A Most Unreliable Narrator Issue #114 Kitten from the Mitten
Once a Michigander, always a Michigander.
Days in N. Michigan continue to be delightful. The heat wave that hit most of the US left a small mark (a few days in the high 80s (27 – 29C)) but we’re back to our normal mid-70sF (22– 23C) and sunny. The only hiccup in my giddyup is there is a dead alewife infestation along some of the beaches. My brother informs me they were introduced to Lake Michigan to feed the salmon and on occasion, thousands of dead alewife carcasses will show up on the shores.
J and I walked along Good Harbor beach last week and there were literally thousands of dead fish piled in the sands. It was pretty gross but we did chase the seagulls down the beach as they feasted on the carnage. We did find a small beach with no such detail that we’ll take my brother and his family to when they come up on Labor Day weekend.
The waters haven’t been terribly cold, at least once you get used to it. I brought two bottoms with me and forgot a top, so I haven’t been to the beach. New top has been ordered and should arrive this week. Kristin is coming this weekend for the grand cidery tour around the peninsula which is her gift to me for my 50th. I’m taking Monday off because I plan on getting smashed on delicious cider and possibly getting stoned later. (We found that a mix of 1:1 of CBD and THC works well for me. 5mg and I’m so chill, I’m sliding off the couch.)
We’re having a lot of work done around the cabin. Contractor came yesterday to pull up the back deck and the deck’s second level only to find that it was a handyman’s special with untreated wood floating on cinder blocks. We’re shocked it’s lasted this long. Landscapers came by Thursday morning and made short work of our front garden pulling up so much myrtle that the compost pile is four feet tall and about four feet wide. Two piles even! They will be doing all the yard work we’ve tried unsuccessfully tried to do for years only to get nowhere.
We’re also having our driveway re-graveled and in addition to the new deck, we’ll be creating a paver stone patio area behind the cabin to hold a table and chairs for dining outside or coffee in the morning. (I kid. This is not fucking House Hunters international.) We have a lot of other inside projects. Our main contractor said if he can’t do it, he can get me the name of someone who can. While the cabin is all season, we need to buy a gas stove to heat up the place (gas line already in place) and get the crawlspace conditioned to install HVAC. We currently have radiant heat and it costs us about $500 a month to use. Moving up here is to save money, not spend money.
At the rate we’re going, we’re going to try a winter up here in 2023-24. If we do, we’ll need to replace our MINI with a SUV. The MINI is too low to handle the winters up here (can be as much as 150” of snow in one season).
There are two primary reasons why we’re keeping this place even if the value has risen 3.5x is not only my connection to Michigan* but also I can see my friends who live here. Most of my closest friends live somewhere in the state and coming to visit me is easy (I can also visit them within a couple of hours). People love spending weekends up here because there is so much to do during the spring/summer/fall. Who knows? Maybe in the winter I’ll take up snow shoeing or cross-country skiing.
Erika is coming up in September and we’ve planned a grand adventure. I’m picking her up from the airport on Saturday and we’re immediately driving to Sault St. Marie**, Ontario as she’s never been to Canada. We’re going to dick around that night around the city. Sunday we’ll go back across the International Bridge and stay in Sault St. Marie, MI ***. We’ll explore the city, take a tour on the Soo locks, maybe drive to Paradise and Tahquamenon Falls, and get our feet wet in Lake Superior. Monday we’ll hit the places we missed on Sunday and then we’ll drive down to Mackinaw City to take the ferry over to Mackinac**** Island. She’s also never been on a ferry so this should be fun. The hope is that we’ll also hit three of the Great Lakes (Huron, Superior, and Michigan). We’ll get back to the cabin on Monday night for her to go home Tuesday afternoon. It’ll be a blast having her here and the type of mini-vacation that I need.
It's Saturday early evening and I’ve been reading since we came back from errands. We had two places to get to: dispensary for J’s pot consumption and grocery shopping in the city. Drive to the dispensary was 30 minutes, then 30 minutes back to adjust the sprinklers, another 30 to the grocery store, and then on the way home. Our entire day took about four hours and am I ever sick of driving. Another note here: getting everywhere is a haul. We only do laundry twice a month and when we shop, we shop to last. The hope of getting the washer / dryer installed in the house should be a no brainer.
By the time you read this, I will be on my cidery tour with Kristin and J. We’ve got four places to hit and I plan on imbibing along the way. Two K Farms is my favorite place so far up here. I’m super looking forward to this as a few local and new to me ciderys (from down state) turned out to not be hits. I have a discerning taste.
* Michigan is in the shape of a mitten which makes it easy to point out where one lives or locations around the state. A tattoo(s) I’d like to do is at tiny heart where Grand Rapids is located and also where the cabin is located. I saw it on someone, and I’ve always wanted it done.
** It’s pronounced “Soo Saint Marie” on both sides of the bridge.
*** Yes, both sides of the International Bridge cities have the same name.
**** Not a misspelling. “Mackinaw” and “Mackinac” are both pronounced “Mack-en-naw.”
Things I Recently Wrote
What I’m Reading
FINISH A FUCKING BOOK LISA BEFORE STARTING A NEW ONE.
The 7/12 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle An Agatha Christie-esque locked room mystery
Reputation Mean girls with Jane Austen thrown in
Dissolution Lawyer turned sleuth in Tudor England
The Widow Queen 10th C Poland. A princess used as a pawn to form alliances, but she has other plans
Keats: A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph Biography on John Keats
A Curious History of Sex A very skim the top look but highly interesting, history of sex
Kings of B’more A great read of two Black queer friends who spend their last day together before one moves away
Want to see what I’m reading or watching? Check out my list for 2022!
Originally, this week’s entry was slated to be about books and reading, jumping from my comment the other day on FB that if I could make a livable wage selling books, I would. Putting books into people’s hands, talking excitedly about books, and reading books is pretty much keeps me going most days. (Though to be fair I’ve not updated the book review mailing list in months.)
I got turned on to Shaun Bythell and his bookseller series by reading the second book, Confessions of a Bookseller, a diary of a year in the life of the owner of the largest second-hand bookstore in Scotland. I incidentally got turned on while I was at a local bookstore in Traverse City waiting for Sara while she used the bathroom. I read, she came back, and I bought. It is physically incapable for me to walk past a bookshop without buying a book or a Sbux to get my venti black iced tea with six shots of sugar cane syrup. It really is.
My to be read (TBR) list is obnoxious. I have three bookcases at Throbbing Condo of TBRs, my wish list on Amazon divided into topics, and my wish list at one of my local library is in the hundreds. I also have a bookcase stocked with books I need to read.
It’ll take several lifetimes to get through them all but that’s okay, I’m not going anywhere.
(P.S. I’m signing up for The Random Book Club when we get back to Throbbing Condo.)
Have a happy <insert quip here> summer!