Tag Archives: Fox Lake Road

The Erin Motel

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Before I gave up on the idea of braving the winter – with my daughters – in the unfinished house on Fox Lake Road, we had nearly run out of wood. I was scrambling for a source, and trying to figure out how I’d pay for it. The house was insulated, but still drafty. It was getting cold. I stapled black plastic to the exposed support beams to cover the insulation. I hung blankets over the windows.

The line bringing water to our house from the neighbor’s well froze solid. Then I  begged a $500.00 cash advance from work, in order to hire Bud Martin to put a submersible pump in my own well and complete the hookups to the house. During that time, I hauled water each day in five gallon containers (4) from the public faucet at the township airport, for washing up, cleaning and flushing the toilet. I carried two single gallons home from town for cooking and drinking. Bud tried to hook up the pump, but said it would only draw sand, so he had to pull it back out. He said Mr. Goller must have cracked the screen when he set it.

That’s when I gave up.

Then, it was too late to move into McCafferty’s Hotel: it was already rented for the winter. I talked to my friend Roy, who owned the Erin Motel. He was one of my regular morning coffee drinkers, and also often used the Shamrock to conduct his real estate business. He was an avid hunter, which he knew I didn’t like. Our friendship was based on me serving him coffee, and him teasing me. I told him we needed to find a place to live, and that I’d like to move in to the Erin. I explained that it would take me most of the winter to pay back the cash advance from work, so I was working just for tips. If my [estranged] husband sent money, I’d be able to pay rent; if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to pay until spring.

“That will be fine,” he said.

I told him two adjoining motel rooms would be best, as they were small. That way we could use one for sleeping, one for meals and general living space.

“Okay,” he said, “that will be alright.”

I told him our beagle, Joe, would have to come with us.

“Sure, I accept dogs there.”

“…And the two cats,” I said.

Roy shook his head. His voice was firm.

“Nope, sorry, no cats. I don’t allow cats in the motel,”

I stomped my foot.

“Roy,” I said, “my girls have been through enough already! I’m not going to argue with you about this!”

“Alright,” he wavered,”I’ll make an exception for the cats.”

So it was that my dog, two cats, my two daughters and I all moved – with a few pots and pans, some dishes, one piece of art, a few books and three suitcases of clothing –  in to two adjoining rooms at the Erin Motel. The building is right on the harbor – though our rooms didn’t have a harbor view – so we could walk to wherever we needed to go. The school was two blocks up the hill; the Shamrock was right across the street.

Our rooms were standard motel rooms: square, large enough for a double bed, dresser and chair, with a bathroom and a small alcove for hanging coats. A door near the entry doors linked the two rooms. Roy had two twin beds and a double bed moved into one room. In the other, we had a roll-away bed that we used as a sofa, a couple chairs, a card table with folding chairs, and a make-shift kitchen that consisted of a dorm sized refrigerator and a two-burner range. Each room had a large window in front that looked out onto the main street.

In order to make ends meet, and keep working after the busy season, I was working six days a week: two morning (7AM to 2PM), two afternoon (2PM to 8PM) and two night shifts (8PM to closing time). Business was slow, so it was always okay for the girls to come over after school, once they had walked the dog and taken care of the cats. They could practice piano at the Shamrock, do their homework and watch television. On days when I was home in the evenings, I cooked on the little two-burner stove, and we’d play games or cards after dinner around the card table. Though it was a rough time for all three of us, I remember laughing ’til we nearly lost control, crowded into those small rooms.

The following spring, when I was finally able to pay Roy for our stay there, I also presented him with a framed drawing I had done for him, of an elderly woman fishing off a dock, her large cat dozing in the sunshine beside her. It hangs in his office to this day.

 

Fox Lake Road: the Reality

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My house on Fox Lake Road, circa 1990

So then we come to reality.

We decided to build the garage first, and live in it while we were putting up our house. This building was 24′ x24′, with the south half of the house – shown in the photo – having the bathroom and laundry area toward the front, a kitchen at the back, and a stairway leading up to two small bedrooms just four feet in front of that red door. The north half of the house was an open space for living and dining. When we finished the real house, those two rooms would become a one car garage. The other half would be spare accommodations for guests.

This picture does not reflect the way the house looked when we first moved in to it in the mid 1980s. Then, the only windows were on the front and back walls, facing east and west. All of the windows and doors had been salvaged from my in-laws house down-state, when they put new ones in. We framed the house to fir them. The only exception was the front door, and the back window in the dining room. Those, I bought used from Catherine White, when she replaced them. Thus, all the windows and doors were old and drafty.

