Taking on a New Role

In 2005 I took my 9 year old daughter on an audition for a community theater production of Oliver! and our family hasn’t been the same since!

I remember telling her how proud I was of her that she was taking a chance and auditioning. What mattered is that she trying, whether she was cast or not. Well, she did get a part and thus began my life as a community theater mom. I helped with costumes and props, marketing and snacks. Driving her to rehearsals and hanging around at the theater became second nature. My 11 year old daughter, Katie, got involved a couple of shows later and helped with the tech side of things. It wasn’t long before our son auditioned and was cast in his first role as a Cratchit kid in Scrooge and then later as one of the von Trapp kids. I started learning how to be a stage manager and help with the tech stuff. By this time even my husband had gotten involved (more like sucked in if you ask him) and it truly was a family activity. Whether onstage or behind the scenes, we all really enjoying spending that time together and we made some incredible friends. For fifteen years our cycle was auditions, rehearsals, running lines, performances, cast parties and then repeat.

When the kids grew up and we moved north, I wanted to get involved in a new theater group. I was hesitant though because I knew it would be different since it would no longer be a “family” activity. We went to see the local shows to support them and just when I started making friends that were active in the theater and I was ready to get involved, Covid hit and shut it down for 1.5 years.

Last fall I read about an upcoming show the Tawas Bay Players were doing called Always a Bridesmaid. It’s about 4 best friends who grew up together, promising to be in each other’s wedding no matter what. 30 years later, they are still keeping that promise with often hilarious results. It sounded fun and the main characters were around my age. I watched a version another community theater had done and loved the script. So I summoned up every drop of courage I had and auditioned. In 15 years of community theater I had only been ON stage one other time and that was a small part in a Shakespeare in the Park production. That audition was easy and I was surrounded by people I knew. This audition was different. I didn’t know anyone else auditioning or anyone involved with the show. I almost talked myself out of going.

But I went, and I got the part I wanted. Libby Ruth, the hopeless romantic. On the first night of rehearsals I found out she has the most lines in the whole show and I freaked out a little. Then when I found out we were supposed to be off script in just four weeks, I freaked out a lot. But my family was determined to help me and they ran a lot of lines with me both in person and on video calls. Chad ran them almost daily with me and I bet we could throw him in a dress and he could be an understudy for ANY of the roles at this point! With a lot of work, I was off script as requested on time.

Things were going great until the week we started using lights and sound. It suddenly became very real and the nerves kicked in. I had butterflies and found myself getting shaky backstage as I was waiting to go on. I practiced breathing exercises and forced myself to walk through the door into the scene. I told myself “it’s just community theater” and it was no big deal. But the nerves were still there. I should also mention that Chad stepped up to run sound for the shows for us since the person that had lined up backed out. It was nice having him there and it felt a bit like old times. The comradery in the tech booth, actors rushing through costume changes backstage, that feeling at the end of a really well run scene. The “I can’t wait to get my life back yet I know I’ll miss this” feeling. It feels very familiar. And we have met some really nice people. with this theater group.

I have survived the first four shows. Cassie, the daughter who started all this, drove across the state to be here on opening night. Katie, was there on night two along with a great group of friends and family that made the drive from downstate to be here. Our son Jack is coming next weekend. We have four performances left. I may still get nervous in the wings as I wait to go on, but I won’t let it stop me.

Always A Bridesmaid Logo

The Wedding

Nearly two years in the making and it was worth the wait!

When we moved north full time in 2019, our oldest daughter followed us. I like to tease her that we had to kick her out of the nest, but now she has her own nest on the same branch as ours! That child has been a homebody since birth and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Moving to an area with a population of around 4000 people didn’t make it easy for her to meet people her own age. In this town, many people leave after high school in pursuit of college and/or raising their family, and then they come back to retire. But she DID meet a local boy, and he was a good one. We first met Michael when he came to one of Katie’s Community Band Concerts. I was impressed that not only was he supporting one of her passions but he was also willing to meet her parents after only a couple of weeks. The next week he joined us for karaoke and neither one of them could wipe the grin off their face as they watched each other sing. Their relationship moved fast, a little too fast for our comfort to be truthful, but sometimes your heart just knows when it’s the real thing.

