Friday, August 18, 2017

Favorite Way To Enjoy the Morning

With this being my last full day on the island I decided I had better enjoy my room with a view as much as I possibly can.  For the whole week I've gotten up early, made coffee and enjoyed a solid hour sitting in the sun room enjoying the view (and reading twitter on my phone).  In all the times we've come to Beaver Island we've never had a place with such a great view and it's going to be hard Sunday morning when I wake up to not be able to sit out here and enjoy it.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Iron Ore Bay

Turned out to be a spectacular day to go down to Iron Ore Bay. It was warm, the waves were big and we had the beach to ourselves.  Ended up playing down here for about 2 hours and sucked in every last bit of vacation we could.  We still have a day left but vacation is quickly coming to an end.

Big Birch and Big Rock

It's just not a trip to Beaver Island without your picture with Big Birch and Big Rock. As you can see the weather cleared up a little, at least it isn't raining anymore, so we were able to get out.  Not sure how it's going to be at Iron Ore Bay but I guess as long as it isn't cold hanging out on the beach in the rain probably won't be the big of deal.

Rainy Morning

This morning we got up to a bit rain on the island and decided that at least this morning is an indoor day for us.  As you can see we all piled into the sun room with a view and found something to entertain ourselves with.  Marshall and I played some Magic The Gathering, Clancey watched the Flash on Netflix and Jen read a book.  This afternoon if it clears up the plan is to head to Iron Ore Bay but we will see how the day goes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Afternoon By The Beach

This afternoon was another lazy afternoon by the beach and the realization that it's Wednesday and vacation is coming to an end. Not looking forward to getting back to real life again because it's back to school for the boys and digging in deep in my new job. I guess that's just the way it is, can't vacation forever, eventually you do have to head home. Maybe i can win the lottery in the next year and then i could vacation forever:-)

The Puzzle

Yesterday when Marshall and I went golfing Clancey and Jen started a puzzle and it became all consuming. Last night Jen went to bed at 11pm and then first thing this morning was back at it. Finally around 11am this morning i got involved in working on the puzzle and around 2 today we finished. The Puzzle wasn't so bad until we got the the blue part and it took forever. Glad that is over.

Burning Breakfast

This morning I told Jen that I would get up and make breakfast for the family so she could enjoy her vacation a bit more. Plan was to make scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage and toast.  Turns out they must have gotten the extra stick pans and the stove top cooks at the fire of thousand suns. At one point in the process I had nearly everything burning at once. Smoke is billowing off the sausage as I'm trying to run the pan outside to keep it from filling the house. The eggs are over cooking and the hash browns are burning to the botto of the pan.  All the while I'm swearing up a storm.  I did finally get things under control again breakfast was a little overcooked.  Probably not going to offer to make breakfast again  ;-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sunset On the Island

This evening as I was grilling brats outside I looked up and noticed the sunset looked very beautiful. I snapped a picture of it and thought to myself that I really need to get a place out here. I told Jen that her shop needs to take off so that we can afford to have our own place on Beaver Island. 


After a failed attempt to find frogs at Lake Genesorath we headed over to Font Lake on the North side of the island to try again. This time as you can see above we were successful. There weren't a lot of frogs but there were enough for the boys to have some fun. After this adventure I've decided Clancy is an animal Whisperer, he can seem to calm down the animals and they'll just sit there for him. I guess they can tell he's an animal lover. 

Lake Genesorath

Today we headed down to Lake Genesorath to see if we could find any frogs. Last year this was a huge hit because there were so many frogs. This year we haven't found any frogs or fish for that matter. We have found some mussels and did see a floating plane take off from the lake which was cool. 

Morning Golf

This morning Marshall and I headed over to the golf course to play 9 holes of golf. It had been a while since I played golf so I was a bit worried about how it would go but turned out to go well. The woman who worked at the course recognized me and welcomed me back which is surprising since I didn't play much last year. I think every time I golf there I see some sort if wild life and weren't disappointed this time. We saw 3 deer on hole number 4 which was pretty neat. This afternoon I think the plan is to go to the lake and see if we can find some frogs.

