Friday, August 28, 2009

My Feet HURT!

We went downtown today - had a fabulous time. Wandered about the Air and Space Museum (oh how I love free museums!) and ate lunch there as well. Missed the rain shower while we were inside the museum and walked home (well actually, back to the train station and then to the car) without getting wet.

Only one little problem... my shoes. Oh my! You would not believe the blisters I have now as a result. I would have been better off wearing my flip-flops which I specifically didn't wear because I don't find them practical for traipsing about town, on and off trains, and walking several blocks at a time. Instead I wore my very cute - but oh so impractical as it turns out! - Skechers. I have 4 pairs of Skechers. Two of them I've had for over a year and love. The other two pairs I bought this spring/summer, thinking that they would be the perfect summer version of my winter ones that are so comfy. Nope. Both new pairs have given me immediate blisters.

My feet hurt so bad today that I wanted to cry. And take off my shoes. Which is not a good idea when walking the streets of a major city. So I didn't. Cry or take off my shoes. Well, okay - maybe I was crying a little on the inside. But I put on a brave face for my kids and they had no idea.

I put a bandaid on my heel this evening, in hopes that it will help me sleep. The neosporin stung. It's not supposed to. Even now, it still hurts just sitting here. And my poor little baby toes... oh, it's awful! Those blisters haven't broken yet and I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll pop them. First Aid Class always told us not to pop them because it makes them more susceptible to infection. We'll see...

And in the meantime, I will be wearing only flip flops for the next week while I heal.


Ron came back. Apparently when I heard him saying that he was going to check messages in the evening when he got back to the hotel, what he actually said was that he was on his way to the far corner of the earth and that I would not get a peep out of him again until he showed up on the doorstep, whenever that might happen to be. Maybe Friday. Maybe not. [edited to add that he called me as soon as he got my messages Friday morning.]

So - my apologies for not listening. He has been instructed though, that next time he must tell me to my face before he leaves so that a bad cell phone connection won't muddle the message. Of course that won't help my distracted brain even in person but it's worth a shot!


Ryan lost another tooth at lunch today. The couple sitting next to us at the food court thought it was funny. Marta was a bit shocked initially until she realized that he had lost a tooth, not found something weird in his food.

We have unpacked the tooth that fell out somewhere along the way while on vacation this summer. It was safely stowed in a ziploc baggie in my purse. Now it is in a dish with the newest lost tooth, awaiting the tooth fairy's arrival. I hope she doesn't miss our stop!


I went to Safeway tonight. I needed to exchange our $3 winning lottery ticket to buy a (winning) $333 million dollar ticket. I also needed to stop next door at Baja Fresh to buy Ron some taquitos for a snack. So as long as I was at Safeway anyway, I figured I might as well go ahead and do my grocery shopping for the next week. I got everything I could remember from the list (I left the list at home since I wasn't planning to shop when I left!). I got into a very long line (only two cashiers working on Friday night), and waited patiently. Once my order was tallied and my payment submitted, the computer froze up. There's no way to know if my payment went through or not so I end up waiting for several minutes while the machine rebooted. The cashier moved the other customers to the next lane and I waited for the manager to come back and finish the transaction. So far it looks like the payment has posted only once but I have the manager's name written on my receipt in case I'm due for a refund caused by a double payment.

I'm not sure how lucky I am tonight, given what happened but... I bought a ticket anyway. I'll let you know if we win. :)

When I got back to the car, there was a stuffed bunny sitting on my roof. It must have fallen from a car parked there before me. So I'll post a lost and found note on Craigs' List on the off chance someone is looking for it. I couldn't just throw it back down on the ground and leave it in the parking lot and I didn't know what else to do so I brought it home with me.


I thought there was more but it's getting late and I'm tired so I guess I'll leave it at that for today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Ryan has a Peanuts daily calendar. He brings me the used pages to read when he's done. My favorite from the last batch was Snoopy's Sleepy Foot.

"My stupid foot's asleep... Feet shouldn't fall asleep... Feet should stay awake in case you have to go someplace in a hurry!"

I love Snoopy... He makes me smile.


In other news...
Ron is away on business and incommunicado. He warned me that he wouldn't have his phone with him during the day and would check messages when he got back to his room. Haven't heard a peep from him since then. Which was 36 hours ago. And in the past 36 hours I have had an unofficial job offer from Parkwood which turned out to be a mute point since I was offline while visiting Aunt Lana in SC and the job was offered to someone else (and accepted by the someone else). And I have to go downtown DC tomorrow to meet Marta and her kids and I'm not sure when would be the optimal time to leave so I need his rush hour traffic advice. As usual - when I can't talk to him I have lots to say. When he's right here next to me - nothing important to talk about. Murphy's Law I believe it's called...

