Random bits of my so-called life.

@FloridaMan #MAGAbomber

October 26th, 2018 by kayak woman

Just sayin’.

But that said, @FloridaMan for the most part does not send bombz to people of any sort, polly-tishuns or not. He’s more likely to end up naked on the top of an opened up drawbridge or blowing his arm apart trying to make faaaarworks in his kitchen. In other words, he isn’t necessarily politically engaged.

I’m not sure what our own personal @FloridaMan thinks about polly-ticks. I do know that he did NOT like the guy the GG was listening to for a while on Patriot Radio as we were driving up from Florida. But I am also not sure he knew 1) who it was or 2) what the topic of conversation was. I was kinda letting the GG listen to whatever for the moment. He worked his butt off in Florida and although we don’t always agree on polly-ticks, we manage to work together to keep our life on track. So if he wants to listen to “Rush Limbo” for a while, I can handle it. Sometimes. But I was snorting with suppressed laughter at how ludicrous we might have seemed to an outside observer. Right wing/libertarian husband, Planet Ann Arbor librat wife, and oxygen-dependent @FloridaMan (brother/-in-law) in the back seat thinking about where his next smoke/beer was coming from and grumping about what was on the radio.

On a rather converse slant, Florida has a lot of crazy characters, hence the @FloridaMan twitter handle, but it does NOT have a monopoly on nutso. I mean, how about Alabama Man or… Michigan Man. I don’t know if there are twitter handles for either of those or not but they do exist. If anything, it might be easier to act on craziness (benign or otherwise) in Florida only because it is almost always warm there. I think our northern winters keep a lot of potential crazies inside. Or maybe some of them manage to get to Florida.

Anyway, I thought all the false flag talk was crayzee and when I heard they apprehended someone with a MAGA plastered truck in Florida, I wasn’t surprised.

Just sayin’.

Just running an experiment, nothing to see here

October 25th, 2018 by kayak woman

The first baby is always an experiment but my first baby got subjected to any number of things that the GG wanted to try out. My best VAGUE memory of one of those “experiments” is returning from a walk or whatever and seeing her happily rocking herself in her rocky seat on the floor* in the back room with some sort of photographic? and/or telescopic? devices focused on her. I cannot for the life of me remember what the heck he was doing.

Oh, no no no no no, it wasn’t anything abusive. I mean, he gave that baby *all* of her baths and most of her diaper changes for the first couple weeks of her life with me and/or The Commander in attendance (yes, he is a keeper). I had a very easy birth experience overall but had to take a break from my usual nuclear powered life while some exterior stuff that required some serious stitches healed (TMI and 🐽). Plus, he was infinitely more experienced with handling babies than I was, given that four siblings were born after him and many nieces and nephews, some of whom he helped care for. Anyway, every time he got her bath ready, he would make a Dr. Frankenstein face and say “And now I veeel perform zee cloning!” She had no clue what he was talking about but she loved all of the attention. We had so much fun back in those days.

After all these years, he has “run” any number of experiments on whatever and I can’t for the life of me remember them all at the moment. Maybe I have used up my memory at work today by all of the product functionality I looked up today. As the sole remaining business systems analyst, when did we do that and why? I found most of it but man did I have to do a lot of archaeological digs. It’s okay, I like doing those, especially when I can say “AHA! This is why we did it!”

So this week’s experiment involves palmetto bugs (cockroaches) and their life cycle. I’m not sure if we have figured out whether we are infested with these loverly buggies or not. We did see one but I hope that was an outlier. If we are, they have come up from Florida. We have never had palmetto bugs here before although I know they do infest homes in northern cities. I do know that when you NEVER clean your living space, I mean in 30 years or so, they are MUCH more likely to move in and not leave and down in Florida, the climate is a lot better for them than here in the Great Lake State.

I am not the best house cleaner on earth but I do keep the kitchen and bathroom clean and I dust and vacuum when it seems necessary. The GG sometimes gets into Suzie Homemaker mode and deep cleans and between the two of us, our house is pretty clean most of the time. I cannot imagine in any way shape or form living in the kind of squalor where nothing is ever cleaned, including food and dishes. Some people get along with that but we don’t and if we have palmetto bugs in our small but beauteous home on The Planet Ann Arbor, they have come from Florida. Of all things, I am actually missing that trip 🧡

P.S. I once put my mouse in that rocky seat on the table we used to have in the Landfill Chitchen and she was rocking away like crazy and… Then… She rocked a little too hard and she flipped the seat and fell on the floor. She was okay but JEEBUS that was awful.

On mah way outta Cubelandia this afternoon

October 24th, 2018 by kayak woman

No, it is not the best pic, hanging my iPhone out the Ninja’s window. Which I was able to STOP because there was nobody anywhere near me. I took a single photo and then I took a 51-photo burst. Somehow the best of *all* those photos was the singleton and I deleted the whole frickin’ burst.

