Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Quiet Weekend At Home

For the most part....
Friday evening after work I took a cruise up to Ross Park to attend a free concert with the Oat Bran Boys, a local Bluegrass outfit. Got there about 6:30, they started playing about 7 and wrapped it up about 8:30. They weren't bad but not anything to write home about either, just your standard bluegrass fare. It was a beautiful evening though and it beat sitting at home and falling asleep on the couch.
As a postscript, a couple days later I got this pic from the promoter and lo and behold there I am in the orange shirt, sitting on the ground, right in between the bass player and the banjo player on the end! Fame is surely imminent!
I had given serious thought to going over to Grand Rapids Saturday morning for the metro cruise, but when morning rolled around I decided to snooze a bit longer and pass on the trip. I went over there last year and it was a mess trying to get around anywhere. Too many cars and too much waiting in line so I stayed home instead and ended up snoozing on and off most of the morning and afternoon. All week I'd been up late, averaging 4 hours of sleep a night and by the end of the week it's caught up with me and I end up losing the extra time I tried to bank during the week. Kinda stupid I know, It's a bad habit started long ago. At any rate I was well rested by the time the wife decided she wanted to go get dinner and so we headed off to our favorite spot these days, the Texas Roadhouse, for a steak dinner. We managed to kill an hour and a half there and had another above average meal. Afterwards we made a stop at the grocery store for some staples and then headed for home. Later on me and Bailey took a ride around town and got some ice cream. When I got back Ri and Adam had stopped over so we chatted a bit until they had to leave. Once they left that was pretty much it for the day.
Sunday morning I got up and made breakfast and after everyone had had their fill I grabbed the paint brush and scrapper and headed out to the garage. First I put the final coat on side 3 and then I put the ladder up on the backside, grabbed my scrapper and spent the next 3 hours or so getting rid of all the flaky paint. What a mess that was. By the time I had it all scrapped good enough for painting it was past 4pm so I changed clothes and headed over to home depot to get some paint, repair parts for the toilet and check out prices on windows and a door for the garage.
By the time I got back home it was time to take the kid to work so I dropped him off at Pizza Hut and then headed to Butch's for supper. Stopped at Dairy Treat for desert and then headed home to do laundry and work on website stuff. Before I knew it the wife was back home again and the weekend was pretty much shot.
This coming weekend is Labor Day weekend, already and the tentative plan is to go up to camp for at least a couple days. There's a Pow Wow going on at the Fair grounds in Hart Saturday and Sunday and I'd like to attend at least one day of the two. Other than that no big plans for the big weekend......Would love to go up to the bridge and do the bridgewalk but even if I had the finances to make the trip there isn't enough tread left on the rear tire of the bike to make the trip safely and it's a $250.00 cost to have a new tire installed so it ain't gonna happen this week. I'd love to at least get another day ride in before the season's gone but it ain't looking good right now. Maybe I'll get the van sold, that'd help.......We'll see how it goes.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Weekend at the Castle

I’ve been meaning to write all week but between painting the garage, cleaning up the bike and snoozing during the evening, the week kinda got away from me.
Anyhow, I got out of work Friday, came home and loaded up the truck, grabbed Mercury and Bailey and headed out of town. We made a stop in Hart at the grocery store for some basics and then made it to camp just about 7:00. I started cooking some dinner right away while I got things opened up and organized and it wasn’t long before I was dining on macaroni and cheese with polish sausage & corn on the cob. I was hungry so it tasted pretty darn good. After my plate was clean we headed up to the lodge for some ice cream. By the time we got back to camp it was getting dark so I got a good fire going and we hung out close by until about 11:30 when I decided to call it a day and get some good sleep.
Saturday I woke up about 8am and while I made breakfast for me and the boys I vowed that I wouldn’t run myself ragged all weekend. It’d been a month since I’d been up to camp but because of the really dry weather we’ve had the grass hadn’t hardly grown at all and there were only a minimal number of ferns so I got out the weed wacker and cleaned up the whole west side in less than an hour.
Next thing was to fire up the lawnmower and mow the flatlands area around the pines. That was about the only place where the ferns had really grown since my last visit. It took awhile to clean up the whole flatlands area and then I got the bright idea to take some of the stakes I’d been carrying around in the truck since the Spread the Music concert last month and Hammer one in at each pine tree as kind of a height and placement marker. I may have to do something more before it snows but that’ll do for now.
After I was done with the mower I got out the chain saw next to clean up a mess that someone made…somebody cut down the bush / tree that was on the corner since I was last at camp. I know why they did it…..for visibility, but it still ticked me off a bit because not only did whoever do it, do it without asking, but they didn’t have the decency to clean up the mess they made. They just cut the limbs down and left it all in a big pile right on the corner. So, I drug all the limbs out of the pile and cut off the ends and piled up the logs for firewood. By the time I got done with that the chainsaw blade was in need of sharpening and I was pooped so I called it a day about 4:00 and headed up to the lodge for a shower and some ice cream. I putzed around camp after I got back until about 7 and then I made dinner for the 3 of us….some hamburger helper and more corn on the cob. After dinner we hit the lodge again and then took a ride around the grounds for awhile. When we got back to camp it was time to start a fire and kick back. I got the guitar out and picked on that for awhile. Spent some time trying to recall all the chords and words to “These Days”. If I could just sing it without making myself cringe I’d be a happy camper. It was after midnight before I gave it up and went to get horizontal.
Sunday after breakfast (Cinnamon rolls and orange juice) I decided to start in on the Medicine wheel project so I grabbed the shovel, wheel barrow and saw and headed to the site. I spent the bulk of the day working on it and I got the frame pretty much in the ground. Next step is the walkways and then digging up the sod to put the painted rocks in each of the 4 sections. I may or may not get that far this year. I’m also going to work on the centerpiece during the winter. It’ll be a 3 foot in diameter piece of wood that I’ll burn the face of a compass on and then clear coat it a dozen times so it’ll handle the outside and then next spring I’ll attach it to the stump. Don’t ask me why I’m doing it…I just like being creative and designing and building things. Here’s a pic of the one out at the Ben Riefle Visitor Center in the Badlands that gave me the idea to do my own…..it's in pretty bad shape, needs to be weeded and the rocks should be white for North, red for East, black for West and yellow for South.