Michael quickly became part of our family, almost like he was there from the start. He got along so well with our other boys. Jack, our youngest and Austin, our son in law. While the three of them are all very different, I love the bond they have with each other. Michael’s daughter, Kinsley had just turned three and was impossible to resist. We all fell hard.

When Michael approached us just 6 months later and told us he wanted to marry Katie, we knew it was coming. Unfortunately for him, it was 2020 and his grand idea for a very public proposal were not possible. But together we hatched an alternate plan and at our family Christmas that year, he popped the question.

I should back up a bit to say that our other daughter, Cassie, had gotten married in 2017 so this was not our first family wedding. Cassie and Austin had a beautiful fall wedding on the Detroit Princess Riverboat in downtown Detroit. It was the perfect location for their wedding and it was a wonderful day. But that was before I started this blog and they are pretty private people so I’m not going to go into all the details, that’s their story to tell. My girls were very different brides. Cassie wanted something small, unique and more urban. Katie however, wanted the classic outdoor fall wedding in a country barn venue. Cowboy boots, denim, fall flowers, string lights and a bonfire…the whole package. They found the perfect venue for that at Crooked River Weddings in Gladwin. The wedding took place about 22 months after the proposal which gave Katie time to make sure everything was just like she wanted it.

Cassie and I planned her bridal shower at Fisher Hall in downtown Frankenmuth. As we live 4 hours apart on opposite coasts, we knew neither one of us could really host it. It was a challenge to come up with a suitable place that wouldn’t be too far of a drive for our downstate guests and overall I think it worked out really well. Katie and Michael opted for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party here in East Tawas at the place we go for karaoke and where they had their first date. Their local friends and family were here and it was a very special night.

Once everything was planned our only real concern was the weather. Katie had been looking forward to this for so long and all I wanted in the world at that moment was for the weather to cooperate! Luckily for us, it was a GORGEOUS day. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. My favorite part of the weekend though wasn’t even the wedding itself, but the day before when we were getting everything ready. Looking around and seeing how much our kids love and support each other as adults made this mama’s heart so proud. Jack had a laughing Kinsley on his shoulders and Cassie was helping Katie with centerpieces and Chad and Michael were hauling something in from the truck. I wanted to slow down time in that moment and just enjoy this family time. We finished decorating the barn and ceremony space, collected things around town for Katie, with often hysterical results, and then had the wedding rehearsal and dinner. Later than night at the rental house we were all staying in, we joked around, danced and laughed and it was one of the best family nights we had in a long time.

The wedding of course was beautiful. Austin and Griffin got there just before the ceremony as planned (a long story for another day) and Griffin was adorable in his cowboy boots! Surrounded by our friends and family, it was a very happy, emotional day. We all cried as the bride and groom danced to “Beauty and the Beast” , a dance they had been learning for weeks and wouldn’t tell even tell me about! I cried again as I looked over at the table where my stepdad sat, missing my mom and knowing how much she would have loved this. And again when we took a group photo with my amazing group of friends and thinking about the one who we lost all to soon, and how she would have been crying right along with me. And one more time as Katie and Michael left the barn to their sparkler send off. It meant the world to me to have those people stick around until the end to celebrate this incredible day with us.

Hitting the Road- 2022 Vacation

Another catch up post from last year.

There are still some places in the USA I want to check off my bucket list. At the top of the list was Key West. I had read about the sunset ceremony they hold EVERY night in Mallory Square and I knew it was something I wanted to experience for myself.

In the spring of 2022 when I suggested Key West I had no idea it would become a twelve day road trip. I thought we would fly into Miami, rent a car, spend a week in the Keys and come home. But Chad thought it would be more fun to drive. While it meant adding on an extra days and more money for gas/hotels, I was game. Especially when we traded in our Acadia for a Bronco. I envisioned warm days with the top down soaking up the Florida sun. That didn’t exactly go the way I thought, but more on that later!

