Archive for July, 2013

Head counting

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

headcountingHow many heads? I count seven.

Childhood. Don’t go swimming without getting somebody’s mom to watch you. The Commander, Radical Betty, Bubs, The White Tornado, Barb, sometimes a McPiedmont mom. I used to ask The Comm something like, “How come it’s okay for you to watch us? You can’t even swim.” And that was true and I’m not sure why. Her answer was something like, “I could get help!” I suppose that might be true but the correct answer would have been that she could walk out into the water and pull a struggling child right up. It’s shallow near the shore and there are more or less two sandbars before it gets over your head (and no riptides, thank you Round Guano Island). You can tell a small child, “Don’t go beyond the second sandbar” and they are pretty darn safe. But still, you cannot be too careful around any amount of water.

When I had my own beach urchins, I spent a *lot* of time life-guarding. For one thing, I remembered that we *never* had to ask twice to get somebody to lifeguard while we swam, even if it required wearing a winter jacket. There was a “rule” for a long time about not swimming until an hour after you ate (you would get a cramp, as the old wives’ tale went) but I kind of think that little rule was made to give the adults a well-deserved break, something like the 3-o’clock snack rule we used to have at the moomincabin when my beach urchins were small. But also, one of my fav-o-rite activities on earth is slugging around on the beach.

So I spent a lot of time lifeguarding for my beach urchins and any cuzzints that were around, to the point where sometimes it became difficult to get a bathroom break. I loved slugging around on the beach so much I think sometimes people kind of forgot that I might need a break. Nowadays I could just text somebody, “Hey, I gotta peeeeeeee”.

I am struggling with the head count in this photooo. These kids are my 1st cuzzints twice removed. That means they are my cousin’s grandchildren, the Beautiful Jan of Jeep and Pan. There are seven in the photo but I’m only remembering that six were up here that night (out of nine, I think). So who am I missing? But yaknow what? It wasn’t my responsibility to count the heads this time. Their mothers and grandmother were there and all of those women are perfectly competent lifeguards.

Note that this photooo is from a few nights ago. This evening, we are experiencing loverly thunderstorms. If you are friends with me on facebook, I have posted a short video there.

Dear Kayak Woman…

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

tomatoesPlease don’t forget to mail your property tax bill tomorrow. You know, the one for the Landfill, down there on The Planet Ann Arbor. You are at the moominbeach right now but you do actually remember your beloved Landfill too, roight? You wrote the check as soon as you got the bill and you put it on that ledge by the Landfill front door with a little post-it note attached to it: “Do NOT mail until July 31.” Um, KW, do you know where the tax bill is? You packed it, didn’t you? Is it in the big orange Whole Foods bag? Or is it that random bag of crap you threw together Sunday morning? Or is it in your backpack? I hope you can find it tomorrow morning before you do your first vacation busman’s holiday trip to town.

Hey ababsurdo troll, if I cannot find the damn tax bill, I can pay it online. I don’t normally like to do that. I am not sure why because I pay just about everything else online but there’s always something funky about paying the tax bill online. Something I don’t wanna do. I can’t remember what. But I think I’ll be able to find the damn tax bill and take it into town and mail it.

Mouse gave me permission to use the photooo, which was on her facebook page. This kind of thing is what’s going on in the Landfill backyard this year. This is amazing. And it is in the back yard of the place I need to remember to mail the property tax bill for tomorrow.

I am officially on vacation busman’s holiday as of something like 4:45 this afternoon. I couldn’t quite make it until 5:00. I think that’ll be okay. Cheers!

Office space

Monday, July 29th, 2013

myofficeThis was my office space for the day. Tomorrow too. It’s a bit more exotic than it might look. The cabin is not all that fancy even with modern plumbing and things. If you were to turn your head to the right, you would get THE VIEW. Out into Lake Superior via the upper St. Mary’s River. Anyway, this was my telecommuting setup this morning. That thar Windows laptop is my locked down online banking biz computer. I was actually using the MacBook Pro for a business purpose this morning but then I realized that the reason Outlook wouldn’t do email for me was because my corporate ID was missing a letter. I fixed it. You do not want to know.

So, that photo is *my* office space here in the moomincabin. Until Wednesday, when I am gonna pack my work laptop up, put it out of the way, and hope I don’t fergit to schlep it down south next week. The second photoooo is of the Corner Office. Now, mind you, no actual PAID work is going on in the Corner Office. That person is surfing the internet in there.

cornerofficeThe Corner Office is my childhood bedroom. At the cabin, that is. I had a bedroom down on Superior Street too. Back in the day, we had bunk beds in the Corner Office. There wasn’t a water heater in there. There wasn’t any indoor plumbing. We don’t need no stinkin’ hot water (or toilet). Times changed and The Comm eventually put a toilet and then a shower in. That would be a whole ‘nother blahg. Still, it kind of blows my mind that this is a 21st century incarnation of the room where my brother and I stuck monster stickers on the dressers…

I telecommuted for something like 10 hours today. It was a pretty good day to telecommute because there was wind and rain and not very warm weather so I wasn’t looking out at the beach wishing I was sitting down there. At the end of the afternoon, the GG and I sat up on the bank and whined a bit. I saw via the Marine Traffic app that Big Butt (aka the Roger Blough) was coming up. We grilled brats and corn and after I finish up the dishes, we are gonna walk the beach. That is all for tonight. Love y’all, KW.