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
~ H. Jackson Brown

Well then... guess I'd better stop whining and get to work!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I am feeling overwhelmed and conflicted today.

Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of junk in my house that needs to be sorted-purged-put away.

Conflicted about where to start.

Though the where-to-start problem was partially solved yesterday when Ron convinced me to move the desk from the pantry room (where it was buried under and behind a lot of junk) into the space by the kitchen. We then put the bar from that space into the pantry room. Now the pantry room is cleaner. And there is junk piled all over the TV room. And I have a nice desk near the kitchen.

I did the easiest cleaning up of this new junk pile yesterday. I also sorted the kids' artwork but ran out of pages for my kidzworxx albums and didn't get it all put away. But at least some progress was made. I ordered refill pages and think they should arrive by Wednesday.

Another item (or rather pile of items!) unearthed in this move was my completed scrapbooks. December 1999-October 2002. I had them on the coffee table yesterday but moved them to my desk last night when my friends were here for dinner. Today as I looked at the large stack of books I was feeling conflicted about the books. Why are they so big and heavy? Why do I have them? I'm going to have lots more before it's all said and done. What will I do with them all? Maybe I should stop scrapping.

Today I cleared off the shelf where I have been wanting to keep the scrapbooks so that the kids can look at them more often. I looked through the books as I put them on the shelf. I enjoyed looking at the pictures of the family. I enjoyed looking at my various layouts and styles. I'm glad I have them.

See -conflicted.

And now I am back to conflicted about what to do next. Every single little bit of this all-consuming junk is overwhelming me. It's the time involved. When I look at it, all I see is the vast amounts of time it will take to deal with it. And I feel discouraged and quite certain that I'll never finish. Not only that but that I will most certainly spend many hours and have not much to show for it.

Not enough time.

Just not enough time.

But I really want to have it done. I can envision the freedom and peacefulness I will feel when I'm done. Even though I know I'll never really be Done because clutter control is an on-going task, I am at the moment about 10 years behind in the process and not feeling peaceful at all.

I don't know what Ron sees when he looks around.

I see time. Or a lack thereof.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So now I'm going to go back downstairs and try to take another nibble from the elephant.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Day 22

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

?? o'clock - wake up

0230 - wake up. Felisa is scratching her bug bites.

0530 - alarm goes off.

0547 - time to get up

0555 - wake up Ron and go down to the lobby to get coffee

0610 - wake up the kids - time to get dressed and go

0621 - leaving the hotel

0632 - sunrise - the GPS switches to daytime colors

0640 - Ohio

0659 - crossing a cool triangle bridge

0725 - see a trailer labelled as belonging to Tony Suit. No idea who that is. (Looked him up - apparently he is a sky diver and was on a road trip!)

0735 - Stop for gas. $2.52/gallon. Tony Suit is there too! Felisa wakes up to say "The sun is up."

0752 - Back on the road with some coffee and food. The kids all turned down a trip to the bathroom. Hope we don't regret that later. This service plaza was not crowded at all.

0855 - On the south side of Cleveland. The girls are asleep and Ryan is in his "road trance". Do you think maybe he's just sleeping with his eyes open? We have made it through Ohio almost without stopping. Keep on moving - Virginia here we come!

0930 - See trucks with triple trailers. Yikes!

0950 - Toll booth

0953 - Pennsylvania

0954 - Another toll booth. Glad we have EZPass!

1010 - Emergency pull off on the side of the road. Felisa has to go to the bathroom. What did I say about not regretting the lack of a bathroom stop earlier?

1025 - At McD's for breakfast

1120 - It is misty out here.

1122 - See a flock of wild turkeys.

1147 - Lots of dead trees along the highway.

1159 - Stop for gas. $2.60/gallon. This service plaza is much busier than the one in Ohio. Maybe because it's lunch time!

12:03 p.m. Eleanor called. Darby has a tummyache.

12:14 p.m. Allegheny Mountain Tunnel

12:58 p.m. Breezewood Interchange

1:21 p.m. Maryland

2:40 p.m. Virginia. And we're back in too-much-traffic land.

2:51 p.m. Highway 123 - getting close!

3:05 p.m. We're home!!! Our starting mileage was approximately 52,100. Our ending mileage was 58,822. Okay, math whizzes - how many miles did we drive? 6,722

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Day 21

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wake up. Eat breakfast at the hotel. This hotel is very busy - lots of people! After breakfast we drove over to the ferry dock to catch the ferry for Mackinac Island.

0930 - Star Line Hydro-Jet Ferry. We sat on the top deck and ended up getting very wet from the spray!

1000 Arrive at the dock. Walk through downtown to the Butterfly House.

After the Butterfly House we climbed the stairs higher up the island then proceeded to follow Ron wherever he took us. We climbed stairs to Pt. Lookout and Fort Holmes. Then we headed down some stairs, past Skull Cave, and on to Fort Mackinac. While there we watched the Drilling and Rifle Firing demonstrations. By this time we were all quite hungry so we ate lunch on the balcony of the Fort, overlooking the town and the harbor.

