“I got to keep movin’, I’ve got to keep movin’, blues fallin’ down like hail, blues fallin’ down like hail
Umm-mm-mm-mm, blues fallin’ down like hail, blues fallin’ down like hail
And the day keeps on worrin’ me, there’s a hellhound on my trail, hellhound on my trail, hellhound on my trail.”
In what is shaping up to be my busiest summer on record, all I can do is keep moving. I’ve never seen a season shape up like this one, and the calls keep coming in.
I’ve been plumbing for the past two days, which usually puts me in a foul mood. It doesn’t help that plumbers are all sadists, and I’ve come into a situation 40 years after the original install, with the Ghost Plumber chuckling at me from the attic. I replaced a shower valve that was installed through a stud, and I swear that the stud grew around the valve like an oak tree grows around barbed wire.
I’ll be installing tile the next 2-3 days, which may be good for the soul, if a tad hard on the knees. On the plus side, everything has been torn out, so I’m starting from scratch.
I could not find the artist’s name who created the Hound of the Baskervilles above, but kudos to whoever they are.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials publicly executed a Land Rover Defender on Tuesday after it had been seized at the Port of Baltimore in April. Only Defenders 25 years old or older are allowed into the United States, even though they are welcomed all over the world. This Defender had its VIN swapped out, and Customs officials ordered its death.
It was an easy day and I wrapped things up before noon. I did call another client to see if I could swing by to do an easy two hour job, but he didn’t return my call until I had already moved on by. He was put on tomorrow’s schedule.
Another beautiful, sun-filled afternoon here in the Interior. I unloaded and put away all my tools from the siding job, then drove into town to buy some wiper blades for the truck, since I have worn this pair out. The NAPA lot was packed, but I parked & went inside anyway. Too many people, too few employees, and no cross reference book by the wiper blade display. I was out of there in less than a minute.
I simply don’t do lines well. It is not part of my DNA. Luckily, I can usually avoid the damn time stealers here in The AK. Although, it does get more difficult during the tourist season.
I then hit the post office to check my box. Inside was a yellow form for a package retrieval. It showed a 32 cent postage due amount. Who mails a package with postage due? I went out to the truck thinking that I’d stop by again on another day to pick up the package. After all, there was a long line to get to the counter and only two postal employees. At the truck, I checked for change, but I had cleaned the truck out over the weekend. No change there or in my pockets. I knew I had several packages out there ranging from auto parts to tools to books & music. The smallest bill in my wallet was a ten. Shit.
Back inside, in line, I consoled myself. I had already put off the wiper blades, so I might as well get this over with. But I was in a good mood, the job was done, the salmon are running down at Chitina, the Solstice party is Thursday, life was good. The guy in front of me was doing the impatient dance: Shuffling his feet, looking at his watch, sighing when the people at the counter kept chatting needlessly to the clerks. He only had to collect a package too. Normally, the customer service representatives will take a package slip, then ask if anyone else was picking up only a package and combine the orders, but I could see that wasn’t going to help me out. Of the two employees in front of us, I knew only one did that and she was tied up with a couple of Canadians, and everyone knows that Canadians do nothing quickly, so she wasn’t going to be free anytime soon. The other one was actually my favorite worker at this branch, but consolidating package orders is not her thing. She may have done it once when I had Rover parts come in, and that put an end to it for good. I don’t recall specific details.
The Impatient Guy was on his way quickly, and soon enough I was exchanging the yellow form for a package. Or so I thought.
When my USPS Customer Service Representative returned, she was outright laughing. “Someone sent you a post card with no postage.”
I looked at it on the counter and said, “That’s just mean spirited.”
Then several people waiting behind me laughed.
The really sad part about all of this, is that I don’t even like the person who sent it enough to send him an email chewing him out for making me stand in line to break a ten dollar bill to spend 32 cents for a post card that cost him a damn dime.
I had lunch today with a good friend, and somewhere along the conversational line, the subject of retro came up. Then she looks at me over her bowl of Thai soup and replies, “Oh! You’re way beyond retro.”
The Experts at The Climate Prediction Center are calling for “enhanced chances that the three-month average temperature (Dec-Feb) will be significantly colder than normal across much of Interior Alaska as well as from the Aleutian Islands to the panhandle. There are also enhanced chances of significantly below normal precipitation across much of the eastern Interior”.
Oddly enough, we’re already behind schedule, as it were. The first hard frost was already two weeks late from average. By October 1 we have usually had our first snowfall of an inch or more, but we haven’t seen any of the evil white stuff yet this year.
But one thing we all agree on: It Is Coming.
“He travels fastest who travels alone . . . but not after the frost has dropped below zero fifty degrees or more. —Yukon Code. —“To Build A Fire”
I was driving on Airport Road yesterday near downtown. I never drive Airport, because the road has stop lights. I live in Fairbanks, why would I seek out stop lights? There are options.
Unfortunately, there was a wreck at the intersection with Cushman. The police were already there, and traffic cones were put out to vear traffic. One of Fairbanks’ Finest was throwing a temper tantrum over a cone that was knocked over. That was a tad embarrassing: Acting like a two year old in public may reflect well on North Pole, but not on Fairbanks. I wasn’t impressed.
Then I saw the motorcycle. It was fairly messed up after getting hit by a full size pickup, but I was hoping not enough to cause any serious injuries. The rider, it turns out, was from Japan. He was riding the Pan-American with a companion, who was on a separate bike. They had just returned from riding the Haul Road down from Deadhorse, and were going to the Visitor Center to find camping info when the second rider through the intersection was hit. He died on the way to the hospital. Damn. We get quite a few motorcycle fatalities in Alaska, so I’m never surprised by them. I guess it’s the fact that he just completed the Pan-American and was headed back south that makes it worse than usual. Damn.
As of this writing, the police have not stated how the accident happened, or who…if anyone…was at fault.
Earlier in the day, an 11 year old kid walking to school, was also hit by a car. He was actually in the cross walk with an attendent one block from school when a car ran a stop sign, ran up over the curb and at some point even drove through a hedge and hit the kid. He also died at the hospital. There is no doubt, in this case, who was at fault. Honestly folks, can we at least make some effort at paying attention here? There is no excuse for this in Fairbanks, Alaska. We have no traffic, there is no reason to be in a hurry, and the cell coverage sucks anyway, so just put that damn phone away while you are driving.
This isn’t rocket science.
Update: The driver of the truck was not at fault in the motorcycle death. Both vehicles had a green or yellow light.
We awoke Sunday morning to find that someone had smashed the glass in the drivers’s side door. Theft was not the motive. It appears that the side mirror was hit so hard that the door tweaked enough to shatter both windows. The prevalent theory is that another side mirror hit mine as a vehicle sped by way too close. It’s certainly possible that some punk took a swing at the mirror with a baseball bat or other club-like object. Either way, I have a gaping hole off my left shoulder, and I will be finding little bits of safety glass for years.
14000 miles. 3 countries. A territory. 2 providences. 14 U.S. States. And my windows were smashed near my hometown. One has to love a little irony.