Does this confuse you? It confuses me…

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

macbridgeIt was a cat-herding kind of day but it was one o’ those cat-herding kinds of days that worked like clockwork.

Six people descended upon The Broken Egg restaurant for breakfast via four (out of five) vee-hickles and I do not want even want to begin to decipher the number of locations. Lemme see. Liz, the GG, and I all left from The Landfill. The GG drove down in a separate vee-hickle from Liz and me. Mouse drove from her apartment. npJane arrived with her 20-something nephew after picking him up from Metro. Somehow, we all actually got there within a reasonable window of time.

After breakfast, Stuff was exchanged. Nephew’s stuff went into the Frog Hopper. npJane and I exchanged a bag of bread and chocolate for an iron. Yes. npJane gets one of The Comm’s irons and I schlepped a bag of Bugs and Horsey’s fave bread and chocolate up to them. This particular exchange was hilarious for reasons I don’t think I will ever have words for. Kind of like the time I exchanged a rusty rake, shoe boxes, and empty film containers for a rotting green pepper and cucumber with my [beloved] parents-in-law.

Shuffling ensued… npJane drove Lizard back to The Landfill, where she retrieved her stuff and her vee-hickle and I assume, eventually made her way back to DayTwa. Mouse went her own way, eventually to work. The GG and our passenger (aka npJane’s nephew) took off in the Frog Hopper with me in the Ninja behind them.

We planned on picking up the Uncly Uncle at Hill Road and US23 and as we were traveling north, our overall plan evolved into me driving the UU from there to the rest area south of West Branch and then he would switch to the Frog Hopper and go with the GG to pick up the Lyme Lounge at Houghton Lake and get dropped off in Gaylord. But when I got to the Hill Road meeting place, the UU was kinda behind schedule. So, that mid-trip plan was scrapped mid-trip. I wanted to keep moving, so I picked up a passenger and left the GG to wait for his brother.

The rest of the trip was smooth and the 20-something added a lot to it. And this is one of the better photooos I have ever taken of the Big Mac Bridge. Not to mention that I literally pointed and shot with my phone without even looking at the screen.

In which…

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

KW is reminded once again — in bright primary colors — how much she ISN’T a social butterfly. That is all. Heading east back to The Planet Ann Arbor. Complicated cat herding type day tomorrow. G’night.

Update: To ‘splain, since I’m the only one up at this hour of the morning… No, I didn’t have all that much fun at the GG’s high school reunion. It’s not his fault. It’s certainly NOT his classmates’ fault! I shouldda stayed home. I *knew* that. People? I’ll betcha if I had met up with anyone there (except for the crazy woman, maybe) in a quieter more intimate setting (restaurant? walk?) I’d’ve been fine and we’d’ve had plenty to talk about. Not last night… Because…

Music? Actually not a bad band but LOUD. This is baaaaad for KW as her acute sense of hearing / processing gets completely overwhelmed. KW’s own reunion organizers asked if people wanted a band. Answer? No, we want to talk. KW’s class rented a DJ and shushed him when the music got too loud. KW struggled with her own reunion too, make no mistake, but she remembers the people a whole lot better than the music.

But also? Going to a reunion with Mr. Popular and his identical twin? Hmmmm… Having TBG there (also in the class) was helpful. Other than that? Oh well…

Onward and upward. Really. Latitude-wise, that is.

Meanwhile, what *is* that smell? Garbage, I hope…

Where doooya think the GG is going this weekend?

Friday, July 26th, 2013

ggyearbookDo y’all pull out your old high school yearbooks to study up before a reunion? I do not. I have all four of them but I tend to use them when I need to remember how to spell Mr. Kiczenski’s name. Or Mr. Pfifer’s, who I can remember telling his 1972 12th grade honors English class (including meeeee) about the ignoramuses who misread his name as Mr. Piffer. Mr. Piffer. Mr. Piffer. He spat it out with mock disgust.

Anyway, that’s about the extent of what I use my old yearbooks for. Oh I may get a little distracted sometimes and re-read, for example, the horse-shit Bad Boyfriend wrote in my yearbook at the end of my freshman year. I wasn’t a popular kid so my yearbooks were *not* filled with hand-written stuff from friends. Lotsa space in there.

