The Dog Days

According to the official definition of the term, we are pretty much smack dab in the middle of the Dog Days of Summer. The funny thing is, growing up, I always thought it referred to the hottest days of the summer. Then somewhere along the lines, it was brought to my attention that is has to do with the star Sirius, which is also referred to as the “Dog Star”. Now it turns out both are right. The ancient Greeks did name the period from the star, but also connected it with the hottest time of the year for them. So there. There is your astronomy lesson for the day!

The weather up here has not been much like the dog days at all. We did have a very nice week going and even got warm enough that I had to use the AC to cool things down Tuesday night to make it comfortable for sleeping. We could have gotten by without too much issue, but I weighed the importance of a good night sleep vs. being able to brag about the fact that we did not have to use the AC all summer and it was a quick no-brain’er! Especially since the summer is not over yet and we could have an day or night or both where there is an even more dire need for AC. Although I can say that not having to use the AC until August 1st is certainly a record for me and it might be the only time it runs this summer, as we have really been blessed with nice cool nights. Even when the temps have risen above 80 for a daytime high, they are dropping into the upper 50’s to low 60’s at least. Sometimes even the low 50’s and an occasional upper 40.

So the main event this week was the 8th birthday for Gracie on the 4th. It wasn’t a week long celebration, but from the daddy-daughter date that happened on Thursday to her actual birthday and then the party for her friends today, it almost seems like it! All in a good way, but it really does seem like we have been celebrating it for almost a week!


The daddy- daughter date sort of just happened at almost the last minute. It started out as a way to make good on a promise to Gracie from Nora and I to take her to the arcade at the bowling ally in Houghton as a reward for a good job on something. Earlier in the week, the weather looked like it was going to be cold and rainy all day on Thursday. So I told Gracie that maybe we would take her to the arcade Thursday afternoon and make good a nasty day. Then the forecast changed to looking like the rains would hold off until around sunset, so we started to back off of the idea. Then by Thursday morning, it was looking like the rains would arrive by noon and keep up the rest of the day, so the plans were back on. Only Gracie had commented on how long it had been since we had one of our D/D dates and I thought it would make for the perfect opportunity to have both a D/D date and take her to the arcade. So that is what we did. Only our bellies were plenty empty when we arrived, so we had a nice dinner first and then onto the arcade! We had an awesome time and promised to each other to do it again. Mom did not mind too much as it gave her a little alone time and also some time to prep for G’s birthday the next day.

Going back to Wednesday, we put up Gracie’s zip line. It got accidentally taken down last autumn when the logging truck that delivered our firewood back into it and snapped it. It’s amazing how what seems to be an incredibly strong 3/8″ stainless steel cable can be snapped like it’s nothing when a logging truck backs into it! Anyway, we decided to go big this year. The cable that came in the zip line kit was 30 feet long and gave her a pretty good ride, but we upped the ante and made it 100 feet long. Even the pups got into the action when some limbs needed to be cleared to make a path through the woods. It’s pretty cool. She does have to start around 11-12 feet off the ground, but I set up some construction scaffolding that we were not using and she can actually sit on the edge of the scaffolding, then slide the seat underneath her and then ease off the scaffolding and zip through the woods!

Mom was a little bit nervous about how high Gracie was having to start out, but when she saw how things were done and the fact that Gracie was also wearing her bike helmet, she did not feel so worried. It would be neat to make it even larger, but I think we are about at our realistic limit for now. Perhaps when I have the time and gumption to make a platform that is as safe as we have now and can handle the larger height, we will THINK about it!

Friday was the big day and started out as they always do in the Dee house, with a serenade of “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl. The plan was to let her sleep in as long as possible and then go and wake her up to the song, but she ended up dropping down the stairs all by herself at around 7:30 am. So we sang to her then. She then went off to a summer program they have for kids up here and was home by around 2. We then wasted no time getting to opening her presents. Several pictures were taken to record that moment, but rather than show you the “perfect” one, I just had to show you this one, as it more reflects the silliness that was going on to get a perfectly posed and composed picture! We then had the chicken BBQ that I came up with a few years back and out came the cake. I kinda ran short on the frosting, so not the prettiest job, but Gracie wanted a chocolate, cherry-chip, cake and they do not have that type in the boxes, ready to go, so I had to do everything from scratch, including the frosting. It tasted way better than it looked!!! and I think we might have found the cake that gets the call for many birthday’s to come.

Friday was also the first Friday of the month and that meant that “First Friday” was going on in Calumet. It is an evening when most of the businesses stay open later and have music and/or food, along with displays of art. So it is a neat experience to go from business to business and see everything. It is also nice because it is almost impossible to not run into someone you know and have a chat. One of my brother’s pieces of art is hanging in the Yoga studio on loan. It is an enormous piece, but is really cool, as he did it to represent a lake with lots of waves interacting on each other, which is typically known to be sort of violent or even dangerous, but becomes pretty peaceful when you look at it for a while.

Saturday came and it was a beautiful day, so we all piled into Nora’s vehicle and headed to the beach. It’s been a while since we were all at the beach as one family. I know that Nora and Gracie have been a few times without me and we have been a time or two without the pups, but we finally all coordinated our schedules and were able to go as one group! The beach was wonderful. The spot we were in only really had enough room for just us, so needless to say we had the place to ourselves. Or so we thought…until we looked over on the rocks and there was a mermaid sunning herself!

We were careful not to startle or scare her and kept our distance. We thought that we would let her be and enjoy her day as we enjoyed ours and then the pups got the idea to nab her and take her home with us. So that is what we did and she now resides in our swimming pool. It’s pretty cool to see her swim around in that tail in the pool. She really gets around very good and has an absolute blast.

So today was the kids party. For as long as we have been having kids parties for her, we have always had them at our house and always lucked out with the weather. As the list of invitees grew, Nora and I decided not to tempt fate and end up having a dozen or so kids at our house, stuck inside, if the weather was crummy, so we opted to rent the pool of a local hotel. It turns out that the weather would have been suitable for the party to be held at our house and in our pool, but it would have been a crowded pool, that’s for sure!

There is a type of meeting room adjacent to the pool that you also get use of when you rent the pool and that worked out great for food, presents and cake. So it worked out very well and we are not disappointed in our decision at all. It was nice to not have to worry a bit about the weather and to have a facility where a dozen or so kid and some of their parents could hang out and celebrate and we also did not have to clean up the house afterward!

Not much else going on up here this past week. This coming week I plan to start the small bump-out that will become our utility room. It is small at around 7 feet by 12 feet, but will be plenty big enough to serve as the utility room and we will also gain a pantry, once everything is moved out of what is now the utility room. I really do not know how long it will take me. I know how short a time I could get it done if I had to, but I am operating as many construction projects in a different manner these days. It’s not like it will just sit in limbo for weeks on end, but I also am not going to let it stress me out at all. So a rough guesstimate of around 2 weeks to have most of the work done and maybe another weeks worth of work (over time) to get the pantry all set up.

Hard to believe that is is August already and in a month, it will be back to school for just about all the kids and many reading this will be having their thoughts be punctuated more and more by the thought of play in the snow! I know I am not there yet, but will be fine when the warm days of summer give way to the crisp ones of autumn.

Good night from the Keweenaw..