We headed out a few days after our oldest daughter got married. We figured early October was a great time of year to be on the road. We didn’t take I-75 like we usually do. I wanted to take a route less traveled. I knew for sure I wanted to stop in St. Augustine on the way down and the Cincinnati Zoo on the way home. Everything else would be left to chance and we meandered our way through West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, stopping at every “scenic overlook” we found. Towards the end of the first day, I realized we weren’t far from Point Pleasant, VA home of the Mothman, so naturally we detoured to check it out. THAT is my favorite part of a road trip, stopping at whatever catches your eye. The next day as we hit Florida and the temperature started climbing, so did the humidity! It didn’t take long to realize my desire to drive with the top down was not as great as my need for the AC!

We spent 2 nights in St. Augustine and did a hop on/hop off trolley tour, our favorite way to explore a new place. I would definitely go back there again some day. A few people had recommended we check out the Prohibition Kitchen and after we ate there we could definitely see why. The whole Old Town area was very cool. We watched the sunrise over the ocean from our hotel the next morning and then headed down the coast towards the Keys, making a pit stop through Palm Beach to see how the rich and famous live. WOW!

Once we got to Miami I was officially the farthest South in Florida I had been. The traffic was a nightmare but eventually we got through it and found ourselves going through the Everglades and soon, Key Largo. Our condo was in Tavenier in the Upper Keys and our resort had a pool with a bar, a small beach and marina and lots of mangroves. Something we would be very familiar with by the end of the week. We unpacked, made a quick trip to Winn Dixie and our vacation in the Keys was on!

Over the next week we alternated pool days with exploration days. We already know we aren’t going to see everything a destination has to offer and we don’t even want to try. I’ll generally pick out a few places ahead of time I’d like to visit and then we find things once we are there. We spent three of our seven days there doing nothing more than lounging in the pool, enjoying tropical drinks, playing cards and finding new places for dinner.

The other days we went off exploring. We saw the Turtle Hospital (where we, and a couple from Wisconsin, bailed on a slow moving tour because we were melting into pools of sweat. Move it along already people, geez!), Theater of the Sea, Bahia Honda State Park, and spent an entire day in Key West. THAT day was the hottest, most humid day of the week. Even the locals said it was bad. We had to keep going back to the car for AC breaks. While we were there we did another trolley tour, a nighttime ghost tour, ate at the original Sloppy Joes, and of course, saw the sunset ceremony. That was the best part of the day. Hundreds of people watching the sun slip beneath the horizon and then breaking out into applause. There were fun street performers, local artists and even a marriage proposal.

One of the things I was prepared for but took my husband by surprise was the fact that there aren’t many sandy beaches in the Keys. This isn’t a place where you sit under a palm tree, drinking fruity drinks from a nearby tiki hut on a sandy beach that stretches for miles. You’ll find that in the Bahamas or Virgin Islands. Th e Florida Keys are made up of coral, rocks and shells…so soft sand is hard to come by. There are a few places that have created sandy beaches but from what we were told, they require a lot of time and money to maintain so most places just leave it as is. People go to the Keys for fishing, scuba diving, boating and snorkeling. If you want to take long walks along a white sandy beach, you need to stick to the mainland. Even the touted “best beaches” we visited surprised us. They were gorgeous from a distance but not what we are used to. We are so spoiled with our Great Lakes beaches, especially here in Oscoda.

By the end of the week, we were ready to hit the road. Florida is a fun place to visit but we were anxious to head back home. There is no prettier place to be in the fall than Michigan! On the way back we stopped in Cincinnati for two nights so that I could go see the baby hippo, Fritz, at the Cincinnati Zoo. He was absolutely adorable and the zoo is a really nice one. In fact, I’m planning a return trip later this year. I can’t even remember the last time Chad and I spent an entire day at a zoo on our own. It was a gorgeous sunny, 70 degree fall day and we drove away with the windows down, breathing in the fresh air.

So that was our 2022 vacation. Those of you reading this that have been to the Keys probably have lots of gorgeous photos and stories you could share as well. Feel free to share them in the comments. If this is on your future bucket list, I hope this post was helpful.

Gram & Gramps

There’s nothing like being a grandparent!