Tonight when I got down to the Oscar Tango, the GG was sitting there showing the waitresses pictures of himself (and the Uncly Uncle) with hair long enough to sit on and the female friend he used to know as [insert-male-name-here] and I dunno what else. I don’t bother studying this kind of stuff before a reunion. I just try to wing it — peer at name tags and struggle to connect faces with them and hope I don’t embarrass myself too much. Facebook does help somewhat. And then there are the people at *my* reunions who remember the GG, which is always just hilarious because he is a social enough person that he “remembers” them too. I suppose I’ll probably run into that sort of thing tomorrow night at *his* reunion. I’ll have to invent a persona or two…

And with that, since it has been such a cluster-fuck of a week, I am outta here. Yes, I used the f word. It’s okay, this week deserved it. It’s all good though, I grew a pair this week. Watch out for the new and improved KW who doesn’t put up with any crap. Or at least a lot less crap… G’night.

You’ve heard of summer casual?

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

morningsunWe are pretty much on “summer casual” *all* summer at my work. For one reason or another. Our division completed a release. The other division we share the building with completed a release. It’s hot outside. The moon is in the 7th house and Jupiter aligns with Mars… And peace… Sorry but never… But here’s a link to the 5th dimension

Back to earth… Summer casual can be interesting because people can wear shorts (yes, really) to work. I do not personally participate. My shorts are SHORT shorts. Not that they are fashionable in any sense of the word. Just that they are SHORT. And raggedy. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them to work! Although I am not quiiiite as skinny as I was a bazillion years ago (by a long shot!), I don’t exactly have bad legs. Except for the fact that this summer they are a pasty white color with all kinds of bumps and bangs and bug bites and things from hiking and jungling around in the Landfill yard, etc. Not very cute.

Today, the LSCHP speculated something like, “Why stop at summer casual? Let’s all just come to work in our skivvies!” Yes, this jocularly expressed speculation “skeeved” more than a few people out. I shouted over the wall, “If we are gonna undress, we will all have to go home and dial in to the meeting today.” Laughter and more discussion ensued ending with the LSCHP declaring that today was Captain Underpants Day. Fortunately, no one complied. Heck, our team skews OLD! Nobody wants to look at *us* in our undies. (And no, absolutely NO ONE read any kind of sexual harassment into any of that. That’s just not how folks roll where I work.)

I don’t participate in summer casual, except that I wear sandals a lot. I am VERY comfortable in skirts and tank tops, etc., and I have clothing that serves me well. When I get home at night, I switch into a tie-dyed t-shirt and my raggedy old shorts. And if we aren’t expecting guests (and we usually aren’t), I go commando. The Commander would probably be horrified…

Whar’s my shillelagh?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

cloudsI didn’t know I would feel a need for my shillelagh this morning so I didn’t take it to work. Alas, a morning missive made me temporarily see red. The LSCHP offered me his battle-axe but I decided I didn’t need it. Instead I forced myself into calm and replied to the missive point by point. In the end, the person on the other end of the missive was right about a couple issues and I was right about a couple issues and I’m sure we are on the same page with yet another issue but we are talking past each other. I guess I would file the whole affair into the category “Miscommunications”. I’d like to file it in the proverbial Circular File but it was all done over email.

I dunno what raised my ire about this. It happens all the time with this person — a highly competent and valuable team member who tends to be adamant that every change or enhancement or tweak we make to our product is accomplished correctly. We *need* this person and we tolerate the sometimes abrasive missives. Normally, I skip over the “I’m angry” phase and go straight to cracking up laughing when I get one of these missives.

Today? I know that I am overdue for a vacation. I mean one where I don’t have a bunch of business to take care of or sorting out various collections of crap. I’ll get some vacay very soon although I will have to telecommute a couple days to ensure that I have enough vacation time to take a few days here and there throughout the fall (day after Thanksgiving, anyone?) and there are stressful events scheduled on either end of my vacay.

But also? I am not stupid or incompetent. I have done plenty of stoopid things in my life and there are many things I am incompetent at. But there are a lot of people in that boat with me. Plus. Fer kee-reist, I am a human being. I have spent my life [largely] trying to make the world a better place. And I have about had it with people who do not treat me with respect. *Every* human being deserves to be treated with respect. I wasn’t respected today and I almost hit the wall.

I do not have an ending for this (at least one that’s not five pages long). Mr. Pfifer, my 12th grade English teacher, is tsk-tsk-ing me from somewhere — I suspect he’s on the other side but he may be enjoying waterfront property somewhere. Who knows.

One decade

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

jimboI almost *always* forget when it’s my blahgiversary. I’m not sure why I remembered it this year, even though the number ends with a zero. errrrp… Actually maybe I did forget. According to my first EVER entry, it was yesterday. It’s okay, Snooty the Manitee’s 65th birthday is much more important than my 10th blahgiversary.

Many moons ago, I thought that I would have something edifying to say on my 10th blahgiversary. But I don’t and anyway, I’m a day late because of that Snooty thing. Maybe some statistical type stuff would suffice instead?

