Random bits of my so-called life.


July 18th, 2020 by kayak woman

Triplets seem to run in the FinFam or at least they have for a few generations. To be completely accurate, there is only one ACTUAL set of triplets in the sense that three babies shared a womb. They belong to one of my many 1st cousins once removed, a generation down from mine. The triplets are now college students and are wonderful young adults, good citizens all. We are proud of them.

But then there’s me and my two female first cousins, “triplet” cousins, who were all born in the same year. (I’m the oldest.) We did not live in the same city but we spent our childhood summers together at the moominbeach, the first six summers together in our grandparents’ cabin, aka the Old Cabin. We’ll talk about the “Two-Year-Old Summer” some other day.

My family built the moomincabin the summer I was six but it’s right next door to the Old Cabin so we were constantly running back and forth. The beach custom was that we didn’t knock on doors to gain entry to other cabins. We just walked right in. We also called our aunts and uncles by their first names, not prefaced by “Aunt” or “Uncle”. The cFam uses Aunt/Uncle and I am still not used to being called “Aunt Anne” or, uh, “Auntie Anne”. Auntie? But that’s their family custom and I love them so I just let it go. But honestly, I don’t have crocheted doilies draped over the back of the Green Couch.

Wouldn’t you know, us “triplet” cousins each had our first child within a year. So there are our kids in yesterday’s photoooo, “triplet” second cousins sitting on top of the alligator floaty toy we acquired on a trip to Crazy Old Florida.

I was thinking about the “erderator” (alligator in 18-month-old speak*) yesterday because one of the beach urchins and her buddy tubed part of the Huron. So I went looking for an old photooo I knew I had scanned and posted it. It was a crappy lo-res pic so today I hunted through the old photo albums, FOUND the original, photographed it with my iPhone, and posted it to Instagram, apping it in the process to “pop” it a bit. (Actually I hate the word “pop” used in the way I just used it💩)

We aren’t sure where the erderator floaty is, maybe Hoton Lake? I half-heartedly googled for alligator floaties and they exist but they are mere caricatures of the one we presumably own.

*That is, it’s the word one of my 18-month-old emergent talkers used for alligator. The other one would’ve said “alligator” plain as day.

Pandemic shopping rules to live by

July 17th, 2020 by kayak woman

Today I got my first DELIVERY order of grocks from Meijer. I even ordered whine and they were able to deliver that. It was the Jackson Rd. Meijer and everything was seamless. Nice app (Shipt), tons of same day time slots, and a wonderful young man did my shopping and delivery. He communicated with me by text, which I prefer.

I have baggy old friends (like meeeee) who have been braving personal visits to grocery stores throughout the pandemic. “I like to pick things out myself.” Well, okay, I get that. But it depends on what it is…

If it’s some standard canned good or, I dunno, English muffins or whatever, and you can click on it, how can you go wrong? Things like that I always add a substitution note saying something like, “any kind of canned tomatoes are fine”. I am realizing that leaving this kind of thing up to the shopper is freeing in a way. So often I AGONIZE over which canned tomatoes to buy for pasta sauce. I mean, there are whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, etc., etc., etc. As long as they aren’t pre-flavored in some way, I CAN deal with any form factor, so who cares. I probably spend less time crushing up whole tomatoes than standing in the canned tomato aisle agonizing.

Produce? I have not had bad luck buying basic produce from ANY store. Green peppers and lemons are pretty safe and so are tomatoes. And once I was making an order at the specialty store Sparrow Meats and I put potatoes on my list and then I thought I took it off (because I had some potatoes). When I got home from curbside pickup, there was a bag of BEAUTIFUL Yukon Golds in my box. I HADN’T taken potatoes off my emailed list. I also hadn’t specified what KIND of potatoes. They ad libbed and I got beautiful potatoes.

Produce 2? I don’t order esoteric produce from large stores because I order most of it from our local Argus Farm Stop, a central location for farmers, etc., to drop off their stuff. Or if Rodent Delivery goes to the farmers market, she gets stuff for me. But from what I’ve experienced, ordering produce from a shopper works out pretty well too and I may have to do that when Old Man Winter puts us back into the old deep freeze.

Meat and seafood? Depends. Things like ground beef and packaged chicken pieces of various sorts are easy to order from any store. The apps are a little confusing when you want to order specific things like, hmmm, I want approximately 1.5 pounds of beef tenderloin that I can cube up for kebabs during our next trip to the moomincabin. I will probably order that from Sparrow. Meat is what they do and I could probably use the Plum app to order it but I’m not sure exactly how. Nevertheless I still have an order in for other stuff at Plum.

I appreciate all of these stores for providing new ways to shop and I’m sure I will return to some in-person shopping post-pandemic but I think I will still do some curbside and delivery, even if we do get rid of COVID. I used to think that post-COVID I would order food from Cubelandia and pick it up on the way home from work but now that I’m a full-time forever telecommuter, I guess that won’t happen.

Welcome to our new world and g’night from Kayak Woman.

Yes, I saw the comet. No, I did not get a pic.

July 16th, 2020 by kayak woman

I guess my vacation timing is pretty bad this summer. I had no clue there was any kind of comet until we were BACK on the Planet Ann Arbor from an extra long 4th of July weekend. And that’s about when it started showing up.

Apparently if we had been at the moomincabin and the skies were clear, we could’ve simply walked down to the beach and looked toward Ursa Major (north-ish). Down here in Megalopolis, with hazy skies, light pollution, and big bushy treeeeees, well… We drove out to a cleared spot on Joy Road but had to use binoculars to check it out. It was not iPhone-able.