Inside, we had managed to get enough sheet rock put up to give walls to the bathroom and the stairway. In the rest of the house, we were looking at the studs, with un-faced insulation tucked in between. Porcelain fixtures with bare bulbs provided light. The floor was  cement. There was less than a cord of wood stacked outside, with wood our only heat source. We were still negotiating with the man that held our land contract, for him to finish our well. He was off the island more than on, it seemed. To satisfy our water needs, he ran a flexible water pipe over the ground from his house to ours.

By the time this photo was taken, I had (with the help of my sister, Cheryl) painted the OSB sheeting on the outside of the house, in an effort to save it from the weather. I had used many cans of foam insulation in the corners, to try to seal the exterior. I had managed to find another source for used windows, and added one on the south wall of the kitchen.

When we moved in, in the summer of 1984, there were no flower beds. I ordered dozens of bulbs: Red Riding Hood tulips and Siberian Scillia. I planted them in the fall, with high hopes for greeting spring in a blaze of color, and we watched the colors change from our little house on the Fox Lake Road.

 

Fox Lake Road: the Dream

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First of all, dreams are easy.

They can ignore reality in ways so extreme, it is only in hindsight – when wide awake – that their unreasonableness comes clear.

My plans and schemes and dreams for our home on Fox Lake Road were based on other buildings I’d admired: my grandparent’s house in Lapeer, Michigan, and the granary at the farmhouse on Beaver Island. Ideas were gleaned from books, magazines and diagrams of house plans. I filled notebooks with clippings; I drew diagrams on graph paper.

I did not consider available time…or money. I had no idea about the sequence of events that had to be incorporated into the building process, when they had to happen or how much they would cost. I didn’t know building codes or practices. I complained loudly when trying to redraw my perfect plans to show 4″ interior walls and 6″ exterior walls. Graph paper does not easily accommodate the fracturing of the square foot. Everything was skewed!

My plans were of a more ethereal, artistic nature. An imaginary grid would overlay our property on a north-south axis. All buildings would line up with the grid, presenting the roof pitch on the north and south sides. Passive solar features were considered in the house’s design, and we wanted to be open to other solar options as they became more affordable.

The house (28′ x28′, with a basement) and the garage (24′ x24′, on a cement slab) would each be one and a half story buildings. All others structures (garden shed, chicken coop, tree-house, barn) would mimic that shape in smaller versions. All  buildings were going to be square, each roof would have a 12/12 pitch, and each finished shape (adding the overhang of the eaves) would be divisible by five (I KNOW!!). Windows and doors would be placed symmetrically in each structure. All siding would be dark gray, board and batten; all roofs would be shingled in a lighter gray, to give the appearance of being bleached by the sun.

The basement would have winter play space for the girls. It would also have room for my art studio. Beyond that, there would be laundry facilities, a large chest-type freezer and storage shelves. There would be a door leading to a second stairway up to the outside; in the winter that area could be used as a root cellar. We imagined growing most of our own food, buying in bulk and keeping a well-stocked pantry and freezer.

On the ground floor, skylights would brighten the spaces. Wood floors would be of maple we’d milled ourselves. A centrally placed wood stove would provide heat. There would be a view from every window. Upstairs, a bathroom and three bedrooms.

Paving stones laid out in straight paths would lead from one area to another.  Fence lines would honor the grid that dictated placement of all man-made features. Wild bursts of flowers and other plantings would provide contrast to the strict layout. From the sky (at that stage in our lives, my husband was still talking about learning to fly an airplane), it would look like a series of Monopoly houses scattered across the landscape.

These were the plans we made, with papers spread out over the dining table at Charbridge Arbor and the big kitchen table of the farmhouse. They were discussed at length, fine-tuned and improved upon while we lived at Corner #16 and the house on Johnson Mill Road. Plans for our island life could lead us away from almost every argument, and bring us back to a place filled with big dreams for the future.

‘Course, like I said, dreams are easy. Real life, on the other hand, is…real. That’s what we came face-to-face with when we started building on the Fox Lake Road.

The Property on Fox Lake Road

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The land we bought was part of what had been a 40 acre parcel: a square, 1/4 mile on each side. Fox Lake Road curves a little bit through the western boundary line. It had been split into two twenty-acre parcels, both with access to Fox Lake Road, still 1/4 mile deep. The northernmost parcel had a two acre lot cut out of the northwest corner of it, and had a little cabin on it that was used as a hunting camp.That was owned by Thomas Tange.

