Monday, July 28, 2008

Mackinac - Part 2, where there was SUN

And the weary, teeming masses did arrive on Mackinac, and it was gray, and it was cloudy, and darkness was upon the faces of the wives and girlfriends "shore support", and they dranketh, and eateth, and dranketh some more....

And it was a dark and stormy night.... and then the boats got in! CanCanDeux, Painkiller 4, Regardless, Fineline, just to name a few. And the sailors were wet, yet parched. And they dried off, and did drinketh! And happiness was upon the land of Fudge and horse poo, and the next morning...

there were boats

and more boats

and lots of wet things that needed to be dry.

and lots of dry sailors things looking for a drink.

And behold - for there was An Awards Party!.
And Sugar Cane had been turned into Rum! For truly, a miracle had occurred! The tired, became more tired! The sober, became less so!


Regardless took a 5th in section, which is pretty damn fine what with 25 boats in their section. But last year, they took a first. By a LOT. So the bar was high, but hey, at least a flag to fly on the forestay (cuz Regardless doesn't have enough of THOSE, snort).

And the party continued, and there was much rejoicing. Or something. Drinking Rum.

Look, matching outfits! Yes, no fashion faux pas is too much for the team spirit of Team Regardless! (that's me on the far left -shudder-). And what else are we doing? Drinking Rum.

The Team, doing what they do best (that's Bill W, OddJob and Tim M). Yes, Drinking Rum.

Corky even brought Betty Boop to the party (she was on the sail up - lucky her. Not.)

A lovely sunset dinner with the Team. With wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Awards given out by CJ and OddJob (yep, you win CROC Jewelry. Yes, they actually MAKE this stuff...)

Just to give you some idea of what we have to live up to on this boat - this is one of the owners, C. He's just been give a dinosaur piece of Croc Jewelry (no mercy here). This is the guy we send UP the mast when something goes wrong (better him than me) and in the winter, he relocates to Colorado, where he is a ski instructor 6 days a week at Breckenridge. The guy is SEVENTY-TWO. As in actual people years. Blows the rest of us away.

Finale - a great fireworks display that evening. Ooooh, aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

On the ungodly long drive home, we spotted this sign at a gas station:

Seriously - they can keep it.

100th Race to Mackinac - Part 1

We drove, they sailed, the boat didn't win (like LAST year). And I think I might be off of fudge for life. Yep, it was a party....

But I'm getting ahead of myself... first, there was the drive from Hell . OK, it wasn't THAT bad yes, yes it was but Zenda was against me (that's the goddess of weather. She and I have had WORDS).

Shelly (off of CanCanDeux) and her kids and Mom and I got on the road at 8 9.

And stopped for breakfast for an hour.


And admired the price of gas (oh so CHEAP!!) on dah Oooopeeeee (that's the UP. Upper Pensinsula, MI).


The farther you go into the exact freaking center of nowhere north, the better it gets. Prices are falling!

And had weather.

And it was getting dark....

And we I began to panic when we I realized that we had a time change and were in danger of NOT making the last ferry to the island, and would have to stay at some creepy motel with the sign outside announcing "highly recommended by Owner!!" (didn't get a pic for that one, but it is THERE!).

But we DID make it Shelly's Mom Priscilla is pointing out that Mackinac is THIS island.
And me.

Got pretty pics on the way out....

like the Grand Hotel

(Shelly's #1)

Then hightailed it to our respective hotels. Armed with fresh clothing, ninety gazillion women hit the Pink Pony (REAL pic of the Pony) where much alcohol was consumed, and I (amongst others) was groped by a man claiming to be gay. I think he lied....

And stayed out Way. Too. Late.

And staggered down for breakfast the next morning with the very hungover...

and went shopping for overpriced sailing crappola to wear proudly for eons to come! We did indeed find some sailing stuff, crammed in between shops like this:

and this:

because apparently there is a law here that you must have some of this:

every 10 feet.

Which leads us to... my #1 problem with the island of Mackinac. See, they don't allow motor vehicles (except the fire engine). They have horses. And I might have mentioned the fudge shops. You see where this is going, right? Yes, the predominant, uh, reek fragrance on this island is a combination of FUDGE and HORSE MANURE. Kinda scars you for life. Ever been near a paper mill? That smell that just lingers forever, somewhere between cinnamon and diarrhea? Yep, that's what we're dealing with. ALL. DAY. LONG.

there was lunch....

And I gather a 45 minute bike ride around the island. Because that's how big it is. (But I took a nap instead).

And croquet. (but I was still napping).

and happy hour.

and dinner.

And a really cute bartender named Steve..

who made sure that Shelly got the BIG version of this drink called a CAPE CODDER (get it Shelly?? Vodka and cranberry juice has a NAME!) and not the little weenie version that the OTHER bartender gave her at first. No siree. Steve wasn't going to stand for THAT!

Then it was time to head to the tent at the finish line, to huddle in the cold and pouring rain, waiting for Regardless and Cancan and FineLine to actually FINISH. Which they did, but it was 10 PM and raining so No Pics For You!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Forced in-law hiatus

In-laws in town. Cannot think when in-laws are in town.

