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April, 2006

 

 

April 30

Well, April is history, and I still don't see when I'll be going home. I have to say it's been a long time since the weeks have gone so slowly. But then, I hate this whole process.

 

I slept reasonably well last night, although not as well as the two nights before, and I was up at 8:30, which turned out to be a good thing. I had decided to get dressed for church before I went downstairs, and when I put on my dress and the shoes I wanted to wear with it, it was clear that I'm not going anywhere in those shoes. Ouch. Besides, my ankles are so swollen my legs look really ugly with nothing covering them. So I changed to pants (without taking my nylons off) and found a pair of shoes that, even though they are a size smaller, were actually more comfortable than the others, except that they hit my hammer toe in a most uncomfortable way. So I coped. I did dig my pretty rose-pink boiled wool jacket out of the closet behind the boxes, and that was nice and springy.

 

I never changed the buttons on that jacket, and now they are somewhere in some box (I hope). I had hoped I had left the new buttons buttoned to the jacket or at least in a pocket, but no such luck. So my pretty jacket has ugly brown buttons. Someday...

 

I ended up being gone for a long time. There was a baptism, the Sunday School children sang and there was communion at church, and afterwards there was a voters' meeting which went on until about 1:30. And then I met my friend Carol (the other Carol), who had stayed for the voters' meeting. She and her husband travel in an $V, and she usually goes to early church, so I haven't seen her in a long time. We had to fill each other in on our winters and our plans, so it was nearly 3:00 by the time I got home. Buster was not pleased. In fact, I think he sat on my chair in the kitchen and waited for me the entire time.

 

As a result, I didn't do a lot. I did begin to sort out the papers and magazines in the kitchen, but that was before church, when I actually had a lot of time. When I got home, I was tired and hungry, and I wanted to do my computer stuff.

 

The weather was blah again, cloudy but no rain (yet). The temperature here got up to 68 briefly, but it was around 65 for most of the day, with not much wind. It was the same in Copper Harbor, but cooler, around 55 for most of the day.

 

The early-blooming trees are starting to drop their blossoms around here, but the pink trees are now in bloom and the dark red ones are coming out. I noticed last night that the gooseberry is in bloom in my backyard...no wonder it smelled sweet to me the other day. I do wish I could take a bit of that with me, although it just barely grows here, and I'm not sure it would grow in Copper Harbor. It isn't a pretty bush, and the flowers are little and yellow, but oh, my what a fragrance! I also noticed that some of the blossoms on the old lilac are beginning to open a bit. The pear is completely open now, and it is a real sight. I must try to get a picture of the blossoms, which are among the prettiest of all the trees close-up. The lowest ones are about 7' off the ground, so I'm not sure what I can do with them.

 

So that was my quiet Sunday, and it's back to the mines tomorrow. I'm getting tired of this, and I want to go home.

 

April 29

Golly, three "on" nights in a row! What's going to happen?

 

I didn't do a lot today, I fear. I read some magazines and unloaded the dishwasher, and I went through the three boxes Cynthia had left for me to sort, although I haven't quite decided what to do with the little kits in the one box. Some of them are interesting, but except for one needlepoint rose, the rest are free embroidery, and I don't do much of that. So I'll consider it a while longer.

 

The weather was rather dull all over Michigan. There were high clouds that dimmed the sunshine, although the temperature and wind was not bad. Here, it got up to 60 briefly, and in Copper Harbor, it was around 55 for most of the day, with light winds both places.

 

I talked to Debbie and heard the latest episode in her soap opera. I am beginning to wonder if she'll ever get out of her marriage.

 

I did have one of the recurring dreams last night - the house dream. In this episode, for some reason I had occasion to peer into the clothes chute, and discovered the morphing attic. There isn't much of an attic in this house, and nothing is (or can be) stored up there, but this isn't the first time I have had it morph into a really fascinating place, full of all sorts of treasures, rooms, doors and windows. The problem is always finding the entrance, because that morphs, too, and sometimes when I get into it, I have trouble finding the way out. I didn't get into it last night, I just glimpsed it through a slit in the clothes chute (which doesn't exist, by the way). I only wish there were such treasures in the stuff I'm sorting through now!

 

My back and legs were sore all day, and I messed up my right hand moving stacks of magazines around, although it all feels some better now. So I will haul myself upstairs again and try to decide whether to attempt to wear a skirt tomorrow. I suppose I should at least once before I leave. 

 

The harbor is like glass tonight, even though it's cloudy, and I miss it so much!

 

April 28

Well, last night was an "on" night, and I slept long and hard...I was only up twice during the night. I got up when Buster started making a fuss...evidently he has gotten on the new schedule, and when I stay in bed after 9:00, he gets anxious.

 

He's anxious anyway. He slept the entire night with me last night, plastered up against whatever side I was facing. I guess he's afraid he'll get rolled on if he lies up against my  back. Since it wasn't too cool in the house, he actually sleeps with his feet toward me, although for a while, he was lying with his head right up beside mine. I know this is a trying time for him, since he has no clue what is actually going on, and whatever it is, he doesn't like it at all. I try to be nice to him, although sometimes he is too clingy.

 

It was another beautiful day, cool but clear and sunny for most of the day. The temperature only made it to 57 but there wasn't much wind. Toward sunset, there were a few cirrus clouds coming over.

 

I guess our clear weather is at an end, because it clouded over in Copper Harbor late in the afternoon, too. There, the high temperature was 52, and there was not much wind for most of the day. However, there isn't any rain in the forecast, and that isn't good.

 

I paid some bills and read a magazine before I descended into the lower regions, but I'm finished sorting the magazines in the cupboard. There are a couple of boxes that need my attention, and if I finish that, i guess I will start on the laundry room, which I am not looking forward to at all.

 

The only thing that annoyed me is that when I emptied a magazine file, I found two crocheted motifs that clearly came from one of the magazines, but even though I flipped through all of the ones that had been in that file, I can't find the pattern. It's an interesting motif, and I'd like to have the pattern at hand. Well, I guess that's something for a dark rainy (or snowy) day in Copper Harbor. In the past, I've had the habit of putting small motifs that I try out in between the pages of the magazine or book I got them from. This is actually not a good idea, and I really should just attach a note and keep all the crochet together. Small stuff has the habit of falling out of magazines, and then I have a hard (or impossible) time finding out where they came from. I really don't have time to do a page-by-page search of the 20 or so magazines from that file.

 

I did finally call NetBank and got that settled. Since the loan never closed it won't show up on my credit history, but I guess that if I'm honest, I will have to report that I was denied credit. I didn't get any explanation at all for what happened, but the way they have acted, that didn't surprise me. What a bunch of jerks. Don't deal with NetBank unless you have no alternative.

 

So that was another day on the way to getting packed up and out of there, and I think it would be nice to get another good night's sleep. I miss the field more every day.

 

April 27

I was really tired when I went upstairs last night, but I didn't sleep all that well, for some reason I don't know. I guess I am back in that mode where I can't get two good nights' sleep in a row. Anyway, there was no particular reason to get up this morning, so...

 

However, I did manage to do a few things. The painter came by with a very reasonable estimate for the ceiling, so he will be starting with the scraping and mudding on Monday. That means I need to have the kitchen in some kind of shape, so I worked - sporadically - on that today. I washed the dishes, which in itself made things better, and I gathered up all the trash and extraneous stuff. I began to shift the crates and barrels to the dining room, and what won't fit there, I will put on the porch.

 

Cynthia forgot about the trash, so I took out a few things I was certain of, but then she called and came over with her husband, and they removed the rest of it, as well as the recycling.

 

I was really creaky all day, but I discovered that was because I didn't move around enough...duh. Once I had walked up and down the driveway several times, I was fine.

 

It was another fantastic day in Michigan, but I'm beginning to worry that we haven't had much rain. In Copper Harbor, it actually got down to 30 last night, the first time in ages it's been below freezing, and it only got up to 40, where it has stood all day long. There was almost no wind, and no clouds at all in the sky for most of the day. Oh, that we were there!

 

Here, it was just as beautiful, actually. I guess there were a few clouds during the afternoon when I was downstairs, and the temperature barely made it up to 60. The wind has picked up, from the east, at about 15 mph, and the temperature is dropping off rapidly. 

 

After I turned off the sprinklers, I sat on the front porch for a while. This is the only part of the year I really like around here. All the spring flowers are in bloom, and there is a sweet smell to the air. The pear tree burst forth overnight, and it is so beautiful. There is a little color showing on some of the lilac blooms All the spring-flowering trees are in bloom, and the leaves are beginning to show on most of the trees, except for my locust, and it is gorgeous. 

 

I do hope I make it home in time to see some of the spring flowering in the north. I love to see it there, too. It doesn't look like any green is showing yet, so I have a little hope. Not much, but a little.

 

So that was a rather dull day, and it's time to haul the poor old bod upstairs again. 

 

April 26

I'm going to write this, even though it's pretty early, because I have to go to bed. It was a rather active day. I did sleep well last night, and I was up around 8:00 this morning, so I had plenty of time to have breakfast and return the call from the moving company before I went off to bible class. 

 

Bible class was lively and interesting, as usual, even though there was a lot of discussion about several unanswerable questions, most of which boiled down to why God does things the way He does. I'm glad man can't satisfactorily answer those questions. If we could understand the mind of God, He wouldn't be God. I've always said that when referring to people who think they can put God in a box. I want my God to be beyond my understanding.

 

After bible class, I had a nice conversation with Pastor Boelter, about a couple of things that had been on my mind for a while. He's a lot younger than I am, but I trust him in spiritual matters, which these were.

 

I had to run around Farmer Jack but I got my lunch and a couple of other things I've been forgetting, so Cynthia actually got here before I did, but she understood.

 

She and Carolyn worked in the sewing room all day, while I dove into the basement and did a bit on the cupboard full of old craft magazines. In the middle of that, the painter came, and he is a nice man. Tomorrow I will have an estimate on what it will cost to paint the kitchen. I was relieved when he said that most, if not all, the peeling paint is due to different kinds of paint being put on without priming in between, and not because of water leakage. Whew!

 

Anyway, because of that, and getting at the back of the cutting table in the sewing room, I was up and down the stairs many more times than usual, and that, plus a lot of standing, and having to walk around the supermarket, means that my legs are like rubber tonight and I am really tired.

 

However, I can sleep in tomorrow if I want to, because I will be on my own for the next few days. Maybe I can make some of my phone calls and do some packing of my own?

 

It was a disgustingly beautiful day all over Michigan today. Here, the temperature got up to 64, which is the average high for this time of year, with not much wind and clear, sunny skies. In Copper Harbor, the temperature for the day actually peaked at 54 in the middle of the night, and it fell off into the mid 40s during the day, but it was pristinely clear, not windy, and beautiful all day long.