When I began my blahg, it really wasn’t a blahg in the true sense of the word. It was more like a journal. You can read more about why I started it here. I “rolled my own” back then, that is, every day, I dived “under the hood” and edited the html myself. Comment functionality was beyond my capabilities. On June 2, 2006, I started using wordpress and this was one of my posts that day. (It’s okay, nothing blew up.)

jackfranbettyWhat has happened since I began my blahg? Lemme see… I lost my brother (top photooo) in 2005 and the three folks in the bottom photoooo — Grandroobly (2006), The Commander (2012), and Radical Betty (2009). Mouse graduated from high school (2005). Both beach urchins graduated from college, Liz in 2006 and Mouse in 2009. I quit my “job” with YAG (2005). I reconnected with Uber Kayak Woman (2006). (Oh not that we were ever estranged, just busy and living on opposite sides of the country.) We (aka the C Fam) rebuilt the cabin at Houghton Lake (2004-05). I got a job (2007) after years of schlepping along without bringing in much income and wondering if I would ever have a *good* job again. I did get one and I am still there…

Tumultuous decade? I think most decades probably are. Lots of bad stuff but lots of highs too. Mostly a lot of one foot in front of the other kind of stuff. And a lot of driving!

I actually have something fun to write about on my sorta 10th blahgiversary! I worked from home this afternoon. Guess why! Because every single blasted toilet in my cube farm OVERFLOWED late this morning. I could not believe how fast the parking lot emptied out. The Blue and Only Toilet worked just fine today. I wish I could say the same about the cable modem, which I had to re-a-start [again] this afternoon. Again. Aaaarrrggghh.

Here’s to 10 more years. If I can stand myself that long…

Happy birthday to…

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Snooty the manitee! I have three relatives who were born on this date and then there is the #royalbaby (who I couldn’t care less about except that he is a human being and someone’s beloved son). I had no idea that today was also Snooty’s birthday or even that he was still alive. He is 65 and I am flabbergasted that he is older than me and all of today’s other birthday folks.

I have met Snooty. We were visiting the Florida grandparents back in the Jurassic Age and we took the beach urchins to see Snooty. Man oh man, what a character! We fell in love with him. After we blasted back home to the Planet Ann Arbor, we died dyed Easter eggs and the GG and the beach urchins drew faces on them with sharpies. One of them got named Snooty. We can’t remember exactly what happened but at some point, the Easter egg known as Snooty disappeared and some people were quite upset.

And then there was the time that a first-grade beach urchin was tasked, along with her classroom table-mates, to come up with an aminal mascot. That particular child wanted her “table” to be known as the manitees and she came home quite disgruntled that more kids voted for tiger (or whatever) than manitee. I have to agree with her sentiments. Neither manitees nor tigers are native to the Great Lake State so why *not* be the manitees…

Yay for Snooty and all of the other birthday folks. Love you all. And here’s to the last of the lingering avocados, which I used up tonight!

One o’ them thar cowboy bars diners

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

littlebootsLittle Boots is just about my fave Houghton Lake breakfast restaurant since our beloved old greasy spoon Ron’s Restaurant closed. We went to Ron’s just about every time we traveled to the Group Home since I’ve known the GG. It was one of the few restaurants in the Long Point vicinity and probably the only one that served breakfast.

One weekend a few years ago, the GG drove The Indefatigable up to HL. That vee-hickle was not too far from the end of its life at the time and if I have it right (and I may not), he took it on some kind of back country adventure and something reached out and poked a hole in the muffler. He got to the Group Home and The Indefatigable was running just fine but it was LOUD and he didn’t want to press his luck, so he decided to hike to the Northshore Barrooooom for dinner. Five miles there and five miles back. That was so successful that the next night, he decided to hike to the Spikehorn Barroooom for dinner. Five miles there and five miles back. After two very successful treks for food, he decided he was on a roll, so the next morning he walked over to Ron’s to get breakfast (same distance). CLOSED Oops. Shout out to the GG: you are welcome to comment and correct anything I may have mangled!

It turned out that despite some hints at a remodel or whatever, the closure was permanent. There are plenty of other fine restaurants in the Houghton Lake area but it took us a while to find just the right replacement for Ron’s. We have a few of them now. They are all good. I think I like Little Boots best because they make my fave Gunslinger Quesadilla, with scrambled eggs, hash browns, chopped up ham and veggies, etc., with salsa and sour cream on the side. It’s a bit too much for me to eat at one sitting so I always eat two pieces of it and ask for a box for the third, which I can just throw in the microwave the next morning!

Also, Little Boots may welcome some of Grandroobly’s old coffee mugs into their random collection if others don’t claim them. My old coot began collecting coffee mugs during road trips throughout the US and Cananananada during his retirement years. It was kind of fun (and funny) at first but I know that as my parents became octogenarians, his collection became a bit too much for The Commander to manage. Now that they are both gone, I don’t have room for all of them and we definitely don’t need a lot of clutter in the moomincabin. Oh, don’t worry, we will keep the bunny mug and Big Ass forever and a few others that are people’s faves. I have handed most of the rest over to the GB Fins so they can take what they want and if there are any left after that, maybe I’ll get to visit them at Little Boots. I think that would’ve been okay with my old coot and I suspect The Comm is just glad to have passed responsibility for the mugs onto her long-suffering daughter [wink] and has moved on to other prodjects. She doesn’t seem to be messing with *my* life. I dunno if that’s good or bad… [grin]

