It had the potential to be a great day…
My wife and I arrived at the Minooka Dog Park early Sunday morning with donuts, hot coffee, and a dog in desperate need of exercise.
Did you know that City of Waukesha gas stations can't sell beer? I didn't. Since people are cutting back on their driving and buying less gasoline, the walk-in business for Slim Jims and Twinkies has dwindled. Now some are asking the city to reconsider the ordinance so they can buck up some of the shrinking profits.
This is a tough one for me as you probably know of my family's recent loss to a convicted drunk driver that should have been sitting in jail rather than behind the wheel of an Escalade. I believe that the intention of this ordinance was to reduce the possibility of popping one open after gassing up. One can argue that beer is available at many places. Grocery stores and the liquor stores for example. Although not quite as quick and easy as getting a 12 pack at the gas station, it is just as easy to pop one open driving home from there.
A fellow blogger passed away a week ago today. He was born and died in June... with eighty years in between. He led a very interesting and full life, spoke many languages and had friends around the world.
He began blogging three years ago this month and, while I've read them in the past, the posts have new meaning for me now. He was a somewhat eccentric character, and his writing certainly helps to demystify his complexity.
Happy 4th of July. Independence day. We celebrate our independence from the oppressive British monarchy. We shot their soldiers and theirs killed ours. In Brookfield there is the grave of a man who fought in the Revolutionary War. Private Nathan Hatch. Since we are now buddy buddy with the British, it seems that today should be more of a birthday celebration of becoming a country rather than the day we officially flipped the bird to the king of England.
Which brings me to the point of the blog today. You see, we still owe England. We also owe China along with some of the oil producing countries. It's called the national debt. It something that we've all heard about but is obscure to most of us. I understand that we are actually borrowing money from these countries to pay for things that we do. How is it that we need to borrow money from other countries? I though we were the rich people in the subdivision.
Takin the blog for a walk in the neighborhood of Wealthy Street we often see sidewalk art. Last Sunday was a rather elaborate affair; A heart with angel wings, the word "Hope" written in the middle, and sunflower seeds set in a little pile in the middle of it. There was a little angel statue and a pinwheel next to it.
Was the artwork done by a child who lost a young brother or sister? Was it some kind of memorial to a soldier? I wondered if the angel had a connection to the bird seed. What was the thought? That the birds would be taking the blessings of the angel or the young artist up to heaven? We were curious, but not enough to knock at 5:30 a.m.
Time to spruce up Grand Avenue and other roads in preparation for the motorcycles next month.
I decided to take the Gold Wing for a ride around where the motorcycle crowd will be cruising about come the big event next month. Waukesha, we have some work to do on Grand Avenue and other streets! Potholes are still horrible between Wisconsin and College Avenues. Some of the motorcycles that will be visiting have no spring suspension which means jarring impacts and even damage to some very expensive and often custom made machines.
I got my tax rebate check the other day. Excuse me, Economic Stimulus check. I wrote a blog some time ago about how to spend it to actually help the economy. I also mentioned that I had to pay the IRS just over $1,200 dollars. So much for me kicking my assistance beyond trying to cover minimum payments, finance charges and a occasional tank of gas now and then.
This isn't the kind of rebate that I'm speaking of though. I'm talking about the day to day rebates that you see in advertising. Often a low price is advertised with a little asterisk by it stating the price is after mail in rebate. May I be blunt? Of course I can. I'm good at that. These companies are just trying to play "Gotcha" by hoping that you forget to pick up the rebate form and mail it in on time.
I'm not a huge movie goer. I like to wait for most to show up on HBO and recently saw Evan Almighty, several times. I like Morgan Freeman as an actor. Seems like he's equaled George Burns in the number of times playing God. Something that stuck with me was his telling Evan, a newly elected congressman who wanted to change the world, that the best way to do it was by ARK, Acts of Random Kindness. I doubt that the acronym works in other languages but it is a warm, fuzzy thought.
Pat was recalling how our family had tough times in our early years and how hard it was to make the food budget stretch out. Seeing some sandwich meat on sale for $1.00 and other items made her think that some family will hopefully see the sale and benefit from it. When I was out of work for many months after a nasty crash, the church collected some much needed food to help our family get through it. My dad would have bursts of generosity from time to time and one day bought bags and bags of groceries for a distant relative whose family was going through tough times. He did other generous acts for people, most I never knew about.
Snapshots are usually thought of as still pictures. A capture of a brief moment in time. Sometimes they can fail to tell the whole story and lead one to incorrect conclusions. Like taking words out of their context. Politicians love to do that to each other. Sometimes opinions and even conclusions are based on snapshots of information. Wise people are flexible enough to change their opinions and conclusions when presented with the whole video rather than the snapshot or the whole text rather than the snippet. Even wiser people don't come to conclusions without seeing the whole story.
I shudder when world leaders (G8) decide to put economic stress on their countries, such as carbon dioxide emissions, based on a snapshot of the history of the world. I don't think that even a crazy Iranian leader would deny that there was an ice age. Evidence of warm weather plants have been found at the north pole regions, so it is logical that there have been times of unusual warmth. Global Warming, in other words. Man was not there to cause it. While the snapshot shows it appears to follow man's industrialization, the video shows otherwise.