The rest of that piece – eighteen acres – was owned by Dick Goller: pilot, plumber and  well-driller with a well-deserved reputation as a con man and a shyster. He was a short, round man with black hair, a booming voice and a big grin.  Though he was sharp at making deals, he also had a reputation for being a little dense. He came in to the Shamrock one morning, complaining that his foot was killing him. He swore the boot had gotten smaller overnight.

“Did you leave a sock inside there?” Bill Welke asked him.

“Oh, I dunno. That’s a thought, I guess!”

With that, he unlaced his boot and pulled it off. To guffaws and chuckles all around the coffee-drinkers table, and to Bill Welke’s absolute glee, he spilled a dead mouse out of his boot on to the floor.

“Huh! Well that explains it,” he said, “…suppose it wasn’t dead when I went to put the boot on. Little guy should’ve spoken up!”

Goller worked mainly from his home in Cedar Springs, but had started taking quite a few jobs on the island. Enough, he felt, for having a second home here. When he started putting his house up, he accidentally built it over the property line, on the land belonging to Tange. He split the 18 acres in half, then, and sold nine in order to purchase the section that his home was sitting on. He priced it pretty reasonably and, to sweeten the deal, he offered to put a well on the land for no additional cost.

So it happened that – just as my husband was recovering from his fall from a roof and getting back to work…as we were moving from Corner #16 to Johnson Mill Road…as I was opening a gallery in Lapeer, Michigan – we got a call from Ed Wojan about buying a piece of land. Ed was in the real estate business, and knew we’d been looking at property on Beaver Island. He thought we might be interested in this deal. We were! We made a trip to the island to have a look.

Seven miles from town, the land had a rough old two-track logging road running through it. My Dad said, “That’s a little too far from town,” and we said “No way!” From our home in North Branch, no town was closer than seven miles; I traveled twice that distance to Lapeer, and twenty miles further to college in Flint. Seven miles seemed like nothing. The logging road would be an advantage, we said. We could use the first part of it as a driveway. The back was a ready-made walking path through the woods. We could drive a truck back there, too, for hauling out firewood.

The property had three hundred foot of frontage on Fox Lake Road. The front third was a fairly open field with  wild black cherry trees and juniper bushes scattered throughout. The back was hard wood forest: plenty, if managed correctly, to provide us with a constant source of wood for heat. On the north side of the property, on what had long ago been the edge of a farmer’s plowed field, were three huge maple trees. That was it…the final selling point. We loved it!

 

 

Back to the Farm

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One more summer at the farmhouse, while we put our energies toward getting the building closed in on our property.

If you’ve every built a house, you know. There were permits to be filed and payed for. There was an order in which things had to happen, that involved several different contractors and their schedules. Drainage pipes had to be in place before the slab was poured. The place had to be wired for electricity before drywall could go up. Plumbing, too. Our plumber didn’t even live on the island!

While I had spent hours pouring over house plans, drawing up ours on graph paper, I hadn’t imagined all the things that would prevent those walls from going up. Lumber was bought or traded from the island mill for some purposes, but because it wasn’t kiln-dried, it wasn’t suitable for all of our needs. When we ordered lumber from the mainland, we had to arrange time to meet the boat to pick it up.

Unplanned costs were everywhere. Terry became a master at bartering labor for materials. Lumber that came from Wojan’s Mill would be paid for by his work at the mill during the next winter. Blue board and other insulation received from Cashman would be worked off, too. The Butlers put in our electricity with the agreement that Terry would work on the house they were building. Through that summer, he was spending many weeks down in the lower part of the state, doing jobs for his father’s roofing and siding business. When he came home, it was always with a truckload of materials.

I was in the luxurious position of not being a builder, so there was little I could do on our house at this stage. I worked at the Shamrock, made hearty meals for whoever was at the farm, kept up the yard, maintained the house and took care of the laundry with a wringer washer and a clothesline. Still, it felt like a life of leisure!

I worked at the restaurant all summer, but my morning shift ended at two. I’d go pick up my daughters, who would have completed their chores by that time, and we’d often head back to town to the beach. I did a lot of reading that summer, and had a great tan!

We had company through most of the season. Cousins came to stay at the farmhouse. Aunts and uncles came for vacation; other relatives stopped in to visit. We had many meals where the large table was filled with people of all ages, telling old stories long into the night.