High summer in the Great [not-so] White North

Saturday, July 20th, 2013


This photooo was taken at a high point of the day. Heyyyy we’re having fun here in our pontoon boat and a few people are even drinking a beer, etc. I also took my new kayak out and with the open form factor it is indeed easier to launch at Houghton Lake. It is also a *very* cool boat in which to take a small child for a ride. And that is what the GG did. And *then*, the 4-year-old (a great-nephew…) wanted to do his own paddling. So the GG set him up for that and that kid managed to figure out how to paddle the kayak, which only serves to prove how intuitive basic kayaking technique is. Disclaimer: paddling is the easy part…

All in all, it was a great day and although I spent a lot of time protecting my natural introverted tendencies, I completely enjoyed watching our niece and nephew’s children spent *hours* in the water. It reminded me of my own childhood, spending whole days in bathing suits, in and out of the water all day.

It is just chilly enough this evening that I have a polartech jacket on. Feels good after a week or so of swampy hot weather. I’m gonna go hang out in the Lyme Lounge.

Good night,

In which…

Friday, July 19th, 2013


A brutal day, all in all. A more stressful work day than usual, extreme heat, jaffic trams, and storms, although we didn’t encounter anything severe. Met up with the Lord and Lady of Linden at Liz’s Lounge for dinner, then on to the Group Home. Sat outside watching lightning in the distance until the moe-skee-toes chased me in. A bit of comic relief outside Liz’s Lounge when the GG changed his pants on the side of a busy public highway and that’s about all I have the energy to say tonight. You’re welcome! Good night.

When we go to Detroit in the middle of the night

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

pinkdI finally got brave and emailed Building Mom this morning: Would you please send me my timeoff calendar? I had a vague idea of how many vacation hours I had already taken this year but I’ve been afraid to look. Alas, it is a wee bit more than I hoped. I still have quite a few hours left but I need to ration those. So I was kind of re-hashing my plans and thinking about whether it would *kill* me to try to telecommute from the moominbeach for a couple days. Since we are taking a rocket trip to the Group Home this weekend, I was also plotting and planning about how to get ahead on my packing, etc., just a wee bit so that tomorrow isn’t a total cluster-[you-know-what].

I got home and the GG texted me: Walk downtown for dinner? Another day I may have said yes. But. It’s hotter than Hades. It’s The Art Fair. I had just gotten home from work. I have laundry and organizing and packing to do. We have some leftover food to try to eat up. (Isa, I used three of your avocados last night! They were still in good shape and the rest may well survive until Saturday. If not, put ’em in the compost.) Alas, we are not walking downtown tonight. In the end, I needed to chill, if that is possible at 88 degrees and humidity at about a gazillion percent. I’m sorry to be such a blasted stick-in-the-mud. Can I just say that when you have four weeks worth of non-sick time off per year (which I know is actually not all that bad in corporate America), it ain’t easy living with a guy who has umpteen billion hours even when he’s not on sequester leave.

I did not photograph this beauteous vee-hickle in the loverly bombed-out city of Detroit. It happened to be vacationing in the parking lot at the Jackson Road Meijer a few weeks ago. I can’t really tell what kind of vee-hickle it is. I want it to be a vintage Caddy-lac but I am only randomly a Car Person, so I dunno. Car Folks? Caddy-lac? Buick? What? I think the bullet hole is fake, don’t you? Or maybe Jimmy Hoffa is in the trunk? [wink]

Y’all know what happened in The D / Daytwa / Dee-troit / Detroit today. I have no words. Well maybe two things. 1) I expected this. 2) I hope nobody tries to loot the DIA. Okay, a third thing: I am NO expert on Detroit. I visited my grandparents there a lot when I was a kid and I know (all too well) how to get to the damn Henry Ford Hoosegow and that is about it. Here’s a toast to the pioneers (if I can call them that) who are trying to repopulate that city. It may never regain the glory it enjoyed in the mid-20th century but I am cautiously optimistic that it could morph back into a place more folks might want to live. A wise nephew of mine thinks that the key to that will be the schools and he may be at least partially right…

Elephop and telephong

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

bluedeathBr-r-r-r-rinng. Br-r-r-rinnnggg. Nyello.

I hate telephones. I hate calling people. When people call me, I am jangled totally out of my seat (or reverie or whatever). Even when the sound is turned off on my phone. What’s wrong? What do you want? That doesn’t mean don’t ever call me. If you know me, that is. I decline most calls from unknown numbers (because I can). Text and email work best for me. If I am texting with somebody and I get tired of typing on my phone, I might ask that person if it’s a good time to call. It can be more expedient. I just don’t like to interrupt people. Facebook works in *some* circumstances but I think it’s awful in others. It’s complicated and maybe we’ll go there some other day.

