove.

When I got home today, two beach urchins had done laundry down in the Landfill Dungeon. I LOVE when people come over home to do laundry.

When I got home today, there were two Honda Civics already here.

When I got home today, one of those Honda Civics had a Callyforny license plate on it.

When I got home today, the Callyforny Deetroit beach urchin was ravaging the Landfill for stuff she could use in her beeyootiful new apartment. Me? Yes! Take it take it take it! I offered the A2 beach urchin some stuff too.

Tomorrow night I will be back to hanging out alone here at the Landfill. And that will be okay. Tonight? Two beach urchins here. One has been hanging out in the “garden” for hours, trying to reclaim a wee bit of land to grow some tomatoes. The other? Home from California. Drove from San Francisco to New York City and then back to Deetroit. Ferndale to be totally accurate… And here to the Planet Ann Arbor for the afternoon and an eggplant parmesan dinner. Taaarrred of eating at restaurants.

My house was rocking today and I felt like a moom again. I think I will like having both beach urchins within driving distance. Daz.


Monday, May 21st, 2012

So… What is in this little unflung area of the Landfill Back Room? Hmmm. A spinning wheel. A collection of remote-controlled helicopters. (Please don’t sit on them.) A cat mobile made by a first-grader (and her dad) and a set of bells made by an I-fergit-what-grader (and her dad). A 2002 high school graduation photo. A vintage globe from Treasure Mart. A loverly painted wooden fish. Dream-catcher tangled up with a bunch of waarrrs underneath an a/c unit that we do not use anymore because we have central a/c now. And I don’t know what else.

Y’all are noticing the… [elephant in the room anyone?] The Red Piano! It is a player piano but you can also play player pianos (hee hee) yourself in the regular way that people like, oh, I dunno, Vladimir Horowitz did. You know, by pressing the keys down with your fingers.

The Red Piano is the piano that took up residence in the Courtois fam home over in Royal Joke. It was used as a player piano but I *think* that some of the Courtois kids also took piano lessons. It is red because my vibrantly beautiful mother-in-law aka Grandma Sally *loved* the color red and painted it that color. I have to say that when both the GG’s parents were dead and we built the beautiful new cabin at Houghton Lake, all of us (including me) had a tendency to buy red stuff for the kitchen — teapots and pans and dish towels, etc. Was Sally watching us? I’d like to think so.

We moved the Red Piano over to the Landfill when the Courtois parents moved permanently from their house in Royal Oak to their condo in Florida.

Fast forward (don’t you hate how life does that fast forwarding thing?) In the midst of the billion things I need to do to deal with The Commander’s estate, I remembered that I am now more or less the owner of *two* (count ’em) pianos. I have the Red Piano and then there’s the piano at The Commander’s house. I am not sure what to do with two blasted pianos. I cannot fit them both into my house. Although I love the Red Piano, The Commander’s piano is [arguably] a better piano. But maybe if we [finally] fixed it up…

I am not sure what I will do. I *can* play the piano. I can play it quite well. But I haven’t played it in years. You saw the remote controlled helicopters on the bench, roight? I still want to have a piano in my house. I’m not ready to give that up. I covet The Comm’s piano but I would gladly give it to any of her lovely granddaughters if they wanted it (And you kids, I’m am not trying to dump a puano on you, but if you want it, let met know!!!! If you want it *someday*, lemme know. Maybe we can work it out.). Same thing for the Red Piano. If there are Courtois children / grandchildren or whoever who want Grandma Sally’s beautiful piano, please let me know.

I don’t know what will happen with either of these dern pianos. How many damn pianos can one baggy old systems analyst-type person own? She only wants one…

Wishing it could have stayed 8 AM all day

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

20120520-182053.jpgIt was so gorgeous at Houghton Lake today that I could’ve sat down by the water all day. Alas, time marches on and soon it was noon. I thought something like, “It’s late September and I really should be getting back to school.” or maybe, “It’s early Sunday afternoon and I really should be hitting the I75 SUV Speedway so I can get back to the Planet Ann Arbor in time to get some chores done because I have a busy week ahead including a presentation on Thursday.” Yada yada. Yada. Ho hum.

I was feeling kind of crummy this morning (psychologically) but fortunately I had a smooth sail all the way home. After all, it is the weekend *before* Memorial Day Weekend so most of the “amateurs” were not on the road. You know, all of those holiday weekend boat or camping trailer haulers. I received a couple of text messages along the way that made me feel a lot more optimistic in general.

