On being polite…

I have come to the conclusion that non-answering is the latest trend. It has come completely to electronic mail, even more so than before. It seemed to start on cell phones and moved to electronic mail.

I just sent a group e-mail to the Village of Deerfield trustees regarding our issues with a privacy invading neighbor. I am actually angrier at them for not even responding to my e-mail, more so than at the fact that they are unwilling to get off their behinds and actually attempt to do something, or at least be sympathetic.

I sent e-mails on June 29th of this year to the six village trustees and to the mayor of Deerfield. I will grant you that the mayor responded and was sympathetic in her response and said she would get back to me.

She never did get back to me, nor did the persons she copied.

I forgive her, maybe a bit, as perhaps our neighbor issues were not a top priority. I am having trouble forgiving her for not doing what she said she would do, and follow up.

Out of the six trustees, one of whom I had already e-mailed the message before to a no-response, only one responded and that was via a phone call, which was nice. I point blank asked her if she had been chosen to respond for the group, to which she replied, « No. » Her take was that she had spoken to her personal lawyer and the lawyer said we needed to file a civil suit. We had already, by that time, contacted a classmate of our kids who is now a local lawyer who basically explained what we already knew. It would be very expensive, long, and drawn out, and probably not with good results. The trustee told me that for less than $2000 we would do well. I told her I doubted it and and she told me to « …get a different lawyer. » Luckily, our neighbor situation has settled down due to the illness Mr. Malbor has.

The other day, I contacted former colleagues at the high school where I taught as I found out that they had a program taking kids to Stratford, Ontario. I did get a response from the teacher, but the new department chairman, a man I know well and whose mother is an acquaintance, did not respond and I am guessing he shall not. Here we are not asking for anything but are offering to help and do what we can to make it an even better experience and there is no response.

The current superintendent of the school district where I taught was once my colleague, a math teacher, a friend, and he even tutored our son in my home. Recently, I wrote him via e-mail. I never heard from him. I know e-mail goes into spam, but…

That is a sign of the times. Not only do people not answer and not return calls, they just disregard them as if they don’t exist.

The last instance is that I received a phone call while in the gym locker room last week which I stupidly took, regarding tutoring. I ask the lady for her e-mail, I sent her my flyer of explanation, I even texted her to tell her I had done so, and…nada. I just sent her another text saying that I wished her good luck finding a tutor for her daughter.

What is up with all of this?

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Back home after a weekend away…

It is fun going away and it is a pain to pull everything together and go home. It was only a weekend and that was easier than normal, however.

We left around 7:45 AM from Pembine and given the time change it felt more like 8:45 AM. We decided to mess with the Garmin travel choices and thus I got on County Road Z and went east instead of west, choosing U.S. Route 41 over U.S. Route 141 that we had used to get there. The Garmin GPS was not happy with me, but soon it stopped trying to reroute me. We wanted to see different small towns and thus we were able to go through Menominee (MI) and its twin, Marinette in Wisconsin.

I could not help but feel the remoteness of the area we visited. There was such distance between homes and the towns were so small. Although the Upper Peninsula is a large area, it holds only about 3% of Michigan’s population and you cannot help but feel that it is the poor relative, not seemingly as well taken care of as the rest of Michigan.

The traveling was easy and frankly my only worry was finding Premium gas, which my car uses, or even gas at all. There was great distance between gas stations, much more than I had anticipated. I don’t think of that issue happening in this part of the United States. Then again, there is much I don’t think about happening in the USA and seemingly, it does..

We ended up in Port Washington, literally like a suburb of Milwaukee, for lunch. MK had purchased something and it was supposed to be waiting for her at the Duluth Trading Company. Strangely, my Garmin (we have a twelve year old car) had all of the Duluth Trading Company addresses except for this one, of course. She found a pair of leather winter boots and although the size she chose wasn’t right, she was able to get the ones she needed.

We arrived home near 2:17 PM or so and then I unpacked and left by 3:00 PM to go tutoring, something that perhaps I should have had the presence of mind to cancel. Before that, I had dropped MK off at the business where I had my WRX’s body work done. She had her car detailed and I must admit that her nine year old car looks like new. Despite having two cars that are over eight years of age, they look good.

It was a great trip; we have good memories and it was an overall great time. It should help get us through the winter.

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Pemene Falls

I never mentioned how much fun it was to go to a Supper Club, a Wisconsin tradition, on Saturday. Our experience was so good that we are going to have an early dinner on Sunday, today. It was kind of funny going to the ‘Paris Supper Club’ and seeing all sorts of ‘French’ memorabilia. It was cute, nonetheless; they made a seriously mean Old Fashioned, and were ready to make it sour or sweet, they allowed us to « choose the booze » and not just offer a typical Wisconsin brandy Old Fashioned. To be frank, their Old Fashioned was one of the best, and we had them use bourbon. Top it off with it cost a whole $5!