Favorite Time Of The Day

This is one of my favorite times of the day in Beaver Island. Sitting in the sun room in the morning with a cup of coffee enjoying the sound of the waves and the cool morning breeze. There just is nothing like it and what bring me back to Beaver Island year after year. Someday I would like to have a home out here so i could enjoy this every summer morning. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mema and Papa Visit

Hard to see from the picture above but Mema and Papa are on the boat.  Like always we invited them out to enjoy a day in our house with us.  Since they had already been on vacation for a few days they weren't able to stay all night but they did get to enjoy most of the day with us on the island.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fun Around the House

After the picnic and a tour around the island on bikes it was back to the house for some fun.  First up it was some frisbee in the front yard.  Another great feature of this house is the fact it has an enormous front yard, at least for a Beaver Island house and is great for running around.  We ended up playing frisbee for about an hour before it was time to head to the beach to cool off for a bit.  Neither Jen or I were brave enough the get in the water but both the boys headed right in.  Maybe by the end of the week I'll brave the water but I'm doubting it.  Possibly Iron Ore Bay day.

Family Bike Ride

After out standard morning of coffee in the sun room and a big breakfast we headed out on a family bike ride.  As always we headed around and hit all the major sites, lighthouse, toy museum, and views of lake.  At the request of Marshall we brought our lunch along and had a picnic down by the camp ground while we enjoyed the spectacular day.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fire Time

After the adventure in getting the firewood from Gary we did manage to have a good family fire.  Like I expected the birch he gave me was just too moist to burn but the fence posts and trim burnt great.  While it took a hell of a long time to actually acquire the firewood we did have a great time roasting marshmallows and make Smoor's.

Firewood Adventure

After getting to the island and going spending some time doing general island things, Frisbee, bike ride, skip rocks, etc, the family wanted to roast some marshmallows.  I told the family that I would run out quick get a bundle of split firewood and get a fire going.  Well turns out getting firewood on the island is quite the adventure!

I figured the easiest place to get firewood or at least figure out where to get firewood was at the local gas station, if they didn't have any they could tell me where to go.  Well I got to the gas station and turns out that they didn't have any but like I figured they knew of a place that did.  About a half mile down the road there was a place that sold firewood.  I remembered the place from previous years and knew they had firewood for sale by the road.  I figured I could run up real quick grab a bundle and be home, boy was I wrong.

I drove up by the place and they didn't have any firewood out by the road but they did have a sign with a phone number I could call.  I pulled over to the side of the road and dialed the number rang a couple times and then a man answered "What do you want!".

At this point I could have backed out but I was going to be the heroic dad who comes how with wood for the fire.  I said to the angry man on the other end of the phone "I'm calling to inquire about firewood".

Immediately his demeanor changed, "Oh yeah, I've got some firewood...." at this point I can't remember exactly what he said but it was something to the effect that he was fixing a chainsaw but if I would pull down to his trailer behind the broken down washer in the yard he would be out to help me.

Now as I said, I remember this house from years past and it was actually a pretty nice vegetable farm.  At this point it occurred to  me that the farm was quite a bit more run down then I remembered and the place I was pulling up too was a disaster, there was broken crap all over the yard.  At this  point I did think about turning around and just heading back but I figured I was committed to getting the wood at this point and pulled on down.

I get down to the trailer don't see anyone figured all I could really do is just sit and wait, I flipped the tailgate on the truck down, hopped on and waited for the guy to appear.  As I'm waiting it occurs to me that there isn't any fire wood in sight.  I can see I pile of  old fence posts, some trim and a couple pieces of birch (the picture below) but this pretty much it.  At this point I'm guessing he must have the firewood somewhere else.

After about 5 minutes of waiting a disheveled man comes out the door carrying a chainsaw.  He introduces himself, can't remember if it was Greg or Gary, and says his chainsaw is broken and we are going to need to fix it before I can get my firewood.  He gestures to the pile I described earlier as the wood he will cut up once we get the chainsaw running, great!  For the next 20 minutes Gary and I work on fixing his chainsaw while he tells me stories of his life and how he has brain damage.  We never got around to how he actually got the brain damage but he did say it was important I know because as he puts it "I'm a straight shooter and just want people to be honest.  If you tell me your a thief I won't take you around things I don't want stolen.  If you tell me your a murderer, well then I'm going to just shoot you!"  At this point I reassure Gary I'm neither a thief of murderer, just a family man trying to roast some marshmallows.

Finally after 20 minutes we get the saw put back together and I'm thinking finally I can get my firewood and get going.  He fires the chainsaw up, revs it and the chain does not move, uggghhh.  I'm thinking at this point we are going to have to try to fix it again but Gary finally decides to give up on the chainsaw.  He throws it on the ground next to the other 3 broken chainsaws and finds and old rusty ax laying on the ground.  Finally we are going to cut some wood, and by wood I mean old fence posts.