By the middle of August, we conceded that we were going to have to finish the house while living in it, so we went ahead and made the move to Fox lake Road.

Back to Beaver

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The farmhouse on Beaver Island, circa. 1982

It was in the early spring that we moved back to Beaver Island.

Now, springtime on Beaver Island is beautiful. Just like in every other place that experiences winter, spring is welcomed. However, when you haven’t been on Beaver Island for the winter, to experience the transition from extremely cold to not quite so bad…when you come here from a place three hundred miles south, where the grass is already green and the flowers are already blooming…when you land on Beaver Island right in the middle of what the local folks call “mud season” and before the temperatures have risen above 50 degrees (even colder at night!), this is not a pleasant place.

That is what we did, and that is where we found ourselves: in a pretty dreary place.

Our property was not yet paid off; our house was still in the planning stages. The well that was included in the price of our land was not even started. We moved, again, into the family farmhouse.  The girls were switching schools near the end of a school year, with little time to make new friends or get into the swing of classroom activities. Terry’s job was, in fact, still several weeks away from beginning. The Shamrock was in the process of changing hands, and still a month away from looking for summer help. We almost immediately regretted turning our lives upside-down without better preparation.

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Jennifer, trying to keep warm in the living room of the farmhouse

We spent long days driving around on muddy roads, searching for a bit of green, keeping watch for downed trees that we could cut up for firewood. Evenings were spent drawing and re-drawing plans for our house, lining up help and materials and planning the sequence of activities to get a structure up. Until we started working, and generating some income, of course everything was on hold.

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Me, walking the property

Reality was affecting our house plans, too. We couldn’t possibly get our house up in time to move into it before the next winter. Every single thing was costing more than expected. We had to bring electricity down the Fox Lake Road. Even when sharing that expense with the man who had sold us our land, and who owned the property adjacent to ours on the north, it was still going to be a huge out-of-pocket expense. Septic system, plumbing, wiring…we were quickly overwhelmed.

Our house plans were modest: a 28′ x 28′ story and a half structure with a basement and a detached garage. Three bedrooms, one bath. We planned board and batten siding and simple finishes throughout. The house would be laid out to take best advantage of the sun; solar panels on the roof would help with energy costs. A central wood stove would provide heat. No matter how we looked at it, it was still impossible, with our time and money constraints that year.

When given the choice of putting in the basement or putting up the garage – to live in either while we finished the house – I chose the garage. I am eternally thankful that I did, as that is the structure I am still living in today. If I had chosen the basement, I may have been living underground all of these years!

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the stakes set, for the cement slab foundation for the garage

Change

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I never figure coin, when adjusting my checkbook. If I deposit $438.87, I only add in $438.00. If I write a check for $12.02, I subtract $13.00. Most errors occur in adding and subtracting the coin, and I’ve eliminated it. I’ve also given myself a little cushion. If I forget to subtract the $2.50 service charge each month, I am covered. If I forget to enter a check or debit from my account, I am usually okay. With nothing more than the coin, I accumulate a couple hundred dollars each year.

It’s a nice little bonus. Sometimes it covers a little trip away; sometimes it gets me out of a bind caused by an illness or an unforeseen auto repair bill. A few years ago, with no other pressing needs, I used it to buy a camera. It’s nothing fancy – just a little “point and shoot” – but I enjoy it immensely. Because I got it with “left-over coin,” it seems like a gift.

I take more photos in October than in any other month of the year.

Change is what I am documenting.

Leaves turn from ordinary and expected greens to a wealth of gold-red-orange-purple colors that continue to delight, amaze and surprise me, though I’ve been observing this process for more than sixty years. Yesterday, the temperature dropped more than ten degrees, mid-day. We had episodes of rain here on Beaver Island, then sleet, then snow…and beautiful blue skies and bright sun in-between!

Change is the way we make note of our lives, as we live. It’s not always as pleasurable as watching autumn colors.

It includes “where did this summer go?” and “where did these wrinkles come from?” and “how did it happen that my precious babies are now grown, with problems and disappointments of their own?” It includes loss. And death.

I was, in fact, going to title this piece “Change and Disappointment.”

Beaver Island is losing its Beech trees. Every one. A disease that infected them years ago is taking them down. The woods are littered with their fallen majesty; every wind storm adds to the toll. As if that weren’t enough, fallen trees take out the electrical power and block roadways.

