Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: Summer’s officially here this week…and HOT

Officially, or unofficially, hot summer weather has arrived and our air conditioner – and the generator—are getting a real workout today (Tuesday). I’m looking at the calendar and the June, or Summer Solstice arrives Thursday. That is “officially” the end of spring and the first day of SUMMER.
Well, I have news for you all…Summer arrived a couple of weeks or so ago – unofficially of course!
Let me explain: the hot humid weather in the high 80s and low 90s (so far) snuck up on mid-Michigan, five or six degrees at a time and really arrived, settling in over last weekend. Along with it came the first heat wave and the first real “boomer” of a thunderstorm (for us anyway) in the middle of the night Monday, or rather early Tuesday morning.
Oh, I know, we’ve had a few thunder-busters around the area, but we have managed out here southwest of Clare to miss most of the bad storms that hit mostly in the southern end of the state.
Last night, the rain came down in buckets reminiscent of the buckets you find at the indoor waterparks around this part of the state. It was accompanied by lightning and thunder and winds that stripped branches and leaves out of our neighbors’ massive front yard tree and deposited them in our yard of course.
Jack said one homeowner just south of us on Stevenson Lake had a tree come down on their garage and on the house.
Old people note: Those branches and leaves in our yard are still there and will remain until this spell of HOT and HUMID is over for a bit! We are not venturing out there in this heat! That rainstorm only cooled things down for a half hour or so and today the thermometer is right back up there again.
Back to the excitement last night. Just as things were getting pretty wild and windy enough to get us out of bed, a bolt hit close by and our power went out.
Today, Tuesday afternoon, There’s a power pole leaning over Stevenson Lake Road just east of us; the power is still out, but luckily in our new place we have a whole house generator that automatically takes over when the lights go out, so things are going along pretty much normally while we wait…
So now we are waiting for the return of electric from Consumers, while I work on the computer, a task I couldn’t have done a few years back when a power outage was like a snow day in February or March – an automatic day off!
Nowadays, we always have power… In fact, a couple of years ago, a power outage at the office in Clare, brought the staff – both of them, with their computers – out here to put the pages together for the printer downstate. We had four computers going at once in our little place. That was actually a pretty fun day.
My, how things have changed.
Seems like only a few years back we were pasting copy and photos on newspaper sized pages by hand (we used melted wax for glue) and when they were finished, hauling them down to Alma to be made into “plates,” put on the printer, printed, then having a truckload of the finished product brought back to Clare in bundles where we started the massive distribution process that went on every single week.
Times began changing – a never ending thing in this business – and we began putting pages together on the computer and emailing them to the printer…
And now, although I am still hanging in there, I hardly ever go into the office anymore. That’s something I really miss. In fact, most of the workers on the Wilcox newspapers (I believe there are ten papers now) work like me – from home using those computers that we thought were such a luxury just a few years back.
Seems like yesterday that this column was handwritten, then typed on a (gasp) typewriter, then typed into a machine that spit out a long tape of copy that had to be cut out and pasted down line by line in a couple of full days of work with 6 or 7 people on the job. Now it takes a little over a half-day for two people to put the Review and the Marion Press all together…

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