And the Days Dwindled Down . . . 10/27/2013

I’m finding it extremely difficult to stay indoors and pack when all I want to do is walk up and down Main and Market Streets, wander into the woods and along the trails, hike out to Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf, climb up to Fort Holmes, and stare out across the Straits from Sunset Rock . . . just one more time.

Coming back next summer is a no-brainer, but we’re having a pretty hard time finding a spot to roost for two months.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you choose to look at it), the condo selling so late in the season left us struggling to find accommodations – most of which have already been filled.  A couple of places have been offered, but for one reason or another, we’ve turned them down – rent too high, not enough room for Maddie and Bear and the worry their barking would be disruptive, and the months we want not being available.  It’s been a lot more difficult than we thought it would be.  We’re still waiting to hear from one other place, but it will probably be later in the winter when we find out the terms on that one.

But – we’re being optimistic.  If push comes to shove, we can always book a hotel room at the Chip for a couple of weeks and kennel Maddie and Bear.  We would hate doing that, but  . . . . .

FRIDAY

I had cleared my calendar for Friday through Tuesday and told Ted I HAD to get serious about packing.  But then we made an appointment to go look at a house up in Trillium Heights with our realtor and Mike Gamble, an island builder – so off we went at noon to meet them.  Why are we looking at a house, you ask?  I wish I could answer that question with some clarity, but just let me say this . . . we’re still keeping all our options open and trying to figure out what doors are closed, what doors are open, and what doors God is still planning to cut in the wall of our lives. So we went and looked at a house . . . but no bells and whistles went off, and that door closed.

After our appointment we walked downtown and ate lunch again at Mighty Mack (Mighty Mac has had several days this last week or so when they’ve donated their proceeds to the Save Our Statue campaign).   Ted biked home, and Jill walked me almost home before having to return for the second part of her split shift.

We've had several days now of rainy, windy, cold weather, and the Straits on Friday were

We’ve had several days now of rainy, windy, cold weather, and the Straits on Friday were pretty turbulent.

The flags at the Gate House weren't getting any rest at all as we walked by.  The winds had them standing straight out

The flags at the Gate House weren’t getting any rest at all as we walked by. The winds had them standing straight out or flapping back and forth with a noisy thur-rump, thur-rump sound.

There were a large group of art teachers staying at the Grand this weekend, and they were supposed to be painting at the Grand Hotel/Carriage Tours stable Friday afternoon.  We walked there to see if they'd come out in the bad weather, but we were either too late, or they canceled the session.

There was a large group of art teachers staying at the Grand this weekend, and they were supposed to be painting at the Grand Hotel/Carriage Tours stable Friday afternoon. We walked there to see if they’d come out in the bad weather, but we were either too late, or they’d canceled the session because of the weather.

All of the high-stepping Hackneys have left the island, and Friday afternoon the few remaining Percherons were out pulling the Grand omnibuses back and forth from the ferry docks.

All of the high-stepping Hackneys have left the island, and the few remaining Percherons were out pulling the Grand omnibuses back and forth from the ferry docks.  It sure seemed quiet in there.

Jill went back to work, and I got home in time to join Ted in walking Maddie and Bear.  As you can see, I’m using any excuse I can find NOT to pack.

The woods trails are not covered in layer after layer of fallen leaves.

The trails are now covered in layer after layer of fallen leaves.

We walked through the woods to Turtle Park, then up a trail and back into Trillium Heights.

We walked through the leaves to Turtle Park, then up a trail and back into Trillium Heights.

We wanted to look at that house one more time, talk to out one more time and list the pros and cons.  And once again we came to the same conclusion.  It wasn't for us.

We wanted to look at that house one more time, talk it out one more time and list the pros and cons. But once again we came to the same conclusion . . . it wasn’t for us.  We LOVE that neighborhood though, and we spent some time roaming around looking at other houses and vacant lots.

We came back home by way of the Carriage Museum and a took one more photo of the Grant stable - so beautiful surrounded by fall colors.

Home was by way of the Carriage Museum and I took one more photo of the Grand Stable – so beautiful surrounded by fall colors.

THE REST OF THE WEEKEND

It was a really busy weekend for the Island – there was the Great Turtle Race, bringing in 3,000 runners, and it was also the weekend of the “adult” Halloween party downtown.  I missed them both this year (finally got serious about packing), but thanks to Ted and Jill, I do have some photos for you!

Jill was SO HAPPY I wasn't coming out for the race because she was dressing in a turtle outfit to man the water station at Arch Rock for the runners.  She DID NOT want her photo taken.  But Ted went out there and snapped this one of her directing traffic, and of course I'm posting it!

Jill was SO HAPPY I wasn’t coming out for the race because she was dressing in a turtle outfit to work the water station at Arch Rock for the runners. She DID NOT want her photo taken. But Ted went out there and snapped this one of her directing traffic, and . . . here it is.  he tortoise and the hare.  Or maybe that’s the turtle and the rabbit.  Either way, Jillski, you sure look cute in that turtle suit!

Saturday night downtown was crazy, and all the photos below were taken by Jill – thank you very much, my trusty assistant!  Every year I think, “There’s no way the ideas can get any better,” and every year – I’m wrong.

