Wednesday, April 7, 2010
For many married couples, the holidays sometimes present scenarios which need to be dealt with using the greatest tact and diplomacy. This Easter might have been one such instance. Should we spend the holiday with my wife’s sibling or with mine?
If we were to choose her sibling, we would spend a few days being spoiled shamelessly at a house within walking distance of the sandy beaches of Grand Traverse Bay dining on – among other delicacies – a standing rib roast and genuine Tiramisu. (Not to mention ample breakfasts featuring bacon cooked to sublime crispness by the only woman whose bacon-making talents have approached the perfection achieved by my late grandmother.) If we were to spend Easter with my sibling, however, we would spend it in the company of some creepy fundamentalist Christian in-laws and an equally creepy extended network of their friends and co-workers and siblings of co-workers…
And the cuisine? Let’s just say that one year we were treated to lukewarm instant mashed potatoes reconstituted with – nay – bathed in tepid soy milk.
Screw tact and diplomacy! Going to Traverse City was a no-brainer!
And so, on Saturday morning, the four of us and Lily the “Special” Maltipoo piled into the Toyota and commenced our trek northward. Unlike past excursions, we actually managed to leave at our planned departure time. Apparently the kids getting older combined with our experience packing for such trips have combined to make our travelling much more efficient than in previous years.
And so the humans involved were doing well. The canine traveler, though, wasn’t. When Lily noticed us packing up the leash and doggie bed, she started to freak out: separation anxiety without the separation, I suppose. She whined and hyperventilated in the back seat for the first half hour of the trip before finally settling down.
We decided to stop for lunch in Cadillac. Leanne saw a sign indicating an unnamed lake was ahead.
“I wonder what lake that is?” she asked.
“I dunno… Lake Cadillac?” was my smartass reply.
About a minute later we encountered a sign informing us that we were in the presence of… Lake Cadillac.
Damn! Even when I’m being intentionally stupid, I’m smart!
One thing a visitor cannot help but notice in the vicinity of Cadillac are all the anti-abortion signs. Lots of pictures of fetuses and babies and slogans such as “Take my hand, not my life.” Yep. Someone in Cadillac really, really, really hates abortion. I fantasized about wearing a T-shirt around town sporting the slogan “I (heart) abortions!” just to piss these people off. But I suspect anyone actually doing so would probably get a lethal dose of “Christian Love”.
I'm guessing all the infatuation with the unborn is somehow connected with the Catholic Church. You know, the folks who believe human life should be protected from the moment of conception until the moment of birth. After that, fuck ‘em. Figuratively and – in some horrific situations – literally.
(Okay, I realize this is supposed to be a lighthearted account of our recent trip to Traverse City, but you really couldn’t expect me to get through several paragraphs without a gratuitous slam against religion, could you? Besides, this is MY blog. If you want a more polite and civil blog, write your own!)
Anyway, we soon arrived at the sister-in-law’s without incident. The pantry was well stocked and our hostess was not about to let us leave weighing less than we did upon arrival.
Everything was wonderful… except the weather. This, however, was not as unfortunate as it may seem. I had long heard of the fine public library in Traverse City and since we couldn’t do much else, it was a perfect opportunity to… uh… “check it out”. (Sorry… I couldn’t resist the bad library pun.)
The Traverse City Library is wonderful! It’s a large, beautiful architecturally appealing building located on a scenic parcel of land near Boardman Lake with convenient access to the TART Trail. In Flint, such a parcel of land would most likely be occupied by condominiums.
Not only does the TC library boast excellent wireless internet access, but I was informed that Traverse City is planning to implement a free community wifi service later this year. Yep… the powers that be in the TC community view internet access as an essential public service and are willing to take steps to make it happen. I couldn’t help but contrast this with the situation in Flint where cuts in public services and a rash of arsons are plaguing the community. I kept wondering: why does Traverse City work while Flint seems broken? Maybe someday…
We spent that evening eating some delicious pizza and watching MSU lose in the Final Four basketball game against whoever-the-hell-they-were-playing-against. I was once a diehard U of M fan, but that all changed when they thumbed their noses at Flint by shit-canning WFUM. So now… it’s Go Green!
We spent a quiet Easter Sunday eating like royalty… from the aforementioned awesome bacon & eggs for breakfast to the juicy standing rib roast for dinner.
Sample dinner conversation:
“What’s in the bowl?”
“That’s the au jus.”
“Au jus? I didn’t think they celebrated Easter.” (You get one guess who couldn’t help say THAT!)
After the delicious roast - some divine Tiramisu for dessert. Damn! This was the life!
And since the weather was clear, the kids & I walked to the beach where I read, my son looked for fossils and my daughter took pictures of every animal that passed within a hundred yards.
The next day, the downtown shops were open. Used book stores, gift shops, food stores… Leanne actually had pity on me and allowed me to purchase a container of excellent Cherry-flavored loose leaf tea from one of the local vendors. Mmmmmm!
For lunch, we ate at a place I insist on calling – much to everyone’s annoyance – SlapChop. Actually, it’s called Slabtown (after the old name of the neighborhood in which it’s located). My wife once kept mistakenly calling it “Slaptown” and from that I morphed the name into the infamous product hawked by the ever-trustworthy “Vince” of TV infomercial fame.
SlapChop… uh… Slabtown is an incredible burger place. How good? I realize this may be speaking blasphemy, but it ranks with the best burger joints in Flint. I think I’m gaining weight just thinking about it!
Finally, no trip to Traverse City would be complete without a trip to Moomer’s, voted the best ice cream place in America by some TV show awhile back. (Yeah, I could do some basic research to look up the specifics, but then again, so can you. That’s what Google is for.)
Not only did I have some delicious German Chocolate ice cream, but we purchased a new product: Moomer’s milk. It’s not homogenized and is processed to get from the cow to the consumer as quickly as possible. And unlike most store-bought milk which could pass for opaque water, this milk has an actual… taste! (Imagine that!) It’s hard to describe, but it reminded me vaguely of tasting like the liquid one would encounter in cottage cheese. Kinda. Anyway, it was quite good and worth checking out.
While at Moomer’s, my sister-in-law was telling me about research where dairy cows were being raised in a stress-free environment and could be milked when they wanted to be and were exposed to soothing music.
“Great. My next CD will be ‘Music for Cows’” I quipped.
I spent that night awake in bed… seriously wondering what kind of music cows would enjoy.
And so, on Tuesday, we returned home. It was a nice break from the incessant job search and likely as close to a vacation we’re going to get this year.
It was fun.