Our grandson turned three a few weeks ago. THREE! Time flies even faster now than it did when our kids were little! We headed over to the other side of the state to celebrate with balloons, cake and gifts…though really our grandson was more interested in playing with the balloons than any of the gifts he opened. He was born in March 2020, and incredibly difficult time for socialization as we were only a couple of weeks into what turned out to be a global pandemic. But despite the four hour distance between our homes and the need for precautions, we still manage to see each other every 6-8 weeks. It’s not ideal, but our daughter and son in law are very happy in their town, as are we, so this is just the way it is. I remind myself that plenty of people have to take a plane to visit family, so I try to be grateful we see each other as often as we do. And we fully utilize our technology options. We speak almost every day through text, messenger or video call. We’ve been an active part of his life since day one and he has been spending occasional weekends with us since he was five months old. We look forward to those weekends so much and I know our daughter and son in law enjoy having some time to themselves too!

We also have a six year old granddaughter. She first came into our life about 3.5 years ago when her dad started dating our oldest daughter, Katie. Anyone that has met her can tell you that her smile is infectious and you can’t help but fall in love with her when you meet her. She “officially” became part of our family last fall when Katie and Michael got married, more on that in a future post. They live here in Oscoda but have shared custody so our visits aren’t as frequent as I would like with her either. I’m hoping when she is older we can do some video calls with her between visits.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of spending time in the summers with my grandparents. They would take me blueberry picking and deer spotting. I’d help my grandpa in his garden and he taught me to play solitaire. My grandma would paint my nails, teach me how to play the organ and we’d watch her “stories”. Sometimes we’d even go up to their cabin up north and occasionally my cousins would be there too. That’s when the real fun happened! My husband also has a lot of great memories with his Grandpa, whom he called Gramps. In fact, that is what inspired us to tell the kids we’d like to go by “Gram and Gramps”.

One of the things I told our kids before they even had kids of their own, was that I hoped to have them stay with us for two weeks every summer so I could give my grandkids the same kind of memories I have, except maybe the organ-which I can no longer play! My idea was to bring ALL of the grandkids together so that they could have that time with us and their cousins, and we could make those special summer memories with them. Luckily my kids were all on board with this plan so I didn’t have to resort to begging! I have visions of exploring the AuSable River overlooks, days at the beach, mini golf, fishing, hiking in the Huron National Forest, picnics by the lake, etc. We are starting this summer and I can’t wait, though many of those visions will have to wait a few years! We may switch to two weeks at a time when they are older, but for now we are separating the weeks to one at the beginning and one at the end of the summer. “Gram” & “Gramps” may be younger grandparents, but we are exhausted at the end of a long weekend with a toddler, let alone two weeks in a row!

I love my kids with all my heart and am thankful for them every day, though there were some questionable teenage days, but it’s true what they say. The best part of being a parent is becoming a grandparent!

Marine City Road Trip

There are so many great places still to explore in our state!

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my state. I am a born and raised Michigan girl through and through! Sure, I enjoy visiting other states and tropical locations from time to time, but I am also still discovering parts of our own state I hadn’t been to before. So a couple times a year I like to grab my husband, Chad, or some friends and go on weekend a road trip!

Last summer, I was planning a weekend getaway with two couples from about 3 hours downstate of us. Often times they come up this way, because let’s face it-Northern Michigan is awesome, but this time to keep things fair, I was looking for someplace more in the middle. Typically we meet up in Frankenmuth, but I really wanted someplace new for this weekend. After a couple hours of research I came up with Marine City, located south of Port Huron on the St. Clair River. While it was actually a 3.5 hour drive from our part of the state, it seemed like it would be worth it.

We set off on a Friday morning in the Bronco, top down, and music blasting with classic rock songs we couldn’t help but sing along to. We took the scenic route which led us through the backroads and farm country of the Thumb area. We couldn’t have asked for better Michigan summer weather, mid-upper 70s and sunny.

We arrived at check in time. Another thing people that know me understand is that I will leave my house at 2am if that is what it takes to arrive AT check in time. I am getting my money’s worth, darn it! I definitely recommend The Inn on Water Street. The room was large and had a nice balcony overlooking the park across the street and the river beyond. We sat on the balcony, enjoying the warm breeze, and watching the freighters go by until the other couples got there. One of the things I really loved about the location of our hotel is that it is on the main strip in town, so you don’t have to take your car anywhere if you don’t want to. There are plenty of cool shops, restaurants and waterfront parks in walking distance. My favorites were Marine City Fish Company for dinner and Gord’s Bar that features a new rooftop bar for after dinner drinks. For shopping I’d suggest not missing The Mariner or MC Marketplace, both are on the main strip.