Now just like everything else in Gary's life he does not have a proper place to split wood.  What he has is a very small diameter, piece of wood that is angle cut on both sides and barely stands on it's own.  He does manage to balance both the splitting wood and the old fence post on top though, no clue how.  I'm telling myself there is absolutely no way he is going to hit this wood with his ax.  He takes a swing and dead center on the old fence post and it splits right down the middle.  I'm like awesome this guy can split some wood he is going to have me out of here quickly now.  Nope, Gary can split a log like a champ but between every log split he has to tell a 5 minute long story.

Once again for the next 30 minutes we split a handful of logs and I hear about Gary's whole life.  There really isn't much I can do but go with the flow at this point.  I guess I could have told Gary that I'm not paying him for a bunch of old fence posts, trim and birch that won't burn but a dude that can swing an ax like him with brain damage, it seemed like a bad idea.

As we are going along every time Gary misses a piece of wood with his ax he exclaims "Foul Ball".  At about an hour into this adventure with Gary, he swing his ax, nicks the side of it, yells out "Fowl Ball, that ball four I"m out".  He then drops his ax and starts to walks away.  As he is walking away he says to me "There is a box out by the road you can put what you owe me in there"

Confused I asked now walking away Gary, "What do I owe you?".

He says back "I don't know, probably $100 after all the great stories and information I gave you but whatever you want."

I stand there for a minute as Gary disappears back into his house, pick up my small pile of wood, throw it in the back of my truck, stop by the box throw $10 in and I'm on my way.

Awesome House For The Week

On the way over we got an email that the house was cleaned up and ready to go so instead of having to wait until 2pm to get in the house we can go right there.  Wow, let me tell you this house is nice.  This is probably the best house that we have ever stayed in on Beaver Island.  Is is the best of all worlds when is comes to staying on Beaver Island.  It is in town, has a beach access, great view and is a spectacular house.  After our last week last year in the Fisherman's House which was a complete dump and dirty as hell this is a breath of fresh air.  I wish we had this house for 2 weeks.  Well maybe next year, plan to enjoy this week as much as we can.  

On The Boat to Beaver Island

We are on the boat to Beaver Island and and as you can tell from the picture above the water is a just a tad rough.  I'm glad we are on the Emerald Isle which is bigger then the Beaver Islander so it isn't quite as bad but it is still a pretty rough ride.  I'm not sure how poor Jen and Marshall are going to do since they both tend to get a little sea sick when the ride is like this.  Well it's only 2 hours and we will be on the island.

Breakfast In Charlevoix

Here we are having breakfast at "Smoke on the Water" before we board the boat.  In the 6 years we've been coming to Beaver Island this is the first time that we've ever eaten at this place.  Place is actually pretty good although if was a bit expensive.  I guess we are on vacation so we shouldn't be worrying about that kind of stuff.  Anyways in about an hour we board the boat and are off for a week of fun, hopefully the house is nice!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Off To Beaver Island

Today we got up bright and early to head off on our annual Beaver Island vacation.  The goal was to be up and out the door and 5am which we didn't quite make, ended up leaving the house at 5:40am which isn't too bad.  The picture above is from our picnic lunch stop in Escanaba Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.  We got to our hotel in Petosky around 6:30 which is really good for us, normally we are rolling in around 8-9pm.  Tomorrow we have to be at the boat bright and early up again at 5am but then it's a week of relaxing.  :)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Main Street Iowa Celebration Visit

Not only was today the last day before heading off on vacation but it was also out Main Street Iowa celebration visit.  After getting on the Main Street Program earlier this month the director of the Main Street Iowa program came out to Clarence for a celebration and a training session for the board members.  The picture doesn't do it justice but there were about 92 people packed into the park for the celebration which was great considering it was a 10:30 on a Thursday.  The rest of the day Jen is going to be in training while I spend time around the house getting stuff done so we can leave early tomorrow on vacation.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Clash Of Clans Addict

About 9 months ago I was on travel with a bunch of guys from work and all they seemed to do was stare down at their phones, which isn't that unusual for people these days.  The difference was it was clear to me they were all playing the same game.  Game turned out to be Clash of Clans which is a game where you build a base and attack other bases.  Well I've been playing off and on but recently I've quite a bit more addicted.  As you can see I have two tablets and two accounts I've been playing.  Yes I know I'm a straight weirdo!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Getting a Pig

