Posts Tagged ‘geography


10 Reasons to Love Weyauwega: Location, Location, Location

I don’t want to leave anyone out of the conversation, so let’s assume for now that we’re all unfamiliar with the phrase “sweet spot.” In baseball terms, it’s the place on the bat where a player aims to connect with the leather and laces. In tennis it’s the space on the racquet with which Venus and Serena seek to smack the neon nylon and nap. It’s basically the area of any object with which you strike a sphere of some sort where the transfer of energy feels and sounds just right. Thwack. Snap. Pop.

In meteorological or economic terms, it’s when all features and factors of a given situation converge to create the optimum conditions for a specific outcome. Like when an entertainer is famous enough to command a high fee to put on a good show but not so famous that he or she can’t walk the streets without getting mobbed. Or when the weather is warm enough to be outside without a parka yet not so warm that one must disrobe completely to avoid drowning in one’s own sweat.

Which brings us to another point about sweet spots: some are bigger than others. In fact, thanks to the advent of wide-head racquets it’s easier than ever to hit the sweet spot these days. At least in tennis. And certain close-combat scenarios where the only available weapon is a Prince Textreme Beast O3 104.

In geographic terms, Weyauwega is our sweet spot. Despite having never heard of the place before 2011 when I started taking the newly-upgraded-to-a-four-lane US Highway 10 (with no annoying small towns or pesky traffic lights to slow you down) to visit my Auntie Chachi every week, I soon began to view the town’s exit ramps as welcome landmarks telling me how much time I had left in my journey.

Even then I had no idea of all Weyauwega has to offer. Situated on the other side of the hill that separates the town (population 1900) from Highway 10, it isn’t even visible to folks approaching from the east except for the steeples of its highest churches. It isn’t until you’ve already missed both exits that you can see a smidge of Main Street where sits the Wega Drive-In and the new Citgo station. As the saying goes: Blink and you’ll missed it

Still, it rapidly became our sweet spot in early 2016 when we started contemplating moving closer to Chachi. Positioning imaginary compass needles over key points on the map and then drawing imaginary circles around those points to see where they overlapped, we found only one town that fit comfortably between the town where the Jarhead worked, the town where the Princess worked, and the town where Auntie Chachi lived: Weyauwega. Thwack. Snap. Pop.

Although we bought our house a bit too late to do Chachi any good, since moving here we still consider Weyauwega our sweet spot. Situated between Stevens Point and Appleton, it is less than 35 miles from an array of grocery and discount stores, home improvement centers, convenience stores, our favorite realtor and our favorite daughter-in-law.

Even more important than Weyauwega’s proximity to all those things, however, is the proximity of our house to other key places in Weyauwega. Like the library (6 blocks) or the firehouse (4.5 blocks) or the tennis courts (4 blocks.)

Impressive, I know. Even more exciting, however, is our proximity to the county fairgrounds. At a mere 3 blocks from said venue, every August we can see the lights of the Midway and smell the scents of the 4H barns from our own front yard. If we want to, we can also watch the 4th of July fireworks from our own back yard. The view is better from the middle of the street of course (at least it will be until the Jarhead gets a good enough handle on the neighbors’ schedules and/or figures out how to trim or poison their trees without getting caught) but I, for one, am not complaining.

Even more important to me than our home’s proximity to the fairgrounds, however, is its proximity to the Weyauwega Senior Village. At a mere 7 blocks from said community I can already see the lights shining on my future front door and the covered porch from where I’ll smell the scents of the 4H barns every August after the Jarhead predeceases me (as the actuarial tables suggest he will) and watch the fireworks every 4th of July. It’s going to be grand. (Not the Jarhead predeceasing me part, of course; the part where I rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of my loss and go on to find the will to live one just 7 blocks from my current home.)

Perhaps the best part is knowing how much money I’ll save on moving expenses when I emerge from the fog of my grief. Oh, I’ll probably have to hire a couple guys to move the big things, but I won’t have to hire packers or haunt the grocery store loading docks begging for banana boxes. I’ll just toss all my worldly possessions into every suitcase, cooler, duffle and dumpster I own, and roll them down the street to my nice neutral-colored, one-story, two-bedroom, handicap-accessible flat. It may take several trips but I’m up for the challenge. And I’ll need things like that to keep me from wallowing in my sorrow.

