Monday, November 4, 2013

Observations from The Mitten

So.  I've been living in The Mitten State for two months now and I have some observations.  First off, I have spent the last 35 years living in only hot places.  However, I have always reveled in what can only be described as "Sweater Weather", of which I had very little experience in.  Many times I attempted Sweater Weather in Arizona if the high for the day was in the 60's.  I wanted crunchy fall leaves, like real real bad.  I would get white hot jealous of people posting pictures of themselves in a sweater, sipping their pumpkin spice latte with falling leaves in the background.  In the city mouse versus country mouse division, I would classify myself squarely in the city mouse category.  In our neck of western Michigan, although we're not in the country, it has a very small town feel.  These are some neighborly folks, ya'll.

When we moved into our house, on day one, our new mailman stopped by just to say hi and introduce himself.  He literally said to us, "welcome aboard the neighborhood", and then waved goodbye as he walked to the next house.  I swear he was whistling and practically skipping as he went next door to deliver mail.  Oh, and that's another cultural difference.  Our mailbox is on our front porch, not a communal lockbox at the end of the street.  If our mailman sees me through the large picture window in the front room, he won't just drop the mail in the box, but actually knocks and hand delivers it.  Small town America, I tell you. 

We have three squirrels living in our backyard.  Presley is obsessed and has named them all, and convincingly calls them by name when she sees one.  We have Lucy, Miss Gingerbread, and Chet.  Interesting to note:  did you know that there is a squirrel hunting season in Michigan.  What the what?!?!  People here actually eat squirrel.  And when I say "people", really I mean some people.  I'm going to go on record as a firm believer that squirrels are close relatives to rodents, and although they are quite adorable, should not be consumed as sustenance in the day and age we live in where eating squirrel does not equate to staying alive.  Gary, a native Michigander (that's what they call themselves!), tells me I'm wrong and that they are delicious, but I just can't get on board with this.

We went to buy our pumpkins... from a pumpkin farmer.  There was no one there attending the pumpkin stand, just a bucket to put the money, on the honor system.  I love this.  PLUS... it was legitimately sweater AND jacket weather.

 This is Noah and Mylie's school.  It is a really old building with so much character.  As I have gotten to know the school secretary, I learned that she went to this school as a little girl.  Students back then walked home for lunch everyday.  Her parents, who are now in their 90's, still live in the same house just down the road.

I'm really doing my best to be positive, because living here is going to be so great.  Truth is, we're struggling.  Lots of emotions of loss, grief, anger, resentment, sadness.  So, in the midst of this difficult time, I'm going to focus on what is GOOD in our lives right now, today.  There is so much good, life can just be messy sometimes!