Category Archives: summer

A Fresh Start … Part 2

Read A Fresh Start … Part 1

By mid-June, things were starting to come together at the canoe livery …  but would our customers return?  Boy, did they!  We had a wedding at our main location in Omer towards the end of June.  After the wedding, with one more weekend in June left, we became increasingly busy, experiencing volume rivaling what we normally experience mid-to-late July or even early August.  True to form, we remained busy right up until the mid-August.

Normally, this would be welcomed and wouldn’t have been an issue.  However, this year, thanks to COVID, we didn’t have adequate time to properly prepare.  During a “normal” year, we have much of June to prepare for the crowds.  Things ramp up during June until it becomes crazy from the 4th of July until mid-August.  Well, we lost that time to hire and train.  We had a week, maybe two, before we started to become that busy.  Add in the pressure of new safety precautions, difficulty in getting merchandise, and rebuilding from the flood, and one gets a sense of why it became so stressful.  I feel as though I have been running a marathon since May.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am eternally grateful that our business not only survived but grew during COVID.  I refrain from saving thrive because it would not be sustainable long-term.  Simply too many hours and too much work in such a short period of time.  Still, it haunts me that so many small businesses didn’t survive or are in danger of closing permanently.  All I could think of this spring is the decades of work the canoe livery represents – my family history and my personal history.  It would not exist if not for the hard work, dedication, foresight, and planning of my parents, my grandparents, and now my brother and I, along with countless others over the years.  So much in my life simply would not have been possible without the canoe livery.  In it, I see my future.  Whether I like it or not, the canoe livery and the Rifle River is a part of me.  The very idea of it no longer existing is unimaginable.

If nothing else, I do hope that I have turned the corner and truly have a fresh start this fall.  It feels that way.  I could use some routine and consistency in my life – along with a healthy dose of “normal” – whatever that is now.  It is time to figure out exactly what it is that I want.  I know that I have returned to that theme dozens of times here over the years.  Yet, I still don’t know.

Who is to say that I will be content to spend the rest of my life alone?  If I met the right man – and I repeat here, the right man – I can see myself in a relationship again.  Yet, I have a difficult time seeing how I would meet him.  Same goes for children.  I would love to be a mother.  I know I would nail it.  Yet just the mere thought of the foster and/or adoption processes is enough to make me want to break out in hives.  I know what can go wrong all too well.  Maybe it will be time to “jump” sooner rather than later.  I do know that I do not want to regret what I didn’t do in my life.  Until then …

A Fresh Start … Part 1

My favorite color is October …

I’ve always loved fall, but somehow, this time of year just means more this year.  I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster (more on that in a minute, and not all entirely COVID related) since mid-March.  I want OFF!  NOW.  I never dreamed that I would help run a business and teach middle school during a pandemic, but here I am.  Something I never wanted to add to my bucket list.

As I am smack-dab in the middle of returning to in-person classes for the first time since mid-March, it is SO nice to have some normalcy, particularly after a summer and spring that was anything but “normal.”  I missed my students deeply, and I enjoy just observing kids being kids.

So, about this spring and summer …  Well, of course, it all started mid-March – that ill-fated Friday the 13th to be exact.  As the shutdown deepened, I began to worry about opening the canoe livery for the season.  Worry about the survivability of the family business #1.  Frankly, it didn’t look good.  Just as we, along with pretty much everyone else on the Rifle River, made the decision to open for self-contained camping only during Memorial Weekend, the other shoe dropped.

May 18th-20th, we received close to 7 inches of rain.  Dams in nearby Gladwin and Midland counties failed.  Fortunately, we did have a little warning thanks to another livery on the river.  My parents, brother, and I were able to save much of our technology and merchandise in our store in Omer.  Good thing we had that warning.  We ended up with 3 feet of water in the store.  That wasn’t even the worst part.

During the shutdown, I made the decision to stay with my mom.  I don’t think either of us wanted to be alone in our own homes for an extended period of time.  My dad was at their cabin in Canada when the shutdown happened, and he didn’t come home immediately.  I was over at my parents’ house when the stay-at-home order dropped.  Then, it just became habit.  What was I supposed to do at home by myself that entire time?  Normally, I am rarely at home.  I am usually at work, running errands – all kinds of things – none of which I could do during the lockdown.

Anyway, my parents and I watched in May as the Rifle River filled our Crystal Creek Campground near my parents’ home.  It nearly reached Pinnacle Bridge, which is amazing in and of itself.  Then it happened.  I read a Facebook post that stated that the Forest Lake Dam broke.  We evacuated my parents’ home.  While the Forest Lake Dam isn’t directly on the Rifle River, it would feed into the nearby river if it did break.  There simply was no way to predict what would happen if the dam broke.  My parents feared losing their home of nearly 40 years, not to mention their business of nearly 45 years.  I can still hear the panic in both of my parents’ voices.  I hope to never experience anything like again it in my life.  Same can be said for most of March through August.

Fortunately, the dam held.  We returned to my parents’ home later that day when we received word that the immediate danger had passed.  While I haven’t made a habit of watching the local news in decades, I did watch that evening as local affiliates reported as the Edenville and Sanford dams collapsed, devastating Gladwin and Midland counties.  I know the area.  I used to manage a convenience store in Sanford.  I traveled M-30 across the Edenville dam many times.  Wixom and Sanford Lakes are no more, and the Tittabawassee River reclaimed its original path.  It so easily could have been my family.  My parents could have easily lost their home – MY childhood home – and their business that day.  So many in Midland and the surrounding area did.

