Putting Your Eggs in One Basket

Sand Spider with Egg Sack

Rey, Becca, Dave, Anne and I toured the Soo today. We all squeezed into Rey’s Toyota Corolla, which is a rental. His regular car is also a Corolla, but that car is under recall for the Takata exploding passenger airbag problem that I just got Dave’s Corolla fixed for. Rey’s is a much newer model than Dave’s and as such the wait for parts is much longer, at least six months in Rey’s case. At first Toyota just advised Rey not to seat anyone in the front passenger seat, but eventually, Rey had to drive four people, so he complained to Toyota about that. They offered him a rent-a-car, for free, which he’ll likely keep through the end of the year. Such a deal! I guess that this is Toyota’s reaction to all of the bad press that they experienced a few years ago. Takata just filed for bankruptcy protection last week, so there is no telling how that might affect the schedule for airbag replacements. Rey may be keeping the rental even longer?

Anyway, we all went to town. Our first stop was the Happy Hooker, a yarn and fabric store. Both Anne and Becca like to knit. It turns out that the store is going out of business this month, because the proprietors are retiring. Consequently, everything in the store was considerably marked down. The girls had a field day there. Afterwards, we went to Penny’s Kitchen again. Earlier this week, after laundry, when we had originally gone to Penny’s, we knew that we would likely be returning there soon. That’s OK. Penny’s has a large menu and it’s all good.

After lunch, we toured the locks, but no boats, except of course for a tour boat. Rey checked out the Shipwreck annex and we all did tourist row, along Portage, then walked up Ashman and back to Penney’s and the car. Every year there are more and more vacant storefronts along Ashman. A sign of the continual decline of small town America. Between Amazon and Walmart, it is harder and harder to make a living out in the country.

Up North

Sunset Reflections

Today was laundry day, so this morning Anne and I trooped all of the dirty clothes and linens into town to the laundromat. At home, with our basement washer and dryer combo, laundry is a daily non-event, but up here, up north, laundry day can be quite the thing. I was actually looking forward to this chore.

We trooped into the Soo, taking Portage along the way, because that is the most target rich environment in-town for out-of-state license plates. Last night, while returning to the cabin from the Palace Saloon, Anne spied three new states along the locks that she didn’t already have in her current iteration of the license plate game. Today though, she drew a blank and got nothing, nada. This game always begins in a rush, but its endgame is always so-so-so drawn out.

Doing laundry at the laundromat is as boring as watching paint dry, but the accoutrements around laundry that have built-up over time make the process more interesting. First, I got a coffee from Penny’s Kitchen, then Anne went shopping for a pair of pants for Bubs at Barish Brothers, founded in 1913 and about the only retailer of note, still in existence downtown. Around the corner from Barish, back on Portage, is another venerable store, ‘Das Gift Haus’. This is one of the many establishments along tourist row that caters to out-of-town license plates. Interestingly, if you plug ‘Das Gift Haus’ into Google translate, you get ‘The Poison House’. “My dear, that is such a lovely decorative vase that you are holding, would you like some arsenic with it?” Thank you, Charles!

After laundry, we did Penny’s for lunch. Then, because Anne’s phone has been losing charge so rapidly of late, we went in search of a cellphone repair store. After checking at several other places around town, we finally found a place that looked like it could possibly help replace the battery in her phone. It was a cellphone store that was also a liquor store. The perfect combination for drunk dialing! The guy manning the phone desk had a lap full of broken iPhones and seemed way more inclined in talking Anne out of her repair than doing the job. We thanked him and left him and headed to Meijer’s for groceries. The storm hit while we in there, but we had our umbrellas and Meijer’s had its generator. We made it back to the cabin in time for Thursday fish. I had the perch.