Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Little Miss Wisconsin Death Money Pit

(Pictures will be posted eventually!)
The trip up north for my sister's 50th was all I expected. Except for the lack cataclysmic events I have come to expect when making a northern pilgrimage.

We were still kissing the pigs and worrying about tick borne ailments when I snuck away for a peek at my email and quick check of the Chicago Tribune. Not to be dismissive of the suffering wrought by influenza, I still have to say that the whole swine flu panic strikes me with only a great deal of deja vu. I mean haven't we been through this before? During another recessionary time? Why don't we just pin WIN buttons on the pigs? I'm not implying I'm less paranoid than many of my peer group. I would say I'm more concerned. I've skipped over concern about swine flu and jumped straight to worry about Guillain-Barré syndrome caused by swine flu vaccine. While my friends may be wringing and sanitizing their hands, I'll be Googling what to expect if we need to avail ourselves of a vaccine developed for this strain of flu.

The intent of the trip was to celebrate this important birthday (with cake imported from Minnesota), but we also wanted to scope out the new old farmhouse (i.e. see if it's as bad as Karen says it is) before the major renovation begins in two weeks. I have to say, the place has a lot of potential. Charm. And when they have replaced the kitchen and bathroom it will be quite a wonderful home. Twenty beautiful acres of quiet, except for frogs and birds was enough to make me overlook the mushy floor boards, wiggly toilet, pig eaten linoleum and the pipes that had to be stepped over to get into the shower.

I must say, I was prepared for worse. There were no mushrooms growing in the bathroom. If I hadn't been at work the day Karen called to tell me about the mushroom in the bathroom, I would have let out a squeal worthy of hypersensitive twelve year-old girl. But the church lady could only say, in her unctuously soothing voice, "That is disturbing. I can understand why you are upset. We can talk more later." Then the church lady grabbed some Altoids to counteract the waves of nausea.

I managed to make it to Mass on Saturday afternoon, without resorting to the GPS. (That would have complicated things rather than helped.) And once I was in town I was able to navigate from memory. (I will stop now before I succumb to the temptation to say too much about the local parish. Except that they must be the unhealthiest group of Catholics on earth, with a bulletin listing of about 100 sick people to be prayed for. I prayed for them. With thanksgiving that they weren't enumerated in the general intentions during Mass. And that five years after I first visited the parish, they still sing Let There Be Peace on Earth - all fifteen verses - before the Agnus Dei...)

Fran and Martha enjoyed the GPS more that I did. And used it to find our way to Black River Falls for a little sight seeing. Not much is going on in BRF on a Monday morning, so we looked at the river, shopped around a little and decided to forego Fran's idea of heaving a rock through a window in homage to Mary Sweeney. Because we don't do those things. And we don't have bail money. And my sister is no longer a member of the Wisconsin Bar.

It wasn't until I woke up at home this morning - to the sounds of traffic on Hwy. 41 drowning out whatever frogs may lurk in our neighborhood - that I appreciated what a splendid week-end we had. So I called my sister to say Happy Birthday again.

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