The morning of Sunday started out with a bang in more than one way, when we got down for breakfast and for instructions on how to get Wi-Fi working. We found out that despite our having walked all the way to the other end of the facility, where the restaurants are, that the resort’s restaurants were closed. We found out, at the desk, that the chef called in sick and unfortunately, nobody told the desk. The desk is responsible, during the week, for a continental breakfast that takes about thirty minutes to prepare. They did offer to warm something up for us but we declined. We asked about places to eat and the first one that came up was the one I had seen on Yelp, Patti’s Platter. Let me just say, we are out in the middle of nowhere, no joke, and Patti’s Platter is technically in Beecher, but when I went to add it to Trip Advisor (they didn’t have it), they would not accept Beecher as a location in Wisconsin. So I put Pembine, which it is literally on the edge of. We had a great breakfast and between me and the reader, MK, my car, and I stood out like a sore thumb.

My car is pretty much the only blue car around. We pulled up, found a table, and ordered. Food was hearty, delicious, and cheap and we left for less than twenty bucks.

Following that, we googled Pemene Falls or Peminee Falls, something I could only find by googling and we found literally no directions. Our connection to the Internet on our phones was spotty and it had us going down county Z past our usual turnoff to the Island Resort and we were supposed to turn on County Road 2, which I passed. I turned around and we were on a dirt road with stones. I slowly drove my crazy WRX, which is fortunately all wheel drive, to a sign painted on a tree « PFALLS. ». We parked and walked a short distance, only to find a former wooden sign in disrepair. I started walking down toward the waterfall I heard, only to find that I had missed the steps. I sent MK down on the steps, it was a bit iffy, and I got some photos of what is mainly a set of rapids, but an amazing one at that installed in the middle of a beautiful forest. The waterfall is on the Menominee River, formed by four rivers, the Michigamme and the Brule, being the most important, and the Paint and Pine Rivers and empties into Green Bay. For a while, the river forms the barrier between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was worth the effort.

We came back to the resort; I took a quick walk to take photos, and then we went for a swim in the pool (we were alone) and then in the hot tub. Early dinner tonight, relaxation, and then home on Monday after a wonderful getaway.

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Pembine in the North Woods

Who has ever even heard of Pembine? I had not and I thought I knew northern Wisconsin. Here we were on an island of golf, of all things, surrounded by the Menominee River, and in Wisconsin as close as you could possibly get to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We felt as if we were pretty much the only ones here, as it is between seasons, and only reopened this year. We went to breakfast and met Josh, who ushered us into the Plaza Room for breakfast. As it happened, Josh served us and cooked for us. It turns out that he is originally from Kankakee, Illinois and is the head of Beverage and Food for the Resort and also the Pine Mountain Resort not far from here.

We had an absolutely lovely start to the day with pancakes and strawberries, eggs, toast, hash browns, bacon, and sausage, with some good coffee. This was all before we got on the road toward Escanaba and Gladstone in the U.P. Josh ended up blowing us away and comping us the breakfast.

The trip to the U.P., just across the Menominee River from us, was wonderful and the natural beauty and few inhabitants were impressive. We were startled by the beauty of the golden yellow fir trees that I thought I remembered from Eagle River, Wisconsin, and MK did some Internet research and determined that they are tamarack or larch trees, native to the area and Canada and despite being fir trees, their needles turn gold and drop each fall.

We rolled through Escanaba on the Little Bay De Noc (and inlet of Lake Michigan) and then on to Gladstone, named after a British Prime Minister, and the home and birthplace of MK’s dad. We found the house and MK knocked on the door. We were allowed inside and we talked to the current resident who, with her sister, cares for some sick and homeless people there. It was something being able to see this house.

We then went back to our base, stopped at a waterfall park (there are many in the U.P.), Dave’s Falls, and took a few photos before going back and taking a walk at our island resort. That was followed by dinner at the Paris Supper Club and a subsequent return to base for some book reading time.

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A weekend getaway…

We were looking forward to getting away and wondering how it was going to turn out. I had found a deal for travelzoo.com. It was for a great deal on the Four Season Island Resort in Pembine, Wisconsin. I had never heard of Pembine and had never been to that part of northern Wisconsin before. MK and I decided to take a chance.

We had a nice, four hour drive, uneventful and pleasant in my twelve year old car that I have been recently updating a bit. I had a small rust issue in the front fenders taken care of and did a few things on the interior to make it feel newer. The car is amazing and at about 118,000 miles, the best car I have ever owned. To make a long story short, I bought this in 2007 to replace the same car (Subaru, Impreza WRX) because it saved my son’s life. He had borrowed my 2005 manual transmission, Subaru blue car, drove it, hit black ice, rolled over twice into the space in the middle of Route 41 in Park City, Illinois (north of us) and walked out unharmed. The car was destroyed on the outside but the interior was untouched. That sold me. I bought pretty much the same, exact car in December of 2007.

The resort was desolate, and by that I mean there were few people there. It was a bit of a hassle in that MK had made the purchase, but had not printed out the voucher. They were not used to Travelzoo, so we had to print it out for them. That was a process as the PC was slow and I am used to Macs now and although we opened up MK’s gmail account, when we went to open up the travel folder, it would not do so. I finally did a search and it came up.

We have seen very few people other than people who work here. The resort was started in 1925 and its older part, where the restaurants are, is supposedly haunted. The new part is as beautiful as the older part is. It is a fancy resort; we are surrounded by a golf course and then by the Menominee River. They have biking, kayaking, golf, and snowmobiles in the winter, and it has a Great Gatsby feel. There is a veranda in front with statues, white wicker, etc. The indoor pool is beautiful, although we haven’t tried it yet. More to come.

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