Sunday, October 14, 2012

I will take the long way home... (Part 2)

The week I was in Michigan just happened to be the week of the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair. And if you live around here you're used to the fact that life usually just stops for a week and we all go to the fair. Well, I was in MI so I took vacation Friday of that week and the first week of October. We went to the Fair Friday night and again Saturday morning for the Parade.

Emma getting ready to fish for a shark.

Aiden trying to make sense of the whole thing.

Aiden's new Scooby Doo hat.

Saturday morning:

Uncle Kirby, Aiden at the wheel and Emma.

The Waterloo Fire Dept. Model A

Aiden and BopBop.

What the parade looks like from the Model A.

"What is my Dad doing?" FYI, that's 3 generations in the front seat of that truck.

FIRE DOG! The kids love Fire Dog!

After the parade it was off to the rides for Emma. I have a lot of pictures but I won't bore you with them all.

Butterfly face painting that was done at Jeremiah's Brewed Awakenings.

The following week we bought Emma a real bike. I found it on Craigslist for $10.

When you buy your daughter a $10 bike off Craigslist you know it's going to look like this real soon.

But I got it painted, greased, decorated and back together all in the same chilly day. You can't see her face but she loves it!

Later in the week Emma and I went to see Uncle Duane and Aunt Kari at Emma Warehouse where we cashed in our store credit and got a bunch of goodies - some of which we needed, some we didn't. We did get new black tires for her bike.

Emma trying on a farmer hat. I was tempted but, no, we did not buy it.

We took a random back country way home where we found a heard of bison in a field right near the road.

That Saturday we went back to Lagrange for Corn School (their fair.)

Emma and her cousin Alayna on the spaceships.

Emma and a random little boy on the spaceships. They both wanted to ride in the blue and there were two but the other had a broken cylinder so they shared.

And after what was more or less two whole weeks off I had to go back to work. It's hard to count the three days of class in Michigan as "work" because I like learning and it really was fun. So this last week was madness after being gone from work for so long. Who knew... they actually need me there?

I will take the long way home... (Part 1)

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Where to begin...?

The Waterloo Fire Dept Pancake Sausage Supper was on Saturday Sept 22nd where Aiden took one of the fire trucks out for a quick drive.

The following week I went with my co-worker and fellow lab rat Travis to LECO Corp in St. Joseph Michigan for training. Metallurgical analysis - I live an exciting life. We stayed at the Boulevard Inn in downtown St. Joseph which was a major disappointment... especially at their rates. I shall now summarize my stay:

Upon check in around 9pm I walked into my room to come face-to-face with another person in the room. Thinking they'd double booked the room, I nearly ran back down to the front desk to throw a fit. Turns out he was a hotel employee working on the plumbing (at 9pm!?) and had no warning that I was headed to the room. He asked for five minutes to finish what he was doing so I went back to the car to get my luggage.

There is no good way to get your luggage from the parking lot to the building that doesn't involve a long walk, a huge step up a loading dock and then a long ramp or a long walk and up a flight of steps in the lobby.

The revolving door at the main entrance was out of order for my whole 3-day stay.

My room came with the unpleasant surprise of a pile of broken glass under the kitchenette counter.

This tells me the room was not cleaned well :(

Now, with my food allergies, I always bring my cookware and a full supply of food since I really don't like to rely on restaurants. Sadly, there was no cook top and the microwave was terribly inadequate. And because it wasn't a full kitchen, there was no flatware and no plates - only two glasses and two disposable coffee cups. 

So I had to go to the local Meijer which was an interesting drive through Benton Harbor...

It's a closed hospital I think. But it almost looks like it's an apartment building now.

And there was this heavily armored (WTF!?) backhoe.

Anyway, at Meijer I bought a set of toddler flatware (1 fork, 1 spoon, 1 knife) and a set of large square plates on clearance. I figured the plates can go in our camper (when we get one) and the kids can use the flatware.

 My plates didn't fit in the microwave or kitchen sink...

So I had to wash them in the bathroom.

There wasn't room for a drying space on the counter so I had to use the nearby reading chair.

The single serve Keurig did this to every K-cup.

Now, I have a Keurig at home and one at work and I can tell you with great certainty that this is NOT normal. But worse yet, when it blew the top off the K-cup it also blew coffee grounds all over the place! Something I then felt responsible to clean up. And being a coffee lover I cleaned that effing Keurig many times during my stay!

However, on the pleasant side of things, my room was on the 7th floor overlooking downtown St. Joseph. I was greeted by this view every morning.
I don't wake up to scenery like this at home.

And I was close to the beach.

Little hand prints in the sand made me miss my kids. 

I made Travis take my picture with the snow shovel pirate.

This art gallery was a block away but was closed when I got there.

And after all that I must say that LECO Corporation is one of the most gracious companies I've ever had the pleasure to visit. I look forward to the chance of a return visit. However, I will be making alternate lodging arrangements.