So there you have it folks: yet another reason to love Weyauwega. I guess what they say about success in real estate is true for happiness and geography. It’s all about location, location, location.


Road Trippin’ 2016

So it was that it was that time of year again: October. Time to roll the lawn mower back to the shed and move the snow blower into the garage. Time to put away the deck furniture and store the hoses and sprinklers. Time for the Jarhead to either take some time off work or have every single one of his hard-earned excess vacation days vanish into thin air.

I don’t know how it works for the rest of the world, but these are the only circumstances under which the man I married will agree to use his vacation time. Unless, of course, it’s hunting season. But that’s a different blog.

I shouldn’t be too hard on him. Whenever he takes vacation, he generally needs to work about 8 extra hours in advance of his days off so he doesn’t fall behind, and then work another 8 hours after he gets back to catch up. And that’s on top of the 2 hours or so he spends each day checking email traffic while he’s gone, and responding to phone calls about things that can’t be handled via email.

So basically, for every time he takes two or more days off work, he must put in additional work days for the privilege. Almost makes more sense to skip the vacation. At least until you do the math and realize how much money you’re essentially throwing out the window.

And to be fair, he did take a lot more time off this year than he has in years past. Considering the Friday that he took off to attend our son’s wedding, the Tuesday he took off in honor of my big 5-0, and the Tuesday he spent wiping my tears and holding my hand at the funeral of my beloved Auntie, he probably worked less in 2016 than he had in any year since 2008 when he was mostly retired and I was still working.

And so, with days to burn and only a couple of weeks left in which to burn them, we set down with our phones, the calendar, and Google Maps to decide where to go.

Since we had both turned 50 this year (and, no, he did NOT take his OWN birthday off work because, as he thoughtfully explained at the time, that would be silly) we thought we should do something extra special to mark our first half-century. And since we still enjoy each other’s company (or so it seems, anyway. I guess I’ve never actually heard him speak those words, but all evidence points to that conclusion) we decided we should go somewhere by ourselves rather than with the kids or to visit friends. And since we’d seen much of Europe when we were stationed in Italy, we decided to check that off our list. And finally, since there are no guarantees in life, we decided to go as far as we could for as long as we could, just in case we lack the physical ability or the financial means to do so in our second half-century.

Which narrowed our options to Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, South America, and the International Space Station. I could have added Pluto, Cassiopeia, and all the planets in this and, say, the Andromeda Galaxy, but as there are currently no departures scheduled for those locations and Cassiopeia is just a constellation anyway, I would have included them only for the fun of typing those words into a sentence for the first and probably only time in my entire life.


That decided, we each imposed our own conditions to facilitate the decision. For example, I asked that we limit our options to places we could get to and from by airplane. Much as I like the idea of visiting other planets, my fear of leaving home and not ever coming back (aka hodophobia) is bad enough as it is. There’s no need to complicate matters with talk of rocket fuel and re-entry failure, thanks very much. That restriction, unfortunately for the Jarhead, ruled out interstellar and intergalactic travel. Well, that and a pesky thing I like to call our budget.

In turn, the Jarhead requested that we choose a destination where folks speak his language. I said that would seriously limit our options since there are very few places outside of Minnesota where the people actually speak and understand Minnesotan, but he was unmoved. So unmoved, in fact, that he offered to quell my fears by leaving my hodophobic a$$ at home.

So that left England, Canada, Australia, and a few other countries that we didn’t bother to research since Australia, by virtue of its distance from Wisconsin, was the obvious winner.

Other factors were involved, of course. Like the fact that we had talked about going there for literally years but couldn’t bring ourselves to spend the money. And the fact that it would be almost summer when we arrived. Not to mention the fact that we could spend 10 days there and still be home in time for Thanksgiving.

So that’s WHERE we went. To find out HOW it went, be sure to tune in for the next installment, Road Trippin’ Down Under!


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