I have an old-fashioned landline-type phone / voicemail musheen sitting on my desk at work. I can barely figger out how to dial out without accidentally calling the po-leese. I do not know how to use the voice mail. I do not know my own telephone number! I can’t say that I could count the number of times I have used that phone on one hand in the six (yikes!) years I have worked there but it is a rare event. Lemme see, I have used it a few times to talk to company tech support because my loverly-but-highly-encumbered-with-security-stuff laptop failed in some way. I think the LSCHP has called me on that phone maybe *twice*. Lewie-Lewiii does occasionally call. Why, I do not know. Unless he’s working from home, he’s a short walk away. At work, we do business via email, I/M, yelling over the wall (if you are talking to your cube naybers), or walking over to a far-flung person’s cube.

But then there are the folks who are trying to call the court… We all get those calls. Our numbers are similar to some court numbers somewhere in Washtenaw County. So. Brring brrring. KW: [insert-corp-name-here] Corporation.* Caller: Blah-blah-blah court date blah-blah. KW: I’m sorry. You have the wrong number. Caller: Is this blah-blah-blah court? KW: No. Caller [to somebody else]: It’s the wrong number. Caller gives KW the phone number he *tried* to dial. It has a zero on the end. KW’s phone does not. She has to look at the number printed on her phone to determine this. Long, confusing twilight zone conversation ensues where KW tries to convince the caller that he probably *does* have the correct number on whatever piece of paper he has in his hand but he has DIALED IT WRONG!!! FINALLY, she gets through to him. When she hangs up, hilarity ensues in cube-land. I don’t think [insert-corp-name-here] pays me to triage telephone calls to the court. Dooya think I can get a break on my property taxes? [wink]

P. S. Apologies to Laura Elizabeth Richards, who wrote my fave poem ever, Eletelephony and has a much more interesting biography than anything I ever imagined.

* I was never *told* how I should answer the phone at this job. So, if it is an unknown number, I just say (as professionally as I can possibly manage) “[insert-corp-name-here] Corporation”. Others have different approaches. “Hello this is [insert-first-name-here]” or just “Hello” or whatever. Some people probably don’t even answer the damn phone. Back when I worked at Your Tempo Store (in the Jurassic Age) we were carefully taught to answer the phone with “Thank you for calling Tempo. How may I help you?” These days in my particular job, we are all on our own but then again, we are not expected to deal with the public or even corporate customers.

Talk me down off the ledge please

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

rootsOh, not really. I am not out on a damn ledge at all. I’m standing in the hot and swampy Landfill Chitchen here with a cold (or at least it was once cold) wet washcloth draped around my neck, listening to the birds and insects out there in the Great Outdoors and trying to get a stir-fry off the ground.

Why don’t I have the a/c on? A few reasons, actually. First of all, I have a love/hate relationship with central air. I work in an air-conditioned building (of course, what cube farm worker doesn’t?). I appreciate the cool air there. I think it makes me more productive. I also miss being close to the outdoors, even though my building is in a beautiful setting with ponds and wildlife and I can go outside whenever I want. At home, I really really really want to have my windows and doors open so I can hear the birds and insects and whatever outside.

Also, it isn’t really THAT HOT!!! Fer kee-reist! It’s in the upper 80s. When it gets to be 90-something with high humidity, I may well change my mind. But really. The upper 80s? When I was a kid in the yooperland, I always felt like celebrating when the bank temperature sign said something like 84! That didn’t happen very often.

Aside from that, I worry that we (the human race) are losing our ability to deal with what I think are normal temperatures. Whether or not we are experiencing man-made climate change (or any climate change) is a question for scientists to answer and I am not going to veer off into my own opinions about it. I’m just wondering why we are having weather alerts for temperatures in the mid to upper 80s. I would like it to be a bit cooler right now but I am coping. Heck, I even trucked over to the Plum Market after work. At my regular full-tilt boogie speed. IT’S 86! IT’S NOT THAT HOT!

Occasionally we have a summer down here where the temperatures actually do linger between the upper 80s and lower 100s for daaaayyyyyys. With no rain! I don’t like those summers but they are few and far between (1988 and 2012). We didn’t have central a/c in 1988 but we did in 2012. We actually didn’t use it. It was a “dry heat”. This is a normal summer. Actually, it’s been a cooler summer than most. We are in a bit of a hot spell right now. I’m enjoying it. I know what winter will [most likely] be like.

I am all for central a/c. I just wish that people would learn to use it sparingly (in their homes at least) and try to learn to enjoy the dog days of summer a bit more. It’s not all that bad, at least here in the Great Lake State. If you have a back yard (like I do), sit out there and listen.

Tug of Waaaarrrrs…

Monday, July 15th, 2013

accidentalphotoThis is an accidental photooo. I think it’s kind of cool, don’t you? (You don’t have to answer that.) Me in my new blue (tick-less) skirt and my new purple Keen sandals. It was the only Keen form-factor at our local REI that fit me because apparently I have high arches. Who knew? (Did I blahg about this before? Probably.)

