Archive for February, 2011

From Michigan Snow to Florida’s Sun!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

It’s hard to believe that spring was in the air just one week ago.  winter has returned with a vengeance here in Michigan!   One day the ground was bare and void of any snow, and the very next day we had a snowstorm and ice blizzard!  Schools around here have been closed all week, and it looks like kids will have some extra days to make up at the end of the school year.  Rain and snow are in the forecast for the next 6 days straight.

Hopefully all this bad news isn’t going to effect me, as I’m flying to Florida tomorrow for a week of golf in Fort Meyers.  The forecast for down there calls for sunny skies and 80 degrees.  So let it snow all it wants to in Michigan, cause this “frozen bird” is getting out of Dodge!   I could actually come home with a sun-burn.

This will be the first time I’ve flown with the heighten security at the airports, so it will be interesting at best.  Spirit Airlines only allows two small carry ons, and you have to pay for everything else.  Hope my golf clubs don’t get sent to Libia.

I may not be able to blog while I’m gone, as I don’t yet know if a computer is going to be made available to us.  We’ll just have to wait by the pool, with an ice cold lemon-aid, and see what happens.   Fore!!!


Mom’s Birthday at Lake Diane

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The first picture is of my mother and her six boys.  From top to bottom you have Dean, Brad, Brett, Mom, Darryl, Mike, and the first born Randy behind Darryl.  The next picture is of the “party girl,” and two of her daughter-in-laws Jeannie (left) and Sandy.

It was a great weekend for a birthday party, but not the best for Lake Diane’s annual ice fishing tournament.  It was well attended, but some events had to be canceled, due to poor ice conditions.  The snow-mobile drag races were called off, and not many even ventured out onto the fast melting ice.  There were pockets of open water around shore, but that didn’t stop hundreds of die hard fishermen from “going for the prize!”   The last time I checked the “trophy board,” these were the biggest pike caught.  The one (second from right) was 30 inches long and in first place.  There were some nice crappie, and huge bull-heads caught as well, but the sunfish and perch fishing was slow.  Brother Darryl bid on a guided turkey hunt, but someone beat him out at the last minute.  The lack of snow and warm temperatures held down the usual crowds, but it seemed to still be very well attended.

Jeremy Ansel (brother Deans boy) had a line in the water for most of Saturday, and never caught a fish.  We were at my brothers Brett and Brads cottage, celebrating my “crazy” mothers 86th. birthday.  We had a great time.  The brothers played several “golf” games, with Brad bouncing several balls off his own cottage!  Even though he’s the best golfer in the family, he had a bad day.  Randy (the eventual winner) assured Brad that it wouldn’t cost that much to repair his cracked and broken vinyl siding, dented eve trough, or trim work.  It was a pretty ugly slice, but at least he missed all the windows-I think!!!

Anyway we had a great pizza from Pioneer Ohio, and  plenty of finger foods and desserts the girls had made.  We played cards, ate cake, sang happy birthday, and yucked it up for a day and a half.  We went through some old photo albums, and wondered who all those young good looking people were?  They sort of looked like “us,” but a much sleeker more stylish version.  All the (six) brothers, and their wives were there which is a feat in itself.  It’s been ages since we’ve all been able to get away at the same time.  Mother was in her “glory” and seemed to glow with all the attention.  When it comes to parties she is definitely not a “pooper!”  Happy Birthday Mom.

Hunting Partners Continued

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

This is me when I was a senior in high school.  I’m standing with my dad (Norm) next to his six pointer he got in Lewiston Mi.  It’s quite a story about how he shot this deer, but suffice it to say we (father and son) had one memorable trip.  I have this mounted deer head in my “man cave” as my dad wanted me to have it, cause he knew what it meant to me.  Two other deer heads, and a bear mount, were given to other brothers due to their participation in the hunt, when dad harvested each animal.  My dad, my hero, my hunting buddy.