When we weren’t exploring town with our friends, my husband and I spent most of our time sitting in the shade by the water just enjoying being outside and watching the activity on the river. After a fun two days with our friends, Chad and I decided to take the long way home and take the coast the whole way. I had a couple more lighthouses to cross off my list! It ended up taking about 7 hours with stops and photo opps. We enjoyed a beautiful drive through Port Huron, Port Sanilac, Port Austin, Caseville, etc before finishing our fun weekend with a waterfront dinner at the Real Seafood Company in Bay City.

I haven’t planned our home state getaway yet for this summer so if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

The Mighty Au Sable River

These are a few of my favorite things…

This beautiful, 138 mile long river begins near Grayling and ends right here in Oscoda. There are beautiful trails to hike, overlooks to enjoy and paddling trips to take. Proximity to this river is one of the primary reasons why bought our home here. There is an annual canoe race on the river the last weekend of July and it’s something you need to witness to appreciate. The Mill Street bridge near Finish Line Park in downtown Oscoda closes to traffic and serves as the end point for the race. There is a live radio broadcast, medical tents for racers that may need a massage or medical attention, bleacher for bystanders, various vendors and sometimes a party at the Au Sable Inn, which is located next to the bridge.

The River Road Scenic Byway follows 22 miles of the river, from M-65 to downtown Oscoda, and is home to many scenic overlooks, ponds, boat launches, fishing holes and picnic areas. You’ll also find the Highbanks Trail here (which is 7-8 miles long depending on which map you use). Most of the trail is conveniently laid out in 2 mile sections between overlooks, which makes it very easy for even new hikers. I’ve hiked it in all four seasons and I will share that my least favorite time of year is summer. The gnats and flies can get pretty bad and the trees block the nice breeze you need on those hot, humid days. It is gorgeous in the winter but you will want your snowshoes or boots with clamps. The trail is well marked but in heavy snow it can be tricky to find the path, especially if no one before you has broken the trail!

One of my favorite Au Sable River activities is kayaking. I was able to go four times last year. There are several canoe rental shops along the river. My favorite is Oscoda Canoe Rental which is the closest one to my house. It’s just a couple miles from downtown Oscoda and they offer several different types of trips. You can opt for a single or double canoe or kayak and they offer tubing trips as well. They have different distance options depending on how long you want to be out on the water. They’ll drop you off with the equipment and you just make your way back down the river to their shop. The town of Glennie is further away for us, but offers beautiful trips on different sections of the river. I plan on doing at least one river trip up that way this summer!

The scenic overlooks along River Road hold a special place in my heart. The Foote Pond overlook is a favorite spot for watching a sunset or stargazing. Lumberman’s Monument is the biggest overlook with a gift shop, bathrooms, planned seasonal activities, interactive displays and nearly 300 steps that lead down to a replica of a floating store that visited lumber camps. Iargo Springs has a big platform overlooking the river, which is great for birdwatching. Optionally, you can go down the nearly 300 steps to view the springs, considered to have healing powers by Native Americans, and explore the paths that lead to more great bird viewing opportunities.

There are five, one hundred year old hydroelectric dams along the river that are owned by Consumers Energy. They also own about 12,000 acres of dedicated recreational property along the river that is used by the public, including two very popular campgrounds. Those dams formed ponds which are used by thousands of people every year. The leases on the dams start expiring in 2034 and CE is considering not renewing those leases. There have been a series of public meetings and questionnaires over the last several months looking for public feedback. The vast majority of people I’ve talked to do not want to see the dams removed. It would completely alter the flow, recreational use, and property values for those that own property on the river.

I am hoping that the dams remain and the river I have come to know and love so much since moving here doesn’t change. It would be devastating for the businesses and communities that depend on the tourism money that our summer visitors bring. I have attended the meetings, filled out the questionnaires and signed the petitions but the rest is out of my hands. All I can do now is wait and see what happens. Nothing much should change for at least the next ten years and I plan to fully enjoy everything the river has to offer while I can!