I was reflecting on the comets I have seen in my lifetime. Halley’s for one. As a child, hearing about Halley’s comet and knowing I would probably live to see its next pass-by, I pictured a bright star-like object with a long tail. Well, not so much. We were in Florida during Halley’s comet, visiting the GG’s parents with our toddler Lizard Breath and her Beautiful Aunt Susie in tow. Most mornings, the GG would get up at 0-skunk-30 and schlep something like 30 miles inland to set up his telescope. That’s about the only way a person could see the comet. I may be mis-remembering but even through the scope, it looked like a teensy-tinesy little gash of light. It’s a good thing it wasn’t up to me to find it.

So now (surprise!) we get a REAL COMET WITH A LONG TAIL, just like in the cartoons, and I am not in an optimal location to view it.

I think I have said I can’t look away from watching videos of the latest Press Secretary. Today, among other things, it was something like “the President can’t focus only on COVID because he is also focused on M13 and violence in Chicago”. Not that those things are not important (except I had never heard of M13 before the Orange Baboon’s 2016 campaign and have heard almost nothing since) but…

MMCB’s husband calls Ms. McNinny (yes, I’m going to call her that) “the Barbie Press Secretary”. And yes she is somewhat reminiscent of Barbie. But then she opens her mouth. It hit me today that she is more like Chatty Cathy (google it). Pull the string at the back of her neck and she spews whatever recording is next. Something like that. I always wanted a Chatty Cathy doll but The Commander would never buy me one so I don’t really know. Anyone missing Sean Spicer at this point?

P.S. I’m not at the moomincabin. That sunset is from earlier this summer.

Pandemic shopping misadventures #79882

July 15th, 2020 by kayak woman

Back when we thought we were gonna be eating beans and rice for months on end, our Rodent Delivery Service supplied us with a BIG BAG OF RICE from one of the Asian grocery stores. At first I was somehow intimidated by it and so it sat for a while until I ventured to open it. And guess what? It’s really good rice. Well, I mean it’s RICE! And we eat quite a bit of rice although this was a pretty big bag.

So we were outta town for a while and last night I opened up my BIG BAG OF RICE and there were BUGS in it. Fortunately I had other rice without bugs.

I do know that bugs of various sorts lay eggs that eventually hatch in rice but it hadn’t happened in the Landfill in many years, I guess probably because I don’t usually buy large quantities of rice. If it had been totally up to me, I’d’ve probably cut my losses and dragged the bag out to the compost heap and dumped the rice, bugs and all. But not… Mr. Thrifty HAD to save the rice so here he is “sifting” it to remove the bugs and an egg sac.

All of the rice is now in metal canisters in the freezer, where according to the gooooogle, any remaining eggs will be dead (or something) in three days. Do I want to eat ANY eggs, dead or not?

Fun times at the Landfill where it is HOT HOT HOT. But not as hot as 1988, a summer I endured with no A/C in the house or any vee-hickle we owned (yes really), a pre-schooler and a toddler. A toddler who had a 104 fever one day (roseola) and since the outdoor temperature was also 104, we were in the kiddie pool. And not as hot as 2012, when my old-skool indoor-outdoor thermometer got stuck at 106. (I was gonna say it froze at 106 but that might incite some cognitive dissonance.)

P.S. There are also more fruit flies around here than I’m comfortable with. What is Farmer John’s vinegar strategy? Hmmm… Gooooooogle it KW.


July 14th, 2020 by kayak woman

Arrrgghhh. Or maybe it’s grrrrr… Amazon Woman and I spent the afternoon emailing back and forth with Mr. Bear, while simultaneously chatting behind the scenes with things like, “I am going out of my mind.” Talk about miscommunications but that’s par for the course with Mr. Bear. We finally got it all sorted out (sorta) and that’s as far as I’m gonna go with that because, well. I couldn’t ‘splain the details of my work if I tried, y’all wouldn’t be interested, and it’s a bad idea to blahg tooooo much about your employment, even if you usually have good things to say. And don’t get me wrong, we actually LIKE Mr. Bear.

I’m wondering if I should go sleep in the She-shed for the next couple weeks. The GG has been gallivanting around in the yooperland and NE lower and I THINK he is adequately social distancing. I know he is not going to big house parties like the one in a neighboring town over the 4th of July weekend that spread COVID to I dunno how many people. Honestly, I do NOT know what people are thinking. Oh, that’s right, they’re not. But the GG doesn’t go to bars or parties and he is mostly out in the woods and he does wear a mask when he needs to. Still nervous…

I wasn’t really sure when he was coming home until this afternoon when I got a heads up that he had filled up the tank in Standish. I am somehow set up for random messages when certain debit card transactions occur. I’m not sure what prompted me to set those up but I do like the gasoline transactions because they indicate where he is. And if he’s on his way home from somewhere, which gives me a chance to shoo the boys outta the house before he gets home 🐽

I’m not sure where he picked up the sunglasses, probably at some campground, but his brother opined that his 7-year-old granddaughter would approve. I’m not so sure, I think said granddaughter probably has better taste 🐽


July 13th, 2020 by kayak woman

After seeing this pic, I think I will be looking for a quarantine apartment for the twin on the left. Sharing a womb umpteen bazillion years ago does not make sharing a small camper in 2020 okay! I HOPE they each have their own camper because this is the Lyme Lounge, in which social distancing is IMPOSSIBLE.

Me? I am here at The Landfill “paying the rent” and thinking about the future — mainly the future of my wardrobe. When I sold my soul to Corporate America 13 years ago (drug test and everything and *that* was interesting but we won’t go there today — of course I passed), the “dress code” at Cubelandia was business casual. That is, except when it wasn’t. There were “Casual Fridays” and “Jeans Days” and whatnot. One summer we remodeled the office and “Summer Casual” was declared for the entire summer. Think BIG guys with hairy legs in cargo shorts. Fun times 🐽 and I loved them ANYWAY.