I was pretty darn perfect when I was born except for a bit of a crooked foot. I wore a “brace” for a while. I don’t really remember wearing the “brace”. A kid I went to kindergarten with had these big metal braces on his legs from a case of polio (my age group teetered on the edge of the vaccine). When The Comm would tell me that I used to wear a brace on my foot, I envisioned those. Turns out, it was (I think) more like a special sock-type thingy that I wore as an infant. I never had any problem at all with walking or running or jumping or whatever, so I guess it corrected the issue. Alas, The Comm was nervous enough about my feet that we always had to buy just about the ugliest shoes in the store. Buster Browns, anyone? Trips to the shoe store were not fun for me.

So. High arches(?) And bunions… Yes. Pretty darn good ones but not like The Comm’s, who I surely inherited them from. Guess what? My bunions scare the heck out of 20-somethings in outfitter stores but they *never* bother me. Really. I can walk 20 miles and my feet may feel like they need to be soaked for a good long time but they don’t *hurt*. Ever. Unless I get a blister or something. (And if I don’t wear The Commander’s ancient boots, I don’t get blisters (whole ‘nother story).) In full disclosure, I am going to guess that is because a few years after I had the beach urchins, I totally gave up on high-heeled, uncomfortable shoes. As a teenager and 20-something, I rocked rickety high heels, rebelling against those old buster browns, in part. I switched to flats (pretty ones, thank you very much!) at maybe 40 (and didn’t look back) and eventually to hiking sandals. Nowadays, in this wonderful 21st century, I can even buy *beautiful* bizcazable shoes with hiking-type soles. I strive to be the Imelda Marcos of hiking sandals. For every occasion!


Sunday, July 14th, 2013

huronriverThis felt soooooo good I was just about pinching myself the rest of the day!

I call myself kayak woman and there were many years when I just itched to get out there whenever I could. For a while back in the day, I would even sometimes heft the purple kayak up onto The Indefatigable, tie it down and head down to the river BY MYSELF! I am not all that confident a person but the GG was out of town and I *forced* myself to do it. Then I got a job and there’s that whole thing about having either money or time but never both at the same time. Follow that with all of the hullabaloo of the last couple years and I had almost *no* time to launch a kayak, even on the days that all I had to do was walk down to the beach and fling one into the water.

This summer rolled around and, although I still have a [loverly] full time job, I no longer have to spend every moment of spare time either helping The Commander (I hope she is resting in peace…) or cleaning out her house. I knew that I could actually fit a bit of kayaking into my life again. But somehow, I was scared shitless! I dunno why. I mean I wasn’t afraid of kayaking itself. It’s a pretty intuitive activity and although I am *strictly* an amateur, I am a decently strong paddler, at least in the calm waters I usually encounter. I know my limits and I have enough respect for water to stay within them. Still… Existential crisis? I think so although I cannot put it into words.

I took some tentative little rides down to the crib and back at the moominbeach this summer and I felt pretty good, like maybe it wasn’t all over for me. This morning, I dragged the GG outta bed and down to the Huron River earl-eye in the mornin’. We have a new ‘yak and I was itching to try it out. I was also very apprehensive but I tried not to let that show. We did one of our regular runs from the launching spot at the end of North Maple upriver to the bridge just past Wagner and back. It’s not the longest ride on earth but it’s a good, quick workout and longer than what I was doing at the beach.

Guess what? I had such a good time! I *loved* the trip and the new ‘yak and I have probably said, “That was a reaaaallly good thing to do this morning,” about a gazillion times today. (Fer kee-reist sake, somebody please hit me and make me shaddup! And hit me for calling it a ‘yak too ifya want to [grin]) I had a similar existential crisis with x-c skiing last winter. You’d think I’d learn…

The rest of the day? Morning was spent hanging around with Lizard Breath (who had spent the night), breakfast and laundry and walking to the Plum Market. Then we saddled up the Frog Hopper and schlepped over to megalopolis to greet the newest member of the C Fam, our nephew and niece’s second baby. Alas, we don’t make much of an effort to see *all* of the new C Fam babies but this child is the third grandchild of the GG’s identical twin. The GG loves babies in general but he has a special interest in seeing his brother’s grandchildren when they are new (although we certainly didn’t travel to Virginia to meet the second grandchild — if we could apparate there, we’d’ve been there but there’s no app for that, the last I looked).

Congratulations to C and K and big brother B on the beautiful new sister / daughter / grandchild they have added to the family.

Hoping I am on a roll here…

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

First of all, goooooood morning from my walk down to the farmer’s market.


