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!

A Smart House

For the last three years we lived in a third floor, secured building and before that, a three story townhouse with adjoining homes. Our new neighborhood is a fine neighborhood don’t get me wrong, but there is something a bit unsettling about having your bedroom windows on ground level again after all that time. I suggested investing in cameras facing the front and back yard that will allow me to be alerted and see the video when someone approaches the house. It would come in handy for deliveries, when we are out of town, etc. They are pretty common place these days.

That conversation led to inviting Alexa into our house. I had some misgivings because I hate the idea of “someone” listening in at all times. It already happens with my phone and Google. Why would I want or need an Alexa device? I’m capable of turning my own lights on and off, etc. My husband loved the idea and started adding things to his Amazon cart so I shrugged and let him run with it.

We now have a smart thermostat which I have to admit, IS a cool feature. It lets us set a schedule so we aren’t heating the house as much when we aren’t there. I can use my app to turn it down during the day and then turn it back up as I leave work so that when I get home in twenty minutes it is nice and toasty. Although I have YET to actually remember to do that! Luckily it doesn’t take that long to warm up the house.

The thermostat made sense to be. Getting smart bulbs and plugs did not seem necessary. How lazy has our society become that we can’t turn on and off a lamp? Fast forward a month and I haven’t touched a lamp switch in my living room since the day we put the bulbs in! First of all, they are dimmable. How cool is THAT? The lamps themselves are just standard lamps but now they can magically be dimmed. I can say “Alexa, lights at 50%” and the room darkens for tv viewing. Need more light? “Alexa, lights at 100%” and instantly both lamps adjust. We have a lamp in the upstairs loft on the same network so I don’t have to go up and down the stairs just to avoid having it be a dark void up there. It’s also nice to use the app and have the lights on when we pull in the driveway at night. Who likes to come home to a dark house?!

She has some pretty cool features including a “guard” feature which will alert us to the sound of a smoke alarm or breaking glass, she can add items to our Amazon cart and remind us that it’s time to order a reoccurring item, and will play any genre of music upon request (something I use frequently). My favorite feature though are the routines. I can say “Alexa, goodnight” and she will turn off the lamps and lower the thermostat. My husband has his own “Good Morning” routine. He also likes to ask her about the daily forecast, top news stories, and occasionally a good “dad” joke.

I tend to say “please” and “thank you” when asking her to do things. It just feels like the right thing to do. She will usually say “you’re welcome” and has even sang it to me before. She’s told me to have a nice day or she hopes I had a good weekend. She even pronounces my name correctly. It’s like having a very polite roommate around.

I may have had my doubts in the beginning but now I can’t imagine living without her. I suspect we will be adding more smart items over time. I know there is a way to connect her to our Roku and I will probably add more lamps as well. I’m holding out hope that one day I’ll be able to have her start dinner for me!

Settling In

It’s been just over two weeks since we moved into our new house and it already feels like home to me. The move went smoothly, no catastrophes or casualties! The movers did a good job and were unloaded by noon that Saturday. All three kids were here after that (plus two significant others) and by 6pm we had the kitchen and bathrooms unpacked, the furniture in place and electronics set up. Later than night with sleepy eyes and a grateful heart, I watched the kids tease each other and laugh as they played video games and told stories from their childhood. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our adult kids enjoy each other’s company. Our oldest lives less than 5 minutes away and the other two stayed the night before heading out in the morning to their respective homes. As I said goodnight to them and watched them head to bed, I knew in my heart that we had made a good decision with this house. I think having them all here that first night really made it feel like a family home. I want our kids and their families to feel comfortable when they visit and for us to make plenty of special memories with them here.

Chad and I took the next few days off work to finish unpacking and working on projects. By the time we went back to work, we had everything unpacked, organized and nearly everything crossed off the “to do” list I had made before we moved. It was a good feeling to be able to come home after work and just enjoy our home. Naturally we just started a new “to do” list but at least we made it through the first one!

I’m settling into my new routine as well, as mentioned in my previous post. In bed by midnight, 20-30 minutes every morning for yoga/meditation, a weekly group exercise class of some type. I haven’t been on a good walk in the last two weeks, my walking buddy has been laid up and it’s been bitterly cold. But this week I’m going even if I’m on my own! I’ve also been setting aside time each week to reach out to people and for reading/journaling/blogging. It may sound more complicated to set time aside and keep track of it for these things, but it actually makes it much simpler. I find I don’t waste as much time on social media or my phone either if I have a plan!