I got home to no wifi. Again. Didn’t this just happen a few Sundays ago? Yes. Yes it did. After intermittent service over the next week, we decided it was our aging cable modem, so we replaced that thing and things have been cool since then. Until today. Flashing yellow on all the hubs. I switched my phone over to the 4G and took a look around. Lo and behold, a Planet Ann Arbor friend had posted that there was indeed a Comcast issue.

I can certainly use my phone to get online and do that a LOT but I needed a real keyboard, one I could touch-type on. I needed a few grokkeries too. So I threw my laptop into my backpack and hoofed it over to the Plum Market and sat out there using the whifi. (Come to think of it, I wonder who their service provider is…)(“Whifi”? Snort. I’m not gonna even correct that one. Hee hee.)

Anyway, I am posting this boring bunch of blather from my iPad. It is hot here but it is only in the 80s and it seems to be a “dry” heat so it’s not oppressive. I have the big fan turned on but not the central a/c. I do not want to shut up all the doors and windows. I’d rather be able to hear the birds and whatever.

Goodnight. I hope I have the Internet back on my laptop soon. Apple, take a note… Make your laptops 4G-able…

When the Lord of Linden requests your presence at Houghton Lake, you *go* to Houghton Lake.

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

I’m joking about that. Actually, I think that people were just asking for a good Bottle Washer. And there are plenty of those here besides me but I was still flattered.

I had one heckuva time sleeping last night. I could not make my brain turn off. I even tried watching Bad TV in the form of “Say Yes to the Dress”. It didn’t work. Did I sleep at all last night? I think so but I’m not sure. I know I did not get any REM sleep because I didn’t have any [goddamn] REM dreams. Good or bad? I dunno. Nevertheless and in spite of much trepidation (i.e., will I fall asleep on the I75 SUV Speedway?), I set off in the Ninja this morning and drove to Houghton Lake. Guess what? I did not fall asleep and go off the road. I was not even tired enough to need any coffee. I don’t know why but it was a smooth trip and I am crossing fingers that the trip home will be similar.

When I got here, I snagged a cup of coffee and went down to sit by the water and none other than the Lord of Linden was at that moment piloting The Pontoon Boat from winter storage to home. Its maiden voyage for the summer.

The next job was to install the boat hoist for the pontoon boat and this required all hands on deck.

Actually I think that we should hire some unemployed linebackers for this particular job in the future. It was scary. But we did get the pontoon boat out on the lake…

Somebody said something about going to a nude beach (at Houghton Lake? Say what?) and somebody else said, “Poor Jimmy”. In other words, we knew our brother Jim C would want to be up here with us this weekend. The GG was driving this time…

The Lord of Linden suggested we might go to the nude beach but we only made it as far as the tiki bar…

We spent most of the afternoon in the pontoon boat. We got one drink at the tiki bar and then we took the boat over to the grokkery store. In all, we were in the boat for several hours and it was all fun but when we got back to the Group Home, I was feeling like I walked about 10 miles today…

Good night. I think I will sleep tonight.

Rambling incoherently…

Friday, May 18th, 2012

An NPR caller just asked something like, “What do 50-something people do when they lose their jobs and can’t afford housing? Do they move in with their 90-year-old parents?” It was kind of a sarcastic question but she was struggling and honestly wondering what to do. Since the wolf is nowhere near the door here at the Landfill, we are not in that situation. I didn’t lose my job last year and so there was no need to consider moving in with my 90-year-old mother. I did spend a lot of time squatting in my 90-year-old mother’s house hoping I still *had* a job waiting for me when our lives stabilized.

I can’t move in with my 90-year-old mother now because she isn’t around anymore but I can still squat at her house if I want because we haven’t gotten around to selling it yet. (And yes, we do have a real estate agent. He was a buddy of my dad. But we have quite a bit to do there and living a five-hour drive away complicates that a lot.) And at this time of year, I would prefer to squat at the moomincabin.

2012 has been some year so far. We lost The Commander. One BFF lost both parents. Another BFF lost her mother and then her mother-in-law. All nonagenarians. All under hospice care. We three are going forth on our own journeys without our elder generation. It’s true that I have some aunts and uncles left but maybe you get my point. Hopefully we are all finished exchanging emails about illness and hospice and death for the year. Knock on wood big time. Everybody be careful.

