Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adventures in Town

The Fremont, the Baby Food Capital of the World, hosted the Baby Food Festival yet again.  It is a week in which downtown (or just Town) is closed off and all the locals go on vacation and all the out of towners come into town.  There are rides and carnies, food, sidewalks sales and live music.  One year Da Yoopers came and played.  I just go their cassette tape free at a yard sale a few weeks ago.

This year we entered Lilly into the Baby Crawl.  It's a race where babies crawl from one end of the stage to the other on a mat.  I've never seen it before, but I had heard about it.  It's adorable!  So many crawling babies!  Lilly did not crawl, she sat there and tried to tear up the tape that was holding the starting line down.  I was so proud, she didn't cry and make me look like a horrible mom.  That's all I asked for.  The winners of the heats got a large stuffed Nesquic (chocolate milk) rabbit. All the entrants got a diaper bag (not an awesome one) filled with Gerber baby stuff.  Most importantly to me, it had a Gerber baby bib in it.  Those are the best bibs of all the bibs I've tried...until you reach the stage where you need the silicon ones that catch the food.  Those are leveled up bibs.

There was a drawing from the names of all the babies and the winner got a life insurance policy for the baby.  Lilly did not win that. 

Then I met up with a friend who lives in town so she's a pro at the BFF (Baby Food Festival) and showed me where to go to get another, different, diaper bag full of baby food from Gerber, including another bib.  Both Josh and I got a bag filled with the stuff. Best BFF experience ever.

Earlier in the week Lilly and I walked around at the Kids Expo, where all the kid related companies set up booths and gave out their swag. There were so many people and kids and strollers!  Lilly missed her nap and her lunch, and she is such a blessing.  She didnt' cry, she didn't get mad, she just sat there miserable, waiting for it to be over. 

At the EMS booth, I asked them if they knew the number for the police.  I've been thinking about this on and off for a while.  You are only suppose to call 911 if it's an emergency and if it's not you need to call the police.  But when you need to call the police, you usually don't have time to look it up on your phone, the yellow pages, the internet, wherever.  The EMS guy told it to me (924-2100) and then said that I can just call 911 anyways.  I was all, but it HAS to be an emergency.  In Nashville they have billboards up (the good ones were in spanish) explaining what was an emergency and what wasn't and whatever you do, don't dial 911 unless it is.  The EMS guy said that Newaygo County was probably not as busy as Nashville. 

Well.  That's something I hadn't thought of.  I like to think I would have, eventually.  I spent a lot of time in the car trying to figure out what to dial instead of 911.

Yesterday was Bill's Shop n' Save day again.  I needed milk and meat for Josh's sandwiches.  It was not as pleasant a trip as usual.  First, as I was pulling up, I had to wait for a mom and her small daughter to cross the parking lot to go out to their car.  They took their sweet time, but that's okay I said.  Then I went in and got a cart.  But it was the kind of cart where the green flap thing that Lilly sits on up front doesn't stay down.  It's spring loaded to flip up and makes it nearly impossible to get Lilly into her cart seat alone.  That was flustering and I forgot to sanitize the cart.  Not a big deal, I just don't like messing up my routine.  Step one is walk in and look to see who is working and choose which bagger and cashier I want to go to.  I have two favorites and I try to stick to them to increase my chances of building a relationship.  Step two is get a cart, put Lilly in it and sanitize it.  Step Three is Groceries.  So I was on step three, heading towards the donuts, and that same woman and daughter I had to wait to cross the parking lot some how got back INTO the store and I had to wait for them once again!  Finally, I'm to the donuts, and I find the bag and a tissue grabber sheet.  And this woman who is not old but older than me (60ish...this age hates to be called "older" even though that's what they are!) she comes up and is completely annoyed that I am in her way.  Even though I was there first, I could tell by the way her hands were always right behind mine and how she was trying to get into all the donut doors I was already getting into that she was annoyed that I was there.  I was inconvieniencing her!  Shit.  I was there first.  I hate it when people do that to me.  Why do people think it's okay to push me around?  She is probably the Queen of Fremont.