 

It was not the day I really wanted to be stuck down in the basement, and when I went out tonight to turn on the hoses, it was just the temperature I like - not quite balmy, but comfortably cool and fresh. I imagine it was a little brisk in Copper Harbor, but that is seasonable for this time of year, too, and I can imagine...and I yearn for...the clean, earthy smells of not-quite-spring.

 

The pear blossoms will be out tomorrow, and I do wish I could take pictures, but all the branches are much too high for that.

 

So it was an active but wearying day, and it's time for bed. Cynthia has offered to oversee the washing of the walls and the cleaning of the carpets, and I may just take her up on that, because otherwise I will be here until June again, and I don't think I could stand that.

 

April 25

It was a cold night in Michigan last night. It got down to about 40 here, but that was around 9;00 this morning. No wonder I was cold when I ran out to the mail box! It never did get very warm, topping out at under 50. and it rained lightly during the morning. I was creaky and my sinuses were totally plugged. I am allergic to this place. It finally cleared up this afternoon, but it was really nippy when I went out to fiddle with the hoses tonight.

 

In Copper Harbor, it only got down to 34 overnight, but I imagine there was frost in the interior. The temperature rose steadily but slowly all day, and it was actually warmer there than here - it got up to 51. For most of the day, it was beautifully clear, with a brisk northwest wind. Wish I was there.

 

I crashed last night, but I woke up around 2:00 and was wakeful for some time, so I slept until 9:00 and got up with a stuffy head, feeling rather groggy, and I had a sinus headache for part of the day. Part of my problem is all the dust and mildew in the basement, and part of it is that all the spring things I'm allergic to are bursting into bloom.

 

The warmish rain overnight on Saturday caused the buds to swell on the pear tree, and they will be opening very soon. The buds on the old lilac are stretching out, so they will be opening soon, too. The daffodils are gone. They didn't last long this year, with the warm temperatures. Driving around the Grosse Pointe area is a treat these days, because there are so many flowering trees and bushes and they are almost all in bloom.

 

I did make a couple of phone calls this morning, and a painter is coming tomorrow to give me an estimate on the kitchen. Then the dentist called and said, could I come tomorrow...and I forgot about the painter and said yes. However, around 1:45, they called again and said somebody had canceled today, and could I come right down. So I said sure, fortunately. So the date with the painter is OK.

 

And now I have another beautiful golden tooth, right behind the first one. I am not looking for the bill, but my teeth are intact again. The dentist wanted to give me the impression from which they made the inlay, but just what I don't need is another doo-dad lying around. What I would do with the thing, I don't really know.

 

In the meantime, we progressed on the packing. I sorted magazines, and I discovered that some I was looking for are missing, at least so far. The ladies got into the sewing room, and it sounded like they did well. I'm not ready to set a date for the movers yet, but things are progressing.

 

So that was another day, and it's time to haul myself upstairs. The cold and the dampness did a job on my legs and back today, and I was stiff and sore and I had a hard time walking.

 

Tomorrow may be better.

 

April 24

I see that I screwed up the dates again last night. Oh, well, it was late. I did not get to bed early, but I slept, and I really didn't want to get up at 8:30 this morning, except that I had to walk.

 

I immediately called my friends at Albert D. Thomas, and around 11:30, a nice man with one of the biggest beer bellies I have ever seen appeared at my door, wrench in hand. When we went down into the basement, it was immediately clear that my problem was, in fact, the sewer, since the floor was wet from my bath of last night. So the sewer is reamed out again and so is the line from the floor drain to the sewer, and none of it is guaranteed. Evidently the sewer line is getting bad (after 58 years, I guess so), and I can hold my breath and hope it doesn't go before I sell the house. I believe I said when the storm trap had to be replaced that it was time to sell this house before it cost me an arm and a leg to repair.

 

Then Cynthia arrived, and we attacked the cupboard in the basement. I can report that I am only taking about a third of the fabric I had accumulated...and that's still quite a lot. There was so much beautiful wool suiting and blouse material that I wish I could keep, but I know there is no way I will ever make all those suits or dressy blouses. I did find some nice stuff for dress pants, both winter and summer, some nice thin cottons for tops and summer nighties, and I did keep some of the really beautiful silky polyester blouse fabrics. There are 7 to 8 yards of some of the suitings, and they ought to go for a good price.

 

I also went through the rest of the books, and found a few lost items, as well as one Dover book of cross stitch charts that I apparently bought three of. Now I'm really afraid to buy much more that isn't brand new until I do some cataloging.

 

About the time Cynthia and Carolyn appeared, so did Marty, and I was right that he hadn't done the seeding Saturday. It is done now, and I was instructed that it has to be watered twice a day.

 

So...after I rested a while, I went outside and hassled hoses for the first time in a good many years. I had to install the four-way diverter on the hose bib and it was a real hassle to find the right hoses, get them attached properly to the diverter, find the right sprinklers, and get everything arranged. The front sprinkler still isn't in the right place, and there is one corner of the boulevard that isn't getting water, but I'll work on that tomorrow. Maybe the gardeners would have done a better job, but while they were fussing with quotes and things like that, my grass seed was installed. 

 

Good thing I had decided to leave the hoses with the house. They still work, and they don't leak, but they are old and getting hard, at least in the cool temps. There is one piece that actually has flattened out and has a spiral twist about a foot long in it. I tried to get that one to work, but water wouldn't go through it, and it will need to be laid out in the sun to soften up. Forget it.

 

Anyway, much to my surprise, it felt good to be out and working on garden things. Now I am really weary, but I was just barely sweating when I got everything arranged. So if I ever get back to the field, and I don't sit around for weeks, I should actually be able to do some work on the garden, as I'd planned. I am really looking forward to being outside in my garden at last, even during bug season. I have a good bug shirt and lots of Deep Woods Off! so I should be set. Only if it gets too hot will I have to quit. The topography of the garden is such that it is often much warmer down there than it is even up on the deck, and it is sheltered from most of the winds. I should be able to do some really good gardening there.

 

In my first house, I did a lot of gardening, and I tried to continue that here as long as I was well, but it was something I just had to give up when I got sick, and I've gotten out of the habit. I'm looking forward to resuming a hobby I enjoyed very much, and just maybe it will help me get back into shape a bit. When I get the lighted plant stands into the basement, I will even be able to start my own plants from seed again, and I enjoy that, too. 

 

The weather in Copper Harbor has deteriorated over the day. It started out sunny and the temperature hit 55 early in the day, but then it clouded over and the temperature has been dropping ever since, until now it's in the upper 30s. The wind was pretty strong from the north-northwest...how I miss the song of the lake! 

 

Here, it was more or less cloudy all day long, but the temperature rose through the 50s and got up to 65 not long ago. It was comfortable outside without a jacket when I was working.

 

So that was another busy day, and I'm tired. I miss the field.

 

April 23

I got to bed early, but there were two thunderstorms between 1:00 and 3:00, then at 4:00, for about 10 minutes, there was a helicopter circling around mostly right over my house, so I didn't sleep very well. It's noisy around here! Early in the morning when I woke up, it was foggy, and it was still moist and cool when I went to church. There was a little sunshine for a while, but then it clouded up and it's been raining since 2:00. The temperature was nearly steady in the low 50s.

 

The camera never woke up this morning, do, I'm sure, to Windows having lost all of its memory. I guess I should be glad that it took three weeks or so for that to happen. So there were no pictures before about 1:30, and there was a hiatus during the afternoon. I don't think we missed much. It was a cool, damp day there, and the fog was so thick you couldn't have seen anything until late in the afternoon. There was a little bit of sunshine late in the day, and I can report that the sun is setting out of camera range, because in the 8:35 picture, it is on the right-hand edge of the image. it really moves fast at this time of year. The temperature was steady in the middle 40s.

 

I didn't do much, but I did go through the boxes of yarn in the cupboard. I now know what I will be making a really beautiful aran sweater out of. I had forgotten about some blue heather yarn with colored flecks in it, and it will be perfect. It seems like I got rid of all but the really good stuff in 2000. If I have it all where I can get to it, I won't have to worry about buying any more yarn for a long time...a good thing, I think.

 

I have had a couple of e-conversations with the builder, and it seems that no way will I be able to get the cost of the basement down below about 45k. So now I have to think about it and talk to some people about it. I'm not sure I want to take on that much more debt until this house is sold.

 

Besides that, all day long the drain in the laundry tub was making alarming "glug-glug-glug" noises, so tomorrow I will have to call and get the sewer people over here. Maybe this time we can get it done right?

 

So that's about all that has happened. Buster was especially clingy today for some reason, and I let him sleep on my lap for a long time. Now I am getting sleepy, and it's past my bedtime.

 

I wish I was in the field.

 

April 22

Well, I vegged out today. When I got up, Marty was here, doing something, but it looks to me like he just spread topsoil. If he doesn't come back tomorrow, I guess I'll have to call him and make sure he seeded. I don't see any grass seeds on the topsoil. Buster was greatly interested, because there is a spot behind the porch, under the pear tree, that got some topsoil and, hopefully, seed, too. If anybody came toward the house, he would run off, and when they come with their noisy equipment, he hides in the basement, but anybody gardening just fascinates him. Weird cat.

 

I crocheted a bit, and I've finally gotten back to where I was when I discovered I'd made a mistake. I can't crochet too long, because my hands get sore, but I can still do some.

 

Eventually, I came down to the basement, with the idea of doing something, but I never did anything but sort of look around. Oh, well.

 

The weather here was beautiful for most of the day. There were a couple of rumbles of thunder around 4:00, but it apparently never rained here, and then it cleared up and was clear for most of the day. It's clouded up again, and there may be rain tonight. The temperature topped out at 72, but it has now fallen back into the 60s.

 

In Copper Harbor, it was a more normal April day, for a change. The temperature stayed around 45, with not much wind, and it was partly sunny until late in the afternoon, and it is now raining.

 

I heard from the builder, and it looks like I won't be having my nice built-in cupboards and bookshelves, and I've asked him how much less it would be not to do any plumbing. Adam wanted to move both the humidifier and the hot water tank, but the plumber would have to do that, and it has got to be expensive. I wanted to finish off the bathroom with a shower, but it isn't necessary. It still won't be what I wanted to put into it, but maybe I can swing it.