We all have different ways of processing this kind of stuff so I can’t speak for my friends but I *think* we are all pretty pragmatic about life at this point and I know that I am doing okay. Except for that batscope hour of the night and some of the crazy dreams I’ve been having. But I’ve always had crazy dreams so that’s familiar territory. Other than that, I am at least putting one foot in front of the other, going to work and picking away at de-hoarding in my spare time. And walking as many miles as I can find time to walk. It may not sound very exciting and it may look to an outsider like I am avoiding processing my mother’s death but in reality I am probably not.

My life may be on the boring side for the moment but plenty of others are in the midst of change. Moving across town. Moving across the country. Graduating. Having babies! Our next door neighbors are doing that. The neighbors that are the same age as the baby that *I* had a few months after moving into the Landfill. (In fact, her due date happened to be yesterday and I don’t see much going on over there today, so maybe…) Will any of these changes affect my life? In small, maybe even medium-sized ways, some will. Others will not affect my routine in the slightest.

But the NPR question intrigued me. I know there are 50-somethings who move back in with their 90-year-old parents for many reasons, financial hardship or to provide care for their parents or some combination of both. I am glad I never had to consider that option. I *visited* The Commander a lot over the years. I often stayed at the moomincabin with the parents for several weeks at a time and those parents were hugely significant [positive] influences on the beach urchins. But move in? On a permanent basis? I’m sure that would have been very difficult for both of us.

There is no real point to all of the above. 2012 has been a year of change and continues on that path and I am just rambling incoherently about stuff that I am still in the process of, uh, processing…

P.S. Hmm… Apparently Houghton Lake is looking for a Bottle Washer. Should I apply for the job? I wonder what it pays… 😉

The bears are taking over Troll-land

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Yeesh! It is Thursday and I was rolling along at work when I checked Twitter on my phone (don’t tell). Shooting on N. Maple. In the block that is just across N. Maple from my little neighborhood. The block that I walk on over to the Plum Market every other day or so.

A while later… Accident at Ellsworth and State, maybe involving a police car. Well, that is the penultimate intersection that I have to negotiate to get to work every day. It is a busy intersection but by the time I get to it, I am usually pretty much relieved because I am almost there and the last mile or so is pretty easy. They’re gonna turn the Ellsworth / State intersection into a round-about. I have mixed feelings about that…

Anyway, yes, a police car driving west on Ellsworth Road was responding to a call and broadsided another vee-hickle whose (distracted?) driver did not pull over. Bad but all too typical. The disconnect? These cops were responding to the call about the shooting on N. Maple. Why in the *heck* was a police car *eight* miles away called to this incident? Weren’t there any police cars any closer to my neighborhood? I know that the city has been cutting police and fire department personnel in the last few years (and I strongly disagree with that) but I have a hard time believing that the closest police car was waaayyy over on the south side of town. Anyway, the shooting turned out to be accidental and all injuries were treatable. Ho-hum…

And so, the GG and I walked over to Knight’s for dinner tonight. We hung out at the bar for a short time and when we were taken to our table, I was surprised to see that it was set for *three*! I shouldda known by the text messages flying back and forth before we left the Landfill that he was making arrangements to surprise me with Mouse! And so she arrived, big as life. I won’t bore you with the conversation but it was so much fun.

Hey, I downloaded a book to my phone while we were at Knight’s. Crypotonomicon. Maybe I’ll read it.

I hate faaarrrr grills drills and dashboard lights

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

I have hated faaarrrr drills since kindergarten. When Mrs. Ryan said we were going to have a faaaarrrrr drill, I thought she said “grill”. I was pretty excited about that. We had never grilled hamburgers at school before. I figured we’d set up the grill on the kindergarten playground. I was *not* happy when it turned out that the faaaaarrrr “grill” was a horrifically loud buzzer. BZ BZ BZ BZ! I categorically do not like sudden loud noises.

I also don’t like dashboard lights. I especially don’t like dashboard lights when they are accompanied by a faaarrrr drill. Like the last couple of days have been… I got into the Ninja on Monday morning and got halfway down the street and HELLO! the taaaarrrr light was on. Again. Excuse me, AGAIN!!! Wait a minute. The dern taaaarrrr light was just on a few weeks ago. And a few weeks before that. But these are “new” taaaarrrs. We bought them last August! We haven’t put *that* many miles on the Ninja since then. Defective taaaar, maybe?