When I randomly ran into the fifth person-I-don’t-usually-see today, I was kind of wondering what was up. Lemme see… First was a sighting of the C-B grandparents at the farmer’s market. I didn’t flag them down. They looked great but I wasn’t sure they’d recognize me. Then there was S&P. I *vigorously* flagged them down. S and I were comrades in the unsuccessful fight to keep the school board from dismantling our fave alternative middle school, oh so many years ago. We’ve been friends since then and although she occasionally meets up with MMCB and I for coffee, I don’t see a whole heckuva lot of her. New grandparents, S&P. (First grandchild. Congratulations!) On the way up the hill toward home, an oncoming walker hailed us with, “You guys look like old Ann Arbor hippies!” EPA co-worker and old Haisley parent, he knows darn well we aren’t hippies but I cracked up. Ace-Barnes Hardware: “Kayak Woman!” She looked familiar but I didn’t recognize her out of context. Why not? Because the context was HIGH SCHOOL! I knew that she and her husband had moved down to the planet but I was still shocked to run into her, not to mention that she *recognized* me! Finally, I was at the Plum and again, someone yelled my name! Not a high school comrade this time, just another old Haisley parent. One that I used to sometimes “duck” [grin].

Lots of chores and errands today, household drudgery beginning at six AM when I threw the sheets and shower curtains into the washer and scrubbed out the refrigimatator drawers, leaving them to dry while we walked down to the farmer’s market. In the end I made a good dent in sorting out these two loverly boxes of sewing stuff that The Commander left behind and we pulled outta the moomincabin garage on the last trip up. That was all we could fit in the Frog Hopper that trip since we had garbage, recycling, and the GG’s camping stuff. It’s slow going but I am progressing.


It’s only two boxes but in a way these boxes were harder to sort out than some of the other stuff (but not as hard as the truly random stuff…). It’s *sewing* stuff. I cannot remember a time when The Commander didn’t do some kind of needlework and my earliest memories are of her humming along on the Singer my dad bought for her during their WWII sojourn in the southwest. What was left of her sewing stuff was somewhat disorganized and that was unlike The Comm. Except that I suspect she had already cleaned a lot of it out. Like some unfinished pajama prodjects, maybe. There was a time back when she was still emailing competently that she wrote to *both* Lizard Breath and I *several* times about making a pajama pattern out of some old pajamas. I didn’t find any hand-sewn pajamas either finished or in progress, so I suspect that during her years of diligent de-acquisitioning, she disposed of them herself. And probably a lot of other fabric and stuff.

Anyway, I did a final triage (?) on her sewing stuff today. I sorted out consumable stuff (thread, zippers, etc.) to be donated. I saved a bunch of things that either I or Mouse (or maybe even others) might want. I don’t need five seam rippers (I probably already own three) but I can’t quite let them go and they don’t take up a lot of space. And then there’s the tool box below. I doubt there’s anything in there that is truly valuable in the monetary sense. But at first glance, there’s some *old* stuff. Might at least be a *few* little treasures in there — ancient First National Bank measuring tape, anyone?


I’d put it in the mauve category myself

Friday, July 12th, 2013

picklefingerOverheard at the Rolling Sculpture car show downtown on the Planet Ann Arbor tonight.

I read about the car show earlier and I was actually kind of excited about it since we would be down there anyway for dinner at the Oscar Tango. I am not really all that interested in cars, although I’m always a little surprised at how many models I recognize. I suppose that’s a function of growing up in a family with two car freaks. Me, I am particular about which cars I buy. I will pay a bit more to get something reliable, Honda being my all-time fave at this point although I do like the Frog Hopper a lot. I also have opinions about colors sometimes (mauve would not be my choice). But I tired quickly tonight and that’s then I remembered that I really couldn’t care less about looking at a bunch of old cars. Given that the name of the show was Rolling Sculpture, I was kind of hoping to see vee-hickles like the Lizard Car, which was completely covered with toy lizards. I suppose it’s long dead, having rolled through the streets of the planet back when the beach urchins were grade school students. The GG was much more interested but then he put himself through college by building vee-hickles over at the Hamtramck Assembly plant.

I watched people instead. The Commander used to be a big people-watcher. When my old coot was stuck down in the Henry Ford Hoosegow, she could tell me in great detail about the fantastical shoes all of the folks were wearing. I’m not sure she could always figure out who had what job. I can’t for the life of me remember what shoes people were wearing but I definitely read their name tags, not that it much mattered since we were constantly rotated through about a gazillion different docs and nurses, etc. during his stay there. The Comm could be pretty darn judgmental about other people’s physical characteristics sometimes. When I was younger it could be funny but I was usually annoyed by it those last few years. But here I am, wondering whether I do it too…

Okay, the GG’s chosen internet entertainment for the evening was a video where a very young girl (teenager?) is demonstrating how to insert a feeding tube into *herself*. I was dumbfounded at first. I wondered if it was a prank. I also had a bit of PTSD going on, remembering the day I sat around in The Comm’s hoosegow room up there at War Memorial listening as a 93-year-old stroke victim across the hall refused a feeding tube several times by ripping it out (he couldn’t speak). In the end, I changed my mind about the video. The girl needed to learn to put her own feeding tube in to cope with some kind of illness or condition that was not disclosed. She was a pro at doing it *and* demonstrating it and I greatly admire her poise.

And that there in the photoooo is none other than the Pickle Finger and I’m not even gonna try to explain that tonight except that its real name is Light 26.

G’night! Farmer’s Market in the morning then household drudgery for the duration. How does it get so cluttered around here so fast?