Living here as been an adjustment for sure. We haven’t lived in a single family house in almost eight years. We spent five years in a three story townhouse and then another almost three years in a third floor apartment. Having ground floor windows, trees, a driveway and so much space has been great. Grocery shopping is so much easier without dealing with stairs or an elevator! I look out our windows and see trees, squirrels and the creek instead of parking lots and buildings. We even have our own full size mailbox and garbage pick up again.

We had our first weekend guests and a party during Superbowl weekend and everything went smoothly. The kitchen layout works well for get togethers and we had enough seating and plenty of parking. The house passed the test! Our next party probably won’t be until spring when we have the backyard set up. I can’t wait to fire up the grill, relax in my lounge chair with a drink in my hand as I watch the action on the water. I saw my first kayaker the other day!

It will take awhile to fully get used to the changes (watch for a blog about our new Alexa!), but so far so good. Sure we’ve had to shovel snow and now have a 20 minute commute to work. But it’s a small price to pay for having a home of our own.

Making time for self care

As I sit here surrounded by moving boxes and to do lists, I realize that moving into a new house is a perfect time to establish new routines.  New space, fresh start! I am someone that loves structure, which makes me question how I let myself fall out of an established routine in the first place.  Maybe it was the freedom of the empty nest life?  When we moved here, I wasn’t working anymore and suddenly could do pretty much what I wanted, when I wanted.  It was fun for a couple of years. Who wouldn’t love having 7 bars and restaurants in walking distance, especially on warm summer nights when a band is playing?!  We were like newlyweds all over again, but this time with money! I didn’t have an alarm clock to wake up to or set schedule to keep. I was staying up way too late and sleeping in until I felt like getting up.  I had been home with my babies in my early 20’s so it wasn’t until my 40’s that I even visited bars and stay out late on a regular basis!  It felt like a permanent vacation, especially when my friends came to visit.  It was a great life and I was living it to the fullest.

But as tends to happen, I feel like that phase has run its course. There are a few things that I think contributed to this.

A global pandemic that made it more appealing to spend time at home and with small groups. After two years of living with this virus I pay a lot more attention to the number of people in the crowd and who I am going to be spending time with afterwards. My cozy pajamas, comfortable couch and thousands of streaming options can a be pretty tempting alternative!

It’s been nearly six years since our first visit here and we are still discovering new places in the area. New trails to hike, more local businesses to support, fun events we haven’t been to. This is a beautiful place to live and there are so many great things to do! We love just taking drives with no idea where we will end up.

Working a part time job which does require getting out of bed before 10am. It isn’t nearly as much fun staying out until 1am when you have to work the next morning!

These days our weekly trivia night with local friends is enough excitement for me most of the time. I am more likely to suggest we stay home and spend the evening watching British baking shows and House Hunters International than go out drinking and dancing. Which isn’t to say we don’t enjoy a good karaoke night or getting giggly with our friends now and then, we just don’t need it on a weekly basis anymore. I promise I’m not going to start complaining about the music being too loud or “kids these days”! I’m not getting too old to stay out late, but rather less inclined to feel the need to, if that makes sense.

I feel like I’ve gotten a bit off topic but the point I was trying to make was, I’ve been craving more structure in my routine. Once we move (two more weeks), I plan to make some changes. I’d like to get myself used to going to sleep before midnight and waking up by 7:30 without an alarm clock. This is the sunrise side after all and I would like to see it more often! I also want to create a self-care checklist to incorporate into my regular routine that I can check off each day.  I LOVE crossing things off a list, it’s just so satisfying!  This is what I am currently thinking:

– 20 minutes each morning for stretching/meditation

-Two writing sessions a week to work on my blog/journaling

-A weekly hike with my walking buddy

-A weekly group exercise activity (yoga, cardio drumming, line dancing, group workout, etc.)

-Dedicated time each week to work on my correspondence (sounds old fashioned I know, but how many times do we THINK about reaching out to someone but don’t actually do it)

-10 minutes before bedtime for skin care.  I use moisturizer every day but am hit and miss with other products. I need to make myself a priority and take the time to take care of myself! I have a drawer full of Fab, Fit and Fun products that I should actually use!

