Michigan ~ Day 92

For a while after getting back, I was heartrendingly nostalgic inside, all the time. Now that Josie’s back – bless her heart – I think I’m ok.

The day that we were finishing up the paint job in the kitchen, Scott commented to me that it was so frustrating sometimes. “What?” I asked. Frustrating that others who wouldn’t see it at this construction-time would walk in and say or think, “Oh, they changed it. That’s nice,” and never realize or appreciate the work and headache that it takes to remodel a significantly large part of the kitchen.

Not too long after that incident, I came home late from errands to the new interns enjoying a communal dinner and a couple of drinks at the picnic table that now occupies the front porch area of the lower level of the cabin. “Was all of this like this last year?” “No!” I blurted out, without even stopping to think about any specifics. “Oh. Like, what was different about it?” I found myself launching into an account of how-the-cabin-used-to-be stories. I slept late that night – later than any night since I’d gotten back.

It is crazy to look around the cabin and see how much has changed. What did I tell them? I told them about how I lived in Sharon’s basement before the cabin was finished… How, when we first moved in, we had to go upstairs to use the bathroom… How we didn’t have a front door, and once the toilet downstairs was working, I would come out of my room in the middle of the night wondering if any animals would come walking in at any moment. I told them about the dead mouse that stayed in the shower forever before someone finally got up the guts to remove it and scrub out the working shower that I ddin’t want to use while the mouse was still there… I confess, it wasn’t me, and I never found out who it was, but I suspect it was either Tim or KJ. And then, of course, we didn’t have a shower curtain yet, so we were trying to take showers and make ourselves as small as possible in the corner of the shower so that the water wouldn’t go all over the unfinished wooden floorboards. I went and purchased that shower curtain and rod, and laughed the next day when I saw it installed with the label still on it; half of it hidden by where the rod went into the wall. I should take a picture of it sometime; it still makes me smile. The kitchen and bathroom down here now have lovely tile flooring that I’m told Patrick put in the week before all the interns got here. Our bedrooms don’t have finished floors still, but the green mat sure is smoother and cleaner than the floorboards underneath. There’s a wooden walkway leading up to the front door of our level, and you would never guess that our front lawn used to be a construction area. The fire pit is ringed with stones and even has a ring of stumps for seating, the stumps balanced out with boards to keep from rocking on the uneven hill. All of the cabinets here in the kitchen are fully installed, and the dusty couch that used to be against the windows is gone, replaced by more cabinets and smooth, shiny, clean countertops. The stove, refrigerator, and washing machine no longer bear signs of having been DIY-installed. There’s a new sink, and the old chest freezer is gone. We have a blender and a toaster and a coffee maker down here. It’s crazy.

I really do take a ridiculous number of things for granted. It’s really sad, and I’m not proud of it. Neither am I proud, then, of the fact that knowing what it takes to make some things happen and trying to appreciate that tends to make me less charitable in my intolerance for things that I know for a fact have been – as many I know would term it – half-@$$ed, in spite of entirely favorable situations. And I’m realizing more and more that I’m starting to be old enough to witness the widening gap between the old world and the new world. Kudos to ya’ll that promote local sourcing, but I wonder how many people say “local sourcing” and understand that it means that Missy spent two, or three, or four hours out in the woods behind the deer fence picking wild leeks, washing and stripping and picking through them carefully, and then separating them patiently into three parts, namely the bulbs, the stems, and the leaves, so that she could make you a wild leek and potato soup garnished with a leek coulis.

*sigh* Ok. End rant.

I was mad at myself for stumbling through the cafe’s opening day. Scott had to calm me down. “Ais. It’s the first day.” “I know, but I should know this!” “I’m not in my groove yet, either.”

Michigan is good for me. It’s one of those experiences that puts things into perspective. It’s the old wisdom – the same that says that the best way to stay appreciative of food in the food industry when one has otherwise disappeared into some aspect of it like the flavor industry – something I don’t necessarily aspire to do – is to occasionally ask to work a night on the line. It’s the wisdom of travel, of drinking in other cultures and trying to adopt better ways of living. It’s like the discernment of a vocation – that for the vast majority of us whose cross it is to not know from the age of five what our calling is, and who will spend a decade, or two, or three-plus, searching, it isn’t a choice if we don’t know what we’re choosing between, and we owe it to ourselves to do justice to the consideration of the possibilities.

