Vacation: A Prologue

Beyond the obvious getting away from it all, there were a couple of reasons we were eager to leave on vacation.

First, it’s been effing hot here.  Has it been hot where you are?  Do you have air conditioning?  If yes to the latter, I don’t want to hear about it.  We don’t have AC.  Rather: we have a portable AC unit that is only effective in cooling things situated directly in front of it.  While it does that, it heats the areas directly surrounding it, making it basically worse than useless, especially as its placement in the large front window means we can’t get a cross breeze in the one part of the house where that is possible.  We finally gave up on it on a day when Shane’s very scientific brewing thermometer registered indoor temperatures in excess of 85 in the evening while the AC was running.  So we have no AC.  Our windows are too narrow for even the AC units expressly built for narrow windows.  We have no ceiling fans, and our light fixtures don’t have the right wiring for contemporary ceiling fans.  We’re sweaty messes.

The day before we left for vacation, the temperatures topped 100.  My library was closed due to a cooling shutdown elsewhere on campus.  It was 95 in the apartment when we got home – too hot to cook, pack, or think.  We tried to go out to dinner.  Every place had a 30-60 minute wait.  We ended up at Whole Foods, followed by beers at Wolverine State Brewing.  By the time we left, we could breathe outside.  It’s remarkable how good 85 feels after a heat index of 115.

Vacation: A Prelude

The other reason? Art Fair. Neither art nor a fair, as the saying goes, Art Fair is a giant monster that takes over all of Ann Arbor in late July. 500,000 people. Lots of street closures. Impossible to drive anywhere downtown. Basically a total ridiculous mess. We had really hoped we’d miss it by leaving town, but no dice.

So suffice to say that we were delighted to be heading north, west, and south on the most epic road trip either of us have attempted. 10 days on the road. Two librarians who aren’t particularly good at relaxing. These Are Their Stories.

0721 Vegetarian this-and-that

Ann Arbor Art Fairs Photos 2010 by Michigan Municipal League
photo by Michigan Municipal League (MML)

Shane’s mom came up from Cleveland today to attend the chaos known as the annual Ann Arbor Art Fair. It’s actually more accurate to say ‘art fairs’, plural, as there are four fairs spread out over the downtown and Central Campus areas. Between vendors and visitors, the art fair conglomerate brings in upwards of 500,000 people over the course of four days. That’s 500,000 people buying and selling, wandering and eating, sweating and parking in very close proximity to where we live and work. That’s a lot of people, you guys.

After a trip to the garden (me) and some quiet post-fair downtime (Shane and his mom), we had a delicious vegetarian dinner of various things from the garden and the market. I came home with carrots, beets, rapini, chilies, and cucumbers – quite the exciting haul! Our entree resembled the sort-of ratatouille from a couple of weeks ago – onions, tomatoes, garlic, and a chili sauteed in a bit olive oil until everything went saucy, then served over warm polenta. The chili gave just a little bit of heat – a heat we’re going to have to learn to incorporate into more things, as our garden is overflowing with them. I also tossed sauteed rapini with raisins – Shane didn’t love it, but I ate it up.

It was a lovely, healthy, filling dinner improvised amidst long conversation, and then followed by a walk through the downtown masses to Ashley’s for a Bell’s event, where we hoped to try Black Note, but where we made do with a Founders Cerise (me), a lambic (Mom), and a Hell Hath No Fury (Shane). A long, relaxing evening, and a nice end to a very warm day.