Today against my better judgement I let the family get a pet pig named Hippo.  Every Monday there is a farmers market down the block from our house that the boys set their Lemonade stand up in.  Well one of the other marketers breeds small pet pigs and for a couple weeks the family has been hinting at wanting one.  Finally tonight they wore me down and I let them get one.  Well technically I said the family could get a pet pig if I could get a new UTV.  Not sure if the UTV will actually happen but the pig is.  We won't pick it up until we get back from vacation next week but soon enough we are going to have the pig pictured above running around the house.  Hopefully Harley gets along with her.  

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Trip To Peoria, Illinios

Today is a trip to Peoria, Illinios so Jen can see if she can find a door for her shop.  Now one would think that you could find a door closer to home, but nope, you must make a long road trip to find one.  There is a store down in Peoria that does a whole bunch of architectural salvage and apparently had the largest door selection in the midwest.  I guess we will see, seems like a long ways to drive to me.

Morning Race

This morning we got up early and headed over to Lowden to watch Marshall run in a 5k at the golf course.  I probably should have ran myself but I'm in horrible shape and doubt I could finish a 5k at this point.  Marshall is such a hard worker at cross country and had to decent race for the first race of the year and running a mile further then normal.  Kid would give me a run for my money in a distance race.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

On The Main Street Program

This morning Jen and bunch of other folks from Clarence are over in Sioux City Iowa getting inducted into the Main Street Iowa program!  Who would have thought little Clarence, Iowa, smallest community on the Main Street Program, would get awarded Main Street Iowa status but sure enough we did.  Jen won't pat herself on the back for this but she was the one who did all the work to get the Main Street application filled out and created the presentation that we gave to the board about a month ago.  When she first told me about this I told her there was no way we could get on but between her and Jamie they made it happen once again.  I should have never doubted her!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Final Product

Here is a look at my new rear seat in action.  I probably should have taken a bit of a better picture but I guess I wasn't really thinking about it.  Anyways after staying up until about 1:30am last night working on installing my seat I just wasn't able to get done.  So this morning I got up at a decent time and finished getting it installed.  I was surprised how easy it went on to be perfectly honest.  I figured for sure I would end up having to drill new holes or something.  Sure going to be nice to be able to take the whole family around on the golf cart rather then Clancey having to sit on the back where the clubs normally sit.  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Installing Rear Cart Seat

The other day I finally broke down and ordered a new cart seat for my golf cart.  I had been thinking about it for quite a while but never pulled the trigger because the were so expensive but the urge hit me and I got one.  After I got home from work today I was sitting in my chair watching TV when Papa told me that the UPS man had brought a bunch of stuff for me.  Since Amazon said my seat wasn't supposed to show up for a while yet I figured there was no way but sure enough it was.  As you can see I just got started on it.  Plan is to work on it until I reach a point I have to drill or something doesn't fit right and then head in.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Rootbeer Floats Downtown

In our ongoing effort to achieve Main Street status and high light our downtown Jen and the economic development group had a free rootbeer float event in the Memorial Park Downtown Clarence.  With all these events lately its been surprising the amount of people who turn out.  It seems the people of the town have been yearning for things to do.  Hopefully all this works out when they head to Sioux City next week to find out if they made it on the Main Street Program.  I know Jen is really excited!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Working On Jen's Shop

Today was spent working in Jen's new shop getting it ready for drywall in the next week or two.  I have to get both the walls and the ceiling power washed so that Rich can starting getting the dry wall up.  It's shocking how different this place looks with all of the wall gone.

Summer Bed Room

For the past couple weeks with it being about a billion degree's out the boys have made their new temporary room in the living room.  Now I'm not convinced that them sleeping down stairs isn't also just about it being summer and it's something new and different.  Now it is a bummer because the bed is right in front of my chair but I guess it isn't that big of deal temporarily.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

More Downtown Improvement

The past few months in Clarence have seen a lot of investment and improvements.  It's like the Main Street Application process spurred everyone to action.  This morning as we were walking around handing out first dollars to the 3 new businesses downtown we noticed that Mickey Thurston was replacing the sidewalk next to his building.  Before you know it we are going to have a thriving downtown with no buildings empty and stuff going on every night.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hanging In the Pool

As I was running around the yard today getting mowing done, branches trimmed and just general stuff done I caught this picture of the boys in the pool.  Now I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the boys eating popsicles in my clean pool but it sure does capture the essence of summer.  Hot summer day, swimming in the pool, having a cool treat not sure it gets any better then that.