Then guess what!  I discovered that they did indeed hire new people at Bill's.  The newest lady was working in the deli, where I get the meat for sandwiches.  First, she didn't have the customer service training talk yet, and I had to wait a while for some other lady (her trainer) to see me and come tell the new lady that she could stop what she was doing to help me.  I asked for one pound of tavern ham.  So the lady had to spend a few minutes figuring out how to get her gloves on.  Then spend some time figuring out how to open the sliding glass doors to the meat, and then talk to the trainer lady about which meat was the Tavern Ham.  This is okay.  New people are slow.  So she grabs a stack of ham and puts it on the scale.  It's half a pound almost exactly.  She spends a minute figuring out how to press the scale buttons so the price comes up.  Then she puts one more slice on the stack to bring it up to 0.57 lbs.  Then she starts to pack it up, and the lady trainer her says that she thinks I asked for a whole pound of meat.  I confirm that I did.  So the new lady grabs two slices of ham...and nope, that's not enough.  So she grabs two more slices.  Nope.  She man-handled every slice of ham of mine for the entire second half a pound!  She had to go one to two slices at a time! UGH.  That was not okay.  That's not due to being new.  That's due to being slow.  (I know, I know, maybe she was nervous about taking forever and wasn't thinking clearly b/c she's new.  I know.)

Then I grabbed Josh's favorite potato chips and left.  The cashier lady was nice and the bagger was Nate.  I don't know him.  But I go to him every time.  We discussed the weather as we walked out to the car.  I'm trying to practice asking him a nice question that doesn't have to do with the weather for next time.  It's hard and I usually chicken out because I'm shy and just mention the weather again.  I'm thinking I'll ask "So, are you in school?" Or should I say college? 

And that's my life.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Secret Passion

Back before I was married, but living in Nashville, I came home for Christmas break and I broke my ankle in a terrible sledding accident.  There was not blood and carnage everywhere.  I was on crutches for 4 months.  I came home in the spring time still on crutches and had to go shopping at Bill's Shop'n'Save with my mom for wedding shower food. 

It was a long and hard crutch around that store, so I decided to sit down and wait for my mom.  I picked out a donut (either sprinkle or glazed), paid for it, and sat at the front of the store on a bench.  An elderly grandmother type came and sat next to me.  She also had a hard time walking around the store.  I ate my donut and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten.  That moment of relaxing in the store eating a piece of heaven is one of those moments you notice and know you will remember forever. 

That's when one of my brother's friends who worked there walked up and accused me of stealing the donut and called me a cripple.  Per usual of his friends.

But, still, I did not forget that donut.  I went on a secret quest throughout Nashvile for the next 5 years, looking for it's southern equivalent.  About 7 months before Lilly was born and we moved, I discovered the closest I could get to a Bill's donut.  It was in a store on a very busy street, Murfreesboro Pike, on my way to work and home. The unfortunate part was that they closed at 1pm.  Which I found out after turning, in the rain, to go there, missing the drive and having to make not one but two left turns on a 6 lane road.  In the rain.  In case you haven't driven in the rain in the south, it's similar in danger levels and difficulty as driving in a snowstorm up here.  It just is. 

I never left home early enough to stop for donuts on the way to work. 

So I moved home.  Now I can have Bill's Donuts whenever I want. Except Fridays, when they sell out.  And that one time when Carly promised me Bill's donuts when I visited, but Bill's was closed so they got Lofthouse Sugar Cookies from Walmart instead.  A valiant effort, but not the same as those donuts.

They are made at night by a guy who's girlfriend I met at the Library.  He has a 10 month old daughter and 3 year old son.  They were also at the library.  They are cake donuts and they are amazing.  My favorites right now are the bear claws (I think they are called that).  They are brown and flaky with donut flake and filled with apple and cinnamon.  But not too much to be overwhelming, just enough filling that you know it's there.  And then it's covered in delicious glaze.  They are rectangular and the edges and corners get crispy, and then are covered in that glaze, making them extra crispy.  I like to pull the edges off and eat those first.  Then I like the sprinkle donuts because they are so colorful and pretty.  Bill's does the sprinkles in colors to match the season, the current holiday, and to match the local high school colors.  I usually choose the most colorful ones.  I like it when there are two main colors with a third sprinkle color, sprinkled in (if you will).    I like the light brown colored frosting for the sprinkled donuts.  You can also choose white or black.  The best donuts there of all of them are the sourdough ones.  When they are cooked they split open on the top, like a banana bread.  Then when they are covered in glaze extra glaze fills in the cracks and it hardens better.  The regular glazed cake donuts get a little soggy b/c the glaze will soften and get sticky in the humidity. 

My mom doesn't understand why I buy and eat so many donuts.  That's a lot of extra calories.  But I don't buy nutty bars or cheesy poofs or chocolate to eat.  I just buy donuts once a week when I do my grocery shopping.