More later........ like the trip to Mackinac! And the "great Pez dispenser debacle of 2008".

Oh - boat didn't sink, no one drowned, and we didn't win (like last year). But we won the party!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Race to Mackinac, 2008, has Begun! Ish. Sorta. Maybe not...

And yet ANOTHER major regatta that I am so grateful to NOT be sailing in!

Rainy. Humid. Hot. Icky.

Did I say Windy? Why, no I did not!! if there is one way to describe the start of this years race, WINDY is one of those "not so much" adjectives. (adverb?) Oh whatever, it SUCKED to be on the water this morning.
I'd take a screen shot of the racetraker, but it's not looking so hot for the hometeam here. And I took that Lunesta first.....
Anyway, I leave Sunday AM TO DRIVE to "da OOO Pee" as they call it. Will take pics and report back... Go Team Regardless!! (and special shout out to Shelly of Team Cancan Deux for that 'eye on the sky' traffic report and the access road shortcut! You da man!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Parenting (which I'm sure has NEVER been a Blog Title before)

This is not about me parenting.

Or my parents parenting.

Or actually about any (actual) parents I know.

This is about a dear friends parents. Or shall I say ex-parents? For my friend (let's call her Sweet, and she IS) has recently had to cut herself off from her 'family of origin' (that's therapy talk there).

This was after MUCH painful reflection, painful experience, and a truly horrendous upbringing. Sweet's ex-parents win the 'worst parents I've ever heard of' award, HANDS DOWN. Well, that I've dealt with in real life. I know there are worse, although that is very, very hard to hear.

Sweet is a TRULY optimistic person, with the ability to laugh at life in a way that completely astonishes me (me, the perennial poster child of 'take it too seriously'). She is a marvelous mother to her children, and has gone WAY out of her way for this 'family of origin' to the point of almost alienating her fabulous husband.

See, Sweet was raised by substance abusers, where the word NEGLECT takes on meanings I still cannot comprehend. I'm pretty sure they are complete narcissists too (in every possible literal psychological meaning of the word) where everyone, ESPECIALLY their daughter, is not a real 'person', but something to be used.

I was on the phone with Sweet today when she received a letter from her ex-father (she has had zero communication with them for about a year) that reduced her to incoherent tears. My heart utterly breaks for her.

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND people like this (the ex-parents). At all. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

Why do these people have children at all? How are people with THIS damage allowed to EXIST? What is WRONG with this world?

And how in the heck did Sweet get to be as well-adjusted, as intact a mind, with actual SELF-WORTH, as she did under these circumstances?

There is a lesson to be learned here, I just can't quite figure it out here....

Either way, I am sending 'white light' to Sweet tonight. She deserves some peace.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Race to Mackinac - the tracker!!

Yes, you can actually track the boats as they sail north!

the OFFICIAL Chicago Yacht Club Hey Look! We're having a regatta! webpage

To actually TRACK the boats, you have to go here Go here, do something technical and do something technical, lord knows what, I haven't looked.

And FYI - if there is a distinct lack of male hotness this weekend in Chicago, don't be all surprised. The hot guys all went sailing. Seriously. If you are single woman on the prowl in Chicago in the summer, fer gossakes Get Thee To A Yacht Club!!

They give lessons and everything. Plus you'll get a tan. They even have these sweet new hot-pink-and-black sailing gloves

I haven't even TRIED mine yet (but I'm all goose-bumpy at the thought).
Remember now, hot guys + cold beer = sailing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The phone call

Today I had to leave work for a couple of hours to take #1a to the Ped (sinus thing, antibiotics and narcotics, WOOT!).

Annnyyyywaaaayyyy......... when I returned, the little blinky light said "you have a message".

And it was... let's call her K.

"Hi Jolly Roger, it's K! I am so sorry we fell out of touch, but this is the only number I have for you anymore! You must have moved. Please call me! Here is my cell number, here is my work number. Buh-buy!"

(cue the 'way back when' soundtrack)

Many, many a few years ago, I was not working at NECo but at a totally different telecom company that so totally deserved to go out of business that ran into some troubled times and may not even exist anymore. Not sure, haven't checked.

Annnyyyyyyyywayyyy.............. that place was a disaster with a CAPITAL FUCKING D and I'll try to restrain myself here. The BEST part was the creepy software guy who kept asking me out to dinner.

And I'm all "dude, MARRIED here. See pic of intimidating OddJob? See ring? Soooooooooo not cool". But he was here on an H-1B visa, older, obviously lonely (crreeeepppy, but lonely) so I blew it off.

Right up until the day he cornered me in my cube and tried to kiss me.

I was SO TOTALLY FLOORED by this that it didn't even occur to me to even THINK about kicking his ass. That thought didn't even remotely CONSIDER crossing my mind. I went blank. (soooooooooo not like me).

Creepy software guy leaves, and I collect myself and stagger out of my cube. And immediately run into a guy I worked with at NECo (the first time around. Oh I'll explain that all later).

