I grew up by an expressway and thought nothing of it. As a child, I never worried about air pollution wafting through my house and making its way into my young lungs. But now that I’m an adult, I find myself fretting over the coal-fired power plant that was built one measly mile from my house. Whenever I take the bus in the morning, I see a set of twin smokestacks reaching into the sky, and more often than not, they’re billowing out smoke. Now I hear rumors that a racetrack in a nearby suburb may close its doors, only to be replaced by an incinerator…which would join an existing oil refinery…and an existing sewage treatment plant…and the Interstate highway…and a freight yard for trucks. I love my neighborhood, but I also love my lungs. Hopefully, I won’t have to choose between the two.
Archive for the ‘Scary Gary’ Category
See the size of that jar in panel three? It’s just a teeny, tiny bit bigger than my mom’s favorite coffee cup. Seriously. I love my mom, but I’ll never understand her fierce commitment to coffee. She refers to it as her “drug of choice” and there are precious few moments during the day when she doesn’t have a cup (or a thermos) of it by her side. When she wakes up in the morning…coffee. When she catches a break at work…coffee. When she’s relaxing in front of the TV at night…coffee. I’m not sure how much coffee my mom actually drinks in a given day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her purchases managed to keep a few dozen farmers in business.
I have hardwood floors in my house – hardwood floors that just so happen to be dotted with paint specks, glue globs, and glitter particles. One of these days, I’ll have the floors refinished. I could rent a sander and refinish them myself, but something tells me that would be a bad idea. Would it be costlier to hire a professional? Of course it would, but it would also be grating to pick small bits of sawdust out of my furniture for the next 30 years, and that’s surely what I’d be doing if I tackled this project myself.
Curiously enough, my house also has a laundry chute to nowhere. When my wife and I first saw the chute we assumed that it connected the upstairs bathroom to the downstairs laundry room (a reasonable assumption). Then, on moving day, my wife’s cousin threw a knickknack down the chute and we spent all day looking for it. After a few hours we realized that it had landed on top of the downstairs bathroom. We eventually fished the item out using a reaching aid. We also fished out some…er…fancy underpants that were left there by the previous owners. That was an awkward moment.
Tomorrow is when the basement contractors start arriving in force. Three companies, three estimates, three approaches to finishing my basement. After listening to their pitches (and their prices), I’ll have some serious decisions to make. In the end, my wife and I want to transform our basement. We want a place to entertain, a place to work out, a place to do laundry, a place to set up our office and, above all, a place to escape to when the pressures of above-ground life become too great.
My grandmother was born during the Depression and (possibly as a result) had a habit of picking up coins on the street. Be it a quarter, dime, or penny, she would stop in her tracks to pick it up. I learned from her example and have been pocketing found change since I was a child. But unlike my grandmother, I have my limits. A few weeks ago, I was riding my bike when I spotted a dime. But I was in the middle of an intersection and the light was about to turn yellow. Also, my wife was riding close behind me and a car was itching to turn right as soon as we sped past. I thought about stopping to grab the dime but, fortunately, thought better of it.
Earlier this week, I rifled through my pantry, retrieved a bag of brown rice, and found what appeared to be sawdust mixed in with the grains. Curious, I went back to the pantry and found the same sawdust-like stuff contaminating the open bags of cereal. I also found some stringy cobwebs and, after I removed the offending foodstuffs, a few crawling insects. Yuck. So instead of cooking brown rice, I spent the evening cleaning out the pantry, throwing away everything that wasn’t tightly sealed, and wiping down the shelves. Then I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and went to bed. The whole experience was decidedly not awesome.