[even I can see the sheer audacity of that statement: “bad enough that an entire species of hundred-year-old trees is dying…but it’s inconveniencing me, as well!” Shame on me, as I continue, self-centered-ly]

A dear island gentleman passed away recently, an old friend of my father’s. I’ll attend his funeral this morning.

Last week, a man died – the father of an old friend – who I’d known for fifty years. As children, we’d raid his food stores for our midnight snacks. We’d roll our eyes at his commentary as he drove us to the Pix theater for movies. His voice, downstairs talking on the HAM radio, was background to our whispered midnight conversations. He was an integral part of my childhood.

I suffered a huge letdown with another project last week, which has caused a total upheaval in the process. I can’t quite make sense of it yet, or form words to describe the disappointment and fear…but I forge on.

“Forge on through disappointment and loss,” I tell myself. “Make the most of change.”

With thoughts like that, I headed down the Fox Lake Road last week, planning to be on time for work at the hardware store, which was the only job – at that time – that was not causing me grief. A large beech tree had fallen across the road, blocking my path. I couldn’t move it. What could I do? I could back up (on curvy road with dust-covered windows) more than a quarter-mile to a place where I could turn around, then back-track and take the long route to town. I could sit and wait for someone to come that could help me move the tree, or that could cut it out of the way. I could go around it…maybe. I got out and paced the distance from the end of the tree, across to the drive-able shoulder and off to the nearest barrier, which was a cluster of small trees. I might just make it, if I aimed just right, and turned just so, and didn’t flatten my tire rolling over the end of the tree trunk…

Well, I didn’t.

I got wedged in between the tree trunk in the road and the cluster of small trees off the road. After inching forward and back – forever, it seemed – to dislodge the car, I thought a bold push forward was necessary to get past a tiny fingerling tree that was holding me up…

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I tore the mirror right off the passenger side of my good little car. I’ve been so very appreciative of this car and so careful of it, I wanted to just cry. [I hate to admit, I also toyed with the notion of titling this piece “First Blood” to mark the first damage incurred on my watch.]

So much for getting to work on time!

So much for forging on with good spirits!

So much for making the best of change!

And yet…change is not only the things that happen, out of our control, that we fight and rail against and mourn for.

Change is also What is Left.

Change is the coin left over when you break a dollar. The eyes of small children twinkle when they give you one thing…a dollar bill…and they get back many shiny things in return. We adults all know it’s not as much…but oh, to look through a child’s eyes, and see that way! From my own experience, I know how change can accumulate.

For every loss, no matter how great, something is left, something is gained. For all of my self-centered melodrama, I still have an exciting business; I still have a working vehicle. When one sense is lost, the other senses are heightened. When a loved one dies, we look with renewed love and appreciation to those who are still with us; every memory becomes more precious.

The task is to take What is Left…and live with it. Let it grow, let it accumulate, let it be.

Sometimes – as in the autumn colors all around – what’s left is glorious.

Time to Write; Time to Pause

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I write just about every single day. Letters, often, though brief Emails outweigh traditional correspondence these days. Sometimes it’s editorial content or news items. Often it is editing and minor “re-writes.” None of it is as satisfying as the totally self-indulgent writing I do here. I can tell when it’s time to sit down and write something. As I go through my daily activities, if I am hankering to write, I find myself composing sentences in my head. Rather than just experiencing, I convert it to the written word.

“Two spotted fawns, with their mother, raised their heads to greet me as I drove past them on the Fox Lake Road.”

“Are the squirrels exhibiting bravery when they – at the last possible moment – dash in front of my car…or is it something darker?”

“A planned day off, filled to capacity with things I needed to accomplish, turned into another day at work, and my long list had to be saved for another day.”

This morning, as I sliced, with my fork, into a piece of french toast, I noticed the pat of melting butter looked like a large eye, and the cut I had made was a mouth.

“A mottled gnome snarled up at me from my breakfast plate this morning…”

I knew it was time to write.

Yesterday, plans had to be put on hold to attend to my paying job. Our summer help is gone. Though business has slacked off, as usual, after Labor Day, we are still short-handed on many days. I went in to work because it was necessary, not because I had nothing better to do.

I was feeling the pressure by the time I got home. With all of my long list of jobs being delayed (which means they are all now crowded in to this one day), and a dinner engagement last evening, my first inclination was to dive in head first, and try to make some progress. I had about an hour before I had to leave.

