Monthly Archives: July 2011

Because Life Should Be Lived, Not Merely Observed

Ben, talking on the phone, blocks Ben from reading. Anyone know why Holland has a big bronze statue of Franklin?

I’m told thunderstorms out here on the lake are a Thing, that we’re supposed to drop everything and go watch as they roll in across the lake, lighting striking, thunder shaking the house. When tonight’s storm began, I asked if we were under cannon fire, and if there was artillery we ought to prepare in response. The house shook, the sky lit up like daylight, and all activity ground to a halt so we could stand on the porch and watch the rain pour down.

Since when do I just stand and watch?

Ben and I went running headfirst into the rain, racing across the beach, falling in the sand and getting back up again, until I realized we were so far from cover I was certain we’d get hit by lightning. Granted, we were both two glasses of sangria into the evening, but still, I don’t mess around when it comes to electricity. So we returned to the sidewalk, nearer the house and just standing there, experiencing the rain. Open your mouth and drink it in: the sky is falling and the moment is here. No thoughts, just feel. Perfect temperature for it – not too cold. Because if you’re going to watch the storm, shouldn’t you breathe it too?

It’s been a relaxing couple of days. Yesterday, we stopped in at some winery tasting rooms in downtown Saugatuck, where we walked out with three bottles from two wineries. Finally, we found a decent beach hat for me (it’s been a hell of a search), then headed back to the cottage to wait for Chappell and Rosalind to arrive. Ben and I tried to take the canoe out on the lake, but the water was so choppy, we spent most of the time fighting the waves. We got to see the stars, including a shooting star, and we had a night so cloudless you could see the Milky Way.

Today began with heavy rains and a damp trip to the Farmer’s Market in Holland. Their peach season is a month behind ours, so I’m back to first week peaches, but at least there are peaches. Which went into tonight’s sangria, along with a past-its-prime bottle of white from Deep Creek (which has happened twice to us, so I think no more wine from them), and the cheapest bottle of local cherry wine. Three of us drinking and we kicked the pitcher. No joke.

Before dinner, Ben and I headed back to Saugatuck for a theoretically outdoor concert of Zydeco music. It turned out to be moved inside due to rain, and was fabulous, especially when the entire dance floor was taken hostage by three to five year old girls. Adorable. We wandered a bit, getting a feel for the town, then headed back for dinner, since this small town apparently has one menu for all thirty restaurants, and than menu includes a lot of dairy. So instead we made fried rice, which was wonderful. And then the aforementioned sangria, which meant the rice didn’t need to be half so good. Especially since we couldn’t fine wine glasses and drank our sangria in ice cream bowls. Which held a lot of sangria. Which might explain the run through the rain (but I still stand by the decision).

Life is not a dress rehearsal, and clothing launders just fine. Sometimes what a day needs is a splashy wake up call.

I thought we’d been driving forever, but that was only Pennsylvania

Somewhere in Ohio, on an endless drive.

Ben and I are on the road to Michigan right now. I’m digging the touchpad (for simplicity, we’ll call her Topaz from here on) since I can easily write this while Ben drives. Perhaps “easily” is a bit disingenuous — I make a lot of typos.

We’re currently on Shift 3, somewhere in Ohio. Ben wants me to note that he thinks we just merged in front of Rainn Wilson, who did not want to let us in. I hope that means something to you, beloved reader, because I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Ben took Maryland, then we switched just before the PA turnpike. Not ten minutes into my shift, it started raining. And raining. Oh how it rained. I missed you too, Pennsey. You didn’t have to go to all that trouble to show how you felt. I wasn’t going to move back anyways. Especially not with the way truckers drive there. Not once, but THREE TIMES I had to slow down because I was hydroplaning at the speed limit, only to have a large truck crowd to less than a car length behind me and flash his headlights for me to move over, usually timing it so that there was another truck in the other lane. Oh how I loathe driving in PA.

Somewhere east of Pittsburgh, we stopped at a rest stop for lunch and switched drivers. Ben pulled back onto the turnpike and the sun broke through the clouds. By the time we hit Ohio, it was nothing but blue sky and cottonball clouds. Figures, right?

. . .

