Monday, August 27, 2012

nine years...

Today is our ninth anniversary. And we still like to hang out with each other. Amazing!

How will we celebrate? I think we're done celebrating...we had our annual party earlier in the month, we had a hot air balloon ride last weekend and we went to see a play at the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea yesterday.

The play was "On Golden Pond". It was funny and touching. Jerome thinks we'll be like them in our golden years. I asked him who he thought the crabby one would be. He thought the old man was not crabby, he was funny and he thinks he will be like him.

Good to know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

up, up and away...

While we were visiting family in France last year, we happened upon a hot air balloon flying rather low over the vineyards near my in-laws house.  We chased it for awhile.  We all agreed that seemed like a fun thing to do and wondered how much something like that would cost.

Just before Christmas, Groupon had a deal for a ride for two in a hot air balloon, so I bought it as a Christmas gift for Jerome...and ME!

I'm not one to like heights at all but I figured that he got me to ride in a float plane when we were in British Columbia, so how bad could it be and besides, when I fly in a plane my favorite part of the trip is the take-off and landing, only because you get such a nice view.

Jerome was very excited about the gift and we called to make our reservation in May.  Unfortunately, there was a family emergency for one of the pilots on the day that we had chosen, so we had to reschedule.  We ended up rescheduling three more times because of the weather.  They won't go up unless the weather is perfect - which is a good thing.  As one pilot said "you'd rather be on the ground wishing you were in the air rather than the other way around".  So true and wise Mr. Pilot!

Well, we finally got our chance this past Saturday and WOW! It's REALLY COOL!

We were the first to arrive at Captain Phogg's Balloon Quest and we were surprised as more and more people began arriving.

We watched as the helpers pulled out the baskets, the bags with the balloons in them and the gas powered fans.  The launchpad was right there and three balloon were on their sides being filled with air from the fans.  The baskets were on their sides as well.
We went inside and signed our waivers.  I think that was the scariest part.  So many things could happen (and obviously have for it to be stated on the waiver), such as falling out of the basket while you are up in the air, landing in water and/or just a rough landing...YIPES!  I don't think Jerome wanted me to read everything because he was rushing me to sign and hand it over to him so he could turn it in.  We then watched a little video about ballooning that they made in the late 80's.  Very dated clothing and hair, but the message was still current.  We are of the rare few that actually will have gone up in a balloon.  How many people do you know who have ever gone up?  They guess that we would not know anyone that has, but like I said, this was made in the 80's, so nearly 3 decades have passed.  But anyway, I only know of 2 others and that was only found out recently.

We were assigned our pilot and our balloon and asked to go out and wait by it since we were ready to take-off.

Our balloon had 13 people (including the pilot).  The basket is sectioned off; 2 sections for 4 people, 2 sections for 2 people and then a section for the pilot in the middle.

Once the balloon was sufficiently filled, we had to climb in.  There are cut-outs in the basket for you to use as steps.  And then up we went!

It's slow, the weather is fantastic, the visibility was more than 50 miles, the winds were at 9-13 mph.  Just gorgeous!  It's mostly quiet and serene...until the pilot runs the burners and then it's loud and hot.  If you're not ready for him to use the burners, it is a bit startling...every time.  Not that you move any faster, it's just that you're not expecting this loud noise behind you and the rush of hot air on your head and the back of your neck.

We were heading north east and could see Mt. Holly, Chrysler Tech Center and even the Renaissance Center in Detroit in the distance.

We flew over mostly wooded areas, some farms, lakes, houses, I-75 and the Renaissance Festival on its opening day.  We are up for 45 minutes to an hour depending on if we can find somewhere to land.  We were told we were as high as 4000 feet and we were as low as nearly touching the water in the lake.  We floated on the tips of the trees, feeling the branches go by below our basket.  We even grabbed some leaves.



We landed in a field that hadn't been tended to in quite some time.  The chaser van met us and we deflated the balloon and packed it away for its next flight.  I think he said we flew 9 miles...in an hour.

Once we were back at Captain Phogg's, we enjoyed a small glass of champagne and received our certificates and a pin.

I remarked to Jerome that it's funny, we go to places like the CN Tower or Sears Tower and they have you encased in glass with nets below you...in a balloon, you are all out there, wind in your face, no nets and the basket comes up to just above your waist.  Crazy.

I dreamt about it last night, and not the way I dream about flying in a plane - this dream was pleasant and relaxing.

It's really cool people - it's one of those bucket listers that should really be done.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

happy birthday house...

Today (according to the carving in the brick), our house is 65 years old!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

where were you when this happened?...


I am borrowing this tid-bit of information from Cup of Zup:

On this day in 2003, a major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET, 21 power plants shut down in just three minutes. Fifty million people were affected, including residents of New York, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Although power companies were able to resume some service in as little as two hours, power remained off in other places for more than a day. The outage stopped trains and elevators, and disrupted everything from cellular telephone service to operations at hospitals to traffic at airports.

Where were you?  What did you think was happening?  What did you do while the power was out?  Do you know of anyone who had a baby 9 months later?

