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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!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


About 30 more days and hopefully Dan and I will both be headed towards a better attitude…oh and Georgia too.

This season has been very stressful, as you may have gathered by some of my posts. I don’t know if we are just getting too old to deal with the whiners and complainers (and I realize I have been whining and complaining about the whiners and complainers), or if people this year were just that much worse than we’ve ever experienced.

I have always felt I am a people person but this summer I felt like I could have been a happy hermit, living happily in a cave (as long as there were no bats, spiders, snakes, cobwebs or creep crawly things). I think Dan felt that way too.

I don’t know if it came from having so much trouble with my knee and then having to have it operated on or when I got sick with that cold (or whatever it was) and went to the Dr 3 times within 3 weeks (I still have a problem with that same ear!). When you aren’t use to being sick, I guess you don’t handle it very well when you are sick.

And I have felt so very guilty this spring/summer with everything falling on Dan. It use to be in the spring I could get out and do most of the mowing. I’d just come in every hour and check the phone for messages, return calls (and hoped I hadn’t missed any chance for reservations while I was outside). Usually May and early June I can be away from the office for an hour at a time without disrupting our service to prospective guests. But I was tied to the office this summer (due to my knee) and Dan was tied to the mower as much as he could stand it.

Now it is time to start cutting wood, hauling it from the woods and dumping it on the wood pile so we can split it and get the woodshed filled up prior to leaving. It has rained so much that even that chore is behind schedule. And with Dan’s back problems and his knee issues, it is very hard on him to work more than a couple of hours per day at this. So the wood pile isn’t even half of what it normally would be and therefore there isn’t any splitting going on either.

We’ve talked about getting a Workamper next season but hate the thought of getting workman’s comp insurance for only about 2-3 months worth of help and completing a 1099 at the end of the season. It appears the cost of the workman’s comp is the same whether you have someone for 1 day or 365 days. Even if a person work camps, doesn’t receive an actual salary (gets a “free” campsite in exchange for X amount of hours per week), you are required to give them a 1099 because their campsite is monetary value for them (and Uncle Sam).

Dan and I have managed to get a few “fall things” done up. We took down the volleyball net, took the screen doors off the pavilion and both of the cabins. We still have the swings to take down and store them, get the screen doors on the bathhouse off…then next month we have to go around and set up all the picnic tables, hopefully paint the inside walls of the men’s and women’s room (in the spring I’ll paint the floor in the women’s room). It’s hard to do any painting when you still are open for business and by the time we close, then the block walls will be cold and the building will be dampish. We plan on closing the gates at noon on 10/16 and hope to head downstate to pick up the new 5th wheel on 10/18. From there we’ll continue on southward. Too much to do this year for some reason. The painting may have to wait till spring.

As soon as we close, we go through and thoroughly clean the bathhouse. I wash/bleach the walls, stalls, floors and every little corner. Dan does the same with the showers and pressure washes all the shower mats. That way when we return in the spring all the major cleaning is already done and we can get busy with the reopening process. Even though our lodging is very clean during the season, we go through at the end of the season and do a thorough cleaning with it too. I DO wait till spring to wash windows! Yep, I think we’re getting too old for all of this! I’m getting tired just thinking about it!


  1. Anonymous12:02 PM

    If it makes you feel any better, I am a waitress and have been for aboaut 10 years. I get a lot of hours and usually get a lot of good tips, but this year, even though we were busy and the hours were good, POPLE WERE JUST PLAIN RUDE!! It isn't just the lack of tipping I (and others) noticed but just the rudeness of the customers!

    One of your faithful readers from 'down below'!

  2. Jackie, In a way I'm glad that it hasn't been just me that has felt that way, but it is sad if that is the way things have been for everyone who is in the "service industry". Maybe next year, people will be happier??

  3. Anonymous3:57 PM

    I think people are just disguested with the economy and their way of lives right now. And the younger people haven't been through what we're going through now and maybe tend to be more thoughtless than the more mature people? Just a thought. But I have noticed when out shopping or at a movie or whatever, that people have gotten more "me first" attitude than ever before.

  4. I don't know how you and Dan can physically do what you do now with your campground, Cathy...I would find it very difficult. Even when you go south, you do a lot of it too...I hope you feel better and don't have to do so much physical labor down there this winter as last winter too.
    I will look forward to your reports and photos of your adventures when you get on the road!

  5. Anonymous, I think a lot of people ARE disgusted with things in general but I sure hope not everyone acts like that! And these were older people with coaches, not just plain old motorhomes.

    Retired One, Last night was a perfect example of people who irritate me; walked right past the sign by the sidewalk that says "NO PETS PAST THIS POINT", walked right by another sign by the lobby door of a symbol like the "no smoking", only this was a dog with the circle and / through it..and brought TWO LARGE DOGS INTO THE LOBBY!!! I said "you will have to take those dogs back outside." She said "WHY??" I told her she walked right past those two signs. In fact she parked her bicycle right by the one sign! ARRRGGHHH!! THEN SHE TOOK THEM INTO THE BATTHOUSE WITH HER AND THERE ARE NO PETS ALLOWED INSIDE SIGNS THERE TOO!

  6. Anonymous10:46 AM

    I work at a hardware store and my wife works at a state campground. I don't find that the customers in the store are rude, but she sure has come home with some horror stories about jerks that they put up with, especially people from out of state complaining about the prices and how that has to effect Michigan's tourism...like it is HER fault.

  7. Anonymous, I've heard that complaint before right in our own lobby (about the price for out of staters to get into the Michigan State Parks). I've been chewed out this summer by a couple of people in regards to various rates of various places....like I have control over it. So I sympathize with your wife.


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