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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I know we think of white as a color for summer; that and light pastel colors. Pretty colors that make us think of spring and summer, popsicles, kids playing in the yard, kites flying over head. We just associate certain colors with certain things and colors can enhance your mood, right??

So WHY are the inside of most (I’d say 99%) of insulated coffee mugs BLACK??? Even my COFFEE maker is black!! Oh, I know the scientific explanation about black absorbing heat, white reflects the heat, blah, blah, blah…but have you ever seen a black Styrofoam coffee cup??? I don’t think so. When you get a steaming cup of coffee at your favorite “take it to go” spot, is it in a black cup??

I am an early riser as you know. One of the first things I do after putting my feet on the floor and then into my shoes is make my coffee. Since being in our 5th wheel, I try hard to not wake Dan, so I either close the door between the bedroom and the rest of the 5th wheel or I turn on the dim light over the stove. Making the coffee with this dim light is not an issue at all; I could probably do that part blindfolded. But when it comes to putting my insulated coffee mug under my Hamilton Beach brew station to fill it…I need light!!! And not that little light from the stove. Oh, I’ve played the guessing “if it is close to being full” game several times only to be at the point of it is either half full or TOO full and I can’t get the cap on it without pouring some of the nectar down the drain (too hot to gulp it down!!). Juan Valdez would have a conniption fit if he saw me doing that! If the inside of the cup was white or even a cream color, it would be so much easier. And in this day and age of every gizmo there is, we require easy, right? Especially when you are waiting and anticipating that first sip of morning coffee!!

Well, on with other news…it continues to rain and blow sideways. AND IT ALWAYS STARTS IN THE NIGHTITME!! And being in the 5th wheel, even though the wind may “only” be 25 to 35 mph, it seems much worse than that. I don’t like this part of being here. It wasn’t like this when we arrived and it wasn’t like this last year (so I was told anyway) when we were corresponding with the refuge making plans to be here THIS year. Yesterday was a “decent” day but very, VERY windy and cold. It was warmer by the ocean but not by much. We worked at Pea Island at the Visitor’s Center yesterday.

Chitty, the Ford truck we’d been assigned, is no longer with the refuge service. She was loaded onto a trailer and is being hauled to some place about 3 hours south of here and dropped off. I think they hope she can’t find her way back here if they take her that far away…ya know, like moving a wild animal to a different location?? Anyway, the decision had been made to get rid of her prior to the brakes going out on us a couple of days ago. Fortunately, THAT happened while we were at the shop trying to get a mower onto a trailer so we could mow the “grass” out here. (Grass is in quotation marks because the grass consists mainly of wild onion plants. It was mowed two days ago, and it still smells like a huge burger with onions drive in!)

I told him Friday when I parked it at the shop, the brakes were hardly “there”. So before we left with the mower, Dan added brake fluid to the truck, I pumped the brakes and announced “Yep, they are back up there!” Dan got into the truck and started to back up…and had no brakes again. The fluid had run right out on the ground.

I went to get the Dodge that we were going to start using, got it unlocked, stuck the key in the ignition and THAT wouldn’t turn. I tried several times; turning the steering wheel (which was not locked to begin with) and finally figured the guys were having a good laugh at my expense. I gave the keys to Dan when he came over to see what was taking so long and HE had the same problem, but at least he DID get it started. And it does that every time you shut it off.

So, yesterday, before we came home, we traded trucks again with another Ford but it is a 2003 with only 38,600 miles on it. I drove that one back and Dan brought the Dodge back.

The first thing I did, as I was backing out of the driveway, was almost take out part of the gas pump area. I was SO cold from being out in that strong wind off the ocean and my ears were on fire and my neck was hives, so after I put the extended cab truck (with a big tool box in the bed…they are all pretty much this way) in reverse, I turned the heater on. As soon as I had moved all of 25 feet, my glasses fogged over as did half of the windows in the truck. I went a bit further before I decided I better REALLY see where I was going. And I was right beside the big, square BRIGHT RED box (I think it is painted that color to help you see it!!) which is right by the gas pumps and tanks. If I had NOT stopped when I did, I would have taken my driver’s mirror off…and probably caused some other property damage and thoroughly humiliated myself. I think I would have packed my bags and headed to our next gig in Texas.

So, here I set this morning, once again listening to the whipping wind, the lashing rain and sipping my morning cuppa coffee. We thought today would be a good day to make the rounds and replace brochures throughout the refuge, but not if it is going to be like this all day!!

I JUST GOT ONLINE TO GET THE WEATHER REPORT AND THIS WAS UPDATED 10 MINUTES AGO…MANTEO IS IN A TORNADO WATCH UNTIL 8 A.M. We are about 18 miles from Manteo. If ya don’t hear from me in a while, you know why!!

(One of my readers posted a comment that they gave up using the oven in their RV and instead use an electric roaster…I’m hoping she reads this and will email me as to what kind and what size she bought)


  1. Anonymous8:26 AM

    Cathy - That could of been me about the roaster oven. Sorry I didn't think the comment went through. I bought the oven at Meijers here in Traverse City. I've seen them at Walmart also. I'm thinking it is a Hamilton Beach but there are other brands. I have cooked turkeys, roasts, cake, brownies in it. Works great.


  2. sfeutz7:03 PM

    I'm with you on the problem with the dark interiors on coffee cups! Should we start a petition??? Sorry you are having such crummy weather. We just had two days of blizzard. Lots of snow for here. Tom had to dig my mountaineer out of the snow bank. He said he heard it mumbling something about being back in the UP!:) We are having beautiful sunny weather today after starting off at 3 degrees this morning! Take care. . but keep blogging. . Sandy

  3. As I was reading your post, I was listening to my coffee maker run the first pot of the day. I set it up at night before I go to bed so that all I have to do in the morning is hit the switch. Anyway, it sounded funny but I couldn't stop reading your latest adventure. When I finally got to the kitchen I saw the problem was the lid was not secure and of course it wasn't flowing right into the pot but out of the pot. I think the problem can be traced to a black pot and making coffee when tired in a dimly lit kitchen.

    I now have my coffee and wanted to tell you that I'm on my second snow day in a row. Conditions are bad here with a wind chill down near zero and lots of blowing and drifting. I think our country is experiencing bad weather all over.

    Stay warm & dry.

  4. Anonymous, thanks for the additional info!

    Sandy, sounds like Michigan got hit hard yesterday; 150 schools closed. Don't miss it at all!

    Brenda, we've been kind of keeping track of the weather in the U.P. Doesn't sound good in Michigan...at least not if you don't like snow and cold!!

  5. So sorry about your hard winds and bad weather...that is what they are saying this week in Florida too. We have only had two clear days and only one warm enough for beach weather here during our vacation. It is a good thing my daughter is here or we would say this is a wasted trip to Florida. Never even got my suit wet yet...much less get tan. Been wearing our jackets and hoodies. ha Going back on Sunday...heard the storm is over and it is sunny there now, but cold.
    Hopefully that means the flights will all go thru. Hope your weather gets better soon. When do you go to Texas and when do you return to the U.P.??


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