I was 31 years old when my dad passed away, and I have had hunting partners come and go.  None has even come close to measuring up to my dad.  Those first few years after he died we brothers (there are six of us) continued to hunt our old stomping grounds, but it just wasn’t the same.  We even took our first Canadian bear hunt, which was one of the biggest fiasco’s I’ve ever been on.  After several years of trying to be a cohesive hunting group, we just sort of drifted apart.  Out of six brothers, Dean is the only one who has continued to hunt Lewiston.

So for the last 20 years or so I have jumped from one hunting partner to another.  I still get in a hunt, here and there, with one of my brothers, but mostly I have to beat the bushes to find someone compatible to hunt with.

One year I could not find a bear hunting partner, and took a young guy, on recommendation from my son-in-law.  Whew!  What a mistake that was.  This kid was a real dud!  First day at camp he “totaled” my 4-wheeler, wouldn’t do any cooking or clean up, and I even checked the price to send him packing on a Greyhound bus.  He only drove my truck for 2 miles before he fell asleep, and ran off the road!  If I had not grabbed the wheel, I might not be writing this blog.  We spoke not a word on the 500 mile drive home!  Be careful when you choose a partner on someone else ‘s word.

I remember a time when I took a friend to a secret duck hunting pond, only to find this “friend” there with his buddy, next time I went out!  About a month later, I ran into this same guy while rabbit hunting a farm, where I had taken him a week earlier.  We had words that time, and have never hunted together again.  When someone betrays your trust it’s like getting stabbed in the back!

Now that I’m retired it is hard to find someone who wants to hunt turkey in Nebraska, deer in Ohio, bear in Canada, or Caribou in Quebec.  You just can’t take these kinds of expensive trips with just anybody.  Guys that are still working usually save vacation time for family, or hunting trips close to home.  Some of my old hunting buddies just don’t have the desire for “the hunt” anymore.  I have 4 son-in-laws and a son, but 4/5ths of them don’t hunt, and Tony can only go occasionally.

So if you have a good partner, or two, hang on and enjoy their company.  Art, from “Simply Outdoors” sent me an e-mail about his various family members that he hunts with.  His brother Jeff is his chief partner, and they pretty much keep it in the family.  Art’s dad was not a hunter, but other family members were, and now Art and Jeff share their love for the outdoors with their families.  And that’s the way it should be!

There are a few other stories I could tell about botched trips, due to incompatible partners, but I’ll just end this now.  I’m sure you get my drift.  It’s important to share the hunt with a “kindred spirit”, and then you will have wonderful memories and not nightmares.

Hunting Partners

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever read an article about the importance of choosing the “right” hunting partner.  It is almost akin to choosing the right mate to spend your married life with.  Now don’t get me wrong ladies, no hunting buddy can take your place, but in terms of compatibility, desire, and availability the right partner is essential.

I’ve been around for 64 years now, and my dad had me chasing rabbits when I was 6 years old.  Talk about the perfect hunting partner!  A dad who loves the hunt, and has a desire to share it with his kids is, in my book, the numero- uno hunting buddy.  The compatibility was just a natural love and affection between a father and a son.  The desire for me was to please my “hero.”  The desire for him was to teach and train his son to cherish and love the things that he loved.  The availability hinged on my dad taking vacations, sick days, and showing up for work a few hours late.  I never missed a pheasant opener because of school, and always took several days off from class during deer season.  That may be one reason I rely on “spell check” so much!

My how times have changed.  I took my grandson on a turkey hunt two years ago, and he missed one of his junior varsity golf practices.  The coach disciplined him, and sat him down for the next tournament, because he spent a day in the woods with his grandpa.  How ridicules is that?

