bunny_hugger's brother left a message on the answering machine, mentioning that he'd bought a car and had finally listened to that Sparks mix CD she burned for him and he loved it and didn't know how he had never known about Sparks before. About eight hours later bunny_hugger asked me, wait, did he say he'd bought a car? And I thought she had just mis-heard the Sparks lyric he had sung to open the message. We re-listened to it and yeah, he'd bought another car even though he lives in Brooklyn and it's cheaper to burn piles of money for fuel than it is to own a car in the city. Also it'd turn out he and his girlfriend were driving out to spend a week or so in the area.
So this is how a couple days after we drove out to the western side of Michigan, we were driving out again, this time to Silver Beach. This was my first visit there since marrying into the state, if I'm not mistaken. It was brutally hot, with more sun than we had got all summer. It hasn't been a warm summer, but that day the temperature got high enough to melt stars. bunny_hugger and I had brought an umbrella, that I kept setting up in the wrong place because I couldn't get over my instinctive feeling that as the day went on shadows would move toward the water. This is correct for the Jersey Shore, incorrect for Lake Michigan from the lower peninsula. Her brother and his girlfriend vanished a while to buy an umbrella themselves. We would end up relocating a couple times during the afternoon until we finally got this pretty sweet semi-secluded spot surrounded by bushes and near a picnic table. This was also right near every annoying little biting insect in the world, which prompted her brother and his girlfriend to find some Deet.
bunny_hugger brought some of her kites, including a nice, forty-foot-long dragon kite. They wouldn't fly. There were hints of wind all around us, and evidence of it, but there just were no points where there was a steady enough breeze at the ground, and in the air, and enough space to run without colliding into people, for it to work. Frustrating.
We spent much less time at the beach than I had expected. Her brother started getting itchy. I actually only got in the water once, and basically just waded; I'd figured there'd be the time to go floating later on when it wasn't so crowded. (Also, Lake Michigan is colder than I'm used to for bodies of swimming water. My problem, I know, but still.) I'd expected we would be around until sunset and we instead were getting ready to leave about normal-person dinnertime.
So, we walked out to the lighthouse and yes, there's one there. There are two lighthouse stamps, at adjacent shops in town. The reasons for that are unexplained so we can imagine any hilarious lighthouse-visiting stamp drama we like. And we got around to the carousel. Silver Beach used to have an amusement park, and the town tried to get back its long-lost carousel, or at least an antique carousel, before finally getting a newly-made one that opened about a half-decade back. It's a nice one and it is, happily, in an air-conditioned building. On a day when the sunlight felt like blocks of pavement smacking into your face that was so, soooo very welcome.
bunny_hugger's brother found a Chinese restaurant in Kalamazoo, which we'd pass through on the way back, and we ate there. This was not our most successful restaurant visit. I forget whether it was bunny_hugger or her brother who tried ordering an appetizer and asked if it was vegetarian, and then they had to take it back because it did properly speaking have meat in it, if that wasn't all right. I tried to order a vegetable egg foo yung --- a boring but reliable choice --- and the waiter asked if I said ``vegetable eggplant''? I thought she was asking what vegetables I wanted in the egg foo yung and figured, well, eggplant is fine, sure. Thus I get an eggplant dish instead of egg foo yung and I just don't know about any of this, really.
So, all that's normal-scale little restaurant mishaps. Then bunny_hugger's brother's girlfriend found a fly in her dish. This was, literally, something she's feared in restaurants forever, and why she's wary of dishes with dark sauces, like she was having, and in under-lit restaurants, like where we were eating. I was amazed she'd noticed it; when she held it up I thought it was maybe a slice of pepper or something. Of course she was closer to it, and bunny_hugger identified it as a fly too. The waiter was abashed and they comped her a replacement meal, of course. And the owner came out to apologize about how this was not the sort of thing they expect to have happen and the fly must've got in when the door was opened a little because it was such a hot day. And, yeah, this is all the sort of thing that happens at any restaurant sometimes. But this was the cap on a string of mishaps at this place. (Her brother estimated it set his girlfriend back five years in eating stuff at restaurants.) They gave us all a small dish of ice cream, but I think next time we'll maybe just go to Denny's.
Happily that wouldn't be our only chance to see them while they were in town.
Trivia: The ninth month of the Babylonian calendar, Gangan, was dubbed Kislimu in the Semitic calendar and Audynaios in the Seleucid calendar. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.
Currently Reading: Austerity Britain, 1945 - 1951, David Kynaston.