A couple years ago, we backed off on bizcaz and jeans were okay EVERY day. There was some confusion early on when the list of appropriate attire included t-shirts for men but not for women. How do you define “t-shirt” anyway? Or “socialism” but we won’t go there today.

I long ago settled in to various bizcaz “uniforms” and did not go for the jeans thing. I have not worn a pair of jeans since Calvin Klein changed the “fit” of the jeans I used to buy and the saleswoman at Hudson’s (that’s how long ago this was) more or less snooted down her nose at me when I asked about the change.

Anyway, my bizcaz uniforms almost exclusively consisted of skirts (just above knee to mid-calf) and whatever tops fit the season. Summer was tank tops with lightweight flow-y jackets. Winter was turtleneck sweaters with vests. Tights in the winter, bare legs in the summer, hiking sandals year-round.

Oh man, TeleCubelandia? Long skirts always. Turtleneck, polartech vest, and tights in the winter. Tie-dyed t-shirts in the summer. At some point in April or May (the months, they run together), I was getting dressed and thought WHY am I putting on this article of clothing that I have always FLUNG as soon as I got home from work. I have been, uh, untethered ever since. (Prob’ly TMI, at least for my kids.)

Now that I am a full-time telecommuter forever, what’s to become of my bizcaz wardrobe? I dunno yet. There are certainly some things I will get rid of once I can donate things again. Others I love too much. My short “petal skirts” for one thing. The first time I ordered one, I was afraid it would look awful on a baggy old bag like me. The website encouraged me that it wouldn’t and they were actually RIGHT!

Quietly productive

July 12th, 2020 by kayak woman

Took me a while to get myself moving this morning but I was productive today albeit in a quiet sort of way.

Lemme see…

Last loads of laundry done – cabin linens and some of the GG’s sweaty, possibly tick-infested clothing.

Paid summer property taxes for the moomincabin – one of the few checks I have to write these days. Meaning I have to dredge up a check, a pen, an envelope, a stamp, and in this case scissors because the perforation referred to on the invoice didn’t exist. I spent tooooo much time looking for that stuff.

Started to pay property taxes for the Landfill (online) and stopped because… apparently we have until the end of August to pay them (instead of July 31)? Because COVID, I guess. I didn’t quite trust my eyes so after MUCH searching around online, I found that yes, we can wait until the end of August but people who can pay without financial hardship are encouraged to pay on time. And I can, so I will. But I didn’t today. Also I signed up for email notifications for the taxes so if I am gallivanting around isolating in the yooperland on July 31st, I won’t forget.

Dumped some of the stinkiest compost on earth out in the bin. Why did I not remember to dump it before I left town? i do not know.

Entered latest jamadots auto-payment (DSL bill) into moomincabin financial spreadsheet. P.S. Fiber optics are coming to a moomincabin near you!

Downloaded Triple-A app to my phone and paid our membership fee. Lotsa stuff you can do with that app, claims, etc. Hope I never have to use any of that stuff.

Disentangled my debit card from declination jail. Again! Last time this happened (May?), I had to schlep my drivers license out to the Zeeb Road bank branch to prove I was meeeeee. This time was easier. Did I [try to] buy from Argus Farm Stop? Yes. Just a few minutes ago. Did I [try to] use Venmo? YES YES YES! Yesterday and that’s how I provide my own personal Rodent Delivery Service with money to buy me pandemic grocks when I can’t easily get them some other way. I’ve been doing that for MONTHS! This person was able to turn my card back on IMMEDIATELY. But still. Maybe I’ll just switch to using a credit card…

Researched issues I had with ordering curbside/delivery from Meijer/Shipt in Sault Ste. Siberia and think I have it sorted out. Like, sorry KW, that Meijer doesn’t do beer/liqwire. But it seems like the Planet Ann Arbor stores actually do. Will test out delivery service here in the next couple days. P.S. I would NOT ask the Sault Meijer to deliver grocks to the moomincabin. They do delivery but I’m not sure the moomincabin is within their delivery range and if it is, the last third of a mile involves a two-track road and not particularly good address signage, like we share a driveway with the Old Cabin but there is a separate address for each dwelling. I’m sure that can be confusing. Heck, when I was a kid there were no house numbers at all and the road was not named!

Perused my absentee ballot IN DETAIL with phone and laptop at hand to look up people and issues. I haven’t actually voted yet but I have decided WHO I am going to vote for. Proposals? Not sure yet. I am not a blasted lawyer and couldn’t find plain English explanations for bearsss of little brain (like me).

PEAS! Glorious shelling peas! There is a short season for these and I can never get enough of them. In fact, when I made the aforementioned Argus order, they had some so I ordered more. Er, I guess I didn’t aforemention the Argus order. Made an Argus order.


July 11th, 2020 by kayak woman

This pic is from last night at 9:22 PM. Mr. Golden Sun has begun his southward journey but we still get some pretty good rays late into the evening up on Gitchee Gumee.