Anyhow, it was about 5 when I decided to call it a day. It took an hour to put everything away and lock up so we were on our way out of came about 6:15. Got home about 8 and didn’t do much of anything when we got home.
That’s pretty much it for last week. This week I’ve been working or napping, depending on how I feel at the moment. This coming weekend is the Metro Cruise but the weather is looking iffy for the weekend so I haven’t decided if I’m gonna get involved with it this year. I plan on staying around the house for the most part and hitting the last side of the garage….the worst side. Once the outside is done then I can try and get some stuff organized on the inside with the warm weather days we have left at that point.
No pics from camp this week…..I just never got around to pulling the camera out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gettin' To The Back Side Of Summer

Well I think I gave a review of this past week last week and not much else happened until Friday night when I pulled the car out of the garage, picked up Larry and headed out to Coopersville for the Cruise portion of the weekend events. They’d changed the route this year and did hand out directions, but a map would’ve been nicer. Luckily for me I had a co-pilot this time in case we lost the train, but that was never an issue. After rolling thru the countryside and hitting a couple of the new housing developments the cruise ended up back where it started. They were going to have a sock-hop there, starting later in the evening than I wanted to wait for so we headed back to the high school and got something to eat there at the food booths and then sat in the stands for awhile while we ate. By the time we were done dining it was 8:30 and time to head back to Grand Haven. I dropped Larry off and then did the route around town once before coming home and calling it a day.
Saturday morning I was up before dawn (5am) and headed back to Coopersville for a good parking spot for the show and breakfast at the Country Café. I parked the hot rod right at the top of the hill that rolls down to the park, under a nice big shady tree, and then headed off to the Café for my favorite breakfast, Scrambled eggs and corn beef hash. By the time I was done stuffing my face it was light outside so I headed back to the car and spent about an hour or so polishing and cleaning. From that point on until the end of the show I divided my time between hikes around to check out the hardware and time outs in the chair resting….it was 3:00pm before I knew it and by the time I got down to the park they were already into the awards presentation. I hung around until the trophy’s were all spoken for and then headed back to the car and packed up the display. I got home about 4ish and the wife was there, having returned from her week up north at band camp, so after a bit of chatting we headed out to the Texas Steakhouse and spent a couple hours there talking and eating. After the chow was all gone we headed back home and took it easy.
Sunday I slept in till 9, just cuz I could and then got up and made pancakes for me and the doggies. Once breakfast was history I put on my painter clothes and headed out to put what would hopefully be the finish coat on the front of the garage. It took a couple hours to finish the front and once that was done I decided to keep going so I scrapped and primer’d the left side. When I was done with that project for the day I got out the lawnmower and did the whole yard. By the time I was done being a tear-ass it was going on 6:00pm so I came in the house, sat down in the chair for a minute and ended up waking up when Chris called about 9:00pm saying he needed a ride home from work. (dunno if I mentioned it or not but he got a job working at Pizza Hut). After I got him delivered home I took a shower and got all the paint and grass off me. The rest of the evening was spent trying to learn how to use some new music downloading software.....
This coming week I have nothing pressing planned, may try to spend some more time with the garage, we’ll see how the weather acts. The plan for the weekend is to head up to Meadowview castle and mow some ferns……..looks like I’ll be going by myself again but that’s nothing new so we’ll see what happens.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Coast Guard Festival 08 Post Mortem

