Breathe Deeply 7/8/2011

WE HAVE A WINNER!    I thought this Mystery Spot was going to be a hard one, but the very first email I received was the winner.  She is Pat Steele from Vernon, MI.  See the end of this post for the answer.
Another busy, crazy week is drawing to a close, but it’s definitely not getting less crazy for the next few days!
Cathie and Charlie – from New Orleans – are arriving sometime on Saturday for their annual visit, and of course you know what I’m doing – CLEANING!  I’m sorry – I just can’t help it!  It’s ingrained into my psyche that I must have everything spotless when company arrives.  Two minutes after they get here, the whole place can be mud-tracked and dirt-covered, and that’s fine – because as soon as that first “Oh my goodness, isn’t she a great housekeeper” moment is over – I’m all about going with the flow (thank goodness for that or our visitors would probably only come once)!
Ted almost had to take me to the looney bin and leave me on Tuesday evening.  We’re sitting at our kitchen counter eating dinner, and I got up to start cleaning up the kitchen (Ted cooks, I clean).  Ted moved his plate across to the sink, and as he’s pushing his chair under the counter says, “Uh oh!  We’ve got a BIG PROBLEM!”  Now I admit I didn’t get too worked up by his comment, because if my sweet husband even gets a splinter in his finger, he considers it a BIG PROBLEM!  But – when I walked back around the counter and looked down, a big, dark, wet spot was spreading out from under the counter where the dishwasher is, soaking the carpet.  “Ted!” I screamed.  “We’ve got a BIG PROBLEM!”
Long story short.  The pump in our dishwasher has been on the blitz for who knows how long, and water has been accumulating under it (the plumber said this).  It finally reached levels high enough to seep out from under the counter.  When Ted pulled the bottom front off the dishwasher, not only was there water, there was also mold.  Yuck, yuck, yuck!  That’s bad news #1.  Good news #1: On Tuesday, we went into Cheboygan to take advantage of a 30% off sale at Sears and purchased a new refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher (our kitchen appliances are all original to the condo, which was built in the 80’s – they are about on their last legs).  Bad news #2:  The appliances aren’t being delivered for three more weeks because I didn’t want all that going on while Charlie and Cathy are here.  Good news #2:  The dishwasher is now sitting outside by the road with its “permit” to be picked up and taken to the dump.  Bad news #3:  No dishwasher and a big, gaping hole under the kitchen counter while we have company.  Good news #3:  Ted spent all morning cleaning up mold, a fan is now drying everything out, and a local builder has been by and thinks nothing has to be torn out except the affected wood under the dishwasher.  Bad news #4: See Bad News #3 again.  Good news #4:  Cathy and Charlie couldn’t care less about the gaping hole, the mold, or the fact that there’s no dishwasher.  
So, today I cleaned some, washed some, and ironed my guest room sheets with starch and put them back on the bed, sprinkled with wonderfully fresh smelling powder so when Charlie and Cathy climb in on that first night, they will feel like pampered guests at the Grand Hotel (minus the mints on the pillow and the turn-down service).
There’s a reason I cleaned on Thursday instead of Friday.  On Saturday, about the time Cathy and Charlie will be arriving, I will be in Mackinaw City speaking to a homeowners association annual meeting about Bear and I working as Pet Partners in Georgia.  My friend Chris Ann asked me to do this when they spent the night with us this spring in Georgia on their way north.  “Sure,” I said.  “Piece of cake!”  I thought to myself, “Our association meeting is 16 people – this will probably be 25-30.”  And that’s the last I’d thought of it until one day this week when Chris Ann emailed to remind me and give me directions.  I already had Bear scheduled for a grooming on Wednesday, so we were all set.  I emailed her back and asked, for the heck of it, how many would be at the meeting.  “Around 500,” she cheerily replied.  Oh my gosh!  I was going to just “wing it”!  So . . . . today I cleaned.  Friday, I prepare for Saturday!
Thanks to Kellie Lawrence from the Grand Hotel for the beautiful header photo.  She took this pic a couple of weeks ago off the back of a ferry headed for Mackinaw City.  It is one of my absolute favorite photographs from this summer, and the uncropped version is below.  I’ll post some photos over the weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday morning with a new post . . . . unless something else gets wet, turns black, and shorts out the laptop.
Breathe deeply, Brenda, and go with the flow.
OK.  You have really had it easy lately on naming the Mystery Spot of the Week!   This one might be a little harder.  The object is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing, AND I’ll post the full photo of the mystery spot at the bottom of the blog with the answer. Is there a prize for the winner – yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is . . . .