 

I think those who were aghast at the price haven't had a contractor do any home improvements lately. The price of wood has gone ballistic, and so has labor.  Remember that all the supplies have to be shipped all the way to Houghton. You have to remember this is a 1400 square foot basement, and almost all the walls need to be firred out and drywalled (and there are a lot of funny places where the drywall will have to be fitted around existing ducts, posts, and things). There will be a drop ceiling with light fixtures. I am enclosing one area for a fourth bedroom, with a closet. There will be a nice little alcove at the bottom of the stairs for the freezer, so that the area under the great room will be all open.  I really wanted to put cupboards and built-in bookshelves in the area under my bedroom and bath, but that is almost $9000 worth of plywood and labor, so I will just have to make do with my steel shelving.  There will be floor covering for the bedroom, bathroom and under the great room. I wish I could turn into a carpenter, but I suppose it's too late for that.

 

I had hoped it wouldn't be so expensive, but I should have known better.  The official rate of inflation may be low, but everything I use is getting more expensive by the day. I'm sure Phillipe has figured the cost of gas into his quote, since I am 'way up at the end of the world. I'm still struggling with it, but I know if I don't do anything, I will never be really happy with it.

 

There may be someone around who would say he could do it cheaper, but one thing I have learned about the building business is, you get what you pay for. If you want a good job, you have to pay for it. And knowing what I know about building, if it was a cheap job and looked like it, I would feel like I'd thrown my money away. So we shall see what happens.

 

Now it is time to climb up to the second story and prepare for church tomorrow. I miss the field more every day.

 

April 21

I guess I'd better write this. I'm yawning so much, and I can hardly keep my eyes open. Not that I did that much today, but I was active, and the task at hand is coming along. Cynthia and Carolyn spent the morning packing on the first floor, then they came down and packed some of what we'd sorted in the basement. All the books on the back wall are now sorted, and I went through some of the boxes in the middle of the floor. So I have a choice for the weekend: I can either start working on the yarn and fabric, or I can start on the books on the front wall. Bleah!

 

I was finishing  my breakfast this morning when the lawn cutter came, and about the time he finished (not much to do, actually), the people who do the fertilizing arrived and gave my backyard an aeration that I don't think I paid for. So they were both there at the same time, and I had them bidding to seed the front lawn. Marty the lawn cutter won, and besides, he said he will do it this weekend.

 

I had sort of hoped he would have the lower price because if he does the seeding, he will be careful about cutting it, and he came in a tad lower than the bigger company, which is no surprise.

 

So that was the excitement of the morning.

 

It was another day that was too nice to spend in the basement, but oh, well. The temperature here got up to 75, and it was clear until after 6:00, but now it's drizzling or something. Same thing happened in Copper Harbor, except that the high was about 62. and a gentle spring rain is now falling with calm winds. We did have a brief thunderstorm about 4:00 am, but then it cleared up for the day. The temperatures in both places are running about 10 above normal...I hope that doesn't indicate the summer we'll have.

 

I decided it was time to do some laundry, and much to my distress, when the washer empted out, the water backed up through the drain in the floor, leaving a puddle in the middle of the laundry room. It does drain off, but slowly, and I can understand why it is so damp and mildewy down here. I thought that problem was solved when I had the sewer cleaners here in January of 2005, but clearly it wasn't. So I will get on the phone with my friends on Monday and see if I can get somebody here to clean out the proper drains. The problem has to be in the basement, because I am not getting water in here when I bathe and flush the toilet...believe me, I would know if I was. If it's not one damn thing, it's another...

 

So that was another day, and while I don't see the end of the tunnel yet, we are making good progress. It's the sorting that takes so much time. The ladies can pack really fast, and that's a good thing. We're going to have a problem storing things pretty soon, especially if the laundry room stays so damp, but I think we'll figure that out, too.

 

And now to bed...

 

April 20

I've  been having another recurring dream over the past few months. It's not identical every time, but it always involves swimming long distances in lakes or rivers. Sometimes, I'm being chased. This morning I had it, and I think it was a lake, and there wasn't any chasing going on, but I didn't concentrate enough on it to remember much when I woke up. It's very real; I can feel the water on my skin, and currents when there are any. I wonder what that has to do with anything? I'm never swimming upstream, by the way.

 

So I woke up at a reasonable hour, and I was finishing a substantial breakfast for a change when the optician called to say that my glasses were here. Cynthia was late, and in the meantime I forgot about the glasses.

 

She had a migraine, and the mildewy smell in the basement aggravated it (no surprise there), so we didn't get much done. 

 

I was diddling on the computer when I remembered my glasses, so I hunted down the five old pairs I had run across and hauled them off to the optician, and now I have two nice new pairs of glasses. I guess I'll get used to the shape of the new regular ones, but it's quite different from my old pairs, and they look funny to me. The doctor was wrong, though, about having trouble with the change in the astigmatism. I haven't noticed anything except that I can see better. I'm still finding the mid-range in the progressives, but when I do, the computer screen is a lot clearer than it's been for months. It's nice to be able to see again.

 

Otherwise, I did some crochet (or rather un-crochet, since I discovered that I had really screwed up the pattern), and I cooked. I've been trying to draw down the stock in the freezer, so tonight I made a couple of lamb shanks. T They came out very tasty. The only problem was that since I don't have any milk, the mashed potatoes aren't quite as creamy as usual. It's no big thing.

 

It was another day that was too nice to be stuck down in the basement. The temperature got up to 70, with light winds and clear skies. In Copper Harbor, it got up to just over 60, with a moderate wind, and it was only partly sunny for most of the day. Again, as last night, there was a big, black cloud in the west around sunset, and again it's raining in Houghton. I guess eventually the rain is supposed to get here, too, but it's taking its time, which is all right with me, even though this has been a dry April all over Michigan.

 

So that is all I know, and it's time to climb up to the second story and see if I go swimming again tonight.

 

April 19

It turned out to be a quiet day. I slept fairly well, but I was awakened by Cynthia, calling to say I had been right - she did have an appointment today, so I told her I was going to lunch with Debbie anyway, and we called off the work till tomorrow. I did a little bit in the basement, but not much, because my way was blocked by stuff.

 

I did get some food, but I forgot to get milk (again). So no cereal or French toast for a while. I've been eating my leftover dinner rolls with peanut butter for breakfast, although now that I have eggs again, I'll have some of those.

 

Lunch was good, and we had a nice conversation. It started late because Debbie got caught in traffic, but that was all right. She came back to the house and got some of her stuff out of the bedroom, which was good. And we exchanged Christmas gifts. Mine is a really nice wooden wine rack which can be assembled in many different ways. It will be much better than storing my wine in brown paper bags, standing upright.

 

It was another beautiful day in Michigan. In Copper Harbor, the temperature got up to 63, with almost no wind. It wasn't quite as clear as it has been, and there were some high cirrus clouds in the sky for most of the day. Toward sunset, a large, black cloud appeared in the west over the lake, so there wasn't any sunset, and at last report, it's raining lightly in Houghton. so I suppose it will in Copper Harbor, too.

 

Here, it was perfectly clear and the temperature got up to 70, also with light winds. The clouds haven't reached us yet.

 

I took a leisurely ride out Lake Shore Drive, but there wasn't a ship in sight, and I only saw a couple of birds - a goose and a couple of seagulls. The lake was nice and blue, though.

 

So that was a nice day off, and it's time for bed again. This is really getting stretched out.

 

April 18

I slept for four hours, was briefly wakeful, slept for another four hours, was not so briefly wakeful, and finally got up around 8:45, so I guess I've caught up on my sleep.

 

Cynthia came, and we finished sorting the upstairs, and we have finally gotten into the basement. We actually made some progress, and we got as far as the end of the treadmill, mostly.

 

 Tomorrow is Debbie's birthday, and we are going to lunch, so I will work on sorting until she comes, then leave Cynthia to do some packing. I know the packing goes faster than the sorting, but there is an awful lot of packing to do.

 

It was another day that was too nice to be inside. It was clear and sunny, with almost no wind, and the temperature got up to the low 60s. I had the back slider open for a while, which Buster liked.

 

In Copper Harbor, it was clear all day, too, with light winds. The temperature there got into the upper 50s. Oh, how I wish I was there!

 

We had come down into the basement and were beginning the sorting when Buster came down to join us and he walked all over the computer yelling at us. It's a combination of his house being totally disrupted and my lap not being available, but he wasn't at all happy until after Cynthia left and I sat down at the computer and he could camp out in my lap. I wish I could make him understand that this is really a good thing.

 

So that is all I know. Netbank finally tried to call me back - once - while I was on the phone with Debbie, and I screwed up the call-forwarding. Rats. Maybe tomorrow?

 

Right now I am listening to the Palm Sunday Pipedreams program, because WKAR had the Detroit Symphony on and they were playing some world premier that was really, truly horrible. So I decided to hear some nice organ music for a change. The internet is wonderful.

 

And now to bed...

 

April 17

Boy, I sure am having trouble with my dates lately! I think I've got things straight now. I guess my excuse is that I was tired last night.

 

So I was in bed before 9:00, and I did sleep fairly well, I think, and I was in bed for about 11 hours.

 

Cynthia came at 10:00 and we finished the sewing room and got most of the bedroom organized. So now both upper floors of the house are an absolute disaster. She has decided that it would be best to do all or most of the sorting first and then pack, and I won't argue, although I think we won't be able to do that down here in the basement. We'll see.

 

It was really too nice a day to be stuck inside, but, oh, well. The temperature got up to 60 late in the day with not much wind and clear skies...well, about as clear as they ever get around here.

 

It was nice in Copper Harbor, too. The temperature got up to just over 50 and it was mostly clear, although there are a few clouds in the sky now. There was hardly any wind. Darn.

 

Otherwise, I have not much to report, except that NetBank finally denied my loan request, and when they sent me the letter, they have the description of the loan completely wrong, and the reasons they stated for denying it seem to assume that what I am getting from my IRA is all I can get from it. I did call them, but the person who was supposed to call me back didn't...why am I not surprised? Now I am really annoyed that after diddling me for 2 months, they finally decided to wreck my credit rating for a reason that could have been avoided...and besides, I did write that if the loan was not closed by 3/30, I would withdraw the application. The letter wasn't dated until the 31st. I'm not through with those people.

 

So now I think I will try for an early to-bed again tonight and try to catch up a bit more on my sleep.

 

April 16 - Easter Sunday

It was a lovely Easter, and it's still quite early, but I am exhausted, so I will get this posted and crash.

 

It started early: I was up at 6:00, but I actually had to walk at 5:30, so I was awake even earlier, and I was awake during the night, thinking, of all things, about what I should do about my cellphone. I need to do something, but it isn't absolutely vital.