Our final activities of the day - Ron and Ryan rented bikes and rode around the island. The girls and I took the horse-drawn carriage tour. Oh and a last-minute dash to buy some fudge.

5:05 p.m. On the ferry back to the mainland.

Stop for gas, $2.59/gallon.

On the road, headed for home. If we drive straight through we'll be home before noon tomorrow.

6:38 p.m. Pine trees on stilts.

8:20 p.m. Stop for dinner at Burger King. Much discussion about whether or not we are going to drive through the night or stop somewhere. I prefer to drive in the daylight but am not opposed to driving straight through. Ultimately we decide to stop somewhere.

10:00 p.m. In Ann Arbor, MI. We stop at the Hampton Inn but there are no vacancies. GPS Lady says there is an Embassy Suites in town so we head for that. Apparently we misunderstood her because when we arrive, it is the Embassy Hotel and it looks awful! Dodging construction zones as we continue across town, we did a drive-by of University of Michigan.

10:34 p.m. Finally... a hotel... Sleep Inn in Milan, MI.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Day 20

Monday, August 3, 2009

0730 Wake up. Get coffee. Wake up the kids, grab a quick breakfast.

0910 Leaving hotel.

0915 Stop at the shipwrecks tour gift shop so Ron can buy a souvenir hat and t-shirt.

0924 Stop at the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore again. The sign says it should be open but no one is there.

As we leave town, there is a brief discussion about where we are going exactly. We were not thinking of the same place so good thing we checked before we got too far down the road! Next stop, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

1100 Lower Falls at Tahquamenon State Park. Entrance fee is $8 and it's raining. So we decide to skip it.

1112 Welcome to Paradise! Paradise, Michigan that is.

1120 Oh that is funny! We passed a set of mailboxes. One was a regular box. The other was about 6 feet higher and had a sign on it that said Winter Delivery. Do you think they might get a lot of snow here in the winter?!?

1122 Lots of places for sale here. Maybe they are empty lots.

1123 Whitefish Point - the cranberry capital of Michigan apparently.

1126 Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Much more crowded than I expected it to be. Perhaps the rainy weather is driving all the tourists here since they can't do anything else? To add to the atmosphere, the foghorn is blowing. Fog, wind, rain - perfect weather for a shipwreck museum!

12:41 p.m. Leaving the museum. On our way out we picked up a quick lunch. Basically snack bar/vending machine food but it's the only food around so we'll take it! Our favorite parts of the museum/lighthouse:
Felisa - the beach graveyard of ships
Ron - brass ship nameplates
Ryan - museum
Bella - the girl's room in the lighthouse keeper's house
Sheila - the museum and all the stories (including the story of the ghost of 3-Finger Kirby)

1:06 p.m. Movie time. Now showing - Open Season 2. It's ironic that now they are bugging me to watch it because they hadn't chosen this movie sooner to watch. It was one of the new (used) ones we picked up before we left on the trip but they hadn't watched it so I finally told them they had to watch it next. I said that before we got to Grandma's house in Illinois and they have been bugging me now to watch it. Be careful what you ask for, right?

2:02 p.m. Soo Locks in Sault Saint Marie. It is still raining so our visit is short. Fortunately we were able to catch the tail end of a ship passing down through the locks. I was expecting more of a series of locks as opposed to just one. Even still, it was interesting. We also saw the bridge to Canada and could just make out a bit of the Canadian shore through the mist.

3:30 p.m. Crossing the Straits of Mackinac. Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other. We have now seen all 5 of the Great Lakes this summer!

3:40 p.m. Hotel

After we check in, we went for an early dinner at Dixie Saloon. Then we toured the Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw which is now a museum.

Back at the hotel we checked the beach. Looks good but cold. The kids all voted to go to the beach rather than the pool so after a short rest, we went out. It was cold but that didn't stop them from swimming in Lake Huron! After 40 minutes, we pulled them shivering and blue out of the water and went back to the room for showers. Ron and Ryan went to see the Laser Light Show but it doesn't start until 10 so they came back. I tried to do some laundry but the dryers are out of order. I certainly don't need a bunch of wet clothes so we'll just make do for a bit longer.

Tomorrow we are headed to Mackinac Island and then start our drive towards home. 3 weeks is shorter than our other trips but it still seems just as long!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Day 19

Sunday, August 2, 2009

0800 Wake up. Get coffee. The breakfast room is crowded.

0945 Leaving the hotel for the day. Brr! It's chilly out here this morning!

0952 Stop to by shipwreck tour tickets for later.

1015 Miners Castle Overlook. And then we decide to hike the mile trail down to the beach. Apparently when Ron sees a trail, he wants to hike it. We made it all the way to the beach, played in the sand, and almost stayed dry. Then we walked all the way back up to the top. We stopped at the gift shop and the ranger there recognized Vacation Mouse. Said she remembered reading "When you give a mouse a cookie" when she was a kid.