I will never be a wildlife photographer. In fact, I will never be anything more than an amateur iPhoneographer. When I first got an iPhone (11 years ago, just before I started working over at Cubelandia), I still had a digital cam. I kept that around for a while (it’s probably *still* around) but eventually I figgered out that the iPhone cam was pretty much as good as the digital. Oh, not that the digital was all that fancy a cam. In fact, somehow with the iPhone, I was doing stuff I wouldn’t have thought to do with the traditional cam, like for a while I found myself taking photooos on a slant. Not a good thing to over-do but it did expand my artistic repertoire a bit, artistic used loosely.

I started my diet in those years. I mean the diet where I get rid of all the extraneous possessions in my life. And yes it is a yo-yo diet. You get rid of a sh*tload of stuff. Then. Parents die and you inherit their stuff. You get rid of their stuff (not all of it). Adult children move back to town and temporarily store stuff at your house. They take their stuff and/or give you permission to get rid of it. I still don’t know what to do with all of the stuffed aminals in the Landfill Dungeon but we’ll get there. Binge and purge. Lather, rinse, repeat. But I like to travel light and one thing I do not need to carry is a camera, since my iPhone fits in my pocket and does just about whatever I need it to do. Often times, that is just a photo to document something – sandhill cranes were at Cubelandia today or even “here’s a piece of mail for you”.

I crack up every time somebody compliments me on my wonderful photography. Y’know, if you take 10,000 photooos, a few of them turn out pretty okay. In the digital age, you delete the rest. Theoretically anyway… But I am not gonna quit my day job in favor of iPhoneography any time soon. That said, I can see me taking up drone-ography as a hobby if I ever get around to executing the R word, aka retaaaaaaring. For now, my work is too sweet and I don’t have the time to learn how to fly a drone. Butchya nevah know, Novembah is right around the corner. Dun dun dun dun… My cube is (and has always been) largely empty and my grocery bag is ready to go 🐸

We are living in a plutonium world and I am a plutonium girl

October 23rd, 2018 by kayak woman

Two of my fave photooos ever. You can’t really embiggen them much because these are from scans that I saved at lower resolutions than I would EVER do nowadays. I keep thinking I will find the originals and re-scan them. I have them. But then I get busy…

So this one gained my beach urchin her 15 minutes of notoriety as it was included in an “environmental quiz” (built by her dad using hypercard, if I remember accurately) that made its way to Warshington DC. I’m sure no one remembers this by now. Except us.

And then there’s this one and it’s probably a goooood thing that you can’t embiggen this one too much because the butts would just look bigger. Except for the weeee skinny li’l baby butt, which you can’t see anyway because it’s under water. I wanted to link to the old Bertha Butt song but I can’t find a decent version of it so y’all can do your own damn googling.

In other news, no, Michigan laws do not allow smoking anywhere inside bars or restaurants (as of 2009) and dogz cannot accompany their owners into barrrooooms (and sit in their own seat) unless they are trained service dogz (cue lotsa complicated laws and regulations about that whole subject, ones that I do not know). I do know that Fla has its own laws but there are a heckuva lot more outdoor barroooooms there and they are open pretty much year-round and maybe if you are kind of a local “character” with an oxygen tank and a sweet little dawg, your dog might be welcome to his own seat on a quiet night. Alas, not so much in Michigan.

P.S. “Warshington” was NOT a typo. Make whatever you want to outta that 🧡 but Go Blue and this time I am not talking about the University of Michigan’s football team.

Northern correspondence just when I needed it

October 22nd, 2018 by kayak woman

What to write about? What to write about? What to write about? It was a regular Monday and, after a few months of not being anywhere near the Hot Seat, I now have stuff that people are actually asking me about. It was a GOOD THING to have that s-l-o-w period. It allowed me to take a week off at the end of the summer and it allowed me to take that crazy Rocket/LSD trip to Fla. It’s good to be back into the groooooove though and I am even temporarily invited to the weekly Research Team Meeting. (What happens at the Research Team Meeting *stays* in the Research Team Meeting.)

But groovin’ along in my uber-cool job (knock on wood big-time because November is coming up) leaves me with not a lot to blahg about. Therefore, I was ecstatic when Our Northern Correspondent started texting me pics of moominbeach erosion from her late afternoon beach walk. Oh WOW! So here they are at the Doelle (prounced “Doley”) end of the beach and that dog is Charlie, if I have it right. We don’t usually have a “cliff” there. (I have permission to post these pics.)

Here’s another view minus dog. Wanna climb that thing? When I was a kid I’d’ve been ON IT! What fun!

Also, that last pic shows the old lighthouse keeper’s house, which we have always called Doelle’s. The first pic Our Northern Correspondent sent me showed part of a building wrapped in Tyvek. I kind of knew that it was not the lighthouse keeper’s house but I still thought something like, “I am not ready for the lighthouse keeper’s house to be turned into a bed and breakfast.”

And here’s a close-up showing the tree that was uprooted.

