Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Wednesday morning things

* Another thing from Monday - I solved a little mystery. When I came back from the meetings a month and a half ago, there was a scalped-looking patch in my lawn. I couldn't tell if it had been mowed or not; it had been dry. But I asked the woman I had hired to mow while I was gone earlier in the year and she said no, she hadn't been by.

Then, Monday afternoon, I heard the sound of mowing. Walked out. Saw a guy on a riding mower pulling up into my drive. Thought "no no no no" because of a combo-platter of:
-I don't want the flowering stalks on the wild orchids mowed down
-I don't want to receive a bill for "services rendered." I'd be within my rights not to pay it but the emotional effort it would take to fight such a thing (probably going to court if the person was going to be really unpleasant) would be a lot.
- I just don't like strangers on my lawn.

Well, he pulled onto the area between the sidewalk and the street (what we called, back in Northeast Ohio, the "devil strip"), which the city technically owns (even though I have to mow it) so I figured I couldn't say anything until he came up on to the actual lawn (which, as it turns out, he didn't). He proceeded to mow along the "devil strip" in my yard, into the one of the neighbor to the north of me....and then turned the corner and was gone.

what the what?

The only thing I could figure - there are a few people around here who have, for various reasons, lost their driver's licenses who make do in residential areas with riding mowers. (Apparently the cops mostly look the other way, even though riding mowers aren't technically street-legal. Though I do remember a story a few years back about a guy who got a DUI while on a riding mower out in the street...)

But I figured, better safe than sorry, so I ran out with some leftover surveyor's flags (left over from a long-ago research project) and planted them where the flowering stalks were. Anyway, I need to mow later this week.

Then he CAME BACK. Still on the "devil strip." I kind of waited, holding my breath (I was also geared up to do the dvd workout, and was annoyed I had to have that on hold until I knew for sure whether some officious bozo was going to decide to mow my lawn for me). Then he was gone. So I don't know. I don't know if he was someone without a license but without the ability/will to walk a few blocks somewhere, or what. A lot of random stuff happens in my town. But now I think I know where that scalped patch came from. (And yeah, he kind of scalped the devil strip).

The thing is, if someone is DYING to mow a yard, they could do the one to the south of me. That house, a rental house, is currently empty, and the yard is very tall and ugly. (On the one hand: makes my slightly-unmown yard look totally okay. On the other: grass is flowering which is bad for my allergies)

* Summer's lease still hasn't run out. These past few days have been hotter, and worse, extremely humid in the afternoons. I'm ready for cooler dryer air. Also, the ragweed pollen has been very high. My hives are back after weeks of being almost entirely gone, so that tells me that this is an environmental allergen and not anything in the food I eat/shampoo I use/detergent I use on clothes. (Though that last is about the mildest, most hypoallergenic kind known to man).

Some are predicting that because of low sunspot activity, we're going to have a colder winter this year. Bring it on, says I: kill off some of the surface grub populations, kill off some of the "waterbugs," knock back all the stuff that generates pollen.

* I heard a depressing reason for all the empty shops downtown: the "bypass" of Route 70 draws too much traffic away and people don't stop any more. The bypass was supposed to funnel off the big trucks so (a) they didn't cause more congestion and localized pollution and (b) so they didn't have problems with some of the narrow streets/tight turns in the downtown area. But apparently most people don't "destination shop" any more? Pretty much the only reason I ever went downtown was for shopping....I tended to avoid those few blocks otherwise BECAUSE of the congestion.

If I am going to a town to shop, I will have checked out the options ahead of time and made my plans: very much destination shopping. (nearly all my fun in-person shopping is "destination" shopping, as in, I have to specifically plan and drive to the place)

But yeah - several buildings are up for sale, a couple more shops have closed. And I am still sad about the loss of the quilt shop.

I've also heard that the reason the lights on main street aren't synchronized - you can count on catching AT LEAST half of them on red any given trip - is that businesses have begged the city NOT to synchronize them, so people are slowed down and more likely to stop. Which feels to me a lot like Wal-mart's strategy of "let's randomly move stuff around because when people can't find what they want, they spend more time in the store and will buy more" which just reminds me how I'm weird, because that kind of thing annoys me and I actually buy LESS than I would otherwise....I have left without completing my shopping list before because I got so tired of hunting for stuff. (I suspect our walmart is one of the "redlined" ones, because of SES reasons....there are never any helpful employees, the store is kind of dirty most of the time, restocking can be glacially slow, you have to check the expiry dates on EVERYTHING.....

* Apparently there's not going to be a BPAFF this year? (Blackland Prairie Fiber and Artisan Festival). I haven't seen any advertising for it and the webpage they have up still shows the 2015 information. That also makes me sad. There's some kind of thing in Irving, TX later this month (Quixotic Fibers, which is the closest thing I have to a local yarn shop now, is going) but, meh - not a good weekend for me and also bad traffic, too close to Dallas.

I dunno. It just feels like so many of the good local things that made living here more fun are sort of spiralling down to nothing. And yeah, I'm glad I can shop online, but sometimes it's just nice to be able to go to a real shop or, better, somewhere like a fiber festival, and be out in public and around other people who share the same interest as you do. The virtual world, as nice as it is for "everyday," isn't fun for "always and only."

Doesn't help that people on the other side of the country (or with more free time and more disposable income) are gearing up for Rhinebeck, which is sort of the Woodstock/World's Fair/(your political party) National Convention/Whatever for fiber people. I've never gone, I will probably never go.

Not that the actuality of it would be that wonderful for me - I really loathe big crowds, and Rhinebeck is surely very crowded. I joked on Twitter that I could maybe do it if I had a small posse of people I knew to hang around me and be like "bodyguards" (or really more: give me someone to talk to so I don't feel like I'm the weird solo person, which I often feel like when I'm out in public. Usually when I go to a restaurant for lunch, I am the ONLY person sitting alone at a table).

But just the idea of being able to go somewhere and be immersed in the knitting/yarn/crochet/spinning/weaving/whatever world for a couple days....that's my idea of a vacation, to be able to forget about geopolitical worries for a bit, to be able to forget my job for a bit, and just focus on one of my major hobbies. (I would feel the same way at a very large quilt show, especially if it was one that did a lot on the historical aspects or that had talks and things to go to).

* I have a new slightly-cursey phrase to use when annoyed. There's a bit of backstory to it....someone on ITFF was posting old Soviet-era safety posters, but did not herself read Russian. One of them had (what someone later, who reads Russian, interpreted) "Watch the hoe!" on it (it was two farm-collective women hoeing, one with her foot injured by the other's carelessness). The original poster commented that the Cyrillic writing made it look - to her - like it said "OCTOPUSES YOU WANKER"

(and yeah, I know, "wanker" isn't a very nice word, especially in British English, but it's not as not-nice as some other words).

And that just struck me as funny, you know? So now I'm going to imagine "OCTOPUSES YOU WANKER" when annoyed. (Not actually going to say it because the explanation is too convoluted)


Anonymous said...

Are there any businesses on the bypass?

fillyjonk said...

No, there aren't any businesses on the bypass - it goes through former ranchland. There's nothing there. So it's not like people are avoiding downtown to shop at bigbox stores or something.