Ellipses indicate passage of time, right? That ellipsis indicates roughly twelve hours and three BILLION miles. Ok, slight exaggeration. Pittsburgh to Michigan, which sure feels like three billion.

After Pittsburgh came Ohio. We stopped in a rest stop outside Cleveland, which was lovely (the rest stop, that is. I can’t vouch for Cleveland, having not left the turnpike). A short walk and a chat with a gentleman headed for Minnesota, and we were back on the road. A hundred miles, then Toledo, then another rest stop not nearly as clean as the previous, then the Indiana state line. Our EZpass gave us quite the scare when it decided to stop working mid tollbooth. Fortunately, an employee came over to rescue us, and we decided to go for cash on our final turnpike stretch.

Indiana was pretty uneventful — mostly full of corn. We got to see at least seven types of irrigation machine in action, from orderly misters to “Hey, Pa, I done shot this rusty pipe with buckshot and now it sprays water!” (Was that insensitive? I’m sorry, it was a long day and I’m a little out of my element. I’m sorry if I offend.)

Michigan took us off the turnpikes and onto country “highways” – two lane affairs running through bitty towns. We switched drivers at a gas station, where I got hit on by an eight year old. That would have been disturbing enough, but then I realized, not only am I old enough to be his mother, it wouldn’t even have been scandalous. Young, yes, but not scandalously so.

Megan hit a Pixie while driving through Michigan

We stopped for dinner at Bell’s brewery, had fabulous brats and split an Oarsman, which went down way too easily. In addition to all the bugs we splatted on the windshield, I apparently also did in a pixie (I’ll try to snap a pic tomorrow in daylight). We passed a church about the size of Columbia Mall, took the most circuitous route to the cottage, and then finally arrived around 10:30. I’ve been told the property is lovely, with a great view over the lake. From what I can see, the house is surrounded by several trees and a very thick blanket of dark. We’ll see tomorrow about those lovely views.

It’s been a long day and Ben is already asleep, having lay down all of thirty seconds ago, so I’m going to wrap this up. My plan is to journal the whole week. We’ll see how well that holds up…

If the future’s so great, how come nobody ever comes back to tell us?

This was one of the lovely errors I ended up with on the Pre. I... don't know how that happened, or if I could replicate it if I tried.

I have been having… issues with technology lately. Well, to be honest, I’ve been having issues with my phone. My lovely, wonderful, two year old Palm Pre, which I absolutely adore. Honestly, I would have to love the phone to put up with all the crap it’s been giving me lately. I will always argue that WebOS is the number one mobile operating system. I will also never disagree if anyone wants to point out that Palm makes terrible hardware. This is why so many of us were excited about HP buying Palm, since HP actually knows how to make hardware and were purchasing our beloved software.

But the cell phone networks have us in a corner. Not all networks support all phones, and to purchase a phone, you get stuck in a two-year contract with a one-year phone. My contract is up next March, but my phone started dying this March. (Yes, I know I referred to it as a two-year-old phone; it was not a brand new model when I got mine.) In March, I took it in to the Sprint store, where they gave me a whole new replacement phone. Silly me, I thought that meant I should be good for another year.

Fast forward. Last week, I finally got fed up with the ever-dwindling battery life when I woke up to find it dead on the charger. I took it in, and they replaced the battery free of charge. Hooray! Now I’m back to… a four hour battery life? Also, now every time it runs itself dead (once or twice a day, depending on how many phone calls I receive), I have to pull and replace the battery before I can plug it in to charge.

Cell phone networks being the wonder that they are, Sprint is willing to offer me a $75 discount on a new phone if I sign a two-year contract. That works out to $3.13 a month for the privilege of not being able to upgrade when I next want to, to being trapped on a network that has announced they will not be getting the next phone I want, to being held hostage so that the company can be guaranteed of one more tiny phone bill a month (and tiny really is the word; I pay a pretty small amount for one of the big networks). So that paltry $75 doesn’t really seem worth it, especially when you consider that a new phone with similar capabilities to what I have will run me about $450. Right.

Ben and I have been debating for weeks as to what to do with my phone situation. We just upgraded him to a new phone last month, so he now understands how a smartphone can completely change the way you interact with technology. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I hate feeling hamstrung by giant corporations.

If this is the future, well, sometimes the future sort of sucks.