Anyway…

The weather’s been rather crummy, actually. Don’t get me wrong – last year, I totally caught on to the farmers’ appreciation of rain – but I object to the cold, and that phenomenon of snow in May, something that I thought I’d left behind me in Clarks Summit. I certainly didn’t pack for it. And snow isn’t good for the vines when the buds are already beginning to open up. We unfortunately did lose a number of vines, especially down on the lower terraces. I’m not sure which of the traditional varietals is down there on the bottom – either Pinot Gris, Riesling, or Chardonnay – but fortunately we’re looking better with the Vignole and Brianna, and the Marquette is doing best.

So Josie is back, and although it makes us both miss KJ like crazy, it’s nice to be back for round two together. I joined her and Kelsey at the bowling alley last night for Trivia. Did you know that in 2003, Skittles released a mint flavor with the slogan, “Feel the kiss, taste the rainbow”? Yeah, neither did I… Still, we did really well in the first half – we only lost two points!!! – but then I left to do errands and haven’t found out how they did on the halftime question or the second half.

I’m continuing to learn to triple two step. This week’s sequence was considerably easier than last week’s. I’m getting better at sharp right turns, and I enjoy the brief sequences in cape and wrap positions. I definitely did not get the ending we were working in where the lady spins three times on the walk-walk and the one-and-two, but I got everything else they put together for the lesson. As they’ve made a point of drilling into my head about it being the gentleman’s job to show off his partner, I definitely enjoy that during the cape position.

At the end of every cafe shift, I do confess that I miss Mt. Adams terribly. And maybe it’s not just Mt. Adams specifically, but being able to go in late and then straight to bed after a long shift, as opposed to going in early and having to plan on taking care of things in the evening, when I’m tired from work. I don’t know how Daddy does it, but I completely understand why he needs a nap.

And for a bit there, I was a little lonely, too, because I hadn’t quite gelled with any of the interns. Scott being Scott and having a family that he and I both want him to be able to prioritize as much as possible by going home at a decent hour as often as possible, I’ve been missing my post-service nights at the Tavern and Yesterdays. Maybe it was that shot of rum that I asked for in my Sierra Mist at the bowling alley that prompted the missing. But I’m happy to report that I’m making friends: Benjamin, Alise, Danny, Ryan, and Kelly and I hit Legs last week, Alise has been coming with me to the ballroom dancing sessions, Danny and I went to watch Oblivion the other night [which I do not recommend, btw, at least, not on the big screen, it’s a waste of money as it’s purely entertainment and no real substance], and Ryan and I ended up baking together today – I made a gluten/dairy/egg-free strawberry rhubarb pie, and he made a beef/pork/rutabaga/other-vegetables pastie-pie – and watching Part I of the Extended Edition of FotR. I brought all three with me this year, and I think we’ll be watching a part a night for the next five nights. Cherry wine’s just a plus.

I spent the first half of my Pentecost Sunday with the Smiths at Mass at St. Augustine’s, followed by brunch with them at Southwoods, as well as the entire day before, which was the day of the Morel Fest. We sadly did not win any morels, but we still got to eat a fair amount at the Taste of Morels!!! I didn’t have too much trouble finding gluten/dairy/egg/nut-free tastes, and I had two portions of the steak and morel tacos. Too good for words.

Now, Kuya Miguel was supposed to be available to meet up next week when I’m down in Columbus, but he’s in Cleveland for an internship, so we’re trying to figure out if there’s still a way for us to hang out.

Aaaand it is nearly midnight and I’m finally done with laundry. It has been a very productive day off. I did get to talk briefly to Mother, Yena, Nino, Mama, Papa, Tita Reena, and Ninong, but phone service and internet connection have been not very nice – or rather, the weather hasn’t been conducive to their operations – and I didn’t get to follow up after dinner with any of them, or talk to Dad or Paco or Migi today. It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow, though.

Did I mention we have 21 reservations for Saturday’s Farm to Table dinner???

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