My father died at the very young age of 58.  (Warning life long smoker!)  With his passing went my best, most favorite hunting partner.  If any of you readers still tromp the fields and woods with your dad, thank God for that incredible gift, and cherish each moment you share this short life together.  Don’t you think for a minute that the good times last forever, so make those great memories while you can.  I have a friend by the name of Dave Marcum who I saw at a wedding recently.  He shared with me how his dad harvested a deer this year from a ground blind, during archery season using a crossbow.  His dad will be 90 years old this year, and has taken a deer three years in a row at the Marcum’s hunting camp in the rugged Upper Peninsula.  John Marcum started taking his sons (John and David) hunting as soon as it was legal for them to go.  David has not missed an opening day deer hunt, with his dad, since he was 14 years old.  When talking to David I could see the sparkle in his eyes, and hear the passion in his voice, as he spoke of his beloved father.  What cherished memories, and what a legacy.

My dad was the same age as John Marcum, and we even had the honor to deer hunt with him and David many moons ago around Hillsdale.  One hunting partner passed early and one continues to bless his sons to this very day.  Dave and his brother John are truly blessed, as was I with the memories I’ll carry forever.

I want to do a follow up on this particular thought (Hunting Partners) in a future blog.

Temperatures Rising!

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Can any one in Michigan believe we could soon be able to put our snow shovels away, at least for awhile.  The National Weather Service is calling for temps nearing the 50 degree mark by the end of next week.  A welcomed forecast indeed, but I’m wondering where is all that accumulated snow going to?  It’s not going to readily seep into the still frozen ground, which means many of us homeowners will suddenly have waterfront properties!  I can just imagine the basements flooding, sump pumps working overtime, and the slush and water around the foundation of my house.

I really don’t mind the snow, after all it is winter.  It’s the transition between the winter snow and the pre-spring muck and melting snow that I don’t like.  The landscape goes from angelic white to nasty brown, and it isn’t very appealing, nomatter how you view it.  Oh well it does mean Spring is right around the corner, but I don’t think for a minute that we’ve seen the last of “Old Man Winter!”  He’s just trying to trick us into putting our shovels away, only to dump another load in March or even April.  I know it can happen, as I’ve been there and done that in past years.  Hey I guess a false sense of hope is better than no hope at all.


Acai Lipo Diet Tracker Fraud

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I believe it was P.T. Barnam that said “There’s a sucker born every minute!”  Well in my case I truly believe it.  Recently I was sent an e-mail add for a free one month supply of acai berry pills.  I (The Chump) would only pay for shipping and handling, as I tried out this “fantastic” weight lose product.  I’m always looking for a shortcut to “diet and exercise,” so I was ripe for the pickings!

I ordered the product with my visa card and immediately received a confirmation for $7.95 cents.  I then went about my daily routine, and quickly forgot I even ordered my jar of “the new me!”  A few days ago I received my Jan. 29th order, and barely remember ordering it-to much late night computer time!  The next day I received a call from a women in India offering me discounted prices on my next shipment of Acai Lipo Diet products.  I told her I only ordered a sample pack, and honestly could not understand her response.  I had the sinking feeling in my stomach that I had been had, and that I was “dead meat” if my wife finds out.

It took me awhile, but I finally found a “customer service” number, and made my call to find out just what I’d gotten myself into.  The representative informed me that I had actually signed up for “The Plan,” which meant I was going to be charged $100.00 a month for various products sent to my door.  I had already called a lawyer and was told usually you have 12-15 days to cancel an order.  I was within that period, but was told that the “contract” fine print said if they didn’t hear back from me within 3 days of my original order, then I was considered part of their monthly plan.  Of course I protested, and told the lady she should be ashamed of herself for being a part of this  money making sham, but to know avail.  I told her to take me off the plan, and she said she would, but I would still be charged for a month on the plan!  Mind you this is 10 days after the “free” order.  She told me I should of read the “fine print.”  I still have never found the “fine print,” and no where does it say anything about a monthly $100.00 charge going on my credit card.

I hung the phone up and called my credit card company.  I had already been charged the $100.00 dollars, plus a few more bucks for God knows what!  In less than three full days of my first contact with this “SCAM” they had billed me for a monthly contract.  I had my card canceled, and the credit card company is sending me a form disputing the charges.  Hopefully they can get me some satisfaction out of this, but they can’t get me a new brain!