Well here it is already Thursday and I'm just now getting to this. You'd think with no wife at home this week that I'd be taking it easy but nope...ain't that smart. Spent most of Monday night pulling weeds and cleaning up the patio area so it looks like someone lives here, Tuesday night I put the first coat of primer on the front of the garage. Just doing that makes it look quite a bit better. Hopefully one coat of the good stuff will suffice to finish the front. Last night I stopped a U-sell-it place over in Spring Lake to see about putting the van there and because it looks promising and I'm taking it over there tonight, I spent the bulk of last night fixing the wiring to the headlights (now they all work again Yay!) and cleaning it up a bit.
So, last week.....Monday night I took Mercury for a hike on the pier and shot some good shots during the hike, only to have the camera crash later when I tried to finalize 'em and eat the disc. That ticked me off and kinda killed my plan to shoot some pics each night for the whole week for a festival presentation. I really need to come up with some cash for a real (DSLR) camera somehow.....I didn't even go downtown Tuesday night, but Wednesday I grabbed the gear and went down to try again. Hiked around for awhile and went and did a boat tour on one of the smaller ones. A big ship from Canada had came in during the afternoon, but they weren't open for tours until Thursday night and I never did get back down there to climb on board.
All of a sudden it was Saturday morning so I was up early. Parked the truck by the old high school and started hoofing around. I went down to Central Park to check out the art show and spent a couple hours there checking stuff out and talking with folks. About 10:30 or so I started heading back to the parade route to find a spot to sit my carcass and got back there just in time to witness the Clown Band's annual pre-parade old folks home performance. After that I found my spot and kicked back with the Ipod going until I saw the flashing lights of the cop cars leading the festivities. For the next couple hours I shot pics, had candy thrown at me and had an enjoyable parade. One of the high points was having the studebaker club going by when not one, but two of their vehicles died right in front of us and had to be pushed to the end of the route, several blocks away. And you wonder why Studebaker ain't in the business of making cars any longer?

Once the parade was over I headed for the truck and then for home. I'd gotten an invite from neighbor and engineering manager at work, Nick, to stop over for a pig roast and some conversation so when I woke up from my little nap about 4:30 I headed over there. Wanda came with and for the next couple hours we hung out there. Lots of good food and some interesting folks too.
About 7 or so we left Nick's house, Wanda headed for home and I headed for downtown and the impending fireworks display. Ri had called and invited me to sit with them in Bicentennial Park (Ground Zero for fireworks viewing). I strolled downtown and shot pics of the carnival as I went by. I was resting and trying to call Ri on the cell phone when her and Adam just walked up to me. Adam asked if I'd seen the statue guy and not knowing what the heck he was talking about he led me over to where this guy was sitting on a park bench, frozen in motion, painted entirely in a copper color, scaring the hell out of folks when they were going by and realized it was a real person. He looked like a statue, really cool. we spent probably a half hour there taking pics and watching folks reactions to him. I sent some pics I took to him via his business card's request. Here's the link to checking this cat out.......

After our fun with the statue man we headed for their blanket and hung out there while it got dark and the lights came on. It was a bit after 10 when the Musical Fountain fired up and not long after that they started shooting off the fireworks. they lasted a good 20 minutes, maybe longer and once the grand finale faded from the sky everyone in the park clapped, stood up and headed for their cars like they just couldn't wait to get in that 4 hour traffic jam straight ahead of 'em.......

I said goodbyes to Ri and Adam and starting making my way back home. I took a break for awhile on Grant and Beacon Blvd just to watch the long lines of headlights not going anywhere fast. After I rested up a bit I finished the trip home, getting there a bit after midnight.
Sunday morning we were up early again. Wanda was headed up north to band camp for the week as a champeron and I was headed to the folks for the annual, smaller every year, family reunion. Had a nice ride up on the bike, first one since getting back from S.D., and got there about 12:30pm. Not long after we were eating and then not long after that people left. I ended up talking to uncle Noel until about 4:00 and was the last one there that didn't live there. I stopped by the folks house for about an hour before heading for home. Got back in town about 8 and pretty much called it a day.
So there ya have it, last week and most of this week. Plans for the weekend are the Del Shannon Car Cruise on Friday night and the car show Saturday. Don't have anything shaking for Sunday yet but I can fix that!