Inspector FEMA stopped by early Saturday morning to stumble through our cluttered basement. I debated asking for the visit because there was very little damage from the Flood of 2008. Even though sewer backups are covered under our homeowner's, we didn't even apply. But it's extremely rare (thankfully) that FEMA is in town, we have a $500.00 deductible, and the sewer backed up not once, not twice, but five times within one week last month.
Didn't really want to ask for help because there were far more families and businesses worse off than us. But this flooding shouldn't have happened and I wanted someone other than the city to know. We've had sewer backups in our neighborhood for years, for whatever reasons, and was told by the director of public works two years ago that the replacement of pipe in our street would solve the problem. They did smoke testing to find illegal hookups and added more storm drains. The city seemed to do everything it could, short of increasing capacity or redesigning our connection to the main line, and for a while it worked. June's rain was the first big test since the new pipe was laid.
I hope there will always be somewhere to go where they know your name, and I'm not talking about an automated voice reading it off your frequent shopper card. There are few places left where you can pick up your cup where you left it the day before and share conversation and coffee with the butcher behind the meat counter every day at the small mom and pop grocery like my dad used to do in Mercer. Doesn't really matter how big the place is.
Even though Pick 'N Save takes way too much of our money we still like shopping there. Prices are comparatively low, people know us there and we run into people we know there. It's like the small town post office, where conversation is free-flowing and eventually, it seems, you'll bump into everyone.
OK class, take your Sunday newspaper and turn to page 12A and read the headline; "Judge rules against oil drilling in Michigan forest". Let me start by pointing out that Congress, our body of lawmakers, presently has a national approval rating of 9%. This is one reason why. People are sick and tired and getting poorer partly due to federal judges legislating from the bench. Congress seems to not be interested in doing anything about that.
Please tell me someone with tons of money is just playing mind games with me. Please!?
If you have not witnessed the birth of the new Menard's Store across from Target and Home Depot on Kossow and Hwy J, I suggest you hurry lest your neighbors "scoop" you on this one.
Now that the County Fair is here I'm looking forward to some hot air balloon competition at the annual Skyfest rally. Maybe crew with someone new. Maybe run into friends from out of town. Or so I thought.
Pay no attention to the cover page of today's edition of WaukeshaNOW paper. It was wrong. "THURSDAY The sky will be adorned with color during the SKY FEST HOT AIR BALLOON COMPETITION at the Waukesha County Expo Center." I wish! Fourteen years of ballooning at the fair was put on hold this year as no corporate sponsors were located.
Even with a little rain and without Skyfest at the county fair it's still a good weekend. Anytime there's more fun things to do than time to do them it's a good thing.
Friday was a wonderful night to be out for Freeman Friday Night Live downtown. The foot traffic was as good as the music. It's always nice to see Downtown alive. Chad James was sounding especially fine outside Steaming Cup as was the 12 year old guitar player keeping artist Chuck Weber company outside Almont Gallery as he painted.
I have lived in downtown Waukesha for four years now and let me tell you, it is far from a quiet environment.
This city bustles with noise 24 hours a day.
I blogged about a similar topic in November, but this week's event promised to benefit the earth and fellow man. I was able to catch the last half hour of a pedal-powered concert in Wales on calm Tuesday night. Because the event was affiliated with the MS150 bike tour, it raised both awareness of wasteful energy practices and funds to help battle multiple sclerosis.
I was already in the Wales area for a dinner meeting in the beautiful Hills of Delafield, so Hazie and ScorpGirl can relax. I did not drive all the way out there wasting gas. I probably would have, though, had I known how cool the warm evening on Main Street in Wales would be.
Was glad to hear I might be crewing this weekend. Weather's been less than ideal lately. Summer's half over and I've only helped a few times. First possibility was Saturday morning, but was too windy. Saturday night was better, but still iffy.
While waiting for the breeze to calm, I asked the other crew members if they knew which balloon landed and stopped traffic on Hwy. 16 in Hartland Wednesday night. I read an In Brief article in the Freeman regarding it and had cut it out. Talking with someone who went out Wednesday, and talking with other crew on the field, came to find out it was one of the three balloons waiting, like me, for the wind to die down. They told of the police coming, a nurse offering help. While it's fairly common to take down the envelope on or near quiet residential streets it's an FAA violation to land on Hwy. 16. The pilot in question actually landed a distance from 16 on a frontage road... and no one was hurt.
Spent several hours at Pewaukee Lake yesterday. With the no wake law still in force it's unusually quiet, and if my canoe didn't still have gaping holes in it... So we fish from shore. Very peaceful watching the regatta of around 50 sailboats. Later in the day was Taste of Lake Country and fireworks, but that's another story.
Making every cent of my weekend dollars count I went to Milwaukee today to do several things. I parked under the Hoan Bridge by the river, saving $10.00. I attended a very nice Lutheran service in the Marcus Amphitheater and was allowed into German Fest free, saving $13.00.