In addition to all of this I’ll still be working part time, volunteering with my groups, helping to manage our household, and having fun with friends and family both at home and late nights on the town. It will be a full life. One that I want to take the time to appreciate. Preferably while meditating on my yoga mat overlooking my peaceful, new backyard. 

I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have tried a self care check list of your own and want to offer suggestions or tips please be sure to leave a comment.

A New House!

We bought a house!! We’ve worked a long time to get to this point, a journey which many friends have taken with me. To sum it up very briefly; we built a successful business and had a huge house with lots of toys and then everything crashed in 2008/2009 and it all disappeared. All. OF. IT. We had a few rough years dealing with the ramifications of all of it. But then we decided to make a plan and we stuck to it. It’s taken a lot of work but we climbed our way back up and once again became homeowners. But this time we did it smarter.

This time we bought a house well below the top end of our price range. This time we recognize that sometimes things happen beyond our control and we need to be prepared for it. Unfortunately we learned that the hard way but hopefully our adult kids can benefit from it and save themselves some heartache.

When we moved up here full time in 2019, we knew we wanted to rent for awhile and get to know that area. I was so sure of what I wanted back then. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo on the beach. I didn’t want a yard to maintain. Who wants to rake and shovel and mow? I would sacrifice privacy and space for the convenience of being on the beach and watching the sunrise from my living room. Chad would come home from work and we’d take off for a walk on the beach. It would be like a permanent vacation. We didn’t need room for big gatherings or more than one overnight guest. I was so sure this is what I wanted that I wasn’t even open to other ideas. I plugged my criteria into Zillow and and would get notifications of new listings. Whenever a condo went up for sale we would go see it so we could decide which development we wanted to live in. We looked at quite a few in the Tawases and Oscoda. I just knew when the time was right we would be going that route.

Then came the fire. Our oldest daughter and her fiancé where at our place for Easter dinner in 2021 and the call came that their rental house two miles away was on fire. It was devastating. Our family hadn’t been through anything like that and within an hour our two other adult kids were on the road to come help. One from 4 hours away and one from 2.5 hours. For the next few days we all crammed into our little 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. 6 adults, a cat and an ever growing pile of donations. And we were all so happy to be together that we didn’t mind the chaos. It felt good to just be together. And in that moment I knew that this mattered more than being on the beach. Having a home where our kids and their families could gather for good times and bad, THAT was what “home” meant.

There are very few condo complexes in our area and even fewer with three bedrooms. So I opened my search to include 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom waterfront single family homes. I didn’t want to give up on Lake Huron quite yet. I updated my criteria and my real estate broker husband and I officially started house hunting in July 2021.

It was finally happening. We were looking at houses for the first time in over a decade and I was so excited. We looked at some small cottages on Lake Huron. They were at the top of our price range and all needed major remodeling, some needed garages and some didn’t even have real access to the water. While I’m not afraid of a little work, I knew if we overspent on the house it would be a long time before we would be able to make changes. This would be a good time to mention that we wanted city water and sewer, a decent phone signal and we didn’t want to be right on top of US 23? Anyone who knows our area knows that can be a big challenge once you get away from town! There was also historically low inventory affecting real estate all over the country, home prices were way up and sellers were accepting offers the same day the house was listed. Bidding wars were common place. All in all, not a great year to buy a home. But I was persistent. I was tired of being a renter and wanted the security of home ownership.

At the end of July, after only a few weeks of looking we found a great house. It was small, only 1200 square feet, but it had a separate little guest house and was across the street from Lake Huron. There were a lot of cons but I was willing to overlook them for it’s access to the lake. Our offer was accepted and we thought it was pretty much a done deal. Until the appraisal, that took over a month to get back, came in significantly lower than it needed to. I wasn’t as upset as I expected to be, and that told me everything I needed to know. It wasn’t the right house for us.

We looked at a few more house but nothing felt right. We had seen EVERY house that fit our criteria and even some that didn’t. Then one day a listing popped up that caught my eye. I had seen this listing before but then it has disappeared and I assumed it had sold quickly just like so many others had been. Turns out it had been briefly listed for sale by owner and now was back on the market through an agent. It wasn’t on Lake Huron and I wasn’t sure how I felt about the location. It intrigued me though so we made an appointment to go see it the next day. The house is on a dead end street at the back of a neighborhood full of small, modest homes. I liked it the minute we drove up and as soon as we walked in the front door, I felt like I was home. Chad said he could see it in my face and knew we were going to be buying this house.