When we were finally able to survey the damage, we were lucky.  The flood mainly damaged our main location in Omer this time.  Keep in mind that we suffered devastating flood/ice damage – along with tornado damage later that summer – at our Crystal Creek Campground in 2018.  In Omer, we lost our propane tank, our ice chest, fencing, and a campsite.  Yes, you read that correctly.  When our campground – a former mill pond – flooded, the water drained in one area, completely eroding one of our campsites.  We had to get excavation work done in order to rebuild.  All of this on top of 3 feet of water in our store, bathrooms, and pole barns.  The cleanup took nearly a month, delaying our opening.  When we were finally able to reopen in mid-June, we didn’t know what to expect.

I will leave off here for now.  There is so much more to the story.  While I will discuss some aspects of what happened after we reopened another day, there is much more that will have to be left unsaid.  So much of what made this summer truly horrendous isn’t even my story to tell.

In my family’s experience with the flood, I watched my parents, my brother, and I come together to make things happen under unprecedented circumstances.  COVID made things much more difficult than they needed to be.  Something as simple as ordering merchandise for the summer became a nightmare.  Yet, it worked.  We somehow made it work.  That is precisely why I wanted to tell this story.

Above all, I hope all of us – every last person affected by COVID, which is the entire planet – finally get some semblance of normal.  We deserve it!

Bookish Blog Hop: How does reading inspire your everyday life?

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This may be my first time participating in a Bookish Blog Hop, but I hope it will not be my last.

Today’s discussion question is:

How does reading inspire your everyday life?

What a great – and in my case, loaded – question!  First, I can’t imagine my life without reading and writing.  They are inseparable in my mind, and I would not be writing – not even here at Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde – if it were not for reading.  As a child, I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables and all the Little House books, and of course, Nancy Drew – along with so many others.  While I did largely stop reading for pleasure during my college years, as I began to explore my love of writing, I found my love of reading again.  It informs my writing to the point where I can’t tell you where one begins and the other ends.  Once I read Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, there was not looking back.  I still consider it one of the most influential books I have ever read.  Every day reading offers me hope, inspiration, and an education.  It is as simple and as complicated as that.

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Views She Writes https://viewsshewrites.wordpress.com

Reading is the soul of my existence, the breath in my life. Reading inspires me to live, to dream and to observe the surroundings as our surroundings are the greatest story tellers. I started writing because of these teachings from the books that surround me. I hope to read till my last breath of life.

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Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

Ha! I recently wrote a whole blog post on how certain books have played a part in my worldview philosophy!

In short, reading has inspired my everyday life because while on the surface the characters face impossible odds and fantastical situations–deep down, all these exaggerations are just hyperboles of real-world choices we all face. Through reading, I can find a character who struggles with a lot of the same things I do, and I can see a new perspective on it, a fresh way to deal with the issue that I hadn’t considered before. The good books connect me closer to my real-world life, instead of dragging me further away. It’s like that quote I shared yesterday, from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: “Good writers touch life often.” In order to make good literature, you have to be grounded in the real world, and bring some of that real world into the writing you do. Only then will it make an impact that will last for generations!

Rush Tree Clouds Bank Old Birds Landscape Book

Rush Tree Clouds Bank Old Birds Landscape Book

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

The best way I can sum up how reading inspires my life is this quote from Stephen King “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”  I have read fiction almost every day of my life. A good book can take you to a place where your mind stops and you become another person. As George R.R. Martin said, you can live a thousand lives through books. When you are troubled or stressed or depressed a good book can lift you up.

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Kim J www.writersideoflife.com

I love how we all read completely different things but, when it comes to how passionate we are about reading, it is exactly the same for all of us. I could have written any one of the above answers!

I simply can’t understand how people can not read. It is a stress release, it helps me get to sleep (as long as it’s not at the exciting part). Reading helps to understand ourselves; why we think the way we do, what others may think about us, what other scenarios may happen. Also, on a more practical note, reading about different times and places sparked my love of travel and pushed me to start writing myself.

BBH Cats Luv Coffee 5Valerie, Cats Luv Coffee www.catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

I just read an article that reading fiction makes people more compassionate and increases their empathy. It states that we read, we emphasize with the characters. “Without necessarily even noticing, we imagine what it’s like to be them and compare their reactions to situations with how we responded in the past, or imagine we might in the future.” (Read the full article here) It’s an interesting take and one I think rings true. People who read often immerse themselves totally in the story. We do this over and over with each character that we experience. It’s part of what I love about fiction; that it takes me outside of myself and what might be happening in my life.

 

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

I’ve discovered a lot about myself through reading. Books are a part of my journey to self discovery. Whether I’m reading a romance or a thriller about a serial killer, I always discover something new about myself and how I view the world. Reading shows me my own morals, and helps me get a clearer idea of how I think and feel about certain topics.

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Becki  A Book Lover’s Adventures

I find that books give so much and all they ask in return is a little of our time. For me, I think I have become a better person because of reading. Reading makes me more empathetic towards others because I’ve read about so many different life situations. I am more creative and imaginative when I read fantasy. I tend to be more adventurous and take more risks when I read about adventure and bravery. Books are part of the tapestry that makes up who I am!

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That is it for today’s Bookish Blog Hop, but be sure to check out yesterday’s offering at Lovely Audio Books.  Eline hosts a discussion on favorite book quotes!  You can find it here.  Also, stay tuned tomorrow for the next stop at Views She Writes where the topic of the day will be the worst film adaptations of books!

A BOOKISH BLOG HOP