 

Buster was worried by the time, but happier to get fed early, but he wasn't happy that I got dressed before I went downstairs, and I actually wore a skirt! I also wore some pantyhose that I remembered vaguely being a problem (I like the color) but I couldn't remember what the problem was until it was far too late to change them: while the tops are huge, the legs were made for somebody much shorter than I am, so the crotch was halfway to my knees, and it at least felt like at any moment the waistband in front would slip and the entire thing would fall down around my ankles. Not the most comfortable things I've ever worn. But, oh, well. I also wore the most comfortable pair of shoes I bought last year (or so I thought), and my neuroma was so sore by the time I got home that it took half the afternoon for my toes to stop  throbbing.

 

That all aside, it was a very nice Easter. The choir sang pretty well at both services, and Bruce played the Toccata from Widor's Fifth Organ Symphony as the prelude, and he nailed it, particularly at the first service. It was so wonderful to be sitting right under the pipes at top volume. That may not be my very most favorite Toccata (I like some of the Bach ones better), but it rates right up there, and it certainly is a showpiece. We applauded him. I'm still not sure that's appropriate in church, but he did do a great job.

 

There was communion at the first service, and a bunch of us used the elevator to get downstairs. I don't think I could have made it through two services if we hadn't. It was a lovely service, with the Gloria in Excelsis and all the halleluiahs for the first time in six weeks (four months for me), and a good sermon...which, curiously enough, was a bit different at the second service.

 

Then I came home, turned on the oven, and went upstairs and laid down for half an hour. That didn't work very well, because Buster was very worried and he kept poking at me. I don't usually do things like that. I baked my rolls, which turned out pretty good, and went off to Carol's for dinner. 

 

There were seven women and one man, but that didn't seem to bother most anybody, and we had a lovely dinner and a lot of good fellowship, and I got home late.

 

Buster appeared a while later, and he camped on my lap until I got twitchy and made him move (most reluctantly). I hate to do that, but sitting in either of my computer chairs after I have been walking around a lot always does that to me.

 

I've been drinking my JD, and I am feeling very, very tired and a little hungry, so I will get this out, have something to eat, and crash.

 

The weather here was mostly clear, with temperatures in the mid 50s and not much wind - much more seasonal than the past several days.

 

In Copper Harbor, it was partly cloudy all day, and the temperature got into the upper 40s for a while, again with not much wind. The warm temps (evidently Tuesday and Wednesday were a lot warmer down around Houghton) have melted a good portion of the snow all over up there, and John Dee had some pictures where it looked like there was a little green out. I hope not: I want to see the leaves come out.

 

So that was my nice Easter day, and now I need to crash.

 

April 15 -Holy Saturday

I did get to bed late, but I slept long and hard and well, and I really don't feel too bad today.  It didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day, a bit cooler than yesterday (won't find me complaining about that), but sunny with a temperature that briefly got up to 70 and has now dropped back to 55. I think I'll sleep good tonight, although knowing that I have to set the alarm clock for 6:00 won't help much. I'm trying to get as much as possible ready now, so I don't have to go rummaging around in the morning.

 

In Copper Harbor, it was sunny until late in the day, and the temperature was steady right around 45. We missed some pictures this morning, for some reason: the camera was missing every other shot for most of the morning. I have no clue why. I suppose, since it's been a good two weeks since it was rebooted, that good old ME is getting low on resources, but I will wait until  the camera stops updating altogether before I bounce it.

 

I had a nice breakfast, late, and I read a magazine before I had a nasty accident and had to go upstairs and change all my clothes. Yuck. I still think Dr. Lehman is wrong that my intestinal problems don't have anything to do with the chemo. However, I just don't want to go to a gastroenterologist for any reason, so we may never know, and I will continue to have these unpleasant episodes.

 

So then I was back upstairs. I worked on the pall for the last time, then spent a couple of hours sewing it back on its form...very small stitches, and having to stretch the linen all the time. Not good for my hands. I also bent the #10 milliners' needle so badly that I threw it out when I was done. I did not succeed in getting either all the shoe polish or all the soot out of the spot. The shoe polish doesn't show when it is dry, but there is a little shadow where the soot was. However, as I wrote to the matron, I was beginning to damage the fabric, so I thought it best to stop. It can still be used in a pinch. Altar linens are supposed to be pristine, but reality intervenes sometimes.

 

In the course of sewing, I decided that I don't want to save the sewing basket from here, so I unloaded that into a flip-top box, and packed another with needles before I headed downstairs. 

 

I found a pair of shoes to wear, but I will have to try them on, because as I remember it, they are so loose in the heels that they fall off. I have some heel pads, and I will have to install them tonight. When I go upstairs, I will lay out stockings (yup, nylons, for the first time since last spring!), underwear and jewelry so that I don't have to root around for those things. I'm thinking about wearing my knitted stole tomorrow, but it is supposed to be cool enough that I may not bother.

 

When I came downstairs and got the mail, I somehow managed to push everything on the kitchen table onto the floor, so I had to pick all that up. I also fetched in the trash barrel and the recycling barrel, so they won't be lying around on Easter Sunday. The trash barrel was in the middle of the driveway last night, and I thought I had lost the lid, but it turns out it was pushed down into the barrel. Good.

 

It was nice enough out that I had the back door open most of the day, although I did close it when I went up to make my dinner, because it has cooled off, and it is supposed to be cooler and maybe rain tomorrow. Now, why couldn't we have had today's weather then?

 

I managed to totally screw up my checking account by forgetting to enter a very large bill in my check register, so I have spent some time today trying to get that back together. Thank goodness for overdraft protection! I hate it when I do things like that, but I guess it happens to everybody when they are distracted, which I have certainly been.

 

So it was a rather quiet day, and now I will haul myself up the stairs one more time and hope to sleep fast. Tomorrow will be a long and tiring day.

 

April 14 - Good Friday

I actually got some sleep last night! I was awake for three hours or so in the middle, but I did pretty well for the rest. I changed comforters to the light-weight one, and I left the door open a crack. I normally have the problem at this time of year, and sometimes in the fall, too, that I have a hard time getting my internal temperature right when it warms up. However, I felt considerably better today.

 

And boy, did it warm! The official temperature (at Detroit City Airport) got up to 82, although I don't think it was that warm around here. Whatever it was, it was too hot for this early in the spring. It is supposed to cool down some, and I certainly hope so. I didn't bring that many summer clothes with me.

 

Oh, it did rain overnight. I don't remember hearing it, so it must have been light. And it was cloudy this morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon.

 

In Copper Harbor, the temperature got up to about 60, with some wind. It was cloudy in the morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon.

 

The excitement of the day was that there was somebody on my deck this morning between 9:15 and 9:30. I don't have any idea who it was, and the picture was very blurry, so the person was very close to the window, but I'm pretty sure it was a person.  It had to be right up against the window, or the picture would have been more in focus. I had to call my neighbors and get them to check it out, but it doesn't seem that anything was broken into. or disturbed Heaven knows what it was.

 

I went off to the dentist again and now have clean teeth, but otherwise, I confess I just vegged out. I made it to church rather early, although most of the choir was there before me, leaving me wondering how early you have to be there to be first? 

 

I enjoy the Tenebrae service. It is actually rather dramatic, and the music we sang was rather dramatic, too, but it was nice. Too bad there weren't more people there to participate. I guess there were quite a number at the morning service. They don't know what hey were missing.

 

When I got home, Debbie had called, so I called her back and we talked forever, like we usually do. Good thing my plan for tomorrow was to sleep long and hard.

 

So that was my Good Friday, and now I can (almost) got to bed).

 

April 13

I was up early, as usual, this morning, and after Cynthia called to say she wasn't coming, I went off to the dentist, and I now have a temporary inlay which doesn't feel very good - it's too high. And I have to be careful what I chew on with it. But I'm all prepped for my crown, which I will get in two weeks.

 

The lower right half of my jaw and half my tongue was numb, which didn't feel very good, but considering how the tooth felt when the feeling came back, I was just as glad I couldn't feel too much. It doesn't hurt now, but it did earlier.

 

I spent some time in the sewing room, working on the pall again, and I've just about given up hope. One more try, and I will just have to admit defeat. I can get almost all the shoe polish out, but there must be some left in the linen fibers because I can't get the last shadow of the soot out, either. What a disaster! I worked at it with a soft toothbrush today, and that helped, but not enough.

 

Then I went through a box of thread that needed to be packed away, so I did do something on the sorting today.

 

I was almost late for choir, but I wasn't the latest one, so we practiced before church and we left afterwards. I have always liked going to communion on Maundy Thursday, since that is the day Jesus instituted it. There weren't very many people there, which is a shame. I hope there were more at 11:15.

 

My legs are so sore from the stairs and from standing that I thought I deserved a nice JD, which I am now enjoying, and then I will crash. I have to be back at the dentist for my tooth cleaning tomorrow at 10:00. What I don't go through in an effort to keep my teeth...

 

The weather here was amazing. It was in the 50s in the morning, but in the afternoon the temperature got up to 72, with a little wind and copious sunshine. The birds were singing their hearts out, even when I got home at the end of twilight. There is one very happy robin who may be nesting in the arbor vitae along my fence.

 

 I'm sure one of my problems last night was that I was hot. Tonight I will switch quilts before I go to bed and maybe that will help, because it's supposed to get too cool to leave the door open (there is a door in my bedroom that leads to a second floor deck - an artifact of the time when the house was built).

 

In Copper Harbor, the temperature was in the low 40s all day, with not much wind. However, it was clear before dawn this morning, and here is what the camera saw. That's about as good a picture of the full Paschal moon as I'll see, since it's cloudy here now, and it's supposed to be cloudy tomorrow morning there. It was clear or nearly clear for most of the day, until late afternoon when some clouds came up. Something else came up, too, and I saved one more spectacular picture. The fog came in and went out in not much more than half an hour, but I certainly wish I'd been there to see it. And the sun went down almost exactly behind the tree at the edge of the water tonight, even though it was a bit too cloudy to really see well. How I wish I was there!

 

So that was my day. I was hot and wakeful for a good part of the night, and I was exhausted and sore all day long. At least I think I'll be able to sleep in on Saturday! I'd better, because we sing at 8:00 am on Sunday. How I'll do that, I don't know!

 

I think my Outlook Express on this machine has gotten screwed up, but I'm too tired to stay up the length of time it would take to fix it tonight. I'll see how it is tomorrow. If a couple of people who emailed me don't get replies, that's the reason - I can't get a mail connection to any of my accounts. I guess one of these days I'll have to bite the bullet, update the software, and hope whatever bug that is has been fixed.

 

This is getting to me. I don't want to be here.

 

April 12

Well, we only practiced for 1 hours tonight, so I will try to do a short entry before I crash again. 

