Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saugatuck Douglas area delights

We decided to take a few days before the girls head back to school and just relax. We went looking for a house to rent, which was harder than it should have been since we have a strange requirement. We need carpeting.

Why you ask? Well, when we take Holly with us, we need at least area rugs so the dog can go from place to place. Holly has a hard time walking across hardwood and tile floors. She slips and slides like she's on ice.

Our initial search provided many options. A couple of weeks later when we were ready to reserve a house, we were down to a few options. We found a lovely house in Douglas MI, which we reserved immediately.

When we arrived, the house was just as charming as the photos. One thing we didn't realize when booking was how close it was to downtown Douglas. To put it into perspective, downtown Douglas is about a mile long. It's an adorable commercial strip that has a grocery store on one end and a beach on the other.

We spent four days in the area, spending some time near or in the water every day. We visited the world-famous Oval Beach twice, hiked the Saugatuck Sand Dune to Lake Michigan twice and the girls paddle boarded twice. In between we visited restaurants and shopped downtown Saugatuck merchants. We drove to the Wild West Ranch to horseback ride and watch beautiful sunsets over a cloudy Lake Michigan.

It was delightful, relaxing and charming. We left with a wish list of things we didn't have time to do this trip. The good news is it's now a "to do" list for our next visit.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I want to start travelling

The brunette twin looked at me and said, "I want to start travelling. When are we going to go places?

I stared at her blankly. We are on the road three or four weeks a year. We have hiked Arches National Park, rode horses at the Kentucky Horse Park and smelled the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. The girls often confuse different trip details. I look at them and say, "You know your problem? You get around. You have been too many places to keep the trips straight."

I said, "What do you mean?"

She replied, "When are we going to go to Europe?"

Ah, that's what she thinks of as travelling. It seems that unless she needs a passport, she doesn't consider it travelling. We're close to heading across the big pond, but she'll have to wait a bit longer. We have a few more domestic locations to explore first.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mommy brain strikes again

We recently joined a local fitness club. One of the things I really liked about the club was that they have wipes in several locations so you can clean the equipment. Members seemed very good about wiping down equipment when they were done using it.

This morning when I was at the club, I went to the cabinet to get a wipe. The container was empty.

I walked up to the desk to talk to a staff member. I tried to explain that the wipes container was empty. He stared like he had no idea what I meant.

Finally I said, "You know. The baby wipes we use to clean the equipment."

He laughed and said, "Ok. I'll get more."

I was sure he called them something else, but it did make me laugh that he knew exactly what I meant when I said baby wipes.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

I'd rather wash floors

We were sorting household chores when the girls started fighting about who had to vacuum. I completely understand how much they hate to vacuum. I hate it too.

It's not that vacuuming is hard. It's just that we do it nearly every day. It's one of those things that needs to be done nearly daily to prevent Holly hair tumbleweeds from taking over. I always tell Holly it's a good thing she loves the girls so much because it almost makes up for the work her constantly shedding hair causes.

The girls started trading chores until it became clear that the blond twin was going to end up vacuuming. I said, "It's not that bad. You'll survive."

She spun around, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I'd rather wash floors." So she did was the floors and I vacuumed. We were both happy.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A clear distinction

People are fascinated by the ways the girls come together and how they are different. A conversation on my friend Irene's backyard deck will be my illustration from now on.

To frame the conversation that took place, the Girl Scout troop visited Irene's to finish the Plant IP badge. She has a gorgeous, organic, native perennial garden. She's also a landscape architect. She took the girls on a garden tour and was talking about her landscape architecture career. As she talked about her work, we veered off to a conversation about public transportation.

I said, "I always liked taking the CTA when I lived in the city. It was such great people watching."

The brunette twin said, "I will take public transportation when I get older. I like it."

The blond twin said, "I am going to have a chauffer."

And there you have it. Everything you need to know about their personalities in two sentences.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Friendship Festival offers freedoms

Our community holds an annual festival with carnival rides, games and music. This was the year they've waited for since we started attending. This year, we let the girls attend Friendship Festival with their friends without us.

We organized a carpool to get the crew there and back. All the parents agreed on the ground rules -- stick together, carry your own stuff, watch your purses, etc.

The first night they were so excited. They planned and primped and texted with friends. They discussed outfits and hair styles. They made sure they had money and their mega-passes. Different girls joined them as schedules allowed. No matter who was part of that night's crowd, the same things happened each time.

Every night the girls came home with dozens of stories. They relished their independence, even as they thought we were spying on them. More than once they asked if we had friends checking on them. The funny thing was that we didn't ask anyone to watch them, but we knew that if there were any real problems there would be so many other parents there who would lend a hand. It was part of the decision to let them go alone. Just as we would be happy to have helped any of the neighborhood kids, we knew their parents would help our girls if needed.

They learned a lot about how to have fun at the fair. Thursday and Friday they had a lot of fun. Saturday they went to the fair during the daytime, but came home early. It turned out that the fair wasn't as fun during the daytime. They went back after dark when the lights were shining and the music blaring. They came home laughing and telling stories.

As always, fireworks closed the festival. As we were heading home, the girls were already making plans for next year's festival -- without us of course.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Strangers in the night

I lost my car key. For a few weeks I didn't even try to look for it. We had done some work on the family room and dining room floors. The house was a mess. I was sure the key was on the desk I couldn't reach.

It was clear as we put the house back together that the key wasn't on or in the desk. The missing key went from an annoyance to a problem.

I woke up one night certain that the key was in the foyer cabinet. I went downstairs in the dark to look for it. The key wasn't there.

As I walked back up the stairs, Holly raced into the hallway and started barking. It wasn't the friendly bark I hear when I come in the house. It was an angry, protective bark. I talked to her and turned on a light. She calmed down and went back to bed.

I always wondered what Holly would do if a stranger came into the house at night. Now I know, although I didn't think I was going to be the stranger.