I was at work, sitting at my desk at Jeep Truck Engineering in Detroit.  I was chatting with my cubemate, Dwayne.  The next day (Friday) was supposed to be my last day with this department; Jeep Chassis.  I had been laid off, but given the opportunity to stay for an additional two weeks ~ thanks Greg.  Luckily within the day that I found out that I was going to be laid off, I was able to use my networking abilities to obtain a new job in my old department; Truck Interiors (by the way, the best job I've had so far, by far) ~ Thanks David R. and Dana W.  And was able to work it out that the new job would not begin until after I returned from my honeymoon.  I was getting married in less than two weeks...my in-laws (every last one of them) were going to be flying in from France in less than a week.  The wedding party was going to be in our backyard and so we were in the middle of a home improvement project; laying a brick paver path that led from the driveway to the backyard.  So, we really didn't notice too much that the power was out.  Luckily we didn't need power to lay brick pavers.

Back to the day that it happened, we sat there in the dark for a little while and then finally decided to leave work.  Walked out to the car which was parked in the back 40 and turned on the radio to my favorite talk radio station to listen to Deminski and Doyle (they are now located in NJ).  They were running on generator power and were talking about what could have possibly happened.  By that time it was already determined that this was not a terrorist attack, which I could see why people would have thought that - and even I had that thought cross my mind for a brief moment.

Now, I needed to get from Plymouth Road and Schaeffer in Detroit to Harper and Crocker in Clinton Township.  I figured this was not going to be easy.  I can't really remember if I decided to take surface streets or the highway, but either way I got home safely and the trip was uneventful.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

runt o'the litter...


The course of events (re: Hissy) have been the following:


June 14 - Stool sample detected round worm and coccidia parasite (all of the kittens had both of these). Meds were distributed to all. 


July 3 - Spay day for Hissy! She was checked for FIV and Feline Leuk. Also given an inoculation that would require a booster in 6 weeks...and did I mention, she was spayed.


Had previously noticed that her chin was always crusty and then found out that whenever she scratched her face, she would cry. Checked it out and she had open wounds around her nose, whiskers and on her chin. Brought this to the Vet's attention and she was prescribed amoxicillin and antiseptic wipes for her face. They took a skin scrape to see if she had a fungus or ring worm or mites. They wouldn't know for 2 weeks while they grew the culture and would call us when they found out. Also at this time I asked the Vet if she thought little Hiss might have Cerebellar Hypoplasia since she was shaky and had no balance. She did not believe that she had this and thought she will grow out of it.


Hissy took the antibiotic for 10 days and had to wear a cone the entire time because she was still scratching at her face.  Michigan Humane Society called after 2 weeks to say that she was all clear; no mites, no fungus and no ring worm. Hummm, what is it then???


GONE TO MASSACHUSETTS...


July 24 - Took her to my Vet (Dr. Hoonhout at Stony Creek Vet) for her booster shot (which also included the FIV and Feline Leuk vaccine). She screamed and hissed when the doctor gave her the shot. He was surprised because he said that shouldn't hurt her. He prescribed a Lime/Sulfur "dip" because he did a skin scrape on her and thought he saw a mite.


She couldn't walk for two days without pain after the shot.  Around that time she seemed to stop scratching at her face (maybe because of the pain from the shot...?).


Waited for the Lime/Sulfur med to come in, but in the meantime she was all of a sudden lethargic and seemingly in pain. You couldn't pick her up without her crying out.


July 31 - At the same time, finally got the call from the Vet that the Lime/Sulfur dip was in so that's when I rushed home from my class and took her to the doctor. He said she had a bacterial infection ("cat scratch fever" - which I believe she gave to herself since she was scratching her face off and since the other cats have not been anywhere near her) and prescribed a different antibiotic and gave her a shot of antibiotic while in his office. She totally responded to the shot and we thought we were out of the woods but then she started feeling like crap again and was not responding to the antibiotics that we were giving her.


August 2 - I called the Vet and his advice was to up the dosage...which we did and that seems to be helping. 


As of Saturday night, she is VERY spirited and I hope that lasts. 


August 7 - Tonight is her last dosage of the antibiotic. Fingers crossed.


We have not given her the Lime/Sulfur dip because we think she's been through enough at the moment, plus she doesn't scratch her face off lately. The doctor thinks that her immune system is finally kicking in and that the booster shot helped it develop. He doesn't believe that she has Cerebellar Hypoplasia, so that is really good news. She is getting stronger and the shakes are gone, but the balance is still off.


All of this perhaps because she is the runt of the litter and from humble feral beginnings.

I am happy to say that my oldest sister and her partner are willing to adopt Miss Hissy, which is a LOAD off my mind.  They will be in town this week and will stay for a little over a week.  They live on the east coast and Hissy will become a Jersey girl and happily live with Sprite and Turbo.

so rustic...


Went to Massachusetts for my niece's wedding.  I was the "lead" on the decorating committee.  She had a "rustic" theme going; rustic and vintage.  I had a bunch of vintage items that we could use in the centerpieces, so I toted them along with me from Michigan.

I came a week early to help with anything and everything.  Boy! I needed a vacation day after that vacation.  So.much.to.do!

It was a beautiful ceremony held in my sister's neighbor's yard that overlooks Cape Cod Bay.  The reception was held at the Plymouth Center for the Arts where my sister works.  Also a very nice and fancy venue.



And at the end...they were married!


After all was said and done, we had a half of a day to relax before we drove the 12+ hours home.

they are very quiet...

While looking at a condo to buy as investment, the current owner was explaining the surrounding neighbors - "in this unit there is a married couple. The man is a mute...they are very quiet".

We've been looking at condos for about a month now.  Prices are still pretty low.  Looking at them for investment purposes.  It was Jerome's idea,...I think he was influenced by my cousin Simone who visited us from Belgium in June.  She and her husband have 20 or 30 "apartments" that they rent out...plus a huge farm and two shoe stores!