That whooooooshing sound is meeeee driving my Ninja (2008 Honda Civic SI, 6-speed manual) down to the Planet Ann Arbor today. We topped off its tank in Rudyard today, drove tandem to Iggy and then I headed over the BigMac and the GG split off for a dispersed North Country Trail hike. He had Mooon Yooonit (2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure, color Lunar Rock) because he was towing the Lyme Lounge. Ninja does not tow things. (I really kinda wanna buy a second Mooon Yooonit but I don’t wanna get rid of Ninja. We are a house divided on two cars or three. (And a few other things 🐽))

We have had BigMac commuter cards (aka the MacPass) for years, since around the time The Commander started needing more frequent help from us, whether she wanted it or not 🐽 They are plastic cards that you wave at a reader thingy and the gate lifts up. Sometimes there is a dedicated lane for MacPass users but often on holiday weekends or other busy days (Sunday southbound, etc.), you have to go through a regular lane anyway. The last time the GG drove up (separately from me), he obtained the latest technology, which is a sticker that you affix to your veeeendsheeeeeld. I guess it’s a “transponder” of sorts? I used it for the first time today. There were TWO MacPass lanes open but I wasn’t sure if my sticker would work or not, so I used a regular lane ANYWAY so I could pay by cash or plastic card if I needed to. I did not want to get up to the booth, have the thing not work and have to back up. I needn’t have worried. As I approached the booth, the gate just barely started to come down and IMMEDIATELY went back up. I was good to go.

I chose to drive down on a Saturday because I did NOT want to deal with the Sunday traffic backups of high summer, even this pandemic summer. I had NO slowdowns (except the bridge) so it was a nice whoooooooshy trip. I did not have to do roadP. When I got back to the Landfill, even though I felt fine and wasn’t thirsty, I sat down and slowly drank a BIG glass of water before doing ANYTHING (except check email, etc.). I had water with me on the trip but didn’t use it.

I unpacked and put everything away and did two loads of laundry. I’ll save the other two for tomorrow. I did need underwear though 🐽, well except, who needs underwear if you aren’t going anywhere. TMI? Anyway! I also came home to a big bag of shelling peas from the farmers market and a couple of the GG’s fave whole chickens from Sparrow Market. And the mail that I didn’t deal with adequately was inside. All courtesy of my own personal Pandemic Rodent Delivery Service 🧡🧡🧡 Please please please thank your grocery workers as well as other “essential” workers! And wear a mask if you can’t do curbside or delivery.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

Taconite guy

July 10th, 2020 by kayak woman

So the GG took off to the “hardware store” this afternoon and he also dropped some Green Bag Garbage off at the res. He was gone for almost TWO hours. It was okay (I needed to be spacified). But it was a looooong time and I was hoping he hadn’t been in the hardware store all that time…

Was he at the hardware store? Probably. I know he wore a mask. Our governor #BigGretch aka #ThatWomanInMichigan has now mandated them in all stores and crowded public places. Yay for her! I hope this means that our essential (and underpaid) store employees do not have to enforce mask policies. Please please please avoid going into stores and if you have to go inside, wear a mask and be polite to the employees.

During the time the GG was gone, I heard a whole lot of train whistles. Train tracks run through this area but trains are pretty infrequent and we only occasionally hear them whistle. I heard a lot of them today.

The GG eventually came home and when I asked where the heck he had been, he said he had been collecting taconite pellets near the railroad tracks. I couldn’t help but wonder if the train I heard earlier was “horning” at the crazy guy picking up taconite pellets near the tracks.

Facetime porterization tonight and then some fun and wonderful (outside and distanced, alas) interaction with our young cousin and his significant other at the Old Cabin. Heading south tomorrow. For a while. I am pandemically nervous about my mostly solo trip south and again strategizing roadP.

We were hoping for deluges of rainfall today. We never quite got there although I think there was enough rain to water our impatiens. It was a lot cooler today (than 88-90) and I did not have to swim in gitchee gumee.

Future shock

July 9th, 2020 by kayak woman

Amazon Woman is on vacay this week so when she pinged us on chat this morning, I figgered something was up. And something was indeed up and it is kinda big…

What is up is that the Planet Ann Arbor Cubelandia building facility is going to close. Note that this does NOT mean that jobs are going away (see the PS though). What it means is that everyone who ever schleps in to the office (or used to pre-COVID) will be telecommuting “forever” (again, see the PS).

I almost always (pre-COVID) schlepped in to the office but telecommuted when the weather was bad or if I wanted to hang out in the yooperland for a bit. There were others who worked in the office a couple/few days a week or whatever. We have always had a few full-time telecommuters, people who live in Chicago or wherever, for example. Plus there’s India.

I am still processing this sudden announcement. Once upon a time when I had my Childhood Job and young children, I yearned to telecommute. We weren’t “there” yet either in terms of technology or management support. When I began this job (my Adult Job), I could telecommute but my Work Ethic took me in to the office every day. I grew to enjoy commuting to and being AT Cubelandia. Telecommuting during the pandemic has been fine except on the days when “people” are doing the dern taxes for the third time, etc.

All of the details are not in yet but we are one among something like nine buildings in which employees will transition to full-time telecommuting. The positives for the company include not having to pay rent. This should also have a positive effect on the environment since people aren’t driving. A positive for me is that I can work from the yooperland pretty much whenever I want to although 1) that has always been true and 2) I *love* the Planet Ann Arbor too.

Things I will miss? The ponds and nature preserves at Avis Farms. The 8-mile slow road Zen Commute (and the ability to stay home when it snows). FARMER JOHN’S LUNCHROOM PRODUCE STAND!!!

Anyway, onward into the future.

P.S. Disclaimer: I work for an “at-will” Corporate America type company. Anything can happen at any time. I have survived many RIFs butchya never know when they’re gonna come for you. For any reason. That’s just part of the terrain. If it happens to me, I will be upset when it happens but I will also be okay. I’ve been treated well these last 13 years and as someone on FB asked today, “Have you considered retiring?”. No. Not yet. But I certainly could.

P.P.S. Click and click again to embiggen the spider web.

Meijer curbside report

July 8th, 2020 by kayak woman

Early in the pandemic, I tried to arrange curbside pickup (preferred) and/or delivery from Meijer and other “big” stores. I prefer curbside because it GETS ME OUT DRIVING! As a lot of my six readers well know, back in those days it was hard if not impossible to get a pickup slot. Two weeks out? Nope. As I have said before, I do NOT blame Meijer for this. I’m sure those stores were SLAMMED by people suddenly clamoring for that service and were scrambling to keep up.