1155 Back at the car. Our favorite parts:
Bella - the beach
Felisa - finding the frog
Ryan - hiking
Ron - taking pictures on the beach
Sheila - the scenery

Ryan was looking for a notebook in the gift shop. Apparently he forgot to pack one and needs one to write down all of his ideas. That kid thinks a lot!

12:10 p.m. Back at the hotel. Leftover pizza and PB & J biscuit sandwiches made out of breakfast food we grabbed this morning.

12:38 p.m. On our way to the Glass Bottom Boat Shipwrecks Boat Tour. I have a sunburn already from the morning outside, even though most of it was spent in the shade. Sheesh.

What lies at the bottom of Lake Superior and quivers?
A nervous wreck!

Ha ha! We saw three shipwrecks on our tour as well as a lighthouse, some of the colored sandstone similar to that found in the Pictured Rocks, and some bald eagles.

Our favorite parts of the tour:
Ron - scenic views
Ryan - being outside on the boat deck
Felisa - watching the waves and the wake of the boat
Bella - the water
Sheila - the shipwrecks

3:20 p.m. Stop at Muldoon's Pasty for a taste of a local favorite food.

Then back to the hotel for a quick contact lens rescue then to the bookstore/coffee shop. Once fortified, we head back over to Munising Falls to try again. An easy short walk but with more stairs. Nice waterfall. There is a sign there for a trail to Miners Castle (where we were this morning) - 7 miles! No thanks.

5:15 p.m. Sand Point. Hmm... looks sunny here. This is the beach we saw from the boat, voted in the top 10 by The Weather Channel. The sand is nice, not rocky. The water is cold but very clear. And I really think this water is warmer than the ocean water at the big beach in New Jersey. We walked along the sand and even found our own shipwreck! Then Ron and I sat on a log and watched the kids play in the water. Amazingly enough, they kept their clothes dry!

Our favorite parts of the beach:
Bella - being a Water Spirit
Felisa - walking on the beach
Ryan - the shipwreck
Ron - sitting on the beach
Sheila - the shipwreck and the clear water

6:00 p.m. Leaving the beach. It's too early now but I think this beach would be an excellent place to see the sunset.

6:10 p.m. Arrive at the Dogpatch for dinner. The kids are joking about what sort of dog dishes they might serve here- Chubby Cheeseburgers, Furry Heart French Fries, Skies Salad, Corny Casserole... (those are all names of Felisa's stuffed dog crew). Once again the service is questionable. The food is decent but nothing to write home about. Ron ate the fresh fish buffet but freshwater fish is too fishy more me.

8:15 p.m. Swim time again. The pool was the same but thankfully this time the hot tub was HOT!

After swimming, Ghostbusters in on. We watched it at the beginning of our trip while staying in Kentucky.

Bed time!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Day 18

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breakfast a la hotel.

We decide to swim before we leave so the kids can enjoy the slide. Aren't we nice?

1015 Leave the hotel. What did I learn this morning? I prefer to be the one rushing people out the door, not the one being rushed out the door.

1025 Ryan is reading the list of holidays in his Boys book again. Mike the Headless Chicken came up again. (Oh look - he even has a festival!)

1116 Lake Michigan - Green Bay, Wisconsin

1158 A sign for Livin' Large Limo Service - right next to a fleet of school busses. And not a single limo in sight!

12:10 p.m. Stop at Culvers for lunch. More yummy custard!

1:02 p.m. Michigan

1:05 p.m. Technical difficulties - please stand by. Your movie will be starting momentarily (I hope).

1:07 p.m. Fixed! Now showing... Open Season

1:41 p.m. Eastern Time Zone. Huh. That was a surprise! Hadn't really thought about it but wasn't expecting it already.

2:58 p.m. Gas, $2.58/gallon

3:57 p.m. Camp Hiawatha. Didn't know that was a real place.

4:07 p.m. Munising, MI and Lake Superior.

4:12 p.m. Arrive at our hotel.

6:15 p.m. Stop at the scenic overlook on our way to dinner. We can see our hotel and the lake but most of the view is overgrown.

6:30 p.m. Dinner at Main Street Pizza. The service was ridiculously non-existent but the pizza was delicious!

After dinner, we drove over to Munising Falls for a hike. By the time we get there it is starting to rain so we skip it. Back to the hotel...

8:40 p.m. Swim time. The pool is a usual hotel pool cool - not the coldest but could stand to be a bit warmer. The hot tub was a big disappointment - barely warm. :(

After swimming, hot showers then bed time.