Words from the Road, Part 4

Twas the final installment of this ye travelogue before hitting the road for our 1,400-mile journey back home! Just a few random bits that didn’t make it into previous posts, plus a special glimpse at how I spent my New Year’s Eve!

Hint: Kinda like Times Square, but in London…

Muppets Encore … Didn’t Actually End Up Happening…
As you may have noticed on Twitter a couple of days ago, one thing that I didn’t get to do that I had actually been really looking forward to doing was take my family to see The Muppets in the theater. My first mistake was simply in not remembering one of the big differences between small towns and big ones – namely, whereas back home I’ve got more than a dozen theaters within 20 minutes drive, each offering at least 15 screens a piece, their local theater up here has 5 screens total and the closest ones are more like 45 miles away. When I pulled up the listings, nobody had it, so at the time I figured that was the end of it…

…until persistence paid off and a day or so later I found one rogue theater offering a single showing of it each night. It seemed like DESTINY!

Well, except that when we actually showed up, we came to find out that they had actually stopped playing the movie two weeks ago and frankly, they had no idea who updated their own listings on the Internet, but it wasn’t them. It was that typical, small town “Gosh, that’s too big for little old us here to understand…”-mentality that used to drive me nuts about this place, to the point where it kind of soured my whole evening there for a while. If I was a business owner who learned about something incorrect online setting my customers up for disappointment, I’d want to take whatever steps necessary to figure out how to get involved and get those listings up to date so that it doesn’t happen again and keep impacting my business in the future, but I digress… 🙁

Lack of Cell Coverage in BFE
Of course, it only served to further fuel my frustration when during the 40-mile car ride back home, I found myself unable to use my phone in many areas because it wasn’t able to find a signal! Wow – talk about a snap back into the reality of rural life … here, this whole trip we’ve been reveling in the idea of not having to worry about maps and simply using our phones’ built-in GPS features to plot our courses, even to the point of getting a considerable kick out of watching the blue dot move with our car on Google Maps, and yet this is a place where all of that awesome technology is null and void because they don’t have cell towers out in the middle of nowhere?!

Check please!

It’s Really, Really Cold in Michigan!!!
And one more iPhone screenshot while we’re at it, just to prove without a shadow of a doubt that my previous concerns about freezing our asses off in Michigan were completely, entirely, and unequivocally valid…

Just in case you can’t make out the numbers, that says 7 DEGREES!!! Seven is a single-digit number and should NEVER be used to describe a temperature, of all things!

What Happens at a WiiParty Stays at a WiiParty
But nonetheless, to end on a high note – because it is a new year and all … woohoo! – we did manage to have a particularly wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration in a manner that even someone like myself could enjoy … by playing video games. Despite having to get up ridiculously early tomorrow for work (think 3 hours from now), my sister and her husband hosted us over at her house for a fun couple of hours of Wii sports, by means of the new Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics game that was released fairly recently.  Our Mom actually got copies of this for each of us after hearing how we’ve had a blast playing Mario Kart online against each other over the Internet, so we thought we’d take this rare opportunity to actually give it a whirl in the same room before retreating to opposite ends of the country for any further deathmatches!

Although the controls are going to take some time to work out (some of the events are really weird), it did make it a little easier to suffer through some of the lesser ones together, and I definitely look forward to the four of us connecting online some evenings in the future once we’ve all had a brief chance to hone our athletics skills just a bit! Aside from a healthy bout of Wii-ing, our celebration was pretty sane and down to earth – sandwiches from a local place that I always enjoyed before moving away,  I sampled some pumpkin beer that my brother-in-law had set aside specifically for our trip, and of course, the dogs got one last tussle around my sister’s house before having to say goodbye. Sure, it may not have included Lady Gaga or Times Square or even that bright, shiny ball atop Times Square, but aside from not having a glass of champagne to toast with my wife at midnight, it was probably one of the best ways that I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in a long time… 🙂

But that said, I suppose that I should finally go to bed now, considering that our plans for tomorrow are precisely drive from Michigan all the way home to Florida in a straight shot. Happy New Year, folks … oh boy, am I not looking forward to that car ride!

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