I gave up on that and figured other ways to get grocks, including Rodent Delivery who ALWAYS come through when I need them, and various small specialty businesses that I shop at anyway and pivoted to offer curbside service. A couple weeks ago Meijer sent me a cheerful email promising “We’ll deliver your booze” with pictures of Captain Morgan’s rum (which we don’t drink but buy for FlaMan) and bota boxes and Two Hearted beer and whatever. That piqued my interest and I checked out whether there were any available pickup times in the near future. Yes. But we didn’t need anything so I didn’t try it out.

I brought a LOT of grocks up here but we’ve been here for a week and needed some things so I ordered curbside from Meijer and picked it up today. How was it?

Overall good but not perfect.

The ordering interface is okay but the email communications were confusing. The instructions directed me to park in a curbside spot and GO INSIDE to pay and get my grocks. Uh, I am ordering curbside because I do not want to GO INSIDE! I sucked it up and called customer service and my labyrinthine trip through all of that would take its own post (or three) so we won’t go there and you’re welcome!

My shopper was wonderful. She called to ask about a substitute for one item and that was fine. I thought I had ordered two ears of sweet corn but got home with one. I suspect I neglected to click the plus button. It’s okay. We really only needed one ear anyway.

I could pay outside but that was a MESS but it was (arguably) my fault. For whatever reason, I often have trouble using my debit card at Meijer and it gets declined over and over before it finally works. I’m not gonna tell you how much money is in the account it’s attached to but it is much much more than any grocery tab I’ve run up any time in my entire life. Aaaaand I had just successfully used it at the gas pumps (first time I have EVER put gas in Mooon Yooonit, parked as far from anyone else as possible, masked, and hand-sanitized afterwards). But my card does have a reputation and next time I do Meijer curbside, I will give them a credit card that I know works. That was wasted time and stress for a Meijer employee and me.

I did try to order a bottle of bourbon and I got home without that (and didn’t pay for it either). I suspect that was why the email I got told me to come inside to get my pickup. That was fine but I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t say upfront something like “we can’t deliver this to your vee-hickle” or tell me that they had removed it from my order.

So the mask-to-mask HUMAN interactions were wonderful. The web ordering process was okay. The email messages (some of them) were not accurate and the phone system was a mess. They need to hire a few business systems analysts (like meeeee) who do user experience design for a living. But I WILL DEFINITELY use Meijer again.

Oh masks? Most people I saw going in or out were wearing them even though the yooperland is still not a hot spot. But not everyone. And soooo many vee-hickles in the parking lot and people walking in and out. Sigh. I felt a little weird being in a curbside spot with my mask on. Like all these other people are going in to shop like I did last summer. But the only interaction I had with another customer was one when I got out of my vee-hickle momentarily and a (masked) customer said she loved my skirt. Thank you, I said, and “I hope I don’t trip on it.”

Hotter than Hades here at the moominbeach today. I facetimed with MMCB1 this morning and she asked, “Do you have air-conditioning?” Hahahahahahahaha. Actually the answer to that is that we are adjacent to the biggest air conditioner in the world. That would be Gitchee Gumee and I did swim this afternoon.

P.S. Plum Market has been my BEST “big store” pickup experience. I’m not saying that because I am related to an employee. She has nothing to do with curbside pickup. They just do a good job. I mentioned one of my shoppers to Mouse and she agreed about what a wonderful person she was.

13 ticks and counting…

July 7th, 2020 by kayak woman

Nothing like driving along the M-28 highway with a passenger who is picking ticks off his body and throwing them out the window. He hiked 23 miles today and he picked a couple ticks off during the hike and more during the car ride and then a bunch back here at the moomincabin. These were dog ticks, not deer ticks but all ticks are bad bad bad. Yick. He did take a shower…

He did put a few ticks down the kitchen sink, which I thought was a bad idea and then he caught a tick trying to climb back out. I boiled some water and poured it down there and hopefully that’ll do the trick.

Okay, who wants school to start up in person this fall? I do not! Years and years ago when my kids were in elementary school, there was a 2-week teacher strike on the Planet Ann Arbor. It just about drove me crazy having the kids home for the first two weeks of school. On the other hand, during that time, they cooked their first meal ON THE STOVE WITHOUT EVEN TELLING ME. I found it later and it was spaghettios. Yes I fed my kids stuff like that. It was more nutritious than air and they eat better and more creatively than I do nowadays.

Bad Orange Man is DEMANDING that public schools open this fall. This fall. COVID cases are rising in many states and GUESS WHAT, if they aren’t rising where you live, they likely will. Given this year’s circumstances, if I had young children, I would gladly keep them at home for the duration. The jury is still out on the role young children have as disease-spreading vectors but plenty of teachers are at a vulnerable age and I bet they do NOT want to go back into the classroom.

I don’t often play videos from social media* but I played a “speech” from my state’s own Betsy Devos today about opening the schools. What did she say? I do not know. She went blah-de-blah-de-blah about how important it is for children to be learning in social situations and that’s true up to the point where kids are being bullied (but that’s another discussion). But how do we keep teachers (and parents and grandparents, etc.) safe if the children are sharing the virus. In the end, “our” Betsy did not offer any concrete advice, just that every community has to make their own rules.

Why does she not have any advice? Because she has no clue about viruses work and how they spread. She was just blathering away to support the Orange Baboon.

*Awful as it is, I can’t make myself look away from Kayleigh McEnany’s (McNinny’s?) crapola. Sorry but what the f*ck? Answer the question, woman! I can only guess she’s into it for the damn money.