 

I did sleep a bit better last night, but that isn't saying much, and I woke up before 8:00. I knew that if I did go back to sleep, I'd never make it to bible class, which I wanted to do. I feel the need to soak up all the Christian fellowship I can while I'm here.

 

I stopped at the Food Emporium for a few things I needed, and my rolls for Sunday, and then I went to the optician. I now have two new pairs of glasses on order...and a bill for over $1300. The regular ones are actually a bit cheaper than last time, but I decided it was time for a new sunglasses frame, and the darkened lenses are more expensive anyway. Whew! However, as I keep saying, that is my chief prosthesis, and I couldn't do without them. I stopped at the drug store and left off the prescriptions, but I was getting hungry by that time, and I didn't think I could stand up for that length of time, so I had to go back later and pick them up. I now have lots of Bacrtroban ointment and lots of JD, which is always nice.

 

I spent some time at the computer, and made it to choir early for a change. Fortunately, I do know most of the music we're singing, so there are only a couple of pieces I will be sight reading. We are going to try to practice before church tomorrow night (note to self: get there before 6:55), because if we don't we'll have to stay afterwards.

 

What's neat about it is that we now have three tenors (although one says he's not really a tenor), and three basses, so there are a couple of pieces where we are now able to actually sing four parts, or the men sing in parts, and it really sounds good. I think Bruce has been having extra rehearsals with them, because in most places, they were more with it than the women. It should sound good.

 

It was a warmish (middle 60s), damp and sometimes rainy and windy day here. I rained during the night, it poured for about 2 minutes during bible class, and it was spitting rain while I was out running around. I am glad I thought to bring my slicker with me when I came south, because I hate to fiddle with umbrellas, and I would have gotten drenched. When I came home tonight, the birds were singing ecstatically in the bushes, and the almost-full Paschal Moon was peeking out from behind the clouds. In fact, when I first saw it, I could see only its upper edge, and it took me a minute to figure out what it was. They the clouds parted, and this big, pale golden ball was hanging there. Beautiful.

 

In Copper Harbor, it rained early this morning, but it was sunny for most of the day. Late in the afternoon, a big, black cloud came up out of the west, and after I left for choir, there was one of the neatest pictures of the virga I have ever seen. See all that stuff hanging down from the bottom of the cloud over in the west? That is rain that is falling out of the bottom of the cloud and mostly evaporating before it hits the ground (or in this case, the water). Really cool. The temperature was around 50 for most of the day, although it warmed up abruptly to 60 about the time the rain started, and it has now fallen back to 50 again. The way it smells around here, I can just imagine how good it smells in the damp woods...oh, how I wish I was there!

 

Anyway, tomorrow I get to visit the dentist to prep for my crown, then do more sorting and packing, before it's off to church for Maundy Thursday services. This is always a busy week.

 

And I'm exhausted.

 

April 11

It's early again, but I'm tired and my eyes hurt.

 

I slept a tad better last night than the night before, but that's not saying much, and I was up quite early for me - about 8:15.  So I had time to eat something before the window washers came, followed by Cynthia. Cynthia, meet Mark. Mark, meet Cynthia. Cynthia, have clean windows.

 

Mark and Tim worked a lot faster because there wasn't much talking. However, I did tell him I would manage to pay him if he just wanted to take a trip to the UP this summer. Before I left, I was looking at my windows up there, and they are shocking. Rainbow's End, have clean windows. Mark and Paula, have a nice vacation, with one day of work.

 

Amazing.

 

We worked in the sewing room for almost three hours, and all that is left is the cupboard, the closet, and the dresser. The closet is no problem - everything goes. The cupboard and the dresser will take a little time. So we continue to make progress, and we are working our way toward the big problem...the basement. Slowly, slowly.

 

I went off to the eye doctor, and I will go to the optician tomorrow. I think I mentioned that it is finally time for new glasses. And my prescription has changed enough that it's indicated. My cataracts are progressing nicely, and in a couple of years, I will probably have to have them removed. In the meantime, new glasses will help. I might mention that cataracts run in my family, and besides, some of the chemo drugs I had to have tend to make them form. So it's not surprising that I will need them. In the meantime, new glasses and lots of unpolluted sunlight will help my seeing.

 

It was a beautiful day here, sunny and not too windy. The temperature ultimately got up to an official 72, although it wasn't that warm where I was, near the lake. It did get into the middle 60s, and I was comfortable in a short-sleeved tee and a denim shirt.

 

In Copper Harbor, it got up to 60, with reasonable south winds, and it was sunny in the middle of the day, but cloudy in the morning, and now it has clouded up and radar shows a rain shower headed right toward the Keweenaw. It was beautiful around noon, and I notice that every day there is less ice around the shoreline. I suppose there is still snow behind the house, and I know there is a fair amount further down the peninsula, 

 

Well, I certainly wish I was there, rather than here saying, movers, with me, and sell over and over again.

 

We progress. I may get a little respite tomorrow, since Cynthia won't be back until Thursday. I should work on my bedroom for a bit, but we'll see. And don't anybody panic if there is no journal tomorrow. I will try to get something out before choir (which is at 6:30), because it will probably go on for hours, and I'll be exhausted by the time I get home.

 

April 10

It is really early, but I feel the need to crash. I did not sleep very well at all last night, with my mind too full of moving. I had finally managed to go back to sleep when, at 8:30, the movers called to say they were outside my house with the boxes. So I threw on a robe and slippers, ran a brush through my hair, and let them in. After that, it was too late to go back to bed, so I got up and had my orange juice, and I was about to have my breakfast when Cynthia called to say she would be late, because she was stopping to get packing tape...she should have gotten markers, too.

 

Anyway, we pretty much sorted out the front room and began, in a small way, on the sewing room. The problem with that will be what to do with the boxes.

 

They left at 2:00, and I just crashed then. I need to sleep.

 

It was too bad to be stuck inside. It was a beautiful day here, clear all day, with a temperature that finally got up to 61, with a light south wind. When I went out to get the mail, it smelled like spring...and nothing else smells like spring, even in the big dirty city.

 

It wasn't quite so nice in Copper Harbor, It was cloudy all day, and the temperature got up to 52, although the wind was fairly strong out of the south. It didn't rain, and late in the day, there were some interesting cloud effects I wish I had seen in person, with the sun trying to peer through the clouds and making crepuscular rays and, according to the camera, interesting colors. How much of that is camera artifacts, I don't know.

 

Anyway, the temperatures are supposed to be unseasonably warm for the next few days in both places, but there may be some rain. Of course, it's April, right?

 

So I'm afraid I'm not very bright tonight. I will upload this, then go upstairs and finish my soup (pea) and go right upstairs to bed.

 

Buster made himself scarce this morning, not even coming out when I fed him, but the ladies saw him a couple of times before I did, and he didn't come upstairs at all, so far as I know. He does not like this, even less than I like it, and he certainly knows how to tell me so! However, after the ladies left, I sat down in the kitchen and we had a good love-in, so maybe that helped. We will both be much happier when this is all over.

 

And now to bed.

 

April 9

I am just not sleeping very well. Last night, I was more or less awake from about 3:00 until 6:00, and I was lucky to get up at 8:30. I was still a little late for choir. It just takes me a long time to do practically anything. It didn't help that I decided I wanted some oatmeal for breakfast, only to discover that my oatmeal has disappeared. I know I had some here when I left in December, so where it went is a mystery. So my list for my next trip to the food emporium is getting longer. I must write it down, or I'll for sure forget something.

 

Anyway, it was a wonderful service. The choir did good, except for the end of one piece, where one soprano came in early on the second-to-last note. The other four pieces went well, I thought. There was communion, and there were quite a few people in church, so it was after noon when we got out. I was tired. Five pieces, plus going down the stairs to communion (I took the elevator up), is quite a workout for me.

 

I did a few things in the bedroom when I got home, but I have decided that the pall has to be back to church by Wednesday night, so I worked on that again. I think I mentioned working on the shoe polish spot back in December. It is white shoe polish, and the only thing I have found that will dissolve it at all is lighter fluid. I got most of it out, but when I washed it, there was still a hint of the soot spot that the shoe polish was supposed to cover. So I will have to treat it again, but I wanted it to dry first. I dearly love the lady who did that, but I could strangle her for doing it, rather than consulting someone about getting the soot spot out. So it is drying in the sewing room.

 

I took the opportunity to look around a bit, and determine that I do not have any flax colored 32-count linen. So in order to do the new Just Nan that I bought the silk for, I will have to get some more linen. Oh, well. The one thing that frustrates me about the cross stitch scene is that no matter how many supplies you lay in, the designers always come up with something you don't have. The design model was actually done on 34-count linen, but I don't know where to get any of that.

 

After I fooled around with the pall for a while, I came down to the computer for the rest of the afternoon.

 

The weather here was mixed. The temperature got up to just over 50, with not much wind. It was clear in the morning, cloudy during church, and it cleared up after noon.

 

In Copper Harbor, it was around 45 all day with 15 mph winds out of the north-northwest. The morning was beautiful, clear and sunny, but by noon it had started to cloud up, and by sunset there were clouds in the sky. However, that made for a really nice sunset. Notice that the sun is now setting in the gap between Porter Island and Lighthouse Point. My goodness, it's moving fast! Pretty soon it will be setting out of sight from the camera.

 

That was another lovely sunset I missed, and I'm getting tired of it. I want to be there to see it! All the snow seems to be gone out of the garden...I wonder how it is behind the breezeway? The ice is melting around the edges of the harbor, too.

 

I want to be there!

 

April 8

I more or less crashed last night, and I  was in bed before 10:00. It took a while to get to sleep, and I did good for about 3 hours, but for the rest of the night I was restless, at least until after 8:00 in the  morning. I'm afraid this moving thing is getting to me.

 

I didn't do a lot, but I did get into the front closet and I looked at a lot of stuff that I'll make decisions on later. I did weed out some things I won't be taking, and there is at least one batch of yarn that I changed my mind about after putting it in the "sale" pile. Without boxes to pack things into, it's rather difficult to get that stuff sorted properly. Right now, the bedroom looks a lot worse than it did before, but that will change eventually.

 

Tomorrow, I will work on my bedroom. I have a nice little vanity, but since it's the nearest surface to the door, it has become the resting place for all the odds and ends that I take into the bedroom. That needs to be cleared off and sorted out. 

 

The weather was about the same all over Michigan. It started out cloudy this morning, and eventually cleared up and got sunny in the afternoon, earler here than in Copper Harbor, I think. It was a lot colder than yesterday. It got up to 43 here and 40 in Copper Harbor, but there wasn't too much wind. Pretty, but rather brisk.