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A variety of costumes, but my favorite is the bath PUFF!  

There were a lot of themed costumed this year, with several people going together to create a group scene

There were a lot of themed costumes this year, with several people going together to create a group scene – like these ladies representing different brands of beer!

The Star Wars characters!

The Star Wars characters!  I bet “Chewy” was the warmest!

Headless on Mackinac

Headless on Mackinac – I’m glad he has someone to carry it around for him.

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A very, VERY tall . . . . person?

Ouch!

Ouch!

"We're off to see the Wizard . . . ."

“We’re off to see the Wizard . . . .”

Mr. B!  A sweet gentleman and one of my favorite Island people.

Mr. B! A sweetheart . . . and one of my favorite Island people.

My favorite group costume.  How clever is that!

My favorite group costume. How clever is that!

A COUPLE MORE FROM JILL

The line at Shepler's this morning.  3,000 runners came to the Island, and now they all have to go home!

The line at Shepler’s this morning. 3,000 runners came to the Island, and now they all have to go home!

Beautiful rainbow over Market Street!

Beautiful rainbow over Market Street!

After spending the majority of Saturday and Sunday packing, I’m about 98% done.  Tomorrow Ted will take more boxes downtown to ship, then make a trip across to start loading the car with luggage already packed.  We’ll spend most of Monday and Tuesday cleaning.  We close on the condo Tuesday, and the plan now is to leave on the 11 a.m. ferry Wednesday.

It’s very hard to say what I’m feeling right now.  I’m still praying for clarity and for peace, but for some reason the clarity is eluding me, and the peace hasn’t filled my heart.  The one thing I do know is I’m longing for friends I haven’t seen for six months and for our sweet little lake house.  Maybe there, clarity and peace will come.  I pray so.  

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Weekend Excitement! 10/25/2011

My Ted is such a . . . . .  guy.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned (I probably have, but bear with me) Ted was once a teacher, then a counselor, then an assistant principal, then a principal.  He retired after 30 years in education, but the school system asked him to come back as an Assistant Superintendent, and he retired from that position 3 1/2 years before I retired as Public Information Director for the same school system.  Back in the day before he became a principal, he coached football, basketball, track and cross country.  He’s run two half-marathons and about a gazillion shorter races (I know this because he refuses to part with a single one of the t-shirts he acquired at each race).  Even now he lifts weights a few times a week, takes the dogs on l-o-n-g walks, bikes everywhere on the island (including up our hill all the way from downtown – something I still can’t do without several stops along the way so my heart can jump back into my chest), and generally keeps himself as fit as possible.

He’s participated in every race held on the island practically since we bought a place here, but he always walks the races – he doesn’t run anymore.  But . . . . he is very competitive, and it really ticks him off when people who sign up to walk a race actually run part of it.  It messes up his times, and that just naturally messes up his (and my) sense of fairness.

So, when he registered for the Great Turtle 5.7 Race last weekend, he registered as a runner. I was well on my way to having a case of the vapors until he explained that by registering as a runner, he would be able to walk, and if he felt like running a few yards along the way, he could legally do that.

“How many yards?” I asked.

“I won’t push myself.” he said.

Right.

Race day. I guess Ted planned to get his "few yards" running out of the way at the start of the race. Chris Ann and Burton from Mac City were watching the start also. They had two grandchildren and a son-in-law in the race.

Jill was handing out water to the racers at Arch Rock and captured Ted as he went by. Hmmmmm . . . . a few more yards running.

We walked over to the finish line.  Chris Ann and Burton’s grandchildren are runners, and we knew they would have fast times . . .

. . . . but not THIS fast. Walker was the first youngster over the line and won first in his age group! 41.17 minutes for 5.7 miles. Wow!

And Taylor (in the green) wasn's far behind her brother - she won second in her age group.

Keith - Taylor and Walker's dad

Chris Ann and Burton - as we waited for Ted.

Ted told me what his time should be, so Chris Ann, Burton and I chatted as we waited for his arrival.  Since I knew he would try to better that time, I started watching the runners come around the last curve about five minutes before his best time.  No Ted.  As the minutes clicked by on the digital race clock, and his best time passed, there was still no Ted in sight.  I waited a full five minutes more before I hauled out my cell phone and called him.

“Where are you, sweetie?” I asked, when he answered.

“Almost there!” he said, not even sounding out of breath.  “I pulled a calf muscle at mile 2.  Felt it pop.”

“And you’re still in the race?” I asked, my voice a little shrill.

“Yeah – I’m going to finish.”

And he did . . . limping so badly it hurt me to watch. THAT'S MY GUY!

We stopped at the Pony for lunch, then rode our bikes up the hill.  We both napped for most of the afternoon, then called a taxi to have us downtown for dinner at the Chippewa (their last night open).  The weekend before Halloween is dedicated to the grown-ups who want to dress up for the holiday, and we missed that weekend last year because we went home early to go to Paula Deen’s party in Savannah.

