2014/09/18 (R) Crown Prep Anniversary

I woke up early and got up at 6 AM.  A two hour nap yesterday afternoon meant I was not going to sleep as many hours last night.  I had also set alarms to make sure I got up, which tends to make me wake up earlier than I might otherwise, almost always before the alarms ever activate.  I awoke to find that iOS8 was now available for my iPad2, so I installed six other updates first, some of which emphatically wanted to be installed before the iOS8 update.  I had some raspberry green tea while they uploaded and installed, e-mailed yesterday’s blog post to myself, updated the beginning of this blog post, and then initiated the operating system update.

I suppose “Crown Prep” might be shorthand for “The Royale Preparatory Academy” or some such place and Crown Prep Anniversary might have something to do with an important event at said place but, alas, in my case it meant, more or less, just what it says.  We bought our converted bus five years ago today, a 1991 Prevost H3-40 VIP shell converted by Royale Coach (Monaco) and finished in the fall of 1992.  I also had a dentist appointment today to prepare my recently root-canaled tooth for a permanent crown.  The appointment was at 8:30 AM some 50 miles away in Dearborn, Michigan, which meant I had to be out the door around 7 AM to allow for the heavy traffic inbound to the metro Detroit area from the northwest.  The traffic was even worse than I expected and I pulled into the dental clinic parking lot at 8:29 AM.  I really hate rush hour traffic and avoided it even when I was working full time.  It is such a colossal waste of time.

The U. S. Census Bureau considers Livingston County to be part of the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).  Locally, many people think of Metro Detroit as Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties while the MSA includes Lapeer, Livingston, and St. Clair Counties as well.  Washtenaw County to the south of us, where our children live, is not part of the Detroit MSA but is part of the larger Detroit “Combined Statistical Area” (CSA) along with Genesee and Monroe Counties.  Having been “west siders” since we moved to the area from Missouri in 1976, Lapeer and St. Clair Counties have always seemed far away while the communities in Livingston and Washtenaw Counties were much more accessible to us.  When I was working as an engineer I was employed by a company in Livingston County and by three different companies in Washtenaw County, specifically Ann Arbor.

I am not clear on the point at which communities, and individuals in those communities, do or do not think of themselves as living in the “Detroit Metro Area” (DMA) which is quite a different thing from the official U. S. Census Bureau boundaries.  My guess is that Howell very clearly sees itself as distinct from the DMA.  My suspicion is that folks in Brighton are split on this, although the community would no doubt like to be viewed as outside the DMA.  The western half of Livingston County is certainly much closer to Lansing, the state capital in the heart of Ingham County, both geographically and culturally.  Western Livingston County and most of Ingham County are rural/agricultural, except for the greater Lansing and East Lansing area (home of Michigan State University).  The eastern half of Livingston County has long been a place from which people commute to work in metro Detroit.

The fact is that being associated with Detroit has not been viewed as favorable by many people and communities in southeast Michigan since the riots of the late 1960’s.  Those events left deep scars on the people who were here at the time, and for many those scars remain to this day.  Not for us, of course; we were not even here then.  And we are the wrong people to ask about affiliations anyway.  We lived in an apartment in Westland for our first two years here and then bought the house in Farmington Hills where we lived for the next 35 years before moving to the “Browelland” (Brighton, Howell, Hartland) area.  Westland and Farmington Hills are clearly Detroit suburbs, like it or not.

I took a survey and Linda said she thought we still lived in the Detroit Metro Area.  I suppose I think so too, but you won’t find many five acre parcels zoned RA (agricultural residential) in the true suburbs of the big city, nor the dark skies and bright stars we have out here on a clear night.  No, we are clearly not in a suburb of Detroit, but that was not my question.  We are kind of in the country but only minutes from all three of the aforementioned municipalities.  For that matter we are not actually in the cities of Brighton, Howell, or Hartland.  Even though we have a Howell mailing address we are actually closer to both Brighton and Hartland and if we had school age children they would attend the Hartland schools.  And when we lived in the suburbs I did not have to drive 50 miles to get to the dentist, 30 miles to get to our vet or eye doctor, or 20 miles to get to our family doctor.  Of course the drive is about the same to get to our ham radio breakfasts and meetings in South Lyon as it was before and we do not have to drive 40 miles to get to our bus, which is now parked in front of the house.  We are also trying to “shop local” as much as possible, which means we are shopping at a wide variety of places we never patronized when we lived in the suburbs of Detroit.  But I digress.

After I was done at the dentist’s office I drove to our veterinarian’s office, just a couple of miles from our old house, to pick up flea and heart worm medication for our cats.  I took a quick drive through the old neighborhood.  It was a nice place to live and has not changed, at least in appearance.  I had a good experience with the local endodontist last week, however, and today’s drive reminded me that we should probably switch to service providers much closer to home for most of our medical and veterinary needs.  But that is not a decision to be made simply on convenience.  We have used our current providers for over 35 years and given how infrequently we use them we have not been motivated to change.  We have been to the dentist a lot this summer, however, so that at least has us thinking about it more seriously.

I stopped for fuel and then at Lowe’s for a keyless door latch/knob set for the utility closet.  They did not have distilled water and I tried two other places before ending up finding some at Meijer’s.  Linda was preparing lunch when I finally got home and had sorted through and organized a large stack of installation and user manuals I had pulled out of kitchen drawer this morning.  Some were left for us by the previous owners, some were for things we have bought since we moved here, and some were for things we no longer have, or have but no longer use.  We went through a small stack of items she wasn’t sure about and then stored everything we needed to keep in a drawer in the small bedroom closet organizer.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening, except for dinner, editing photographs for our personal website/blog and the SLAARC website.  I also took a few minutes to enjoy the last of the apple crisp and a glass of Alpha Rose wine with Linda.  It’s been bugging me since yesterday that I could not positively identify the very distinct nose and taste of this wine, so Linda did a little online research on the King of the North grape.  Both the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota described it as a vine that grows very well in cold northern climates but is very acidic and has a very “grapey” taste that is not really suitable for making wine.  That information helped me figure out the smell/taste.  It was grape soda; really really good grape soda.  Those descriptions did not alter my opinion of the wine.  I like fruit and I like sweet, and I love the nose and the taste as well as the acidic finish is indeed very clean and refreshing.

Linda was watching episode 1 of Ken Burns’ documentary on the Roosevelts when I came up from the basement, so we watched that instead of an episode of Doc Martin.


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