Loud Dam/Five Channels
Sunset at Foote Pond overlook
An eagle at Iargo Springs
This is one of the eastern most overlooks and is a favorite of fly fishermen
Iargo Springs
Lumberman’s Monument
Highbanks Trail
Highbanks Trail

Women’s Retreats

Taking time for reflection, new experiences and making connections.

I went on my first ever Women’s Self Care Retreat in May of 2021. I wasn’t sure what to expect. “Meditation, yoga on the beach, chanting, journaling, vision boards, etc.” It sounded way out of my comfort zone so naturally, I convinced a friend to come with me and share in the experience! We shared a cute little cabin overlooking Lake Huron that had 2 small bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining and bathroom.

The retreat started with a welcome circle. There was an altar in the center and we had been instructed ahead of time to bring a little something personal to put there. It was at that moment that I wondered (for the first time) what the hell I had gotten myself into! It was very awkward to sit there, surrounded by strangers and my friend who was also probably wondering what the hell I had gotten her into! I took a deep breath and reminded myself that the reason I was doing this was to open up my mind to new experiences and step out of my comfort zone. I looked around the circle and realized that I probably wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what to expect. That made me feel more relaxed and I felt myself opening up. In fact, at one of our workshops I felt myself opening up way more than I had anticipated. I found myself crying while talking about my mom, twice! There were still awkward moments, have you ever chanted around a bonfire for what felt like hours with 8 mostly strangers? It felt very weird at first but I didn’t run back to my cabin. I stayed and tried it. That weekend we shared meals, trusted each other with our deepest feelings, made vision boards and did sunrise meditation. By the time I left on Sunday, I felt more in touch with myself that I had in a long time. Not the wife or the mother side of me, but just me. We forget as we travel through life that it is a solo journey. While we dearly love our family and friends, in the end we need to have that connection with ourselves too. I also felt a sisterhood with these women. With ALL women. It was empowering.

I knew I wanted to go back the next year and I had a friend who had been going through a lot of things and thought she could use a weekend away. A weekend to connect with herself and hopefully experience the same things I had. She said yes right away and we booked our cabin, my favorite one overlooking the lake. Some of the workshops were different this year. We still did yoga and chanting (which didn’t feel quite as weird this time), but we also did a workshop with sculpting clay, a session talking about our spirituality background and I even tried a reflexology session that turned out to be amazing. By opening myself up, I find myself more accepting of other points of view and new possibilities. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us that weekend. At one point during a circle time, we were all sitting under two pop up tents in the cold rain, huddled under blankets, periodically pushing on the top of the tent to knock off the pooling water. I remember watching the prayer flags we had made getting battered by the wind, water dripping off of them, yet they hung in there. Their words and meaning didn’t fade just because they faced adversity. The words representing what we hoped to achieve that weekend were still clear; balance, harmony, connection, peace. It was at that moment I realized how easily your thoughts can drift when you spend a weekend doing self reflection and everyone in the circle was waiting for my response to the question that had been asked! Rain and wandering thoughts aside, it was a great weekend. That was a very special group of women and I still keep in touch with many of them today.

The next retreat is coming up in just a few months and I am already looking forward to it. This year’s focus is the Full Moon and Lake Huron. We’ll be using crystals and stones, making drums and jumping in the lake during a full moon ceremony. None of that is familiar to me and that’s ok. It’s so easy to fall back into our comfortable routines and what feels familiar. I look forward to this annual reminder that it’s powerful to experience new things, especially things are a little uncomfortable. I’m excited to relax, let go, and hopefully see some of my retreat friends as well.

Better Late than Never?

9 months is a perfectly acceptable length of time between posts, right? Sigh. So many times I have wanted to start writing but then something else comes up and before I know it, another month has gone by. When my annual renewal for this site came up last December, I questioned the wisdom of keeping it. Why continue to pay for something that I don’t seem to have the time to commit to? Did I need the added pressure?

In the end though, I had to ask myself WHY I started this in the first place. When I was a kid, I was an avid diary writer. I loved taking the time to sit at my desk or lay on my bed and just write down whatever was in my mind at that moment. What I wouldn’t give to be able to read them now as an adult! I wanted to recreate that with this blog. Have a record of how I was feeling and what was going on in my life. Something I could share with friends and family. Social media is nice, but there is just something about a journal/diary/blog that just FEELS good.

