Friday, July 3, 2009

The Road(s) Paved With Good Intentions...

(Mackinac Island lighthouse, via Flickr)

First of all, let me preface this post by saying that the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island more than lived up to its name. It was gracious and elegant and The Little Prince and all his cousins were agog by its magical splendor. 

Unfortunately, a full rundown of the trip will have to wait because I dropped my Nikon in front of a fudge shop and it's gone catatonic on me. Hopefully it can be fixed.

That wasn't the only calamity during the trip -- two acts of kindness on my part went horribly awry!

Calamity The First:

The day after Luca and I arrived in Michigan, there was a glorious midday thunderstorm. The sky went black and the forces of Nature unleashed a magical sound and light show. 
(via Flickr)

Driving with my father afterwards, we came upon a downed tree in the road, just around the corner from here.
(Cranbrook Art Museum)

Another motorist was trying to lug it off the road, so I suggested we help him. We were making excellent progress when suddenly my father fell to the ground clutching his knee in pain. We rushed to the ER only to be told he had somehow snapped his quadriceps muscle. Twenty four hours later, he was having surgery to re-attach the tendons to his kneecap. He's now on crutches and out of commission for the next 10-12 weeks. Despite being 81, he's still freakishly athletic and had a busy summer planned -- a 5 day, 400-mile bike tour next month, followed by a trip to Norway to hike, fish and visit his siblings. Now those plans are out and he won't know until ski season whether his leg will be the same. 

I can't help but feel horribly responsible for his accident because I'm the one who suggested we get out and try to move the tree. It just seemed like the right thing to do -- a lark, an escapade, a little deed to feel good about later. I keep thinking if I hadn't said anything, maybe we would have turned around and gone a different way...and his knee would be fine.

Calamity The Second:

(Mackinac Island in rain, via Flickr)

The rain made intermittent appearances on Mackinac Island as well, and one afternoon my mother rented a bike to ride around the island. It looked gloomy, so I offered her a plastic bag to protect her hair in case the skies suddenly opened up. (Coif-ically speaking, my mother is a traditionalist. She has her hair professionally set every week and heroic efforts are made to maintain the sanctity of the 'do between appointments.) Well, apparently she was having a grand time until a terrific gust of wind blew the plastic bag up and out of the bicycle basket. In her attempt to grab it, she let go of the handlebars, lost control of the bicycle and crashed onto the pavement, severely spraining a finger and winding up with a continent-sized bruise on her knee (the right one, same as my father's.) On the bright side, her hair was fine.

Again, it's impossible to deny that if I hadn't given her that plastic bag, she wouldn't have crashed.

Fortunately, both of my parents have remarkable senses of humor and have instituted a running joke that all helpful suggestions I make from now on are to be ducked, dodged, sidestepped and thoroughly avoided. In fact, they have suggested that whatever I say, one should immediately do the opposite.

The Divine Italian has decided a therapeutic healing trip is in order, so I'm repacking suitcases for a short trip up the California coast. We're going to Ojai, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, San Francisco and wherever else hits our fancy. 

Happy Fourth of July to everyone. I wish you all blue skies and a safe, accident-free weekend. 


Ree Childs / Realtor / Shop owner said...

Oh my goodness! Well, my husband (the surgeon) would say sounds like a full moon - except these events were during the day! He always says that if he has a wild night being "on call" with the ER...
I do hope you had some fun with all of this going on? Looks like a lovely place - I have friends that live on Gull Lake and we enjoyed our visit there last summer.
Sounds like you are in for a fun week in CA.
I am headed to our condo on Siesta Key for the weekend.
Everyone have a great 4th and be safe..
Safety is key - do not sit out in a lawn chair with your legs up under you while watching and being too near fireworks!!! I had a large firework single me out of a crowd and go right down my shorts-leg!! Yes, a huge burn - thank goodness my husband is a surgeon and knew what to do. Very painful for weeks..... You can be hit before you know what is happening...

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Tropical Chateau: Excellent tip on the fireworks front...I can't believe you were so directly targeted! Such a crazy random thing to happen. Glad you're okay.

Tricia said...

If I had a nickel for every time I explained, "I had the very best intentions"!! Don't stop being a Good Samaritan. I'm sure the good works far outnumber the calamities! Enjoy your home turf.

Habitually Chic said...

I've had plenty of "no good deed goes unpunished" moments but nothing quite that bad. I'm terribly sorry for your parent's accidents but I have to admit that the part about your mother's hair made me laugh out loud. Hope you all have a safe and sound 4th of July!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Heather: It's been a few days, so I can see the funny side of the situation, if only because my parents were generous enough to lead the way. I swear, that vacation was like a P.G. Wodehouse novel. We were hapless characters, all! xx

Tricia: I still feel a bit chary of offering up any advice, but hopefully that will change. :)

home before dark said...