 

In fact, I was sitting looking out the front windows at the gardener who was working across the street, and he actually put on his jacket before he went back to work. No running out with nothing on today.

 

So now I must go to bed again and prepare as much as possible for singing tomorrow. I hope I can do all right:  I really wish I had gotten the keyboard working. Oh, well.

 

Slowly, I  make progress.

 

April 7

i didn't sleep very well last night, thinking about all the work for today. In the middle of the night, I actually pushed Buster out of bed, because he was lying on almost all of my quilt, and I was cold. In fact, instead of getting hot in the night, I got cold. I don't know what brought that on. When I finally got back to sleep, I didn't wake up again until 9:00, which was rather later than I intended, but I was ambulatory when Cynthia and her sister-in-law arrived.

 

I now have an excessively neat kitchen, although the end counter is full of stuff I will be taking with me. All the junk on the counters is either put away or sorted between what needs to be packed and what will be sold. In fact, the entire first floor is sorted. The furniture in the living room is all moved around, but that only gives us more space for the boxes when they come.

 

I got to sit down most of the time, which was good. After we finished the first floor, we started on the upstairs. The dresser in the front bedroom is now cleaned off and dusted nicely, and we have worked our way across the room. 

 

So we had a very productive day, and I feel more positive about this thing. It is still going to be a horrible job, but I'm more confident we'll be able to do it in a reasonable length of time. They are such nice people, and Cynthia has worked with me long enough and knows me well enough that she is able to either joke or push me into realistic decisions about getting rid of things. That's good. Without her, I'd have a terrible time deciding what to keep and what to let go of.

 

It was a good day to do that sort of thing, although it was dark enough that we had all the lights on all day long. It poured rain from about 4:00 until noon, but the temperature got up to 48, and it didn't rain in the afternoon. The temperature is now dropping and it is supposed to be in the upper 20s tonight. It was dark and dreary all day long, but that didn't bother us.

 

In Copper Harbor, the temperature dropped off to between 25 and 30 all day, and it was cloudy and blah in the morning, but after noon, the clouds started to break up, and now, at sunset, it is perfectly clear and about 31, with a 17 mph north wind. The sun hasn't set yet (at 8:35), but it looks lovely.

 

The only other thing I have to report is Buster. He apparently recognized Cynthia's voice, because he appeared shortly after she arrived, and while he did sleep some, he spent most of the day with us, trying to be cute, sitting on my lap, or wandering around complaining loudly about the uproar in his house. He really made a nuisance of himself. No cat likes change, but Buster is particularly set in his ways, and he does not like what is going on. If only I could make him understand that what it really means is that pretty soon he'll be settled in Copper Harbor and he won't have to take that horrible 11 hour car ride again. All he knows is that everything is upset, and he remembers too vividly that that has happened before. He's a little nut-cat anyway, and he always remembers the bad things. So I'm afraid he's going to be an unhappy camper for the next few weeks.

 

When I come back to do the final move, after the house is sold, I will just have to leave him behind, and hope I'm not away too long. This will be bad enough, but I really don't want him around when the furniture starts going out of the house.

 

So that was my busy day, and now I am tired and quite ready for bed. We will do this thing, and it won't take forever, either. 

 

April 6

I forgot to note that yesterday was 04/05/06...and as one of my correspondents pointed out, just after 1:00 yesterday morning it was 01:02:03 04/05/06! There's some numerology for you! 

 

I had a problem sleeping last night. I had sore shoulders and hips, and I kept getting hot. So I wasn't ready to get up this morning, but I did, and I got myself to the doctor at the right time, pretty much.

 

That turned out just fine. He poked and prodded (gently) and said come back in six months, and there isn't much that can be done about my toes. He also noticed that I don't walk very well, so I had to explain that. He said he didn't think I needed any more CT scans now, and he wasn't sure I'd need them in October. In a way, I hate to leave Copper Harbor the first week of October (of course, I hate to leave anytime), but I should get to see a lot of the fall color in the UP and northern LP. At least I won't have to make that trip during the height of the tourist season!

 

Frankly, since it's been five years since the stem cell transplant, I think we are both just waiting to see how long before it comes back. I could be well for years, or I could have a relapse any time. That's why I don't plan too far ahead.

 

I went almost directly from the doctor to the hairdresser, and I now look more like a human being than a sheepdog. Not only were my bangs hanging over my glasses, the sides were long enough that they kept blowing into my mouth and eyes. Yuck. I don't know quite what I will do about it in the next six months, since I haven't seen a really good haircut in Keweenaw. I may just let it grow and either comb the top back or cut the bangs myself. In the years when my hair was really long, I always did the top myself, and it always looked good. Having to braid it or twist it up in a clip will be good exercise for my arms and shoulders.

 

When I got home, I was tired and hungry, so I vegged out for the rest of the afternoon. I didn't even get out my beading. I just played with the computer.

 

I did find out that the software that came with my keyboard won't load on this system (I've had that trouble before), so I have an email into their technical support. Since I have a copy of the software that came with the keyboard and doesn't have a registration number, I may just have to buy a new copy, and it really does a lot I don't need. All I want is something that will play the keyboard through the computer speakers. I'm not going to be composing music or anything. We'll see.

 

The boxes are going to be delivered on Monday, as well as a lot of newsprint to use for packing. I guess that's about as fast as can be expected. I have a few small boxes around here, but nothing like what we really need, so I'm not sure what the ladies will do tomorrow.

 

It was a rather nice day here today, although it started out quite cool. Eventually the temperature got up to about 55 and the sun came out, so it was nice.

 

It was nice in Copper Harbor, too, although it was cloudy for most of the day. The clouds broke up late in the afternoon, and I missed another really good sunset, I think. Those comma-shaped clouds were really neat. Rats. The temperature there got up over 50, and there wasn't much wind at all.

 

I think that is all for a while, though. The forecasts are for cold, rain and maybe even some snow tomorrow and tomorrow night, before it warms up again. Well, spring in good old Michigan. Never a dull moment.

 

So I am yawning, and it's time for the last trip upstairs, even though there is some nice music playing. Tomorrow will be a busy day.

 

And I wish I was in Copper Harbor.

 

April 5

I only got to bed a little earlier last night, and even though I slept like the dead, I had to get up long before I was ready this morning. However, I made it to bible class, and it was good to be there. Then I stopped at the Food Emporium for the stuff I forgot Monday and something to eat for lunch. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, so after I ate and did my daily computer thing, I hauled myself upstairs for a two-hour nap.

 

Buster was curled up in the bed when I got there...and I do mean curled, in the tightest possible ball. He was delighted, but a bit puzzled, to find me in bed, but he finally settled down and we went to sleep. 

 

At three, we were awakened by a phone call from the moving company. Apparently the final total is 125 book boxes, 60 medium boxes, 35 large boxes and 5 china barrels. They will deliver them for $75, so I said, go ahead, as soon as possible. I think by now you are getting some idea of the magnitude of the problem.

 

So we went back to sleep. I don't usually sleep deeply when I nap in the afternoon (unless I've been up all night), but when I got up a little after 4:00, I felt much refreshed.

 

I came back down here to listen to as much of ATC as I could before I went off to church again. I am out of the swing of things. First, I forgot my music folder, which I brought home with the idea of going through the music (and I'd better do that before Sunday!), then I forgot my water bottle. So instead of being early enough to swing around by the mail box, I was almost late.

 

Fortunately, Bruce was working with the men, so I got to say hi to all the ladies, and get set with Carol that I will go to her house for Easter dinner, and I will bring rolls. Last time I did that, I baked crescent rolls between the time I got home from church and went to her house, and I might do that again. I will scout out what the Food Emporium has when I stop next Wednesday. If they have something already baked that looks good, I might get those, but I like my rolls really fresh, and the last time I did that, I brought the excess home and had rolls for breakfast for the next couple of days...yum!

 

Well, I have sung everything we're singing Sunday, but not for several years the kids have been singing lately), and I really do need to go over everything to get all the notes and put all the words with the right notes. We are singing one descant and four other pieces (!), so it will be quite a workout. I also need to go over the stuff for next week so that it's not quite so obvious that I'm sight reading when we practice next Wednesday.

 

I need to load the software for my keyboard and get that hooked up, then I'll be able to practice with something to keep me on key. I don't say I actually play the piano, but I did have a few lessons, and I can read music. I got the keyboard quite a long time ago, when I had my old computer, and I just never set it up on this one. I've decided that when I am completely moved, I will turn the Copper Harbor computer into a server just for the camera and internet access, set up a wireless network and use this one for everything else, except for using the laptop when I'm down in the basement cataloging books. So there is no reason not to set up the keyboard. I certainly hope it works. Stay tuned.

 

The weather. Here, it was in the mid 40s and mostly cloudy...not bad, but not inspiring, either. It did clear up around sunset, enough to light the stained glass windows in church, and when I went out afterwards, there was an almost half moon high up in the clear sky.

 

In Copper Harbor, it was beautifully clear all day and around 40, with winds around 10 mph. Gorgeous, darn it!

 

So that was my day. I am still tired, and I go to the oncologist tomorrow, so I can't sleep forever.

 

Well...chances are I couldn't do that anyway. From about 8:00 this morning until 5:00, there were leaf blowers going off all around me. When I woke up from my nap, my gardeners were the ones doing the blowing, and I'm happy to say their blowers are a lot less noisy than some of the other ones I heard. How I wish I was back in my place, with the loudest noise the sound of the lake!

 

There might have been some noise in Copper Harbor today, though, because the people at the fort are doing their spring cleanup, and they were burning debris all day long. Someone pointed out the smoke to me (and I couldn't reply to his message, for some reason), but that happens around this time every year. I think the campground opens around May 1, and they need to have it spiffed up by then.

 

So now  I will haul myself upstairs and to bed. The stairs are really taking a toll on my legs, and I'm not getting nearly enough sleep. I wish I was home.

 

April 4

All my good intentions of going to bed early were foiled by a stupid computer program last night. I forgot, as I usually do, that FrontPage simply cannot handle the time change, and it decided last night was the night to act up. Why it didn't do it Sunday, I don't know. I also don't know why, when I aborted it in the middle of the first copy, it thought it had done the whole thing. I had to abort it, because it was hung, and part of Norton was not responding. I think it was because I had managed to use up all my resources. A reboot cured that, but then it decided to copy all the picture files, which took a long time. I don't know if I'd aborted that one, too, it would have forgotten about it, but I wasn't about to try. I have no idea what will happen tonight.

 

So it was midnight before I got to bed. However, I turned my comforter, and I was warm and cozy all night long. I had apparently done that before, and forgotten about it, because the tags had been cut off. It's ironic that this is happening, because before I leave, I'm sure I will have to change over to the light-weight comforter, which is really light weight after all this time. The two of them together are about the weight of the light-weight one at Copper Harbor, but it's probably more important to have warmth up there.