So I decided to renew for another year and here we are. I am vowing to do better with keeping this up. It really IS important to me. There have been a lot of things that have happened since my last post that I would love to write about. It may take me awhile to catch up, but I do love a challenge. I hope you’ll hang in there with me.

Three Months In

I can’t believe it’s only been three months (nearly) since we moved into this house! I had to do the math twice because it seems like it’s been so much longer. But then I’ve had a pretty full 2022 so far.

January we spent packing, doing projects at the new house, and then moving.

February we had a Superbowl party two weeks after we moved in, stayed busy at work with Perchville USA (a very popular local winter festival), had an ice storm that took out our power for almost 24 hours (brrr), and visited our daughter and her family on the other side of the state in Holland. We also discovered we had some type of critter living in our living room wall.

March included a trip to Vegas with some girlfriends, going back to Holland to celebrate our grandson’s second birthday, emptying out our storage unit, hosting my dad for a week long visit, and oh yeah…we bought a real estate business! Had someone come out to help us with the critter situation.

In April we watched the annual Klondike Canoe race from our backyard, went downstate overnight to see our theater friends and watch their performance of The Producers, went to Bay City for furniture shopping, had the rest of the interior painting done in the house (which meant 5 days of chaos), were increasingly busy with Rotary club events and meetings, had an Easter egg hunt in the front yard with our granddaughter, AND spotted a raccoon on our squirrel feeder, a wild turkey in our yard, ducks playing in the creek and the fattest robin I’ve even seen repeatedly try to break into our house. After three visits, determined the uninvited houseguest was a chipmunk and hopefully remedied the situation.

Coming up in the next month we have basic yard clean up and a couple small outdoor projects but then it’s time to slow down and enjoy the next six months! That is the time of year where we stick as close to home as possible and enjoy it while we can. Afternoons on the beach, having friends come visit, bonfires and evenings in the backyard, summer concert series, Bikini’s beach bar, fishing, watching the sunset along the Au Sable River, country drives with the top down and music playing. It won’t be long now!

March Blahs

November and March are my least favorite months. I consider them both transitional weather months but since November at least starts with some foliage AND has Thanksgiving, it has a small advantage and thus, gives it a slight edge over March.

March feels like the longest month of the year, and not in a good way. Sure it’s one of our “31 day” months, but it feels like it drags on forever! Aside from the day when we wear green and a shamrock necklace, there isn’t much to celebrate here. Some reasons why March ranks #12 on my list:

1- THE WEATHER: One day we get 4 inches of snow and then the next it’s 50 degrees. We Michiganders literally have 3 seasons worth of outerwear and shoes ready to go at all times. Boots & gloves one day, spring jacket the very next. It’s not safe to pack away your winter stuff yet, but sometimes you need to break out the spring stuff instead. All of that leads to extra crowded mudrooms, backseats and garages.

2- OUR YARDS: When the snow melts the yard becomes a swampy, brown/green mess full of crap (literally) from last fall/winter. Even if you don’t own a pet, somehow you still have it in your yard! It’s too wet to rake or try to do much cleaning and the ground is still too hard to absorb the standing water. And just when the water finally dries, we get more snow! We will repeat the cycle of snow/melt/mud for weeks yet.

3- DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME: Sure we gain an hour of daylight at night and I am grateful for it. It takes weeks for me to adjust to it. I find myself oversleeping because it’s still dark in the morning and making dinner later in the evening. It doesn’t “feel” like time to make dinner even if it is 7:00!

4- POTHOLES: This is the worst time of year for these tire popping, crash causing, weaving-like-your-drunk nuisances. The constant frozen-thaw conditions plays havoc on our roads and try as they might, the road crews literally can’t keep up. A loose pile of asphalt piled in a pothole is not an uncommon sight, nor is the sound of it hitting the underside of your car. Or is it salt? It’s probably both!

April will be here soon and while the beginning of it may not look much different than March, it brings the promise of actual spring. By the middle of the month we will be opening our windows here and there to let in a fresh breeze, start seeing flowers pop up and hear birds singing. We can start cleaning our yards and putting out patio furniture. Maybe, just maybe we’ll even get a car wash that lasts for more than a day!

We just have to make it through the rest of this month first!