We decided to head north for the holiday. Most of my family lives in the Great Northwoods, also known as Tomahawk, Wisconsin, and I hadn’t seen most of them for a year or so. We decided to split the trip into two days. It isn’t so long of a trip, only 300 miles due north, but we wanted to enjoy ourselves. We grabbed a hotel room wednesday night in Stevens Point, and then took county roads the rest of the way. We managed to avoid most of the traffic that way, but we did run into some interesting things. We saw more wildlife on this trip than we usually see on weekend trips up north. Our final count was four deer, a jackrabbit, two wild turkey, and a black bear. Unfortunately we saw the bear a short distance from a trail formed during the ice age. Alas, we decided to skip the hike lest the bear decide to turn around and pay us a visit.
This was the weekend of their annual Pow-Wow Days, consisting of a parade, ski show, and fireworks, among other things. We went to the parade with my brother and cousin, and fireworks with my dad. It was a good time. The weekend did have its sad note. Barney, my dad’s dog, is nearing sixteen years old and it nearly broke my heart to see him. He is going deaf, cataracts are beginning to develop on his eyes, and he moves around very slowly. I’m afraid that this was the last time I’m going to see him.
We left early saturday morning, heading south-east towards Lake Michigan. We made our way to Appleton, where we stopped and explored the Harry Houdini museum. I was facinated by magic when I was young and it was neat to see the life of Houdini from a unique perspective. From there, we headed east and stopped in the Two Rivers, on the shores of Lake Michigan. We went down to the beach and dangled our toes in the water briefly before getting back on the road. We meandered down to Milwaukee, then cut back west towards home. We managed to get stuck in traffic near a Dave Mathews concert, then south through Lake Geneva and a straight drive to home.
It’s great to be home. I did have a piece of news waiting for me. Analog rejected my story, so I’m preparing to send it off to the next publisher on the list. That rejection was only a minor blip compared to the rest of the evening. Around 3am I woke to lightning and thunder. Shortly after that the power flickered and went out. We fared well, minus the interuption of sleep, but our neighbors were not so lucky. To the left, our immediate neighbor is rebuliding his fence for the third time this summer. To the right, two neighbors had some kind of flooding in their kitchen, and one of them lost some of their guttering. There’s nothing like standing on the street with your neighbors in the middle of the night, appraising damage, and being the only ones without any. The only worry I had was the sump pump. Without power, I was afraid that the basement was going to flood. Luckily, we caught a break. Power came back on for two minutes, long enough to pump out some of the water, before it went out again. By the time we woke in the morning, power had been restored. I need to get a battery backup for the sump pump soon. We’re expecting a week of storms and I have nightmares of flooded basements and water-logged go
ods. I’ve seen the aftermath of one such flooding and I have no desire to experience that again.
I’ve been trying to keep up with all of the work lately, but I’ve been failing miserably. This has been the most I’ve written in a week. We should be hiring someone very soon, and I’m optimistic that this will give me the breathing room I desperately need. I have the Van Helsing anthology coming up, one rewrite to finish, one story to finish, and planning for this November’s NaNoWrimo, which I plan on attempting again this year. This time, I want to go into it with a complete idea and outline prepared. Last year I wrote myself into a corner. Sometimes that happens, but the more prepared the better, the former boy scout in me says.