 

Anyway, I got up before I was ready this morning, and didn't even finish my orange juice before I ran the car over to the garage. They didn't finish it until the moving man was here, but eventually I got it back, and my spare tire is now on the right front wheel. As soon as Chet felt the bumpiness, he knew what it was. Apparently my right front tire had gone bad. I think a radial tire should last more than 36,000 miles, but they tell me this happens all the time, and the manufacturers have never really learned how to make a radial will consistently last a long time. Frequently the tread will separate or something, which is probably what happened to mine. I guess I was lucky not to have a disaster on the way home.

 

So the car is all in shape again, greased and oiled and everything, and I'm set until August or so.

 

I also called my friend Cynthia, who will be coming with two or three people on Friday to begin the packing. And the moving man went away shaking his head. 120 book boxes, 54 medium boxes, 21 large boxes, five china barrels...

 

Those of you who kindly gave me advice just didn't realize the magnitude of the problem. And this is just the stuff I need to get out of here now. There's more that I will be moving when I move the furniture.

 

The fortunate thing is that after all that stuff is gone, it won't really be my house anymore. It will just be a generic "house".

 

I also had a nice chat with my realtor, and I am most satisfied with his attitude. He is not in favor of doing a great deal of decorating or anything in a house, just because the chances of a new owner liking the colors is slim and none. He said, and I've seen it, too, that he's seen houses where the seller replaced all the carpeting before the sale, and as soon as the house changed hands, all the brand new carpeting came right out. And the seller never can get his money out of things like that - if he's lucky, he just breaks even on them. I might get the carpets cleaned...certainly the kitchen needs that, as I've said before. But otherwise, I will be doing the minimum necessary. The kitchen does need to be painted, because the ceiling is peeling, but otherwise, I think I'll just wait and see. 

 

Maybe there is another person in the world whose favorite color is blue and who likes to garden. This would be a perfect house for them.

 

I cooked my pot roast tonight, the way I used to do it in the dark ages...I threw it in an iron Dutch oven and put it in the oven for a long time. I only put potatoes in it, because I forgot to get onions and carrots, but it came out just fine and it tasted good to me. So now I have something to eat for a while.

 

The freezer here is really packed with stuff, so I will have to try to draw down the supplies while I am here. Nothing I don't like...lamb shanks, steak, probably chicken and maybe even some pork chops. I haven't really taken a good look yet.

 

So now I am tired again, and tomorrow is Bible class in the morning. I need to talk to one of the ladies, whose son was doing painting, and if so, I will get a quote from him. In the afternoon, I will be schlepping the stereo out to be refurbished, and tomorrow night is choir. Of course, I haven't even looked at my music. Tomorrow, maybe?

 

It looked to me like I missed the sunset of the year tonight. Most of the day was cloudy in Copper Harbor, and this morning it was snowing lightly, although there wasn't any accumulation. However, late in the day it cleared up, and sunset was all clear, and evidently really beautiful. Rats. The temperature got down to 25 overnight, but it got up to 40 late in the day and is now steady. The wind was pretty strong, 25-40 mph out of the north, although it did die off some around sunset. Rats.

 

Here, it was clear until around noon, when it clouded up, and it is now raining lightly. The temperature got to about 50 briefly, and the wind was in the 20 mph range for most of the day, although it's now a lot less than that.

 

So I wish I was there, and I'm not looking forward to the next few weeks at all. The consensus is that I have a humungous job ahead of me, even with three people helping me. Rats.

 

April 3

One of the reasons I've been cold at night is that the upper edge of my old comforter, right in the middle, has no down at all left in it. I will try to turn it around, but I wanted to leave the tags on it so that I can tell the two comforters apart. I was mostly fairly comfortable last night, and I did sleep well. I could have gotten up early, but I had decided this was the day to catch up. 

 

So at 9:30, I got a call from the dentist, rescheduling my crown appointment. He has had a death in the family, so he has a good excuse, but I was disappointed. That probably shoots my schedule right there. So I got up, but I was moving slowly.

 

I also got a call from a moving company to have an estimator come and try to guess how many boxes I will need. He will be here tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow morning I will take the car back to the garage to find out what is wrong (if anything) with its front end. I hope they will be through with that so I can get the car back before the moving guy comes.

 

The tasks of the day were to go to the bank and to lay in supplies. I didn't bring much cat food with me, so I needed to replenish that, and there were some things I wanted for me, one of which I forgot. Oh, well, I'll be back there on Wednesday.

 

I was out on the roads from about 1:30 to 3:00, and it was a zoo. There are too many cars and too many people going too many places, some of them excessively law-abiding and others so impatient they could have gotten five tickets. However, because somebody was too impatient to wait for a car to pull out of a parking place, I got a spot right in front of the store.

 

The Food Emporium was a mess as usual, and when I went to check out, there was one checkout line open and about 10 people in line for it. So I went to the management desk and complained. There was no way I was going to stand that long. They opened two other lines, leaving nobody in the original one, and just as I was about to trundle into it, someone zipped out of nowhere and practically ran into the lane. I see a lot of things like that around here.

 

So I came home and had a nice, if rather late, lunch, and began looking for the telephone number of a place I thought might be able to do some work on my stereo system. It is 1978 vintage McIntosh components, and it is truly a wonderful system, but it needs a thorough going-over. For one thing, I get cross-talk on adjacent settings on the pre-amp. I don't think it has ever been checked front to back, and after this length of time, I think it needs it. Well. They only provide telephone books for the Pointes and for the Detroit Metro area - meaning sough of 8 Mile Road. Some businesses in Oakland and Macomb counties do advertise in them, but the ones I was interested in don't.

 

So I hied myself down to the computer, picked one of the myriad online directories (probably the wrong one), and found my business. Back in the dark ages, they were rather close to me in Detroit, and they did some work on the system then (that's where my dad bought it), but they don't do service anymore. Fortunately, the person I talked to was nice enough to recommend a place, also out in Troy, or nearly in Troy, and I will take the stuff over there, probably on Wednesday. I am going to be moving the whole system to Copper Harbor, since I don't use it here, and I'd like to get it in good shape before I do.

 

Times like that are when the internet really is useful. Otherwise, I would have been stuck calling information, who would probably never have heard of the places I wanted to call.

 

I'm not looking forward to hauling it out of the house, because it is heavy, particularly the amplifier (40 watts per channel), which has a couple of humungous transformers that weigh a ton. However, I've been planning this since I decided that I had to move the stuff out of here, and I want to get it in to service so that it will be back before the movers come. I could (and I might) haul the components myself, but with all the other stuff I will want to take, I will probably want the movers to move it. That means I won't have it until the basement is resolved, but oh, well. The speakers, which are huge, will have to be moved by the movers anyway, so the whole system might as well go together.

 

The weather in Copper Harbor turned out to be lovely today. It was cloudy at sunrise, but the skies were clearing by 9:45, and the afternoon was sunny and pretty, with winds in the 30-40 mph range out of the north. It was clouding up, but the sun peeked out right as it hit the horizon - over Porter Island! Pretty soon it will be setting over Lighthouse Point. The camera seems to have hung up at about 8:30, for some reason, and I will hope it rights itself. I had toyed with the idea of putting the X-10 module on the entire surge protector, but I didn't, so I don't have any way of resetting the wireless. I hope this isn't the end of the pictures.

 

Here, it was cloudy and windy, but for most of the day the temperature was in the middle 50s, so even though it spit rain at intervals, it wasn't bad to be outside. The temperature is going down now, and they are predicting snow for both Copper Harbor and here. 

 

There are gale warnings on all the northern Great Lakes, with 7-10 foot waves on Superior. Oh, how I wish I was there to hear the song of the lake! Oh, well.

 

So now I will haul myself upstairs and turn the comforter around and see if that helps my sleep.

 

I wish I wasn't here.

 

April 2

I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked to last night. I was thinking about everything I have to do, and that I had to get up this morning at some reasonable hour, so I did a lot of dozing. My body never really goes on daylight savings time, which causes problems when I'm where I have to keep normal human hours. Fortunately, tomorrow and Tuesday, there's nothing I have to get up early for, so maybe I will catch up on my sleep.

 

I made it to church earlier than sometimes, which was nice, because I got a chance to talk to some people, and I got to talk to more afterwards. It was good to be in my home congregation again. I fetched home my choir folder, and maybe tomorrow I will try to get the keyboard up and running so I can go through everything, especially those things I don't know.

 

I might have done that today, except that I had other computer problems. Yesterday, I tried several times to download a new Shockwave player, so that I could do any round jigsaw puzzles that come along, and it failed every time, in such a way that it wouldn't reload and wouldn't work. The download wants you to also load a Yahoo toolbar, and I have a problem with that, so when I say no, I don't want it, the whole download gets screwed up. I have emails into Macromedia about it, and we'll see what they say. I decided that the thing to do was to revert to start-of-day yesterday, but before I did that, I had to copy the website and my mail files back to the laptop. That worked with only one reboot. When I got the computer reverted, I decided to try the download again (why, I don't really know), and ended up with an unusable player again. Then I discovered that my start-of-day yesterday checkpoint had been dropped, so I had to figure out when today I had a good system. Copying the files back to the desktop (all the files!) didn't work as smoothly, although since I didn't purge everything like I did yesterday, it was a bit easier than that was. So finally at 5:15 I had my system back the way I wanted it. What a mess. I had blue screens of death, black screens of death, and once, when I was rebooting the desktop, between the MS display and my wallpaper, a very bright lime green screen flashed up...what the heck was that??? I had to reset the clock at least five times...it kept adding an hour to the time, which put it an hour ahead of DST.

 

I think everything is OK now on both systems, and I moved that PC Pitstop program over to the desktop and cleaned out an amazing amount of junk from the registry. I also got the DSL line parameters set correctly, and I have to say that my DSL seems to be working much more smoothly now. So I actually got something useful done.

 

It was a good day to do stuff like that, because my head feels sort of mushy, and my legs were too tired to try to do anything about the kitchen. The stairs are taking their toll on my legs already, but for various reasons, I must have made a dozen trips up from the basement during the afternoon. 

 

The weather was nothing to write about. It was cloudy and yucky both here and in Copper Harbor all day long. The temperature got to 50 briefly here, and to 40 in Copper Harbor, and it was cloudy and dull all over. Here, there was a 15 mph wind, but it was nearly calm all day in the harbor. It was curious to look at the radar displays for the Keweenaw. It was snowing in a wide circle around the Keweenaw, but there was no precip at all in Copper Harbor. It may be drizzling now (it is in Houghton), and it's raining lightly here, but at the end of twilight, the deck looked dry to me. What an interesting microclimate.