Being that Deserved-to-go-out-of-Buiness company didn't endear itself to sharing with anyone (like my total tool of a boss), I glommed onto the guy I knew from NECo and barely kept it together as I told him what had happened.

Guy from NECo got a weird look on his face, asked "WHICH creepy software guy?" and then took me to meet K. Because THIS had happened to her LAST year, and she had NEVER reported it.

Talk about bonding.

Within 1 hour we had marched our little bootays down to HR and spoke to a sweet young thang together. Which was accidentally a pretty smooth move.

Because sweet young thang said "oh, we've had other complaints about creepy software guy" then realized what she had said and had to restrain herself from clamping her hand over her mouth in shock.

About 12 hours and 4 interviews later, creepy software guy was history. AND, it turns out, married with a couple of kids. Creep factor increase by factor of 10, now with guilt. FAAAABBULLLOUUUUSSSSS.

And of course, K and I were (I heard) branded as 'troublemakers' by several, including Tool of a Boss, and she and I were caught up in a layoff several months later. Which I WOULD have made a big deal, except this was wave #13 of layoffs, and I was just happy to get the hell out of there.

K then asked me to be a bridesmaid. Because she was marrying some guy who had JUST gotten out of an extensive hospitalization for mental illness. Good thing too - clock was ticking, time to get her knocked up. (Now I DO HAVE SYMPATHY for those with mental illness, depression and I have been great buds in the past, but sweet weeping Jesus, how about you give it a year? or a month? and make sure no one is going back INTO the hospital before you rush out for a marriage license???)


So I wore silver satin on the hottest damn August day in Chicagoland 2002. NOT that I had a lot in common with her, other than harassment by creepy software guy.

And in any NORMAL life, the story would end there. But OH NO IT DOES NOT!!

THEN - OddJob and I decide to sell our first house. Since the realtor was dragging his feet, we stuck a 'for sale by owner' sign in the front yard and had INTEREST. Mostly from K and freaky-fiance (seriously, the most obnoxious Chicagoland "I know a guy" stereotype. EVER.)

They want to buy our house. Freaky fiancee even comments "would be great to buy from someone we know - then if we ever have a problem with anything, we know who to call!!"

You can IMAGINE the look OddJob shot me over that one.

So with one thing and another and a signed contract and an inspection, all hell broke loose. And our lawyer got the GET US THE HELL OUT OF THIS phone call, and they missed dates and payments of earnest money, and "I know a guy" home inspector claimed we needed to do $90k of renovations, and we got the HELL OUT OF THAT.

And Freaky Fiancee did NOT get it. At all. He called endlessly for days. He assumed that since he screwed up once, we'd lower the price (and, apparently, the bar for intelligence) and make this whole process easier for him.

And he kept calling. And finally had to say out loud (to me) "are you saying that our friendship (sorry, I'm laughing here) will play no part in your selling your house to us?"

And I had to say "Hell YES!!!"
And then had to threaten him with legal action if he ever called us again.

That was almost 5 years ago, and I've never heard from them since. (Thank the benevolent FSM!!)

Until today.

Anyone taking bets as to when I call her back?

Race to Mackinac, v.100

On Saturday July 19, a buncha boozing many brave souls will leave Chicago for at least 3 days of eating, boozing and some sailing the 100th running of the race to Mackinac!

That's sailboats.


From Chicago to this teeny little island at the cold, cold north end of the lake.

OK, so it's like a really big deal around here with the sailing people.

Anyyyyywayyyyyyyyyy........... for the big century running of this, 460 boats are competing.

With somewhere between 6 and 15 drunks sailors per boat........... so let's see............... carry the 2............. OK, eleventy billion sailors are going to an island THIS BIG:

So we have eleventy billion drunks sailors trying to get from here (Chicago)

to there (the non-existent dot waaaaaay up at the top of the mitten).

Without doing THIS.

Yep, last year. Bad. Expensive and bad.

And while those boozing brave souls are boozing sailing, loads of wives and girlfriends will be driving from here (Chicago)

to there (nonexistent dot at top of mitten).

While kicking themselves for making this ungodly drive YET AGAIN.

But BONUS - we get to see such FAMOUS attractions as

Oh yes there is!! Weeee-sconsin, yah hey dere!!

And if we have our fill of cheese, just wait!! I have heard that on this tiny little nonexistent dot at the top of the mitten, you just might be able to find.. fudge!

If you look really, really hard.

Guess what I'll be looking for really, really hard?

Or in the convenient economy case size

EVERY hotel room on Mackinac is currently sold out. That is a lot of totally bored, probably drunk and on a massive sugar high wives and girlfriends hanging out here

OK, so that's not the real 'Pink Pony', but I can't find a pic..

And waiting for the eleventy-billion to arrive so we can finally have the awards party HERE

Yep, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac. From that movie "Somewhere in Time" which NONE of you remember because you, gentle readers, are probably younger than me. Not that I'm bitter.

No, we are NOT ALLOWED IN. We party on the lawn. They have actual GUARDS to keep us out.

But more on that later....