Monument Fell Over

As I was taking a spin around town this morning in my golf cart I decided to stop up to the park and see the monument that had tipped over.  I had heard about it at the last council meeting but hadn't made it up here yet to check it out.  About 2 weeks ago a severe thunderstorm rolled through town and the wind tipped over one of the veterans memorial blocks. The crazy part it when this was put in about a year ago people were worried about this happening and sure enough it did.  Not sure what the plan is now but my guess is at some point this will become the city council's problem to deal with and then everyone will be mad about what we choose to do.  I guess that is what I signed up for when I joined city council.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Track Meet Night

Tonight the boys participated in a Bill Bails Track meet over in Stanwood.  Clancey ran in the 100 and Marshall ran in the 200 and 400.  The boys did great, in fact Clancey won his age division in the 100 meter dash.  Clancey didn't initially want to run in the meet at all but once he won his division he seemed to enjoy running track quite a bit more.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Basketball Hoop Pad

After spending the day yesterday enjoying myself, today was all about getting projects done.  A few weeks back we bought a bunch of pavers to build a pad for the basketball hoop and a walkway to the new garage door.  Of course I thought I could get way more done then I could actually do but I did get the pad built.  Wow it was a lot of work.  Between digging hole, leveling the sand and putting the pavers in my back was sore, but the job is done.  I still have the walkway to build but one thing at a time.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Birthday Golf

In keep with my annual tradition I met some friends over in Solon for some birthday golf.  Yes I know the picture above is, in fact, not of golf it is of me driving my car but I'm on the way to golf so it should count.  Ended up golfing fairly well for me especially since I haven't golfed much this year.  When I got home the boys and Jen had a cake made and we had a party.  All around it was a great day.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Busy Week For Jen

This has been a nuts week for Jen, between her general commitments (Church Council, Community Foundation, Boys Stuff), she has also been working on getting the Clarence Main Street Application done.  Every night this week she has had something and most nights she has been double booked on stuff.  I know she is looking forward to getting the Main Street Application done next week so that can one less ball in the air she has to juggle.  Although once that gets done it will be back at trying to get her new business off the ground.  Shaping up to be a busy year.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Clancey's Spring Concert

Tonight was Clancey's spring concert over at the Lowden Elementary.  Unlike the past years Clancey wasn't able to play the piano for the crowd because it was a folk concert that didn't require a piano.  Probably worked out for the best Clancey hadn't practiced piano in a while and I'm not sure he was prepared enough to play but that kid always surprises me so I'm sure he would have done great.  The concert was pretty good, right at an hour long and the last song was actually pretty good, for a kid concert.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Hanging at The Airport

Here we are on our way home hanging in the airport.  We have a 3 hour lay over before our next flight to Cedar Rapids so we are all hanging out on our devices like a good modern family does.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Last Activity of Vacation

The last official fun activity of vacation was to swim in the pool at the hotel when we got here.  The kids tried to swim the pool up in Flagstaff the other day but it was so packed and noisy they couldn't really enjoy it and left early.  Today as you can see there is no one else in the pool and the kids get to enjoy it all by themselves.  No one is looking forward to heading home tomorrow and having to get back to the real world but I guess all good things must come to an end.

Montezuma Castle

On the way down the Phoenix we decided we should get our monies worth out of the National Park pass we bought the other day and hit one more before we heard home. This castle was an old Native American castle built in the side of a cliff in the 1400's, so a really long time ago. It was pretty cool to think that this could be built that long ago without the benefit of modern tools. The site was neat but I'm sure it would have been worth the $40 we would have had to pay without the pass.

Meteor Crater

The activity this morning before we started to make our way down to Phoenix was to head out and see Meteor Crater. We attempted to visit yesterday but when we got there it was closed. I thought about forgoing it all together but Marshall was pretty excited about seeing it so I figured we better get out there.  The place was surprisingly nice. I assumed being "family owned and operated " it was going to be a Mickey Mouse thing that charged way too much, just like a lot of the other Arizona attractions. This was not that at all, had a great visitor center and an awesome museum. Certainly a must visit it you are ever in Arizona.