When I got home that night, I texted the GG: “Tire light is in again.” (Yes, “in”, walking and texting…) He did not reply but when he got home, he checked the tires, put air in the left rear (again) and, oh by the way, was uncharacteristically grumpy. I may call him the Grumpy Growler on the web but he is not the grumpy one in the fam, although he will rant about politicians and various “authorities”, etc. But usually when he gets home from work, he swings in the door yelling, “Luuucyyyy, I’m home!” so that the whole neighborhood can hear.

Not that day. Grumpy. I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, I did NOT make the tire light go on. I don’t think it was me or the tire light but, at any rate, there was a little kerfuffle about *who* would take care of the defective tire. *I* did not want to. I mean, I can *do* that kind of thing but it just seems more expedient for him to do it. As a person who put himself through college working at the old Chrysler Hamtramck assembly plant and is a decent amateur mechanic in his own right, he knows the lingo. But he was so darn grumpy that I begrudgingly agreed to take the Ninja over to the Honda dealer (hold that detail, it becomes important) and get the tire fixed or replaced or whatever. The Honda dealer is not too far from my work and getting from the darn EPA to the *Honda dealer* is like running a gauntlet these days.

So, I got up the next morning, sucked it up and called Honda to arrange to get the tire fixed. A neanderthal took my call but I won’t bore you with those details. The essence was something like, “you probably just have a nail in the tire, don’t worry your pretty little shaggy old head about it”. There is not a nail in the tire but I didn’t tell him that. We agreed that I would bring it in the next day (that would be today). I made all kinds of complicated arrangements for getting to work from Honda (via Mouse) and back to Honda when it was done (via a cube neighbor).

But then… It turned out that… Remember when I said to hold that thought? We bought the tires at… Drum roll… Discount Tire!!!! Fortunately, that information was, uh, remembered, last night so I didn’t end up embarrassing myself at Honda asking about a warranty that they had no record of, thank you god or whoever.

So, the GG, who seemed to be a bit incensed that some neanderthal expressed the opinion that there might be a *nail* in the tire, took the Ninja today and got the tire fixed. Me? I took the Frog Hopper today and I was happy to be driving a vee-hickle without a dashboard light this morning. Except that… I got halfway down the street and realized the oil light was on. Don’t worry, this isn’t the *real* oil light, it is the lite oil light. It is definitely okay to keep driving with the lite oil light and actually it turned itself out halfway to work. But I was not a particularly happy camper.

So, the GG is back to his “Luuuucyyyy I’m home” routine and all is well. Knock on wood big time that I don’t have a damn dashboard light tomorrow!

P.S. Thank you dear for getting the tire fixed!

Beware the frumious bandersnatch

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Is that how it goes? I always loved the Alice in Wonderland books, at least until the loverly youth theatre guild I used to work for put on a production of “Alice’s Great Adventures in Wonderland”. Yes, that was the title. That’s because we didn’t use a published script. Our wondrous executive / artistic director wrote our script herself. I am not using the word “wondrous” sarcastically at all. Our director was (and is) one of the most talented people I have ever known. I loved her then and I still do and now that I am back hanging out in the corporate info-tech world, I don’t see her often enough. But like many people who are gifted with creative genius, working with her could sometimes send the sanest of us (and I am not necessarily among the sanest) screaming out into the snow in stocking feet.

“Alice’s Great Adventures in Wonderland” was one of our large venue, large cast plays. I think there were 55 kids in that play. There were three Alices and two or three of most of the other characters who had any lines at all. We would double or even triple cast these large plays so that different actors played their “major” roles in different performances and most actors had more than one role. So if you were Alice in two performances, you might be an oyster and maybe something else in the rest of the performances. This method of casting was wonderful in terms of providing more kids with acting opportunities. It could also be a logistical nightmare, especially when the *parents* got involved… “But Uncle %K@Ld9 from the Planet Zephron III can only come to the Saturday night performance, yada yada.” People? Research your kids activities *before* you sign them up and then leave it alone.

And I’m not even gonna talk about the costumes. All I have to say about that is that the *volunteers* who coordinated the costumes for those plays were goddesses! I will never forget one play when we were a few weeks into the rehearsal schedule and hadn’t identified a *competent* costume coordinator. Board members were wondering why one kid who usually auditioned for our “big” plays and whose mom was an uber-competent costume mom hadn’t shown up. Hmmm… Then I ran into her at the Westgate Kroger! She hadn’t received the audition postcard! I rather warily said, “Yaknow, if your daughter wants to be in the play, I think she could probably have a role…” I reported this back to the director and wouldn’t you know, not only did that kid get a role (or two or three) but that costume mom ended up on our board of directors.