On a side note, when I went to Bill's on Friday, at 2 pm, I found out that that's when all of the oldest of the old people do their shopping.  The store was FILLED with the elderly, pottering around, barely able to walk, with their clip boards and sale flyers.  I chatted with a lady who was shucking corn to make white bean chili and wanted to put the fresh corn in it. It just looked so good.  We discussed if 2 or 3 ears was enough.  Then I talked to the youngest person there, who informed me that her granddaughter just turned one year old that day!  And almost every single one of the people stops and talks to Lilly.  It was a busy day and there was a lot of managers working at Bill's.  In the back of the store I heard one guy saying he just hired 2 people and he was worried if it would work out or not.  He was pretty excited about it.  Then in line I heard two older gents discussing how they interviewed 4 people, three internal and one external, but no decisions were made yet.  I guess Friday is when Bill's does their hiring.  It's a good place to work b/c they have baggers still.  People who bag your groceries and then carry them out to your car for you with special bagger carts.  Lots of people who work there have worked there for 10+ years.  I always get inline where this guy, Nate, works.  I haven't gotten the courage up to talk to him yet, but I'm working on it.  I tried this time, to ask about the lack of delicious donuts, but he was busy and grumpy, and the bagger girl, Jess, talked to me instead.  She said she was disappointed too that they sold out b/c she eats them on her break. I think I will try to strike up a conversation with Jess next time too.  She carries my groceries out to my car a lot, so I should have some chances to discuss more than the weather.

Oh, when I say it was a busy day, I think it was, not because there were a lot of people there, but because old people like a lot of extra help.  Sending things back to the isles and getting the workers to grab what they really wanted to buy.  Stuff like that.  And of course, that sort of service and courtesy, is what gets them the customers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hairy Babies, Pets, and Bad Yard Art

On the way into town, there are things you look at.  What do you look at when drive to work or town? How long have you been looking at these things?  On my way to work in Nashville, I looked at the street sign that said "Edge-o-Lake Rd" just like that, and thought thoughts on it almost every day.  I looked at the houses by the stop sign and judged them.  I looked at the trees change in the treed part of the drive.  It really was a pretty boring drive.  Now, on the way to Fremont I get to look at the large statue of a fetus being held in a hand and a large sign next to it with anti-abortion bible words on it that is a whole paragraph long and I can't read it while driving by.  Below it in the ground are crosses set out to spell ABORTION, and there is one cross for each child aborted every day or year or something.  I used to know in high school.  This year, they haven't weeded the crosses, so it's looking a little rough.  There is also a beautiful feild of red poppies mixed with a purple flower, and a lot of amish buildings too, with their laundry hanging.  But there is a new item, something for my parents to look at for the next 30 years.  A large tree fell down a while back, right on the edge of the road, sort of in front of a house, if there was a house there.  There is a fallen down barn and a burnt up mobile home (it just burnt up last month) and maybe a dilapitated house too.  (it's not a pretty corner).  But the tree broke about 10-15 ft up, and so there was a large 10-15 stump (Trunk?) left.  That stump was carved in a large 10 ft coca-cola glass bottle and then painted to look like such.  WHY?!?!  WHY DO YOU WANT THAT IN YOUR YARD? I'd rather have the fetus in a hand.

Yesterday I brought Ackbar and Lilly to the vet where I discovered that my cat weighs one pound less than my baby.  Despite the fact that Ackbar's figure has slimmed down and he has a nice kitty waist now, he somehow weighs more than ever at a large 16 lbs!  It's all muscle weight, I'm sure.  The trip was one of the hardest and most adventurous trips I've had to go on with a baby.  I couldn't carry both in at the same time, so first I carried Ackbar in in his crate, then I went back out and grabbed my purse and the stroller.  Lilly was asleep, so I didn't want to wake her and put her in the stroller.  And then the stroller wheels were locked, and I was in too much of a hurry to unlock them, so I picked it up and carried the stroller in, like a giant nerd.  Then I went back out to get Lilly.  Next time, I'm just waking her up.  Then we got into the room, and I realized I had left the paperwork in my other purse, and had to run back out to the car to get it. 

The vet commented on how beautiful and handsome he is.  She also commented on how beautiful Lilly is and how much hair she has.  She tactfully didn't use the same compliments on Ackbar.  But if she had, I would have said "That's how I like them, beautiful and hairy!"  That's funny.

We spent the weekend at Grandma Colombini's house. She has a great dog named Chance, and he is a mini collie...a Shetland Sheep dog.  He looks like a foot rest and has a lot of hair too.  We realized that Chance and Lilly have a lot in common, number one being the first comment they both get when strangers see them is "Look at all that hair!"

Tomorrow we go see Don Benson play in the park in Fremont.  He is a jewelry maker and folk musician!  He and his wife make my favorite jewelry, I have a collection of it (they sell at Bliss Fest) and we've been listening to his cd for quite some time!  I'm excited to see him sing the songs I know and I sing too.  There's one about taking a bath together, there's one about where to send money (he actually sings teh PO box number, so you really can send him money) if you burn the cd, and there's one that goes "My dogma ate my karma".