Thursday, September 07, 2006

Landwhale Weekend

Now, to try to catch up on our activities this past month. I actually wrote this entry offline over the weekend while we were watching a movie, as I am trying to multitask even recreational activities at this point. I have photos to add in, but Blogger is apparently in that mood again where it will claim to have uploaded my photo, but then it refuses to display it. [...Later: Ha! There it goes, finally.]


We scheduled various things in August to try to squeeze in everything we won’t be able to do forever (or for twenty years or so—whichever comes first). Of course at the time we planned it all, I naïvely assumed that I would be done with my diss work by now, or at least done enough to take some weekends off for that purpose. Oh well...

We spent our B&B weekend on the east coast of Michigan in a little tourist-y coastal-y sort of place. The east coast accommodations turned out to cost about half what west coast ones do, probably since there aren’t the thousands of Chicago residents fleeing to them every weekend in the summer. Our B&B was quintessential small-town America, featuring bird houses, cicadas, and a bunny that came up to us on the patio at breakfast (it was really waiting for us to leave so it could resume its munching on the flower bed.)

We stayed at the jauntily named Captain’s Quarters, which had an excellent sittin’ porch and was within walking distance of—well, everything. Beach, shops, café, downtown, DQ, old-school IGA grocery store, etc. As we wanted to do without the car the entire weekend, this was perfect. As it turned out, the entire town was a mini-twilight zone in that it was a pocket of non-reception for our phones, too, which was actually nice. I also noted that according to the guestbook in our room, the previous weekend the place had hosted Marshall Crenshaw and his co-musicians. So if it's good enough for them...

Basically, we lounged the entire time, and made very limited and flexible plans (specifically to ignore). I had just gotten to the point of being too bulky to move very fast or far, which dictated a lot of lassitude. It's possible that I scandalized the vacationing beachgoers by wearing my red bikini while hugely pregnant (at least my inner youthful punk-rock self hopes so), but no one looked terribly offended.

On Friday night I was again reading our well-used copy of a Dirk Gently novel (The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul), which mentions a hosepipe at one juncture. This reminded me with a shock that as we were leaving the house I had turned on the hose in the garden to water the vegetables before we left…and I didn’t remember turning it back off. I agonized over it that night, and prepared myself for (at least) a swamp of drowned plants upon our return, but decided to not think about it while we were there. There was nothing we could do, anyway, so—might as well enjoy the weekend.

We visited all the little shops and finally settled on one (1) washable and floppy plush bear for the baby’s first “lovey.” We picnicked on fried chicken (from the IGA) at the park and got ice creams at the DQ. We sat outdoors at a café and read. We also did a lot of other reading (and in my case, napping). There was even a good squirrel-feeding stump down the block on the way to the beach, though it was the kind where you leave the peanuts and stand back. I also found the perfect doll for my "Hot Rock" sister at the dollar store...

Saturday night featured TheLimey’s 40-minute hiking quest for The Perfect Hot Dog. Or really any hot dog, once we were into it for 30 minutes. You wouldn’t think it, since the DQ was literally around the corner (visible from the B&B's back yard). Unfortunately, the lines that had formed there put him off. (Hmmm…curious, for all the times I’ve heard him brag about his superior British queuing ability.)

So we walked up the next block just to see what was there, and saw a place selling foods including hot dogs—but just a bit farther I could see there was an actual A&W. That was my suggestion, as A&W is of course the classic American hot dog. However, there had been a Blimpy’s downtown (in the complete opposite direction, naturally), that we had to check out first. (Keep in mind how slowly I had to walk, or trundle, during this entire quest.) So we turned around and headed there.

Unfortunately, when we finally got to the Blimpy's, it had been closed for hours. Therefore, we had to turn around again and head back the way we originally went. The DQ lines? Still too long. Though no doubt if we had waited initially instead of walking all over town we could have got through the lines about five or six times. But at this point, I absolutely insisted that we were going to get the dang hot dog, and he was going to eat it, and like it! So… A&W it was. To go. Sheesh.

Turns out that a Pinot is good for a hot dog eaten outdoors. (I only had a tiny bit of the Pinot, but it was nice.) While we sat out on the patio, there was a meteor that streaked overhead so closely it seemed to audibly sizzle over the trees.

Our visit also happened to coincide with the Perseid meteor showers, although we didn’t realize it at first. We saw one meteor on Friday night, and then Saturday night went out on the sea-wall to look at the Milky Way. This was a bonanza of unexpected and beautiful celestial phenomena: there was a fantastic moonrise over the lake as we approached; lots and lots of meteors; and we even saw the space station.

The drive home was--just as the drive there--pretty agonizing on my back, but I survived. And the great thing was that when we got home, the small stream we found flowing in the driveway was coming from next to the garden bed, not inside it: the stake I had used to prop up the hose sprayer head had apparently keeled over as soon as the ground had gotten wet, and the sprayer fell onto the pavement. I felt guilty about the water waste, of course, but at least the plants were undrowned.

The water source in the heat had attracted a very small and cute toad, which I removed to a more vegetative area of the yard. (For those of you who've never had another person living in your abdomen, here's a comparison: its little wigglings inside my hand felt just like the baby feels wiggling in my belly, only smaller, of course.)

Since a lot of B&Bs don't really cater to children (for some reason!), I think it was a pretty good job we did this again while we still could.

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