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This 'n That: Reflections of a Cheechako

May 07, 2018 07:20AM ● Published by Editor

Alright you Cook County folks, y’all have turned me into an on-the-edge Cook County-ian (I just made that word up). I seriously am planning my new “tourists-are-coming” driving routes as I go about my daily errands. 

These are the bubble thoughts inside my head as I drive around Grand Marais these days:

- In the next couple of weeks I’m going to have to avoid this left hand turn, so which road am I going to take instead

- While driving, I try to remember what that one gal, whom I visited with said, “Okay when you’re driving into Grand Marais, you’re gonna want to plan on doing all of your right hand errands first. Then find a place to turn around, and get all your left hand errands on the way back out of town.” 

Focus, Traci, focus. 

- Plan on leaving 10 minutes before the scheduled meeting or event, so traffic doesn’t slow me down.   

- Please do not drive over the tourists 

- Remember don’t wave your hands in your car with impatience, you could be doing it to someone you know. (Please, please if you see me waving my hands in my car, instead of thinking I’m frustrated, pretend I’m encouraging you)

- I have bubble thoughts about the longer waiting lines I’m going to have to endure

- And about how I’m going to have to try to get to the traffic light if at all possible, so I’ll be able to make turns faster than at a stop sign

Can you believe, all these bubbles while I’m running errands? I told you, I’m on-the-edge! 

I have to confess, I’m not armed with all the right tools to make it through tourism season yet. For instance, what time of the day is going to be the best time to visit the post office? Have dinner at one of the fun restaurants? What time of the day are the most tourists crossing the city streets? What days and times are best to go hiking? Which trails might be the quietest during tourist season? Which direction do I live from town? Do I live up the hill or not? Y’all I’m nervous and excited all at once!

If I have it my way, I may just spend all of tourist season at our home. We live in a construction zone and will for a lllloonnnnggg time. So far, we have painted all the walls and ceilings. Ripped out old carpeting and laid new luxury vinyl flooring (my husband did a fantastic job). If I squint my eyes, I think I can see what the inside of our house will look like in the near future. We still have to paint all the window sills and doors. Replace the trim work throughout the entire house. Go back and fix all the wall paint marks that somehow made its way onto the newly painted white ceiling. Blah.

And none of you told me how muddy it would be here come spring. Seriously, how can one keep up on the cleaning when there’s so much mud? 

And then there’s this. Shortly after we moved into our home, our septic system decided it didn’t want to do its job anymore. We were not surprised by this turn of events, but we had hoped it would last a little longer than two weeks. Apparently, the septic had other plans, gave its two week notice and hit the road running. 

Thankfully, we have TWO septic systems. Of course, one quit and the other one has been limping along with us, hopefully lasting until Thoreson’s can get to our house and hook us up with a new septic system. The septic system that’s limping hosts a bathroom. The one that up and quit hosted the kitchen and the other bathroom.

All this means that our family and any visitors, have to use one bathroom and we have to catch the kitchen sink water with a bucket. Everyday we toss our buckets full of water. I’ve been told there are a few people in Cook County who choose to live this way. Yep, they choose it. FYI, it’s about four, four gallon bucket tosses of water per large load of dishes. We’ve been pretty diligent about making sure we don’t overflow the bucket while washing dishes, but this last week we failed three times so far. Sigh. I’m ready Thoreson’s!  I’m ready.  

Sometimes I do try to make it fun. When I carry the bucket outside, I pretend I’m Laura Ingalls Wilder in “Little House on the Prairie.” In my bubble thoughts, I wear a long work dress and bonnet, trudge through the snow with the bucket, find a spot to dump and toss that water out...just like in the old days. Hey, it was long winter what can I say?

BTW, anytime I mention the constant state of house construction and the buckets of water, I’m told I fit right in to Cook County! So, now I’m just like y’all. 

I also wanted to let you all know that I found Gene’s IGA’s deli potato salad. There is now one more person sharing that sweet bit of heaven with you. Here are some tips with the potato salad. They only make it on Fridays (although I have found it in the middle of the week too) and it’s usually gone by 2:00 PM. Gheesh, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, now y’all are gonna beat me to it. If I could, I would make a meal out of IGA’s potato salad and The Gunflint Tavern’s Flourless Chocolate Torte. And that’s all I have to say about that.

I hope to see you all out and about, milling with the tourists and giving them a fine 

Minnesota-nice experience. I hope I have self-control and don’t wave my hands in my car while driving around Cook County. I hope I don’t run over a tourist. And I hope all of us have a great Cook County summer!

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