A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Dave and I used to play Warhammer 40K, with figures just like those pictured above. He texted me this photo, which coincided with Anne finding in the news that there has been a shooting in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn (4 dead, 7 shot). Dan lives in this neighborhood. Her motherly concern caused her to reach out to eldest her son and ask for proof-of-life. Not immediately getting an answer, she continued worrying and soon tried again. I checked the news and discovered that the shootings occurred at a gambling parlor, on a cross street near Dan. Eventually, he got back to us and everything was alright. Dave is with him in NYC this weekend and they are at a gaming parlor, playing Warhammer. They are playing for points, so no gambling is involved and hopefully no gunplay either. We really shouldn’t worry so much, NYC is safer than Saint Louis is these days.
Anne has been dissecting owl pellets at school. An owl pellet is something that owls cough up from their gizzard. Usually, they are composed of indigestible components of the prey that they feed on and comprise things like bones, feathers and bits of fur. Sounds truly disgusting, right? That’s what the third graders thought at first, but they got into it and soon took to the task with relish. She claims that she never touched any of the pellets, but instead used tweezers and toothpicks to examine them. The kids ended up doing most of the work anyway and Anne washer her hands afterwards. According to Anne, on a continuum of grossness, owl pellets are less gross than dead mice found while opening the cabin for the summer and way less gross than phlegm. I’m sure youth wanted to know. We’re planning on getting our flu shots this week, because although it is unlikely one would ever catch anything from owl pellets, there are plenty of other sources of disease in the third grade.
I chose my initial career path one night in my senior year in high school. I had accompanied my dad on one of his nightly runs to the University of Michigan’s computer center. As he punched a few cards for his next job, I looked around. It must have been at the end of the term, after years into his fellowship. The gleaming clean of the computer rooms counterpointed the trampling dirty footsteps of final’s week. Somehow this dichotomy captured my heart and I longed to be on the other side of that computer room glass. I majored in computer science and at times scrounged dirty, but un-punched cards off of those totally unsanitary floors, but never did I break that glass. I graduated, just barely. My first boss was originally my college advisor’s babysitter. After two years on the job, I had become disenchanted to the point of insubordination. I was got a second chance in Saint Louis.
Anne and I married and moved to Saint Louis. We enjoyed our great adventure, before settling in and buying a house and having kids. My computer company was shot out beneath me. I jumped from the frying pan into the fire and hired into the defense industry, just as the Berlin wall was coming down and my prospective employer was also experiencing its own financial difficulties. What ensued was ten years of layoffs. My employer’s workforce shrank to 20% of my hire in numbers. I still remember my new hire orientation instructor touting his weight loss, while wearing his now oversized suit. Still, I persisted. Those ten year probably took twenty off my life. I survived and eventually prospered. What did I do? I like to say that I made paper airplanes. It tends to fend off further questions and keeps me square with the government. When I calculated that I had made enough money, I punched out.
When I look back over my career, there are a few things that were of note, awards, promotions and innovations. What I value most from my work was that it provided for my family. All of the petty crises that once populated my day-to-day work life have melted away. I can look back and see that my success was founded on three principles: 1) staying healthy 2) staying married and 3) staying employed. I wish my children my kind of success, because I love my life, I love my wife and I hope that they enjoy our kind of success. Show them the money!
…until someone’s eye gets poked out. Fortunately, none of that happened here. Brit made this movie and Dan allowed me to post it. Brit sped it up and I put it in an endless loop. Even so, it kind of makes you sorry for all those knights in shining armor. Speaking of movies, the film that Dan worked on a year and a half ago in Maine, has got a distributor. Blow the Man Down will be coming to Amazon Prime. No word yet on when. Word is that Amazon bought it on the eve of the Toronto Film Festival, to forestall other bidders. Dan and Brit left today, driving back to NYC. Bubs accompanied us four for a breakfast run to Jack’s. I am officially the baby of the cabin again. The seagulls are leaving or dying, but not staying here. The summer people are leaving. We will leave next week. After three months on the road, I cannot tell you how happy I will be to sleep in my own bed again. It is time to move onto the second phase of retirement, home improvement. At home, there are plenty of projects waiting for me to work on.