Instead of putting in a long row of photos, I’ve done something a little different.  I’ve made a collage of all the wonderful costumes and inserted it below.  If you “click” or “double-click” on the collage, it will open in another window.  Then you can “click” on it again, and it will enlarge.  That way you can scroll up and down, and back and forth and see each costume close up.  I hope this works right on everyone’s computer!

Ted’s leg will take time and rest to heal, and unfortunately the rest part isn’t going to happen this week.  We’re packing and cleaning and doing all the boring things that have to be done to close the condo for the winter.  The Grand Hotel closes for the season on Tuesday morning, and I’ll try and get downtown after that to show you what town looks like all buttoned up for winter.

Jill and Frankie are leaving for winter homes this week, and with the exodus of the Grand Hotel workers, the year-round residents will finally get their island back.

No blog for Wednesday, but I’ll be back on Thursday with pics of the Grand Closing – including the annual “running of the chairs” (quite a sight to see as employees move all the rocking chairs and other furniture from the long front porch into the great ballroom).  See you then!

Who Said Halloween Is Just For Kids? 10/28/09

After yesterday’s story on the closing of the Grand, I figured we all could use a few laughs.  I’ve been holding on to these photographs I took last Saturday night downtown for just that reason, and I want to share them with you today. 

On the Saturday night of the weekend before Halloween, there are two traditions  on Mackinac Island.  One tradition is for the children to visit all the businesses downtown and trick-or-treat.  The kids also trick-or-treat on the real Halloween night, so the first one is kind of like a practice run.  The second tradition is that all the adults (I refuse to say “grown-ups”) dress up in the most outrageous costumes that can imagine and have a good old time walking up and down Main Street – visiting Horn’s Bar, Sinclair’s Irish Pub, and the Pink Pony. 

Now some of you out there are saying (I can hear you), “That’s just an excuse to run around and act crazy and drink.”  If you are out there saying that, I only have one thing to say to you – you are exactly right!

But you know what?  It was soooo much fun!  Ted and I had asked Jill to go to dinner with us Saturday.  She didn’t know how many more days she would be on the island, and we wanted to take her out before she left.  None of us dressed in costumes.  Jill, who has seen a lot of these “adult” Halloween parties on the island, couldn’t wait to see my face and Ted’s when we saw the elaborate lengths people go to.  There’s even a contest with prize money! 

Since this is a G-rated blog, I am going to be very selective in the photos I post, but let’s just say there were a few costumes of the NOT G-rated variety.

We ate dinner at the Harborview Dining Room at the Chippewa Hotel, and we had barely gotten seated when Nadine, the Chip’s Sales Manager (dressed as a very attractive policewoman), walked in and slapped her handcuffs on Ted.  Thank goodness she decided to let him go on the grounds that he wouldn’t be able to pay for our meal while he was “locked up”.

tednadine

Ted had just gotten seated, when another attractive lady walked over to say hello to everyone.  It was Sandy, who Ted worked with at the Visitor’s Center this summer.  I think she was dressed as a caberet performer – that is my best guess anyway.

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When we finished our meal, we just wandered around town and took pictures, so I will caption the rest of the photos.  Unfortunately, I did not know what or who a lot of these people were supposed to be.  But I give them all an “A” for creativity, design, and sheer bravado to wear some of these costumes.  Here goes!

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A trio of pirates, straight off their ship, and looking for trouble.

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Two of the prettiest "witches" I've ever seen, sitting on the sofa in the Chippewa Hotel lobby.

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A big crowd of wizards and witches (and other magical characters).

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My best guess? Wizards from one of the Harry Potter movies? I'm so not up to date on all this!

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The only way I knew this was Brian (General Manager of the Chippewa and the Lilac Tree Hotels) is because Brian is taller than anyone else on the island. His wife, Jeri-Lyn, gets an A+ for her costume of the Wizard of Oz's Wicked Witch of the North (Geez, I hope that's who she was)!

 

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Cute Julie - the Front Desk Manager at the Chippewa - pretending to be a pirate.

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Here you immediately see Batman. But you have to look down that long hall on the left to see the Y-M-C-A Village People cowboy heading for the men's room.

Two bright blue eyes on the back of a very bald head.  And yes, those are spiders on his ears.

Two bright blue eyes on the back of a very bald head. And yes, that is a yellow spider on his ear.

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The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz?

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Bat Girl and . . . . . . . I have no idea.

Two headless people.  Really weird looking from the back.  Their "heads" were where their chests should be.

Two headless people. Really weird looking from the back. Their heads were where their chests should be.

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A real bonehead.

Yes, a robot.  But the funniest thing to me in this picture is the couple in the lower left corner.  They probably came to the island for a quiet weekend, not having a clue it was Halloween Crazy Night.

A robot and a conehead - and a couple in the left corner who look like they just landed in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Could be Father Time.

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Ted and Julie, the Pirate

 

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Cute Katie - the last time you saw her she was saying goodbye to her horse Pasha at the ferry dock.

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My absolute favorite - a group of friends dressed as pink flamingos.

Now, if you have a Halloween costume party to go to this weekend, and are stuck for an idea, the pictures above should give you something to think about.  BUT, if none of those help, I offer this last idea. 

OCTO-MOM! IMG_9219a