Fish fry, COVID, and Torticollis

The youngest and I trucked up to Grand Marais last weekend, to check in on her older sisters. ‘Twas a glorious trip, on the verge of peak season for the North Shore. This weekend was full-on peak, and we will be up there again next weekend. So we’re missing it by a week on BOTH ends. About par for the course.

We snagged an empty room in Clearwater Lodge, across the hall from the middle kiddo’s latest digs. She’s got a month left up there, and it seems the cabin was getting a little chilly in the evenings, hence the move on up into the Bed and Breakfast Suites.

Same kiddo, the evening before our arrival, was interrupted by her boss during her bathroom routine (on facial night!), and called into emergency action whilst in the middle of a full honey-and-oatmeal mask. Her cheerful greeting of an hour’s worth of guests, right on through that overly shiny face, earned her old ma and sister a complimentary breakfast. Out there on the famous Clearwater porch. You know, because COVID, right?

Bacon and eggs and scones and LOVE

The slave-driven kid had a full day’s work ahead of her, so we headed on down the trail to spend a little time with the eldest of the trio. I’d show you some pics of the tiny home she’s holing up in, because it’s adorable, but she’d kill me, so you get nuthin’.

We visited the big lake, as we do, and experimented with what it might be like to approach strangers in a pandemic climate, knock on their sealed-up windows, and ask them if they might just happen to have any jumper cables in that there truck of theirs.

Someone left the lights on in her Honda. I won’t say who. I’ll only say I was in the passenger seat.

There we were, in the middle of an over-crowded Grand Marais, masked and doing our best to sidestep everyone around, and I could tell the kid might have an aneurism at the thought of talking to anyone. Just then. Because, you know, COVID, right?

So I pulled on my big girl panties, as well as all of my experience as a 2020 Census Taker, and I hustled on up to the nearest promising vehicle. I knocked on the terrified man’s driver’s window and immediately jumped back 10′, smiling like a derf right on through my mask. It’s a hard thing to do, to smile big enough that even through your mask, you don’t look like a serial killer. But lemme’ tell ya’, when you’re knocking on people’s doors in the middle of a pandemic, you figure out real fast how to convey that smile all the way out and around the mask.

Miracle of miracles, we had a helper, and before long we were on our way. Poor kid. Every time we see her something vehicularly horrid happens. Last time her clutch line blew just as we were coming into town. She likes to make us feel useful.

Anyhoo… the lake…

And goobers…

Then we went back up to meet the worker bee, sans her honey mask, and whisk her away for dinner.

Assessing the Menu at Trail Center. Fish, please…

And the honey kid whisked us off for a hike. It mostly looked like this, with the youngest two twelve miles up ahead there, and the oldest two huffing and puffing behind like so:

Em and Sarah
Mom and Rachel

Because some of us are in better shape than others of us.


The perceptive amongst you may have noticed the subtle zinc lip block I’m modeling. Good job.

It was lovely to have the three stooges together again, and in our favorite place, and to know that I had the tiniest part in creating that mess of humanity. 💕

My mess

Since then? Well, funny you should ask…

First we hung out with my brother for the first time in ages, because, you know, COVID. We masked, mostly. We distanced, pretty well. There were Clorox wipes involved, at some point. But 3 days later, when he told me he tested positive, none of those things really mattered, did they?

So that was fun. Welcome back to quarantine, for real, folks.

We did force a test the next day, for reasons that just aren’t pertinent here, and we were all three negative, along with my folks, who were also there in the COVID arena with us. So that’s good. We’re still sitting tight though, at least until we test again on Monday. Then we’ll feel a little bit better taking the lid off, and packing for the Gooseberry trip Thursday.

What else? Is that not enough? Are you so set upon my suffering?

Well, if you must know, I also wrangled me a fierce case of torticollis. The neck, she started seizing up round about Monday. By the time the bro-ham announced his impending death, things were painfully tight and wrenching down at an alarming rate. And I am convinced I have COVID neck. Which isn’t a thing. Until it is. And leave it to me to be the first.

Not COVID, but not over, either. Friday night the ratcheting of the strap that apparently connects my left ear to my left pinky finger was getting beyond the bounds of rational management. I was about 20 minutes from the ER, in search of muscle relaxants, when my sainted once-upon-a-time chiropractor mother showed up at the request of my sainted wants-to-stay-alive husband. She hit me with all her voodoo magic, and somehow, the spasm calmed to a low roar, and I slept. She’s been here thrice since, applying the cabinet of oils, prescribing more of the same, and the dirt water, and let’s not forget a few dropperfuls of CBD.