Perhaps the ghosts of Midwest Writers Past, in the spirit of "I can pick on my unsophisticated, hayseed brother, but you can't," conjured up a turn of the Karmic wheel for you.

I don't really feel like a midwesterner, more of a southerner held hostage here for over two decades. But in the smallish Kansas community where I live, I know people have achieved interesting things. The current president of Ford grew up here. So did Neda Ulaby from NPR, as did Sarah Peretsky, the mystery writer, and David Booth, an acclaimed investor, who recently gave $300 million to the University of Chicago.

Long way of saying, that while I don't agree with the politics or the general attitudes of the Midwest, I did think your last posts about the Midwest were smug and dismissive. Hope your luck turns around.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Home After Dark: Thank you for your honesty. I apologize if you found my comments "smug and dismissive." They reflect my own highly personal experience of being a teenager there in the 1980's and obviously should not be read as a blanket statement on the entire area! To think that I don't value and respect the talent, integrity and passion of the people there is to be highly mistaken. But, on the flip side, to say that I admire ALL aspects of the culture there would be equally imprecise.

janeh said...

Lisa- it must have seemed like Karma had gone awry! If you have a chance when you are in San Francisco, Luca (and his parents) might like the newly reopened Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park- if it is too crowded, the Exploratorium is always on my son's go-to list. Hope you have a safe and nice 4th!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Janeh: We were there a few months ago and were blown away by the new Renzo Piano building. And Golden Gate Park is such a magnificent setting. The Exploratorium is a great backup option, though...I think Luca is finally old enough to experience the Tactile Dome (provided we can get tickets). Thank you for the reminder! xx

Prairie Girl Studio said...

oh my! oh my! i can't imagine how you felt ... but after reading the first calamity i couldn't help but think that your dad's heart would be soaring with pride that you were being so thoughtful to help move the log and his pride will totally override his injuries (wow ~ he sounds to be in tremendous shape ~ that's awesome!). then ... i was almost afraid to continue reading calamity 2 (i love your style of writing!!) ... oh dear ... i am most relieved that your mom came out of that with minor injuries ... but i nearly 'snorted tea out my nose' (something my niece did once when reading something very funny) when you said 'on the bright side, her hair was fine' ... my mother is renowned for her weekly hair 'do's' and not one hair is out of place between visits! oh my gosh lisa ~ you are such a gem!
please do have the most fantastic july fourth today ... and do take extra good care!

Kim said...

Ouch. Spectacular photographs, but - ouch.

Style Court said...

Lisa -- I agree with everyone else, I'm still glad you have the heart of a good samaritan, and I'm sure your parents are, too. But I will say things like this sometimes, just sometimes, make me second guess my belief in karma :)

Anyway, always enjoy your story telling abilities and your sense of humor and perspective. Hope your other summer adventures will be smoother.

Oh, p.s., hope your dad makes a speedy recovery!

wild thyme flowers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wild thyme flowers said...

Oh dear Lisa, hope your mum and dad are ok. But I loved your description of your mum's hairdo concerns. Reminded me of my mum. Being Canadian, I'm not familiar with the Michigan shores that you visited. However, it sounds very much like our beloved Muskokas. A wonderful combination of charm, kitsch, memories of a more genteel time and blessed with a landscape that is so quietly beautiful (even more so when it rains). I find it romantic! Your California road trip sounds wonderful. Can't wait to read about it. Have a safe journey.

pve design said...

Look on the brite side, all the good posts intended from this trip! Hope you are home safe and sound.

pve design said...

...and my intention was to please tell your "folks" to heal quickly. Oh dear, you just saved them both by being there.

Marnie said...

love the description of your mother's hair "do" - my mother had the same "do" which we lovingly called her pouf

50sgal said...

I just found your blog. What odd luck, I hope your parents were okay in the end. Mac. Island is so beautiful and I love how there are no cars allowed! Murdocks Fudge, which started there, also has a shop here in MA one on Cape where I live and one on the vineyard. I hope you ate a little to feel better.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Oh my. Sorry for the mishaps and glad to hear that your folks took it all ... er.... in stride.

Hope you got a chance to see some boats coming in under full spinnaker as I did one day on Mackinac. Majestic. And isn't he porch at the Grand Hotel magnificent?

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh my soul. I know I shouldn't giggle, but really! Is there a cloud over your head? I am glad your parents are okay, and you do realize that technically none of this was your fault, don't you??


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