Where is it?

Again, please email your answers to me at  

The miniature carriage hangs in a tree to the left of the Grand Hotel stables on Cadotte Avenue. You can barely see it in this photo, but look in the first tree just to the left of the two big windows on the side of the stable.


17 thoughts on “Breathe Deeply 7/8/2011

  1. It’s a “mystery spot” I’m going to spend all weekend trying to find because I will be on the Island!!
    Thanks for all the wonderful 4th of July pictures and stories, your outfit might start a trend-I’ll be looking for backdoor fashions. Bear and Maddie are so entertaining, I’m sure Bailey thinks so too!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, enjoy your company, I know they will enjoy being there!

  2. Dishawasher problems can be a real pain. We didn’t have the water problem, ours caught fire. The fire department didn’t think they’d ever had a dishwasher fire before. Glad Ted noticed the spot before it had done any more damage. Now sit back–after your talk–and wait for Cathy and Charlie to arrive. Have a great weekend. We’ll be up next weekend. Can hardly wait.

  3. Oh My! I’m sorry about your dishwasher problem and the gaping hole that it’s leaving but look at the bright side of it….you’re getting not one, but three whole new appliances out of it! . Don’t worry too much about talking in front of 500 people, you can do it, you do it everyday right here to so many more 😉 Enjoy your time with Cathy and Charlie. Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. All I can say it “Wow”, the small carriage looked like the Grand’s so it was likely it was at the Grand’s barn (it almost looks like a bird feeder).
    Last night I thought dang it, I’m going to stay up and see if I can get a crack at answering the mystery photo and I did. Thank you Brenda, you made my day.
    Sorry about your dishwasher breakdown.
    Pat Steele
    Vernon, MI

  5. #1) Good news: how wonderful to have such good friends that you KNOW won’t care about the missing dishwasher! #2) Good news: Your enthusiasm and commitment to the assistance dog program could carry through a talk to 10,000 people! It’s the message that counts. #3) Good news: You’re getting new appliances! Woohoo!

    I love that flag photo, and the way you have it cropped. Beautiful! Now, don’t forget to breathe. You’re on Mackinac with sweet Ted and good friends – it’s all good!

  6. Sorry to hear about your giant puddle…but as Hilde noted, you’re getting all new kitchen appliances!!! As for Saturday, just let Bear do all the talking! Have a great time with your guests, hope the weather is as nice as last week for you.

    • Hmmmmm . . . you’re the second person, Annie, to suggest Bear doing the talking! Maybe I’ll just send HIM across on the ferry! LOL!

  7. Wow! All new appliances? I’d put up with a lttle mold if it got me all new appliances!

    I was thinking about yourtalk with Bear. First of all, prepare itfor the ten or twelve you were expecting – then each person there will feel special. And also, can you do a slide show? You shared some great pics with us this winter and I think that’s one way to let Bear tell his side of the story! Good luck!

    • Thanks, Irene! I just found out from Chris Ann that her email contained a slight typo – should have been 50 – not 500! LOL. No longer in panic mode, but your ideas are great. Won’t have time to set up slides, but I think I’ll just let Bear talk.

  8. If you write your Pet Partner’s speech down, I would love for you to attach it to your blog or e-mail it to me. I want to learn all about it too! You’ll do great!

    • I’m back to “winging it”, Debra. Found out it was actually 50 – not 500 folks – typo in the email. But, if you’re interested in becoming a pet partner team, you will find everything you need to know at this web site: Harris is the local contact for Delta, and she is quite simply, the animal assisted therapy guru of Georgia. She and her former partner, Hero, did therapy work for years before she lost Hero to cancer. Now she continues on with Happy Jack. You will love her!

  9. I really didn’t have a comment about this post, but I would like to share just how special Mackinac Island is to me and my wife. We were married at the Old Mission church … well, almost 16 years ago now.

    Anyway, if you click on my name, it will take you to the story.

    • What a wonderful story, PJ! Thanks so much for sharing it, and I hope you get back to the island really sooon.

  10. Thank goodness it is 50 and not 500!! You will do great Brenda, even if it was 500!! Question- Will the appliance people also ride the ferry and install the appliances? Do they charge extra for going to the Island for a delivery?

    • Yes and yes, Michelle. They will ride the regular ferry while the appliances come over on the freight ferry. People coming with the appliances to help take off dray and get into the condo cost extra money, but it is well worth it!

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