We’re making progress, but we’re talking Slow Going, folks. I can turn my head, a bit, which is exciting. The pain is now miserable, but far from tear-inducing, which is thrilling. And I no longer feel like I’m being slowly tightened into a sideways scorpion, which is nothing short of a miracle. Tomorrow (or Tuesday, if I can possibly wait for the dreaded test #2 to come back) I shall attempt a visit to the sainted and currently licensed chiroguy / savior of the universe / proud champion irritant of my life, who will be able to get into my muscular fortress without the use of a can opener thanks to all the work my mama did all weekend. I’m certain of it.

In the mean time, the last still-at-home kiddo, the one who retreated to her bedroom while Grandma was torturing me this weekend, so as to close herself off from the screaming, has been making the most of quarantine. She picked apples from the neighbor’s and nabbed a pumpkin off the porch (ours, not theirs), then proceeded to make applesauce, apple syrup, apple cider vinegar, pumpkin pie filling, pumpkin gut scones, and sauerkraut. That was just Friday. Yesterday, she made a book out of leaves and bark and grocery bags. She’s taken over.

Spotted in the Ottinger Dining Room.

And today, she and her Pa made some cider. It’s Homesteading 101 over here. Doomsday Preppers. Tomorrow there will likely be the building of a bomb-shelter storm cellar.

If you need me, I’ll be applying moist heat to my neck for the 4,692nd time today, and if I’m lucky, eating applesauce,

28 thoughts on “Fish fry, COVID, and Torticollis

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  1. You guys sure do get around. We are reminded daily that we can only travel 5km from home for any reason at all (Covid). Anyway that ‘s the way it is around here, so looking at your grand photographs of family time is heartwarming. Hope the neck eases some. Both my boys have suffered that awful pain at one time or another. Not nice at all. Glad the lip is looking good, with liberal applications of zinc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen on the zinc!

      5km… Yikes! We’re free to roam around these parts, but also, we’re America, land of COVID, so you get what you give, right? We’re careful to only be in places that we can enjoy outside; glad that we’re campers, and not folks whose regular vacations feature hotels and amusement parks and crowds!


      1. Yes 5km and it’s been for about 6 weeks now. Mind you only 5 cases of Covid reported today, so we are winning the battle I suppose. We’ll see when we are finally released back into the wild!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Honestly, it’s the only way. It’s a free-for-all over here; COVID parties, idiots everywhere. I think if everyone would just take it seriously, and be careful and considerate of the lives of others, we’d be fine. But we’re in a battle of wills around here!


          1. Two words for people who are still not taking Covid seriously are, Selfish and arrogant. The lives of others are unimportant to them. That is what our Police Chief said on yesterdays evening news, following news that a group of 40 people got together for a private party in a backyard. Each was fined A$5000. Take that, idiots.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yeah. I have feelings. There are plenty of folks talking about ‘their rights.’ Welcome to America, where all we care about is our rights.

              In the beginning, there were all sorts of churches refusing to abide by stay-at-home orders because it was their right to worship. Our Bishop, if you’ll allow me to paraphrase, responded with, “If your faith tells you that you can’t/shouldn’t/don’t need to postpone corporate worship in order to save lives, you need to reassess the validity of your faith.” Amen.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. So I realize I just stated our outdoor inclinations in a comment on the same post where I say we stayed at a lodge. Hmm… Misleading. So, yes, we did stay in an open room, but the lodge is barely even open this year, only allowing a couple of groups in at a time, not sharing any space. Since the kid lives up there, we lived up there with her. And shockingly, I’m not even realizing this until now. I guess it really was a vacation, if we even forgot about COVID!


  2. Holy crap! That was a trip and a half’s worth of news because, you know… Covid. And your neck. You really know how to make a dramatic exit don’t you?
    Glad you’re on the path to healing. Fingers crossed for everyone’s negative trust results.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad the clouds of drama hover over your adventures rather than mine!

    But I’m glad I get to tag along, vicariously.

    Sorry about the neck; that’s gotta suck. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    I’m happy you had an amazing time with your kiddos. How lucky they are to have such an adventurous mom. They may not realize it yet, but they will, eventually 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh. I’ve never been so thrilled to live out in the country, far from other humans! Even when locked down we’ve got lots of room to roam. Hang in there; we’ve got to get this under control eventually… right?


  4. One of our favorite areas. Always beautiful. We’re returning Dec. 26 for a few nights of peace and quiet….our annual trip to Solbakken in Lutsen, right on the rocks, full of splashing and ice and spectacular views. Can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! We have not had enough time on the Shore in the Winter. One of those kiddos might be spending COVID winter 2020-21 up there on the Gunflint though, so this might be the year we get a more acceptable dose of a wintern Gitchi Gummi!

      Liked by 1 person

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