For the Beacon, I could pull up that one article and begin editing, or send off those obituaries; I could return a couple phone calls and respond to some Emails; I could begin my piece for the next issue, plot out the questions for an interview or write up the article on advertising; I could work on billing for the classified ads or the vendors; I could begin filling out subscription reminders. Too much!

I could rush out to Aunt Katie’s, to try to get her floors vacuumed, swept and mopped before dinnertime. Not enough time.

I could tackle a few jobs that are on my list here, but that list is long, too. Laundry, clean the bathroom, shake the rugs and sweep the floors, clean windows and scour sinks. Outside, the raspberries need to be pruned and the back yard needs mowing…and that is just the bare necessities.

The little dog reminded me that she’d been neglected for another long day, and would like to go outside.

What I needed was a pause.

We headed out to the fields that surround my yard.

My only goal was to pick one hundred blackberries. Of course I would count…I count dishes when I wash them and towels as I fold them…but I had no other plans. I did not bring the bucket, to collect them for pie or for the freezer. I didn’t even bring the small bowl, to save them for a midnight treat with milk and sugar. It was only later that I brought the camera out to photograph them. Pick them; eat them: that was my plan.

It developed into something a little more, in that hour I gave myself. I noticed the sunshine, and the play of the shadows. I breathed in the fresh air, and noted a hint of autumn in the breeze. I tasted every berry as I ate them, one by one: some fully ripe with winy sweetness, others bright and tangy on my tongue. Now and then, one for the little dog, who wagged along beside me.

When I got to twenty berries, it seemed their season was almost done, and I’d never find one-hundred. I crossed the yard to the north side, where wild blueberries and blackberries enjoy the shelter of the old maple trees. At fifty-one, I climbed the fence into the old horse enclosure, to get the big berries in there. At seventy-four, back into my own yard. At eight-five, I thought I was done, until I turned and saw what the bright sun had hidden from view. At one hundred and six berries, I decided I was not dressed to force my way into the center of the wild junipers, to get to the vines that grow there.

I spent the last five minutes just sitting…in the grass…with my dog…and felt that it was a perfect conclusion to one of the best hours I’ve had in a long time!

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Good Morning!

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Yesterday, I didn’t have to work at the hardware store.

I had a long list of things to do, anyway.

As usual, I accomplished only a fraction of what I hoped to.

By evening, faced with too much to do and too few hours to do it, I was working up to a big panic attack: stomach cramps, jitters, a big sense of failure, a black cloud of depression, the urge to run…the desire to hide…

I have been there before.

I took a deep breath…turned off the computer…made a simple dinner…read a little in a book that had nothing at all to do with any of the tasks looming over me…and went to bed.

It was the best thing I could do for myself.

Still, projects don’t take care of themselves.

I woke up this morning thinking of everything I’d left undone.

Two long days at the hardware store, the holiday with family then back to work through the weekend…when would I find the time? The energy?

As I made my way through the house in the dark, turning on lights and heaters, brewing coffee and getting ready for the day, these thoughts were looming. I felt stressed before I was even fully awake. I felt the pressure of responsibilities before the sun was up.

But then, as the sun came up, I saw what had happened as I slept.

New snow!

Lots of it!

The plow trucks have not yet made their way down the Fox Lake Road.

There is a deep drift of snow that my car won’t make it through.

I’ll have to wait.

All of a sudden, I have time on my hands!

Snow day!

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No Wandering

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There are hunters in the woods today.

Here in northern Michigan, this is opening day of whitetail deer hunting season. There are cars and trucks parked on roadsides and in “turn-arounds”, with no driver in sight. As night comes on, the lights of vehicles are visible deep in the trees as hunters leave their blinds for the warmth and camaraderie of restaurants, bars and cabins.

The dogs and I stay home this time of year.

No walk down the Cotter’s Trail; there are at least three groups of hunters down that way. No wandering down the trail to the hunting cabin behind me, as it’s being used this year, too. I won’t try to walk down the Fox Lake Road, with the woods on either side. Hunters are generally a friendly bunch, but they are still strangers to my dogs, and turn up in unlikely places. Hunters are careful, but they still carry guns.

We stay home.

I walked three miles at work today, mainly running from the housewares section – where I am still arranging things – to the telephone or the cash register.

At home, I took the dogs for one circle around the yard, only.

Inside, I worked through my exercise tape while rice was cooking.

I made soup this evening – Avegolemono, with chicken broth, rice, lemon and eggs – and ate two big, lemony bowls of it.

I think next I will take my good book – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – and go curl up on the sofa.

It’s a nice day to be a “homebody.”