Keaf Spammers and Umbel Diameters, and oh, Plassovers

July 6th, 2020 by kayak woman

Nothing like spamming SEVEN people about Giant Hogweed. Yer wife, kids, niece, and all of the significant others. Are all these people really interested in Giant Hogweed? I mean, they should be if they are likely to encounter it. I’m not sure Giant Hogweed grows in Hawaii, where one of the Keaf Spam recipients now lives. It’s our niece Pengo Janetto Cookie Tester Penguin Hoosh (Phd in forensic anthropology) and we are proud of her but we also miss her!

The GG sent the hogweed “keaf” message and I couldda told him he would get push-back from our amateur botanist beach urchin about “Giant Hogweed”. No, that’s not what it is. It’s Cow Parsnip and she had the Latin name for it and a bunch of descriptive details and “what is the umbel diameter”? He didn’t know. I dunno, Cow Parsnip is apparently less toxic than Giant Hogweed but I will still stay away from it like I try to stay away from COVID. The hard part is that it all looks like Queen Anne’s Lace to me. So I guess I should stay away from anything that looks like Queen Anne’s Lace since I can’t really tell the difference.

About then the second Plassover of the day rolled through. What the heck is a plassover? We get some good thunderstorms here on the Upper St. Marys river but we often get to watch big thunderstorms roll across Whitefish Bay into Cananananada without touching us at all. The Commander and Radical Betty would sit on the beach watching these things roll through after Beer Lunch on the beach and they could always seem to predict if the storm would *pass* over into Canananada without hitting our beach or not. Passover, roight? A Beer Lunch once morphed passover into plassover and after hysterical laughter ensued, we have forever called that type of thunderstorm a “plassover”. I was a teenager when that happened and I sooooo miss my moom and aunt whenever we have a plassover, like the two today.

The pic doesn’t look all that dark but it does show a plassover and there is a barely visibly white smudge to the right of the island. It is seagulls. I’m not sure what they’re doing.

I took my first dip in Gitchee Gumee this afternoon after a sweltering day in moominTeleCubelandia, aka the moomincabin deck (from where I “ran” the daily stand-up meeting) and eventually the Lyme Lounge.

Love y’all, KW

P.S. I have moominTeleCommuted other summers when I had to wear wool socks and a polartech jacket and run a space heater in the Lyme Lounge. Weather/climate is different here every summer.


July 5th, 2020 by kayak woman

I’ve been swatting at these things all day with SWAT! various degrees of success. They aren’t swarming by any means, just coming around often enough that I have to be vigilant.

At least we don’t have blackflies on our property. I’m not allergic to much but those things make me actually sick. They bite me in the back of my neck just along my hairline. They swell up and itch SWAT! and I get a low-grade fever. We also do not have ticks on our property, at SWAT! least I have never seen one. They abound up on the nature trail.

We were driving back from Naomikong yesterday SWAT! and we were passing Tower Road and the GG was mentioning SWAT! how we haven’t driven it for a while. That stirred up some childhood memories for me of riding with my parents on Tower Road so we went back over there today and drove it from Dollar Settlement where it starts back to the Spectacle Lake SWAT! overlook and the “Grandma Left Her Purse in the Graveyard” cemetery. As we were driving along, another memory surfaced. The old faaaar tower. We used to drive in to look at the old tower. Tower Road? Get it?

The tower is long gone and today SWAT! I couldn’t have remembered where the turnoff was to save my life. And I couldn’t do the google because NO SERVICE. When we got back to the moomincabin I did do the google and found not only the location but the gruesome story we were always told as kids. The synopsis SWAT! is that the ranger’s 3-year-old daughter was playing on the cabin porch when a bear came along, carried her off and killed her. If you are strong enough to read the whole story, here’s a link. This happened well before I was born but it was still fresh in the minds of the eastern yooperlanders when I was a child.

Hot sticky day but a late afternoon shower has me feeling refreshed. Still haven’t gotten in the lake. SWAT! SWAT! SWAT!

Linear juxtapositions with water

July 4th, 2020 by kayak woman

Last night was the first night we slept in the Lyme Lounge. The last couple summers, the adult beach urchins seemed to be a bit worried about their parents sleeping in the Lyme Lounge. I actually LIKE to sleep in the Lyme Lounge. It’s very comfortable to me.

Anyway, last night was a beautiful night for sleeping in the Lyme Lounge. The TREES were RAINING all night. Like, whaddya mean, the trees were raining, KW? What I mean is a fog bank settled on the Upper St Marys River and the moisture was so thick it gathered on all of the trees here and they dripped down on everything including the Lyme Lounge. I didn’t sleep through the night but it was a comfortable kind of waking up and going back to sleep. At one point during the night, I heard a freighter blowing its foghorn. I could’ve looked it up on my iPhone but I couldn’t quiiiite surface enough to do that.

When I got up this morning, there were spider webs of various sorts everywhere and EVERYTHING was covered with water droplets. I did my best to capture some of this but my iPhone (XS) is not the latest and greatest.

I continue to be concerned about the numbers of folks driving up to the yooperland for the holiday weekend. Are they coming to go to bars? We are here in the yooperland but we are sticking to our own isolated beach property. We took a drive out to Naomikong Point for a short hike this morning. There were very few people there so it was easy to distance from them. I met one man on the trail and he was masked but still jumped out to the beach when I came along. Then a family with a black puppy. I saw a black aminal before I saw people and my reptile-brain thought BEAR! Not. The were all friendly but did distance themselves from me.

Alas, I drove up to the Tahquamenon river mouth and back (long story) and while the road wasn’t jammed bumper to bumper, there were a LOT of cars heading up to the Tahquamenon area.