It kinda reminds me of when I was a little kid and there was a big round hole in front of the Old Cabin (my grandparents’ place where I spent my summers before we built the moomincabin next door). A storm created that big round hole. It happened before I was born but The Commander told me about it quite a few times. “Water was going up the back road”, etc. It wasn’t until my parents were getting older that The Comm told me that she thought a tornado may have touched down there. Tornadoes are rare in the yooperland but they do happen. Weather forecasts were different then… Anyway, us kids loved playing in that hole with the tree roots draping over the edges and nowadays it is overgrown but still a great place to sit and whine in the afternoon on a cold day.

Finally, on the moomincabin section of beach, Bill’s Birch Point Beach Bank Bench and the small Motor Bote look okay. We are on more or less the middle of the beach and tend to have a wider beach (usually) than either end so I’m not sure we were hit as hard as some others by the crap Gitchee Gumee threw at us.

Oooooof!

October 21st, 2018 by kayak woman

I dunno why I’m not able to sleep with a goat during the afternoon. Even with a big bright light over my head.

We met up with npJane and the beach urchins and their SOs at H.O.M.E.S. this afternoon for beer/whine and Asian style brunch. I had Korean BBQ chicken wings and I came home with two out of six plus whatever was left of Mouse’s fries. npJane was wondering something like what the heck was going on with that crazy “LSD-like” Florida trip? She had mainly seen the bits and pieces I posted here and there on the internet. Alas, she did not get a linear story about it today. Like so many of the other things that happen in my life, I couldn’t tell a linear story if I tried. So many bits and pieces in all different directions with characters of all descriptions. People too complicated to describe in a few sound bites… … …

For about a split second there, I was thinking about what it would be like to write a novel based on some of the things that have happened in my life. How would I portray some of the characters without inadvertently identifying them and maybe hurting them? Where and when would I set the story? How would I organize the rambling map of details and what would I leave out? I doubt I will ever write a novel of any sort. I am a, well, a, um, “different” kind of a writer and I have no aspirations to write such a book and, in the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure that the occasional craziness that invades my life is really worth putting into a book. So my stories will continue to come out in whatever bits and pieces I can manage to find words to spit out in some kind of intelligible sequence.

npJane had places to go and people to see today. The rest of us retreated to the Landfill for the afternoon, where the GG built the first indoor faaaaar of the season and promptly fell asleep, under his light and next to his goat. We eventually had lasagne and stuff for dinner and then the younger generation decamped and we are hanging out here alone. *Everyone* has to work tomorrow. That includes the GG although he will not be paid for his work, at least not in dollars.

Cockroach count: 1

October 20th, 2018 by kayak woman

One cockroach is one more than we want to have. Yes we know that they can multiply quickly. The GG has become a veritable expert on cockroaches. I was hanging out in the Landfill Chitchen this morning, washing lettuce and spinach that I got at the farmers market. I saw an unfamiliar insect running across my beautiful quartz countertop. I did not immediately recognize that insect so I called the Resident Cockroach Expert to come and inspect. He observed the insect and stood transfixed in horror! He ushered the cockroach into the sink and flushed it down into the drain with hot water. He said something like “It’s dead now. That hot water killed it.” I said, “Maybe not”, then I turned on the garbage disposal and said, “*That* killed it!” We now have Roach Hotels around the house.

We used to go to Grand Blanc a lot. My brother and his family lived there for many years. He died (in 2005), and eventually his widow moved back to her “homeland” (Bay City area). I was not told when she moved but I figured it out via cryptic messages/comments on Facebook and we once drove past her new house. I never figgered out why this was such a big frickin’ secret. I mean c’mon, what do you think I’m gonna do, send anthrax to your house? Naaawwwww. That said, as of a couple weeks ago, we have another relative in the Grand Blanc area.

So we went up there today and we kinda wanted to take our relative out for lunch and a beer but that didn’t really work out so we eventually left and ate lunch at Little Joe’s Tavern. This is a place that opened in 1932 and is still going. They did a big renovation recently and it was a wonderful place to eat. We sat at the bar and I ordered some kind of fancy chili and I have some of it here back in the Landfill Chitchen refrigerator. And we had great fun talking to various other couples eating at the bar. We were all watching the crazy weather that was happening this afternoon. Yes we got some snow (if you want to call it that). And there was thunder. Say yes to Michigan!

I think this will be one of our go-to restaurants when we travel to Grand Blanc.

Polly-tickle post

October 19th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

See y’all later. -KW

Taking off

October 18th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

Hotel/Motel

October 17th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you don’t turn some music on…

October 16th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

Rabbit Hole afternoon

October 15th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

Large meat-lovers pizza

October 14th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vermin prevention

October 13th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Convoy

October 12th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

Pick a title

October 11th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

So, whaddya think my title should be?

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

Toadily Roto (and probably more than a bit incoherent)

October 10th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love y’all, KW!

Safe For Work version

October 9th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nail clippers and lead soldiers and a huuuuuge meat lovers pizza

October 8th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe someday this will all be funny?

October 7th, 2018 by kayak woman

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

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

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

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