Dan and Brit
Anne, Dan and Brit went boating today. Dan and Brit shared a canoe, while Anne borrowed a kayak. I stayed on the bank, to watch and worry. They all went around Round Island first. Their presence there suitably agitated the seagulls. Anne saw, but did not photograph an eagle that was sitting out on the island. Next up was Cedar Point. They landed at the navigational triangle. Then it was back to the beach. I think that there will be some sore muscles in the future.
We hosted a dinner party last night. In addition to our cabin’s six, invitees included Anne, Bill and Grinch, for a total of nine. This summer season’s high. Cousin Anne made her always delicious lasagna, both meat and veggie types. We accompanied this with a salad and garlic bread. Everyone had a good time.
Superior Sunset with One Dark Spot
Dave is back in Boston, mostly. I had to mail his iPad to him today. I then went to Meijer’s. Shopping there feels safer than shopping at Walmart these days. These are the only two choices. Not that we normally frequent Walmart, but now that we’re on Medicare, Anne may need to go there to fill a perscription or to exercise her cute girl privileges.
Anne, Dan and Brit finished a jigsaw puzzle today, in record time. This 1,000 piece puzzle that Brit had bought is entitled, “Age of Discovery” and features a British ship-of-the-line sailing vessel. It was an interesting puzzle for a couple of ancillary reasons. The pieces were a cardboard-wood laminate, making the fit between pieces very crisp. The other novel feature was that the puzzle was back-printed with a matrix of the letters A through H. We started only using the back to confirm that a piece was placed correctly, but that was a slippery slope. Since, each of the eight letters identified which quadrant the piece belonged in, we soon had sorted the remaining pieces into their appropriate piles. This greatly expedited the puzzle’s completion. Anne plans on trotting out the Redwoods puzzle again. She, Jay and Carl had solved it, but it should be good for one more play with Dan and Brit. Besides, it is unlikely that she will be able to entice them with the only other alternative, the Thomas Kinkade puzzle, even though it features NYC Central Park, because Dan loathes him as an artist.
The weather has been unusually fine here, since Dan arrived on Friday. Since, Dave and Maren were here for only a very short time, I’m glad that their brief stay was marked by good weather. What makes the weather here so nice is the wind. It has been a wee bit cool here, but I’m fine with that. We’ve enjoyed a fairly constant 10+ knot wind that has kept the bugs away. I can’t remember the last time that I got a mosquito bite. I could under deep hypnosis, because I have probably repressed all those memories, but why bother. The Perseids meteor shower is supposed to peak tonight and with the wind the way it is, their viewing would be ideal, but unfortunately tonight’s forecast looks rather cloudy. Clouds to make for better sunsets though. Maren gets credit for today’s pic.
Cabin Steps Portrait
“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.” (Dune, Frank Herbert) This weekend was one such a beginning, an important one and one that went swimmingly well, even if I do say so myself. But all good things must come to an end. Today, Dave and Maren left the cabin and headed south again to Ann Arbor. They have an oh-no-dark-thirty flight to catch and plan on being back at work tomorrow. Dan and Brit are still here and will stay a week more. As is tradition, everyone in the cabin posed for a picture. Kudos to cousin Anne for snapping the photo. Bubs and Harry were probably the most excited about doing this family portrait. Unfortunately, we discovered too late that the camera’s lens needed to be cleaned. Dan is not really in a fog.
Yesterday, “the kids” hiked the trail between Tahquamenon’s lower and upper falls, or about five miles. Anne and I met them at the terminus of their hike, at the upper falls. We lunched at the brewery there. It has been pretty windy here and a wee bit cold since before the kids arrived here on Friday. Good weather for the hike, but not so much for sunning on the beach. Today, was different though. The wind had died. The sun came out and people went swimming. I think that we all got our full dose of radiation exposure.
We’ve been living pretty high on the hog this weekend. For example, this morning for breakfast, we had scones from Sugar Daddy’s, both chocolate and Maple sugar. For second breakfast, Anne and I took the kids out to eat at Jack’s Pub and Grub. Dave had some of their Polish cuisine, a pierogi based omelets.