I struggle with the folks (on facebook mainly) who don’t want COVID in the north country but still complain about our governor #ThatWomanInMichigan when she closes bars, etc. Logic, anyone?

10 degrees cooler near the Great Lakes

July 3rd, 2020 by kayak woman

That’s a familiar addendum to the weather reports in the yooperland. It was 84 in Brimley (a few miles down the road) according to my weather app. Here? With that wind coming in off the lake? Somewhere in the 60s. Sometime in the afternoon a fog bank rolled through and the island and the points at both ends of the beach disappeared. The fog bank rolled out as quickly as it advanced and the island/points reappeared.

This was a slug day for me except for a couple of morning beach walks and some lightweight chores. Hey, I needed that! This week was two sweltering work days, stressful pandemic packing, a driving day, and an errand day. So today was a reading day. I spent most of it outside, polartech jacket to fend off the wind chill and big sunhat to shield my face. I STILL feel overexposed this afternoon. My face feels hot like it’s been sunburned but I think it’s just the wind. So even though it’s pleasant on the deck right now, I am inside.

My Rodent Delivery Team made a little reconnaissance mission inside The Landfill today. They found that I did *not* leave a baggy of chicken thighs on the stovetop or the counter or anywhere else. I must’ve unthinkingly shoved them back in the freezer. They did find the half gogi burrito that I couldn’t finish on Tuesday and forgot to pack. And they FINISHED it for me, which made me happy. I don’t know about the orange juice but they did send me a detailed list of everything they touched inside the house so I knew what to disinfect when I got back, although I maaaay not return as soon as I had originally planned if Meijer curbside works out. If I stay longer, I’ll be telecommuting. I did have the foresight to schlep my work laptop.

Oh yeah, it’s one more trip around the sun for our partnership. More years than I am strong enough to count. We haven’t done much to celebrate, just grilling rib-eyes from Best Choice at Hoton Lake. Last year we took a bunch of relations out to lunch at Wicked Sister. Can’t do that this year and one of that particular group is no longer with us. Thinking of her today.

To any folks who may have doubted we would last (and I suspect there were a few because, well, I am a “spirited” person, and that’s about as far as I’m gonna go with that!), we get along better than you might think. We do have our moments but doesn’t every long married couple? What the heck, we’re having a bit of a moment as I write this🐽 And he didn’t just marry meeee, he had the fortune (good or bad?) to marry the moomincabin. For many years he has been the main caretaker here. I sure could’ve done worse. How many young men would want to spend most of their vacation time in an rustic, isolated cabin with their in-laws.

Wear your mask if you are going to the yooperland.

July 2nd, 2020 by kayak woman

Both MMCB1 and MMCB2 were available to facetime this morning. I was ready for them too. When the call came in, I commandeered it immediately with, “Do you want to walk down to the beach with me?” Well, yes. I showed them our little rustic cabin. I pivoted to show them the log cabin my grandparents built in 1924, then I walked down the path through the woods to the beach. I pointed out Canananada to them before I turned the camera back to my fugly old face. I talk about my homeland a lot but I think it’s hard to visualize, even from photos. They were impressed.

Gorgeous calm morning. The GG drove the Motor Bote over to Round Island Point to check out the eagle’s nest and I was able to show MMCBs his return.

We made a trip through town today. Took the back roads over to Clyde’s for a pickup of our annual grease quota and ate it in Goose Poop Park. Masks were worn by us (well, me🐽) and the server. Clyde’s is a drive-in restaurant on the lower St. Marys River and I have been going there all my life and I remember going there with my grandmother and I remember going there on “senior skip day” and the day I picked up my parents right after my brother died and all the times in the POC with the kids/nieces/second cousins…

After Clyde’s, we took several trips to hardware stores to try to replace the fluorescent light over the moomincabin stove and that involved the GG going INSIDE stores. He did mask and so did store employees (I stayed in the car) but no luck on replacing the light. Gas at Meijer and some scouting about where the curbside pickup spaces were located. I don’t need grock yet but I am building an order and will “pull the trigger” on my cart when we get to the point where we actually NEED something.

Nanny car

July 1st, 2020 by kayak woman

Oooof. Pandemic road trips. It was a stressful morning. I THOUGHT I was pretty well PRE-packed. Somehow rummaging the freezer proved very stressful*, pulling everything off every shelf in order to find things. In the end I forgot the orange juice (not in the freezer). And maaayyybeeee some chicken thighs. I don’t THINK I left them on the stovetop, which was my staging area.

I was tasked to pick up yeast for the young cousins staying next door. I don’t have yeast in my house (usually) but Mouse overheard the phone call (from the GG) asking about it and was more than willing to pick some up at work this morning and hand it off to me in the parking lot. If I were a crying type person, I would’ve probably cried saying sayonara to her as I left the Plum parking lot today.

Although I soooo miss being together with my kids and their friends at the moomincabin this summer, at that moment, it was just general low-level anxiety. I was driving alone (like I have done umpteen bazillion times before) from The Planet Ann Arbor to the moomincabin. I was driving Mooon Yooonit and I have not droven that beeyootiful vee-hickle all that much, mostly over to Cubelandia and back when the weather was iffy. For this trip I had to deal with the possibility of roadP and maybe I would have to fill up the tank.

I told my mouse that I was okay and I was. She asked me if I had a roadP strategy and I did. I have learned to deal with low-level anxiety and I did calm down considerably once I got headed north.

It was a decent drive although I think there are WAAAAY too many people heading north. I can only hope they aren’t planning to fill up the bars and restaurants. I am certainly not. I have my own property and we are far apart from neighbors. I did NOT need to roadP. There were a couple short slowdowns on the Big Mac and then I parked in the rest area just above the bridge long enough to text a pic from crossing the bridge. I did not turn off the engine at any time.