It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a loft for even more sleeping space when needed. It’s on a half acre lot backing up to a creek. I could picture my family there for Thanksgiving and cookouts. I could see evenings with friends around a bonfire in the backyard or playing cards in the three season room. What it lacked in beachfront it more than made up for with charm and character. Lake Huron is less than a mile away. It’s only five minutes to my favorite beach and even less than that to our oldest daughter’s new house. It has city water and sewer, is newly remodeled and has a huge porch. It’s a twenty minute drive to work for us and we both have the ability to work from home if need be in bad weather. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for US!

As part of our offer, we gave the sellers a month to move out after closing. We get our keys next week and hope to move in the last weekend of January.

Taking the Good with the Bad

So much has happened since my last post!

First the GOOD stuff:

Work is going really well. I only work about 20 hours a week and I can set my own schedule. I enjoy what I’m doing and hopefully making a difference. I REALLY like earning a paycheck again, even if only a part time one. My day consists of promoting our current Chamber members and talking to potential new members. I do our twice a month newsletter, help plan events, answer the phone and greet our visitors. It is REALLY nice to have some events to plan again!

Which leads me to the next good stuff. Our beach town WILL have some events this summer. We aren’t sure yet about some of the bigger events and how they may look. But our weekly street dance, community band concerts, farm market and our arts & crafts shows are all happening. I’m part of the fireworks committee and that is going well too. In the past the show was fairly short and generated a lot of grumbling in the community. So our group is working to increase funding for the show in hopes of a longer, dazzling show. It’s nice to be part of a group that is willing to give up some of their time to help make our area a better place!

I am fully vaccinated now. I’ll admit I wasn’t crazy about the idea of getting it. I would be a lot more comfortable waiting a couple of years before getting a new vaccine. But I wanted to do my part to help try to get the country back to normal. Besides, all of our kids got vaccinated so if it turns out there is a problem with them down the road, then at least we will all face it together! I had the Pfizer vaccine. The first one was no problem. The 2nd one left me with a good size knot on my arm It’s been 6 days now and it is still there. I was also a big headachy for a couple of days. The BIGGEST thing I noticed was the fatigue. I was exhausted for days. In truth, I still don’t have a lot of energy. I know this is temporary though and it will pass.

I have a few framed photographs in a new art gallery/gift shop in Oscoda. It’s a cute shop and hopefully someone will enjoy them enough to want to buy them. It is VERY intimidating to have those out there to be judged and critiqued by everyone. It was a big step, one I am hoping I don’t end up regretting!

The not so good stuff:

Our oldest daughter and her fiancé lost their house to a fire on Easter Sunday. We had just finished dinner and were playing a game when we got the news. They only live a few miles away so we got there really quickly. I can’t even describe my emotions when I was on the scene. My daughter literally crumbled to the ground crying because their newly adopted cat was inside and everyone said there is no way she had survived because she was on the second floor with the raging fire. It was agonizing. After an hour, and to everyone’s amazement, a firefighter came out of the door carrying the cat! She was cleared by the vet and a month later you would never know she was in a fire. It really was an Easter Miracle! They have since found a new rental home, though it is 20 minutes away. It’s more expensive and a longer commute, but there weren’t a lot of options. We are just glad to have them safe. Thanks to their renter’s insurance and help from our AMAZING friends, family, and community, they have clothes, furniture and all of the basics they need to set up their new home. A vast majority of their childhood memories and collections were gone and we will all continue to mourn those things that are irreplaceable.

Another thing that qualifies as “not so great” (at US at least) is that the real estate market is very tight right now. Home are snapped up the minute they hit the market, often above asking price and with no seller concessions. Forget about asking for closing costs and them to fix something wrong with an inspection! It is a terrible time to try to buy a house, yet here we are. I’m trying to find my perfect beach house in the middle of the best seller’s market in decades. Those that know me that testify that patience is not my strong suit. When I know what I want, I want it now. I’m a bit obsessed with the housing market in our county, I can tell you every waterfront listing in Iosco County and I’ve seen about half of them. I’d really like to be settled into a place of our own by the end of the year. Hopefully the right place will come along at the right time.

I guess that’s it for now. I hope all of you are well and as always, thanks for reading!