I had fun doing that “job” for quite a few years. I loved driving all over town running errands or hauling kids to rehearsals. I loved running around backstage in whatever venue we were in. I loved doing the website and creating forms and flyers and tickets and play programs and whatever else I needed to create. I loved hanging out in Office Max making quazillions of copies of things (except when their copy musheens weren’t working well). I didn’t like holding hands with the panicky parents (why didn’t my incredibly talented kid get the “lead” role, yada yada). In the end, the info-tech cube world is a better fit for me. I’m still trying to figure out if I chose that route or if it chose me… It definitely pays better!

Are there more cockroaches in the kitchen?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

I am extremely grumpy at the moment. The immediate issue falls squarely into the category of “first-world problems”, i.e., it has to do with vee-hickle dashboard lights and we’ll leave it at that for now, because, despite the damn dashboard light, we have two late-model *working* vee-hickles. Who can complain? I can and I will. But not in this venue tonight.

More seriously. What is up [AGAIN] with the damn banking industry? I’m not talking about my local branch bank folks like Gladys or Tiffany or even Brandon. They are going to work every day and doing their jobs and probably getting paid piddly shit to do them. I’m talking about the folks up there in the stratosphere. The ones that are trading and hedging things around like crazy (no, I do *not* know the lingo) but it seems like some of what the “top talent” in the banking industry is doing is crazy unsustainable and that they are probably more interested in lining their own pockets than providing financial services to the public in return for a decent living.

There is a school of thought that says you have to pay big money to the folks at the top to attract the top talent. I understand the concept but I don’t totally agree with it. First, how are we defining “top talent”? What have these people done that makes them so fantastic? Or have they been encouraged to find a new job (because they were horrible at the one they had) and given glowing recommendations because everyone fears retribution? I don’t think the “top talent” should automatically be paid salaries that are exponentially greater than their lowlier employees unless they actually produce something. I’m not sure all of this current crop of bank folks are producing anything much. Well, except for lining their own pockets. Did they not learn *anything* from the 2008 meltdown? I don’t think so.

Y’all are bored with this story by now because I have posted it before but my dad and grandaddy were both bankers and I think it bears repeating. In the last couple years of my dad’s life, he occasionally told a story of when he was a boy and went with his dad to collect a cow. Yes, a cow. The cow was on an island and they had to take a ferry to get there. They walked on to the ferry, walked a mile or so to the farm, collected the cow, walked back down to the ferry dock and walked the cow on to the ferry. Somebody was waiting on the other side with a truck or whatever. This was a story that always ended with a little bit of a moral. “When you are in the banking business, you can get into all kinds of shit.” Yes.

I know that the banking financial services industry is a lot different today and that if cows are ever collected, it’s probably whole cattle farms and I don’t even want to think about what happens to those cows but because I am an omnivore who enjoys a good steak once in a while, I should really just shut up. That said, come on. We all have to earn a living but I wonder if those who are at the higher (or more esoteric) levels of the banking financial services industry could at least think just a wee little bit about their customers and the sustainability of our country’s economy.

I do not have cockroaches here in the Landfill Chitchen. I periodically have mice and I have had ants, little moths, and fruit flies. No cockroaches here.

I do think there are plenty more cockroaches in the banking kitchen.

Every day is mother’s day.

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

As I think I have blahgged about before, I couldn’t care less about Mother’s Day. Hanging out at a fancy restaurant wearing an fancy uncomfortable pastel outfit and beauteously permed hair and eating too much heavy-duty food is not my thing. Breakfast for me today was yogurt, a half-bowl of Cheerios, and orange juice. Still, I literally could not remember what I did on Mother’s Day 2011. I couldn’t even remember where I *was* on that day. It was right smack in the middle of my sojourn as a 21st Century Nomadic Enigma and I had no memory. Fortunately, I am an obsessive-compulsive blahgger who blathers away every day whether or not I have anything interesting to say. So I looked it up! It turns out that I drove down from the yooperland that day and spent the afternoon on Mouse’s beauteous balcony and shopping at Cost Plus.

Okay, now I remember… I felt so much relief that day. I loved my mother, make no mistake, but our relationship was complicated (like *many* mother-daughter relationships, including those I have with my own beautiful daughters). The Commander had some difficult times during the last few years when (I think) she was starting to need more help and refusing to admit it. And she was able to pull the wool over my eyes to a great extent but that would be a subject for another blahg entry (or maybe it’ll never make it onto the internet).