This blog is one of the few ways I can vent my anger, and confess my stupidity, in hopes it will get picked up by many internet sites.  Maybe my experience will prevent some other lazy, plump, person from throwing their money away.  To know I stopped one more “sucker” from being “had” would be sweet, but remember there’s one of “us” born every minute, and that’s what Acai Lipo Diet Tracker is “banking” on.

Sign me “Pumping Iron Mike”

The Buck Pole

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

This is one reason why many deer hunters like hunting in Michigan’s southern counties.  This is an old fashioned buck pole, and several more deer were added to it after this picture was taken.  Most hunters are now practicing QDM on the farms they hunt.  “Let em go let em grow” is the mantra that is causing some really nice bucks to be taken on these properties.

Of course unless you have a family member that owns a nice chunk of Michigan hunting property, or are independently wealthy, you will have a hard time finding a good place to hunt.  Leasing is one way to go, but “supply and demand” has driven up the price of even that option.  Public land is quite plentiful, but most places I’ve hunted are usually over-run with hunters those first days of season.  I have had some very unpleasant experiences with people on public hunting lands, so I have stayed clear of them for years.

The optimum would to be the owner of a nice chunk of deer hunting property, but few have the means for such an investment.  So if you have access to a “happy hunting ground,” hold on for dear life, and enjoy it while you can.  If your not the title holder on the property there’s no guarantee someone else won’t outbid, outsmooze, or outwit you for those rights.  It’s awful competitive out there in the deer woods, and I don’t see it slacking off any in the future.


Super Bowl and Fun in the Snow

Monday, February 7th, 2011

As long as we have tons of snow at our disposal we might as well use it right?  This evening while the guys were watching the “super bowl” two of my daughters were pulling the kids with the Polaris Razor.  This is Jacob, Ava, Addy, and Nina, and that’s daughter Courtney behind them.  We were at Alena’s house where there’s six acres to ride, but you had to stay on the path cause the snow was to deep if you veered off it!

I snuck out at half time to take some pictures, as it looked like the Packers had things well in hand.  Pittsburgh made it interesting to say the least, and had it not been for turnovers, and a couple costly penalties things might of been different.  It was an exciting game, but most of the “hyped up” advertisements were stupid.  Many of them I didn’t even “get!”

Anyway the kids came in frozen and hungry, so we fixed hot chocolate and some snacks for everyone.  Rosy cheeks were the order of the evening, and the kids all wondered if they would have school tomorrow.  I think the moms were hoping they would, but the back roads are still snow covered and slippery.  To many more snow days and they’ll have to make it up in June, and that’s no fun at all!


It’s Supposed to Snow in Michigan!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

We didn’t get the 15 inches of snow the National Weather Service forecast, but we received enough to keep most “snow lovers” happy.  My 86 year old Canadian born mother, just loves all the white stuff.   You best not grumble and complain about snow around her, cause she’ll set you straight.  No “bah humbug” in her vocabulary concerning snow falls!  Oh, by the way, she’s the one that keeps her Christmas tree up for four (4) months.  She finally switched to artificial two years ago, as the real trees were a fire waiting to happen.  By the time we hauled em to the garbage there were few needles left on the tree.

The one picture is of my wife Lorna, as she finishes up her morning 2-1/2 mile run.  She hardly misses a day, and she wasn’t going to let snow, a minus 5 degree wind chill, and slippery roads deter her from her exercise.  Lorna never played any sports in her life, but has been determined to keep herself in tip top shape in these so called golden years.  I used to run competitively, but bad knees and back have pretty much kept me in my rocking chair.  Good thing I can still swing a golf club, and push the snow blower.  That’s little Addy getting snow thrown on her, and she was loving it.  This is only the second season I’ve owned a snow thrower, and it makes me wonder, “what took so long?”   What used to take an hour, and kill my back, now takes 15 minutes with no strain.

We are enjoying our second day of no work-no school, which is a rarity for my wife.  Just read the kids some stories, and now it’s nap time.  Sounds good to me.  ZZZZZZ!