 

So that was my quiet day. I wish I could commute to church, but other than that, I wish I wasn't here. As soon as I upload this, I am off to bed, even though it's only 8:30 by my body time. I am really tired. I might even forgo a bath, except that my feet are so cold I have to try to warm them up before I crash.

 

Another day in exile.

 

April 1

I arrived safe and sound.

 

I didn't get to bed until midnight, which sort of set me back to begin with, and I didn't get up until after 8:00. Some JD and a sleeping pill, plus being exhausted, gave me a good 8 hours' sleep. I think I was awake around 6:00, but I just didn't feel comfortable taking that long drive on only 6 hours sleep. I have a number of things to do before I leave in the morning, and since I move so slowly, it always takes me at least two hours. It didn't help that I flubbed the cat capture and ended up chasing him all over the house...fortunately, I blocked off the cat door to the basement before he got that idea or we might never have gotten out of there.

 

He was a most unhappy camper confined to his carrier and facing the powder room door, but oh, well.

 

I ate breakfast, checked the weather once more, and bounced the computer one more time to leave it with as clean a system as possible, then I packed up the last of the stuff - the electronics - and the cat.

 

We pulled out of the garage at 10:15.

 

I have finally solved the winter rest stop dilemma: I stopped at the big gas station in Baraga, on the Indian reservation, and topped off my gas tank at $2.44 a gallon. The restrooms are nice and clean, I am happy to report. They also had quarts (or whatever that mid-size is in liters now) of JD for about $31, which I think is cheap, but I'll have to check that out before I go back. I drink enough of the stuff that I'll take all the breaks I can get, and Michigan's sin taxes are pretty steep.

 

I don't know why I never thought of that before, but it's a convenient stopping place anytime. There is a summer rest stop just north of Baraga, and one at the Sturgeon River, and Baraga is about halfway between. I guess one just gets into a travel rut and doesn't change. With gas prices the way they are, it's sort of silly not to take advantage, though. That is a thoroughly modern gas station, with automatic pumps, and you don't have to go inside unless you want boos or cigarettes or a bathroom. And the lady at the cash register actually smiled at me.

 

So that stop enabled me to get to Newberry in comfort, even though I was drinking orange juice most of the way.

 

There were a few sprinkles of rain around L'Anse, at the bottom of Keweenaw Bay, and I was a bit surprised to see a skin of thin, clear ice over the south end of the bay. Traffic was light, and I was surprised again to see a log hauler going south from L'Anse. I thought the load restrictions applied to all roads? 

 

As I recall, there were a few drizzles once I turned east, but nothing serious. The inland lakes are all still frozen over, although the ice looks really mushy and nothing you'd want to go out on. There is still a lot of lake ice around the shore between Marquette and Munising, but there was enough sunshine there that my last view of Mother Superior was all blue, with teensy white mini-bergs floating in it.

 

I should have stopped at both Scott Falls and Munising Falls, because they were really running, but I was so late that I didn't want to take the time. Sorry. Maybe going back?

 

The woods are still snowy, like it is in Keweenaw, but wherever the sun has hit, like along the roadsides, there isn't any snow. Or anything growing, either. That made the trip to the bridge really boring. Everything was all brown or gray and sort of sad, and even the evergreens looked sort of blah. This is not a pretty time of year anywhere in Michigan.

 

From the bridge south, I was chasing the thunderstorms that were supposed to have been gone by that time, and I finally caught up to them around the Zilwaukie bridge.  For the next hour or two, I didn't make very good time, because the rain was falling so hard that it was almost impossible to see, and since it was around rush hour, there was lots of traffic - and lots of people doing really stupid things, like under 60 mph in the left-hand lane. 

 

Finally, around Flint, the rain let up some, but all the way from there, I could see lightening in front of me, some of it really spectacular. So the part of the trip I hate most - from West Branch south - was even worse than usual. Particularly in northern Oakland County, it is so dark and there is so much traffic, that in the rain it was pretty hairy.

 

Finally, by the time I reached Troy, the rain was almost gone, but then...they are already starting on the season's repair work, and they have the right lane blocked at 14 Mile Road. That would be bad enough...the amount of traffic at 8:00 in the evening is incredible...but around 15 Mile Road, some guy had hit the left-hand guard rail. I suspect there was a car hauler in the center lane that was making him nervous, and in an effort to avoid it, he had clipped the guard rail, because not only were there three police cars and the damaged car, there was a car hauler all parked in the left-hand lane, which meant I-75 was down from three lanes to one. I think it took me 15 minutes to go from Big Beaver to 14 Mile.

 

That was about the end of the problems, although they are starting the construction on I-696, too, but at that time of night, traffic wasn't bad. I pulled into the driveway at 8:35...about 10 hours, 20 minutes. I can't complain about that. Yes, I have a lead foot. I never claimed otherwise.

 

I called Jackie first thing, to tell her I was home, and while we were talking, the rain started coming down in torrents. She was willing to talk, because she was about to start her evening dog-walking rounds, and she didn't want to walk in the rain. It wasn't as good as a car wash, but that rain did manage to remove the worst of the salt and sand that had turned my car brown. There is a little sand on the back, especially on the bumper, but nothing like it was when I left Copper Harbor.

 

Finally, I fetched Buster in. I don't know why he is almost as reluctant to leave the cage as he is to get in it. Weird little beastie. He had howled for a while when we left, and a couple of times later, then at one point there was a plaintive "mew" from the back, and after that I didn't know if he was still there. I'm sure he slept, and he did drink a lot of his water. Anyway, I fetched him in, and he ran around to see everything and tried to walk out the door a couple of times.

 

It took me a long time to get the car unloaded. Sitting all day plus the cool dampness (mid 50s when I got here) left me really stiff, and even the unloading didn't work the stiffness out very much. So it was nearly 10:30 when I threw a chicken pot pie in the microwave and sat down to a warm JD...Jackie, bless her, had thought she was doing me a favor by dumping the ice and turning off the ice maker. About four little cubes came out when I turned it on, and it's been making ice really slowly ever since, for some reason.

 

Finally, I hauled myself and the bare minimum upstairs. I just had to take a bath. I was all wet and sweaty, and I couldn't stand the idea of going to bed that way, and besides, I was cold, from exhaustion, I think. Even a hot bath (a fast one, I admit) didn't warm me up much, so it took me a while to get to sleep, and when I woke up during the night, I was as stiff as a board, and it took me a long time to get warmed up.

 

I finally rolled out at after 10:00 this morning, but I'm still pretty wiped out, and I will be for another day or so. I didn't even move much of the stuff away from the back doors, just enough to get out, because I did get gas.

 

In the UP, the non-reservation price of gas was between $2.60 and $2.70 a gallon, depending where you were - lower around Marquette, and higher elsewhere. I was curious to see that my full-service station here (a little luxury I allow myself) had it for $2.66, so prices seem comparable. 

 

I wanted to stop there anyway to consult my favorite mechanic. For a month or so, off and on, I have noticed the steering wheel jiggling  back and forth, sometimes as much as half an inch, sometimes not at all. There is clearly something not quite right, but it seems to depend upon the road surface. Most of the way south, there was just a sort of vibration of the steering wheel. So I asked Chet about it, and he assured me that the front end of the car isn't about to fall off. Something may be loose under there, or it may just be that the tires are out of balance. Considering what I've been driving through this winter, I may just have lost a balancing weight or two on the front tires. He didn't think it was alarming, and I guess if I could drive 600 miles without breaking down, it probably isn't. There are almost 36,000 miles on the truck now (in 5 years - I don't drive as much as I'd anticipated I might), and it is just getting nicely broken in, so far as the engine is concerned. However, plowing through that deep snow and slush and other stuff certainly is hard on it. I will take it back Tuesday and let him work on it.

 

It's been nice that my trips back here have coincided with my need to service the car, because Chet has kept one Pontiac and three SUVs running in good order (the dealership was so impressed by the condition the '89 Blazer was in, in 2000, that they gave me a really generous trade in) since 1973, and I absolutely trust him. He must be hell as a boss, but he's a wonderful mechanic. Besides, he knows what he can't do, and he's honest about it.

 

Once I got back from that, I descended to the lower level and attacked the files. It took me three hours and countless reboots of both computers to get everything moved over (or I hope it is!). I even had to use System Restore on the laptop (I don't have GoBack there), but that was after I reached too far. I have toyed with the idea of getting a newer version of Laplink, but I'm not clear whether it will run under Windows ME. The version I have is just incredibly full of bugs. The desktop kept going into a loop putting the files on disk, so that I had to power off the cpu to recover, and the laptop hung equally often for some reason not known to me. Gack, what a mess! I think everything is copied successfully, except that I finally gave up and purged all the Publisher files I had made of the journal. With the pictures inserted, the files are as big as 15mb, maybe bigger, and since I've put off printing them, they were just taking up disk space (on three computers) and making it hard to run Laplink. It sometimes has a problem with very large files.

 

Part of the problem was that a while ago, I restructured my personal files, and moved a lot of stuff to new folders, so I really had to purge everything on this computer and copy it all from the laptop. Now, you understand, doing that from the Copper Harbor computer to the laptop went almost without a hitch - I think I only had to reboot both systems once. What the problem is with going from the laptop to the desktop here is beyond my understanding. Anyway, I think everything is OK now.

 

The weather in Copper Harbor has been cloudy and blah. It got up to about 50 yesterday, but today it was around 35 all day and now has gone below 30. It was somewhat windy - 15-20 mph yesterday and overnight, but it is now nearly calm.

 

On my trip south, the temperatures were in the upper 40s to low 50s in the UP, and got up to about 60 as I came through central Michigan, before the rain started. It's been in the low 50s here today.

 

It looks like it will be cooler in Copper Harbor for the next few days, and they are even predicting some little snows. I was afraid the past couple weeks were just a teaser. There is a lot of precip in the forecast for the week all over Michigan, and they are even saying there will be a little snow here on Monday night. Otherwise, it will be the kind of miserable early spring weather I hate around here - lows in the upper 30s and highs in the upper 40s, damp and raw and miserable. It just doesn't seem the same in Copper Harbor, even when the temperatures are similar. I'm not sure why. I sure do know it doesn't affect my knees and back like it does around here.

 

 

So that was how it was, and I'm tired again. Tomorrow I get to go to church, which will be nice, and maybe I can make a little sense out of the kitchen.  For now, I will haul myself up to the second story and crash.

 

I'm here, and I don't like it already.

 

Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM