June 2004 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

May 04 | July 04

Tue. June 1: There's a u-scan at the grocery store, there's a u-mail-it machine at the post office, why not college counselor-o-matic? Well, I think these kinds of tools should make it all easier. But who the heck am I?

Wed. June 2: Valerie is celebrating her high school graduation today but as last night was Commie High's graduation, Marci and I celebrated something a little different over coffee this morning. Now that the 2004 seniors are gone, our juniors-for-another-10-days are finally eligible to obtain a parking pass for the high school parking lot! Yahoo! No more trucking down to Commie every morning trying to be totally silent so as to avoid setting off the nitroglycerin! (Click here for some other news and a partial view of my messy house ;-)

Thu. June 3: Randomness on a Thursday 'cause it's kind of a random (but busy) day:

Fri. June 4: Our theatre camp is FULL!! There is no room for any more students! I had to close it this morning. If I didn't, I knew that people would ask if there wasn't j-u-u-u-ssst a little bit more room for just o-n-nnn-e more student. Heck, people will probably ask anyway. Please don't. We cannot have any more students. We love your kids. But STAC is only so big. Please, please don't ask me. I am a mom. I will feel bad when I have to tell you no.

And just to add even more randomness: yes, it is a piccolo with a B foot! And, yes, of course I want one! :-) (I wanna new car too ;-)

Sat. June 5: Mom to College Board folks: Can you please, please, please schedule the SAT for some time other than 8 o'clock Saturday morning?

Sun. June 6: In Which many Fine, Upstanding Residents of the City of Grand Blanc are Greatly Entertained by the Spectacle of the Grumpy Growler Changing his Clothing in the Centre of a Public Thoroughfare and Opinions are Expressed By Several Amazed Onlookers That Perhaps The GG has Resided In Close Proximity to Burke for Far Too Many Years.

(Mouse, you owe seven dollars.)

Mon. June 7: Buuuuzzzzzzzzzzz! Eep! Oh, yeah, I had pita chips in the oven, had to make more for the board meeting tonight because the last ones disappeared yesterday, a mysterious occurrence given that Goose was not around. "Mom, it sure took you a long time to notice that buzzer!" "Yeah, kitchens are challenging for me these days." "Chickens?!? [giggle]" "Well, yeah, kitchens and chickens!"

[Editorial note: please remember that every time I quote a conversation with Mouse, the words are to be regarded as approximate. I'm sure she remembers exactly what was said but I usually don't :-]

Tue. June 8: Fire engines in the street! A good way to connect with the neighbors I hardly ever have time to talk to. No, we didn't call 911. I heard sirens, I thought out on Maple or somewhere. We always hear sirens. So what. Then I heard a huge engine coming down our little side street, no sirens, no lights. I've heard that sound before. I am a musician. I knew what it was. Watched it go up to Haisley, turn around and go back down to the 700 block of Carbeck and sit there. Oh, Marcia's outside, gotta go see if she knows what is going on. She doesn't, we talk about kids and poison ivy. We can't figure out what is going on down the street. Mary is outside talking to the police (yeah, they were apparently there too) and firemen, haven't talked to Mary in ages but figure I'll have to connect with her tomorrow, um, yard looks great, what happened last night? Then all the emergency guys leave, abruptly and unceremoniously without apparently doing anything. Hmm, maybe somebody's computer dialed 911? :-) :-) :-) And I put the recycling out as Mouse drives up after her Bear Hunt. Good night, except not yet to Mouse who is still up at 12:13 AM and just sharpened a pencil so I guess she's not going to bed any time soon, it is finals this week after all. The GG gets up early tomorrow to watch the transit of Venus, he wants to get on the EPA roof, will he be preceived as a security threat? With luck, he'll have no reason to change his clothes up there (hint to GG: just wear your Shakey Jake t-shirt and shorts). Hope I remember to be careful about hitting the send button tomorrow, my wild child former life of crime should stay buried! Where it belongs! If you don't already know, don't ask ;-) With the exception of the Evasion and Outsmarting of Mean Gene, the Canuckian DNA Neanderthal Incident, and something about forgetting how many bridges were crossed, it's all pretty boring anyway, nuthin' like whatever the Veteran Greenhorns must've been up to in their time >:->>

Wed. June 9: This house is a mess and a swamp and it is too mosquito-y to sleep in the back yard and I feel like we are about to have an argument that I really would rather not have so can we just this once not have it? And those are just a couple of the approximately 6-8 things I am stressed out and ticked off about today. Y'all are probably better off not knowing about the others! :-)

And who belongs to that cell phone by the iMac? "Kelly" called, whoever that is. I did not answer it.

But it's not all bad, so click here to get to a fun video of Ernie at the beach.

Thu. June 10: I am sure someone is gonna behead me over today's blog but cantankerous outspokenness has been getting me in trouble this whole crummy week (mom, don't worry!), so y'all just go ahead and sharpen your guillotine blades >:->>

I had occasion to spend some time in the twilight zone (aka Urban Outfitters) yesterday and, as usual, I got bored with the merchandise very quickly and spent the remainder of my sojourn there watching the people. Two rants:

  1. Over the years, Elizabeth and various of her friends have periodically applied for jobs there and despite the fact that they are obviously intelligent, friendly, presentable girls, they never seem to get called. I have finally figured out why! Urban Outfitters is not looking for intelligent, friendly, personable clerks. They are looking for clerks who are slow & spacey, have negligible social skills, and walk around at about 100. (Ouch! Yeah, I am ducking for cover now! :-)
  2. Yo, customers! What is with you? Most of you girls do not have the bodies to wear the clothes they sell here. And don't bleach your hair. Mouse said it best, it looks ridiculous when your hair is lighter than your skin. And yes, I am usually dressed like a bag lady with a haystack on her head. But I am not trying to impress anyone with my appearance and I certainly have more interesting things to do with my non-existent spare time than shop for clothes.

Last but not least! Will someone out there PLEASE hire my daughter this summer. She's a successful 19-year-old junior at an expensive private college and is going to Spain next year. She needs a job. She needs money. Her school gets out late (like now). Other kids already have a lot of the jobs. But give her a chance. She's an intelligent, friendly, presentable person. She's conscientious about showing up on time, is rarely ill and has no need for any kind of mental health services. Experience? She has stage managed many plays, that means she has great organizational skills and can manage people of all ages. She has run a small house-painting business. She can do anything! (AND SHE IS GONNA KILL ME WHEN SHE READS THIS! I'm sure her sister will help or at least provide a murder weapon (knitting needle, maybe?)! See ya in Argentina or someplace!)

Fri. June 11: Biting my nails!!! Half over, still biting nails. Whew, that's over!

So, life at the Carbeck Landfill the week of June 7-11.

All's well that ends well. Well, except that I've been running the kitchen fan *all* day and it *still* smells like burnt bagels in here. But I am optimistic that NEXT week WILL be a better week! :-) :-)

Sat. June 12: Pete was apparently unable to send me a nice big tree but I did get these flowers from the UP. And after this week, maybe that's all for today... and maybe not ;-)

Of course, it wasn't all: "Mommy, it's cold in here!" Say what? Cold? Hmmm. Housing in Cáceres: "Most homes in Cáceres do not have central heating. Instead there are individual heaters or braseros, in several rooms. This results in a lower indoor temperature than that to which most Americans are accustomed." Well, this should not bother a child of the Courtois/Fin A2 Clan, who do not turn on the furnace from the beginning of May until the end of September and think nothing of washing their hair in Lake Superior in the summer >:->>

Okay, one more for all my fellow rodent lovers. (No I have not been sitting at this computer all morning.)

Sun. June 13: First things first, I want this tree! Aside from that, teenagers come home and mysteries get sorted out:

Siberia, early Friday morning, September 12, 2003:

    The Commander: "I don't want this stuff, you take it."
    Garbage Woman: "Roight!"

And I put said stuff in a paper bag, took one last kayak ride on Lake Superior, then motored on down to Houghton Lake, where I met up with the GG and other friends/relatives for a weekend of kayaking and generally wild behavior.

Ann Arbor, Saturday afternoon, June 12, 2004:

    A Smartalecky Lizard: "Mom, you just familiarize yourself with the contents of this bag."
    Garbage Woman: [actually, I don't think I said anything right away]

Well, obviously, what happened was that I put the bag of junk in my trunk in Siberia. I either didn't remove it when I got back to A2 or removed it but left it in the vicinity of the front door. The next Friday, we took the lizard back to college and obviously the bag went with us and lived in her room ALL YEAR. 'course given that she didn't take out her garbage for at least a month during the winter until I bought her some decent trash bags, I guess it probably didn't much matter >:->>

Mon. June 14: This post is not for the squeamish >:->>

Hmmm, I've been using these identical purple, kinda ratty toothbrushes for a while now. I wonder if I'm the only one.... I think I'll post a little survey form on the bathroom mirror and put a pen on the sink:

Who is using which toothbrush?
    Green? response: Elizabeth
    Yellow? response: blank
    Blue? response: Mouse
    Pink? response: "Goose but she doesn't remember" -Mouse. Then, "Liar!" -Goose. Then some other back-and-forth junk between Goose and Mouse.
    Purple? response: blank
    Purple (!)? response: blank

Hmm, one person has not responded.... Um, do you *use* a toothbrush? Response: "Yes, I keep mine inside the medicine cabinet." "You didn't fill out the survey." "I don't use *any* of the toothbrushes on the survey, so I am in perfect compliance with the survey!" Roight.

I threw out the unclaimed yellow one. I threw out the pink one even if it *was* once Goose's (I thought she used one of those electric doodlies anyway). I threw out *both* ratty purple ones and treated myself to a *new* purple toothbrush. Don't y'all use it! (Now, if they would just make the old-fashioned kind with the skinny non-ergonomic handles that might actually fit in the toothbrush holder that came with my 45-year-old landfill!)

Tue. June 15: We are the Pod People!

Wed. June 16: Aaaarrrrgghhhh!!!!

  1. I know that we have more than 4 bath towels. Is someone hoarding a few somewhere? Please, give 'em up! No questions asked. I hope they are not mixed up with the Houghton Lake towels... (Yes, they are ratty. Yes, I know we need new ones. Money please?)
  2. Just *last night*, I took apart the stove burners and cleaned them. This morning, when I went to put them all back together, the doohickey that holds the burner up is missing for one of them. Where could it be? How does something like that get *lost* anyway? Anyone know anything about that? FOUND! (How the heck did I do *that*?)
  3. The infamous shoe pile seems to be migrating into the living room and taking over. 2 pairs of shoes per person *by the door* is a *very* generous allotment. Please stick to it. (And if you've been walking around in the woods or the "garden" or somewhere, *please* don't walk on the carpet. It's dirty enough!)
  4. Please, please, please, please, please!!! I will cook you *anything* (well, except liver and fluorescent orange mac & cheese and other stuff *I* don't eat). But I NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT!!!! I do not mind cooking. I just do not have any ideas! Talk to me, write me a list, email me, I don't care how you tell me but please just tell me. Otherwise, you'll find yourself eating kale chips or something!

If it's dirty, clean it! If it's clutter or trash or just in the way, pick it up, put it away, throw it out, file it, whatever. Help, please!

Thank you! -Garbage Woman

Thu. June 17: In Which Toivo Leads a Pod Parade and Underwear Skulkers are Banned from the Premises.

Fri. June 18: Webmom left her main headquarters today for a much-deserved weekend of gallivanting around the waterways of the Great White North in her green beach police boat. When she got just past the Baker Rd. Exit (approximately 6 miles out of town), the GG was rummaging around for various things of his and it was driving her crazy until she realized with a HUGE shock that she did NOT have her BRAIN with her!!!! Fortunately, headquarters was able to dispatch a quick, green lizard who brought the brain to the Zeeb Rd. McDonald's parking lot and reinstalled it into Webmom's skull.

Sat. June 19: After much ranting, raving, whining and complaining from Volcano Mama that there was no "beach" fire last night, one was made and then VMom promptly went and crashed out in the Little Princess trailer. Kayaking/hiking the South Branch Au Sable planned for today! Girls in kayaks!!

Sorry boyz but my so-called life is funnier any day of the week than EHOWA ;-)

Sun. June 20: If ya want a good-lookin' man, find a fly fisherman! So says Liz (sister-in-law, not daughter ;-) I won't say what she said about viagra because I've been warned to keep this site minor-appropriate :-)

We are having a great time here at the Luxurious Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake! Fruitloops for breakfast yesterday (thanks kids :-p), then the boyz & Randy dropped Liz and I off at Chase Bridge and we kayaked the South Branch Ausable River through the Mason Tract down to Smith Bridge. The river was high and fast, easy paddling, gorgeous weather -- cloudless sky, cool and windy, no bugs except for a few poky old lace-wing flies that I slapped. It was Liz's first time kayaking and she had a great time. Randy dropped the boyz off at the canoe campground. They hiked down to Chase Bridge and Randy read his book in various places ending up at Smith Bridge where we met him at the end of our river trip. We got the kayaks back up on the mini-beast, then drove down to Chase Bridge to meet the boyz and eat peanut butter sandwiches. Jim & Chelsea were at the cabin when we got back and Jim is buying a boat (pictures to come if this dern dial-up will let me FTP them out there). Chicken & kebabs which Chelsea put together, then beach fire & hung around with Chelsea all night.

Mon. June 21: Feeling like I have ADD today.... :-/ But:

First, thanks all you Courtois boat engineers for your patience waiting for me to get pictures of the weekend, including Jim's boat out there. You know where to click.

THANKS THANKS THANKS LIZ (daughter, not sister-in-law) FOR CLEANING MY HOUSE while we were gone. Driving the mini-beast down from HL was just a joy with a sunburned body and kayak ropes flapping at random rhythms against the roof the entire trip. I was just toadily roto (yeah, I'm ducking ;-) and NOT looking forward to returning to the garbage dump I had left on Friday. But when I walked in, I found neatness, vacuumed carpets, clean dishes and candles everywhere! It is cleaner than it has been since some time around xmas! (Hey, hire this kid, someone!)

Now, which one of the million things on the constantly morphing to-do soup in my scattered brain should I DO NEXT...

Tue. June 22: Since I don't have time today to do my originally planned blog, comments from readers and other cosmic debris:

Wed. June 23: Aren't we cute? This picture was un-earthed from an ancient recipe box. Among other relics was Elizabeth's absolute all-time favorite recipe: Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes which The Commander came up with sometime back in the dark ages before G4 came along. Every time Elizabeth makes these potatoes, I tell her to call The Commander to get the recipe because I can't find it. (When I make 'em, I just guesstimate the amounts ;-) These are not for those who are counting calories or cholesterol or anything else but they are perfect for a skinny college kid:

    8 large potatoes, pared
    1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
    1/4 c. dairy sour cream
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste

Refrigerate in casserole. Heat thoroughly. (Yeah, I know there are no real instructions, it's mashed potatoes fer chrissake, deal with it! :-)

Random follow-ups and inquiries:

Thu. June 24: We have 3 couches in this rat-hole of a house. All 3 of them are long enough for anyone in this house to sleep on without difficulty. So, if you need to be up reading at 3 AM, please move to one of the couches. I would be glad to move but I get up with the skunks at oh-dark-thirty, therefore I need to be next to my clock-radio!

Fri. June 25: Um, global warming, anyone? We could sure use some global warming around here. My outfit today: black shorts, red tank top, *polartech vest*, velcro sandals (I refuse to wear socks in June, not even argyle ones ;-)

Sat. June 26: Trenormous Coffee Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....... and various adventures with GB Fins and RegenAxes

Sun. June 27: Shoreline Dream No. 167892.35(f): Mouse and I (and maybe a couple other people) decided to take a walk on the beach just after sunset. To get to the beach, instead of walking 15-20 seconds through the woods, we had to:

  1. Take a glass elevator down 2 stories
  2. Walk/slide our way down a huge sand dune to an "interim beach" which my brain was calling the Piedmont's (go figure)
  3. Slide down another shorter dune to "our" beach

Once we finally got to the beach, it looked *sorta* normal and we started walking down the beach toward Doelle's. But suddenly, I found myself back at the beginning of all this stuff again. This time I had trouble with the elevator at first, it kept going *up* (!) I finally made it down the first big sand dune to the "interim beach" and then (thank you god) I woke up! It is not even the full moon!

Mon. June 28: Back in the day of CSC, my Spanish-Chilean friend Manuel and I used to have to "re-estart" computers with great regularity. And I *still* "re-estart" computers whenever they are in need of "re-estarting". But it wasn't until yesterday, when My Dear Uncle Harry explained some of the finer points of the Spanish language that I found out *why* I am always "re-estarting" computers.

Tue. June 29: Rant:

Sorry, thank you, that helped! :-) Mom, don't worry! :-) (Damn, I hate when I get emotional!!!)

Wed. June 30: First and most important, last week Donny sent me the above picture of Donna and I somehow failed to see the attachment until I was reviewing old email yesterday! Besides that, today will be a particularly random day and this blog entry is subject to grow and morph throughout the day as "stuff happens" (or maybe it won't):