Just south of the Rudyard exit, a coffee cup appeared on my dashboard with the message shown in the pic. Um no… And how the heck do I get this message to go away. It was blocking the data telling me how many miles I had left before I needed gas. Which was plenty but I was still watching it.

I guess this coffee cup “feature” showed up based on the amount of time I had been driving. The GG surmised that it had detected me “weaving”. Um, noooo. Unless changing lanes to pass someone counts as weaving. But I was NOT weaving and that was pretty insulting. I can’t say I haven’t ever gotten a little sleepy on a long road trip but coffee always helps with that and I would rather risk death by COVID getting coffee at McD’s than risk death by falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a tree. Anyway. Rudyard was my exit and at that point in the trip, I am always more than awake, excited about my impending arrival.

*At least my home freezer has a light. The moomincabin freezer does not. I was kvetching about that tonight and the GG was trying to say I was blaming it on whatever feelings he thinks I have about white males. Ohhhhh nooooo. It’s my MOTHER I’m grumpy at. She’s the one who bought the dern refrigerator!

Flutter flutter flutter flutter [teensy tinesy] ka-whomp

June 30th, 2020 by kayak woman

I was sitting having a ‘hattan after work yesterday when I heard a lot of fluttering and a very lightweight little ka-whomp. Three feet away from me sat a newly fledged baby robin. Quick quick get a pic! And somehow I managed to do so before this little guy hopped and flittered away.

That’s our second set of robins this year and a third is just around the corner of the house where I can’t see it from this vantage point. I have learned a LOT about robin nesting habits. Oh, please don’t quiz me. I have NOT done a scientific study. One thing that’s going on TODAY that I do NOT understand is that a couple of other birds have been spending a lot of time in and around the abandoned nest. Junk Birds? I’m not sure.

When am I leaving? I do not know. I am an Early Bird but I do NOT think I will blast outta Dodge at 0-skunk-30.

Am I packed? NOOOOOO I am not packed. I am PRE-packed. That means I have a LIST. It also means anything not on the list that I think I might need/want is placed such that I will TRIP OVER IT. I can’t pack perishable food in hot weather until I’m ready to put it in the car. That is all.

I don’t really have a lot to pack anyway. Clothes, food, technological crapola, and a few books. Food is always the issue. I ALWAYS take food up to the yooperland. It is plentiful there but there are certain specialties that I like to schlep from The Planet Ann Arbor or Best Choice at Hoton Lake.

Pandemic traveling? Food is horrendously difficult and stressful to pre-pack. Any other year, if I need something I can schlep to Meijer (15 minutes) or the park store (five minutes) or wherever. The last year UKW came back to the moominbeach to spend time with us, we had so many people to feed we were at Meijer every other day. At one point we felt compelled to tell our cashier that the two of us were really NOT eating and drinking all the food/booze we were buying.

This year I do my best to schlep everything I think we (the two of us who isolate together) might need for the duration we’ll be there so we can stay OUT of stores. I will say that all of the ice packs I acquired by accidentally buying 18 cranberry goat cheese loaves online will help me keep everything cold.

COVID cases in the eastern yooperland? Zero or close to it UNTIL NOW!!! Nine or seven in Chippewa County depending on how you are counting. Small number? Yes. But we all know how that goes, roight? Stay outta the damn bars, people.

I ended my afternoon with whine and an early dinner in the back yard with my rodent delivery person. Dinner was a gogi (beef) burrito from H.O.M.E.S. brewery, picked up curbside. She dropped a few more grocks and also returned a book (Ursula Under, which I’m taking to the moomincabin library). I gave her tubes of After Bite and Sting Kill since she now lives in the woods. I had extra because after I couldn’t find any in my house LAST summer, I went “Pig Wild” and bought five tubes of each online.

‘hicken the garden sentinel

June 29th, 2020 by kayak woman

It was the end of a not-terribly productive day at TeleCubelandia, I think a function of needing a bit of vacay. I shut down my laptop and started scrolling Twitter on my phone…

And almost fell out of my seat. Say what? Mitch McConnell is exhorting people to wear masks? Huh? I don’t follow Mitch and am not a fan, although that’s not why I don’t follow him. After all, I DOOOO follow the Bad Orange Man. Another person I follow is KellyAnne’s husband, a Lincoln Project founder and fellow disparager of the Orange Baboon. It was he who retweeted McConnell. Almost can’t believe I’m saying this but GO Mitch!

A few tweets down, the New Jersey governor tweeted that restaurants would NOT be opening as planned. This is good news and more governors should follow. I know I am probably harping on this way too much for some of my six readers but I never did think opening restaurants to indoor seating was a good idea. If EPIDEMIOLOGISTS are still struggling to understand COVID’s rules and how to avoid becoming infected, why do we think RESTAURANT OWNERS know what to do?

Oh well. It was hot enough here today that I moved my TeleCube into the back yard as soon as there was enough shade to sit back here and I am currently spending cocktail hour watching the second batch of robins, who are about to fledge, and a few other garden birds and aminals. Baby robins are flapping their wings like crazy.

‘hicken doesn’t really have much of a garden to protect this year. My three pots of impatiens (the only plants I don’t [usually] kill) and an overgrown raised bed of chives and things. I am NOT a good gardener. I will NEVER BE a good gardener. I’m not sure I even ENJOY gardening. But I would like a nice-looking yard and I wish I could hire somebody like Lotus Farms or whoever to do some gardening/landscaping here. Alas, that’s another topic on which we are a house divided 🐽

P. S. Did I spell epidemiologists correctly? Somehow it looks weird to me. Maybe because it’s in CAPS?

P. P. S. ROBIN FLEDGLING! Just now and right next to me. Pic tomorrow.