So, the crisis I knew would eventually occur came last spring and I will just say that, when I read that 2011 Mother’s Day entry, I feel the relief I felt that day. The Comm was forced to live temporarily in the last situation she wanted to be in, which was a hospital long-term care unit with several roommates, two of whom had serious dementia. Sigh. She could not safely live at her house. She did not want to leave the yooperland (after 60 years there). But she was all there mentally and boy oh boy did she push my buttons! Anyway, I was sooooooo glad to be able to return to the Planet Ann Arbor that day. The GG was in the yooperland taking some of his huge number of vacation hours and he hung out with The Commander so that I could actually work over *at* my loverly, dog-poopy cube and decompress in my own house and yard in the evening. It was all good. The Commander liked the GG better than me in a lot of ways but that would be still another blahg entry that I may not ever write.

Eventually we got The Commander into the beautiful assisted living facility that was our choice (mine and hers), albeit grudgingly on her part. At that time, I figured The Commander had a few good years left so I was pretty surprised when her health started to deteriorate and she became sort of a frequent flyer to the ER. She recovered from all of those trips but each one of them took more out of her. And then, during her last trip over to the hoosegow, she contracted a Clostridium difficile bacterial infection. That one did her in. Although she actually beat off the infection, she was too weak (at 91) to keep on keeping on… This was not something I had the capacity to help with except to absorb about a gazillion existential questions that I couldn’t answer. I hope that makes up for all the times she changed my diapers or cleaned up my vomit but it probably doesn’t…

Mother’s Day today? Knock on wood, We went off shopping for plants and stuff. Clematis plants that we *hope* will climb our new arbor. A couple of tomato plants. The “salad bowl” in the photooo. I love leaf lettuce but I am wondering if this thing will actually provide me with salad or give Henry some fast food. We’ll see.

Love you Moom wherever you are. Both of the beach urchins texted me their good wishes. I was okay with that! 🙂

Drank champagne and danced all night

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

That was the clue for the first word I entered in the NYT xword this morning. For a long time it was the only word I entered. I’m still maybe only about 10% done with it. Just cannot get any traction today. Not sure if I eventually will or if this puzz is just not in my wheelhouse. Anyway, I was doing the xword on my phone down at the Planet Ann Arbor farmer’s market a little after seven this morning, eating a donut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles and drinking coffee from Roo’s Roast. Between hoop houses and our unusually warm spring, the farmer’s market was hopping today!

We bought a few things, hoofed it back to the Landfill, then filled up the loverly old Courtois trailer with the rest of the wood from Hans’s old tree (the one that fell on our house a few years ago) plus some other old, crappy wood. Filling up the trailer entails walking by this birdhouse, which is about at eye-level. It is occupied. You might need to click to embiggen the pic. (Don’t worry, the mama was not all that freaked out about our presence).

So with our trailer filled with junk, off we went, snaking down around south and east of town to get to the landfill. I mean the real landfill, not the Landfill that I live in. I feel a little less like the Beverly Hillbillies when we pull the crappy old trailer with the Frog Hopper than I did when we used to haul it with The Indefatigable. I still feel a bit like a hillbilly (and that is a good thing).

We paid $20 to dump our crap but we were not quite finished with the trailer yet. Why? Because one of the things we *took* to the landfill was an old arbor that disintegrated some time in the last few months. And one of the things we *bought* at the farmer’s market was the beauteous arbor in the pic below. We have been eyeballing it for months. We aren’t sure if it is in its permanent location or not. We’re auditioning it there for a bit. Anyway, we couldn’t exactly haul something like that the two miles home on foot, so we bought it and went back to pick it up.

All in all, a pretty darn productive day. When we got home with the arbor, the mail had arrived and there was an astounding number of packages on the front porch but I’ll tell y’all about that some other day… I triaged the latest ton of papers to arrive from Siberia, recycling or shredding most of it (because I have online access to it all). Potted some little basil plants, walked to the Plum Market, drove through the bank (ATM) and post office, laundry and a little weeding and I dunno what else. The GG went to war against the Urushiol Oil Cartel, the one that operates rather clandestinely in our own otherwise loverly back yard. We are grilling tonight. Hope y’all are having fun whatever you’re doing.

Good night,