Planes and Backyard Movies–All Under the Harvest Moon

Every day I’m happier about Susie’s and my move to Old North.  The cleanliness, pride, and simple respect the neighbors have makes it infinitely preferable to Weinland Park, but the friendliness has made me feel even better.

After Susie came home from Youth Group yesterday afternoon, she and I were walking to the bus stop, so we could go shopping at Kroger.  There were about five people standing on the sidewalk as we went by.  I recognized one of the men as someone who often rides the 4 bus to and from downtown with me every morning.  (He’s in the minority on these particular schedules, since he works neither for the State of Ohio nor Nationwide Insurance.)  They invited Susie and me to a backyard movie at 8 p.m.  Without even asking what they were showing, I accepted.

The movie was El Mariachi, which I had never seen (neither had Susie).  Our hosts, Jeremy and Deborah, made us feel welcome right away.  The temperature was in the mid-60s, and I was perfectly comfortable, since I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, but Susie was wearing a T-shirt and was about to head back to the house to get a blanket, but Deborah very quickly produced one, so Susie was all set.

Fortunately, Jeremy put on the English captions.  My knowledge of Spanish is confined to counting to 20, and I only know this from years of Sesame Street.  Susie is taking a Spanish class at The Graham School, and she mastered counting to five, thanks to Dora the Explorer.  Jeremy and Deborah hung a bed sheet across the back wall of the garage for a screen, and put brick-sized speakers at either end of the row of chairs.  (There were six of us there altogether.)

Airplanes seem to fly over every four or five minutes throughout the movie.  (And El Mariachi is not a long movie–it’s less than 90 minutes.)  Sometimes the planes flew so low their navigation lights cast shadows on the ground.  None of us had ever seen that many commercial planes flying over the neighborhood with so little time between them.  (When I lived in Franklinton and Weinland Park, police helicopters, along with their mega-candlepower searchlights flashing around the neighborhood, were so common that we paid little attention to them.)  Last night, we only saw one helicopter, which was flying at high speed, and which I suspect was on its way to Riverside Methodist Hospital.  All of the planes were eastbound, so I suspect we’re in Port Columbus’ flight path.

The moon is not officially full until tomorrow night, and it is the harvest moon.  The Wikipedia says that October 11 is the latest that the harvest moon can be.  (The harvest moon is the first full moon after the start of the autumnal equinox.)  The moon was very bright last night, and there were white ringlets of clouds in the night sky almost directly above the yard.  The movie, the moon, and the company made the evening a very pleasant one.

The movie Susie and I saw last night in our neighbor’s back yard.

Susie and Rising Voices sang “Night Winds” at the 9:15 service yesterday morning, so we had to be at church early.  (I almost always go to the 11 a.m. service, and rarely am out of bed before 8:45 Sundays.)  We left just before 8, because Rising Voices’ director wanted to have a small rehearsal on the risers, and wanted all hands on deck by 8:45.

I was glad I went to the early service.  Susie and the kids sang quite well.  I shot the first non-test video with my new Kodak Easy Share C143 (my DXG camera gave up the ghost this summer, so I replaced it, going back to the model which worked the best for me) when they sang.  Below is the video I made:


There was a Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown stalks into the panel fit to be tied.  He had gone to the store to buy a Hallowe’en mask, and the store didn’t have any.  One of his friends asked if they were going to order more.  Furiously, Charlie Brown said no, they weren’t.  “They were too busy putting up Christmas decorations!”  This afternoon, I received a Facebook invitation to the church’s annual winter concert, which will be December 18 at 4 p.m.  (Mark your calendars now, folks!)  I will be front and center, since Susie will be performing.  I’ll be missing her for Christmas, since on the 21st, she’ll be flying to Florida to spend Christmas and New Year’s with Steph.  Susie will be headed to Orlando on the last day of school (she’ll be leaving school a little early that day), and will be flying back the day before Winterim begins at Graham, January 3.  (Steph forwarded me Susie’s Southwest Airlines itinerary the other day.)

I wasn’t the dynamo I planned to be today when it came to getting this place completely ready.  I had vague memories of hearing Susie getting ready for school–getting dressed, fixing her lunch, shutting the front door, etc.–but it wasn’t until almost 11 a.m. when I hauled myself out of bed.  I bought some kitchen and cleaning supplies at Dollar General, and managed to set up my Crosley phonograph, but there is still a scatter of boxes in the living room.  And I confess I wasn’t all that organized when it comes to list-making. I don’t realize we don’t have something until the need arises.  I took some lasagna out of the oven tonight and then saw the only knives we had were butter knives, so I put the lasagna on top of the oven to cool and then dashed around to the corner market and bought a cheap set of steak knives so I could cut the lasagna.




My Dinner with Susie; The Easiest $20 I Ever Earned

Unlikely I’ll limit myself to those two subjects once the fingers really get going across this keyboard.  Imagine how much longer and rambling these blog entries would be if I used all my fingers to type, instead of just the two index fingers (and those at 80+ words per minute!)

Susie and I made our first trip in ages to our beloved Blue Danube Restaurant on North High Street Wednesday night.  I’ve loved the place since 1986, when the late Adam Bradley took me there–the food is quite affordable, it has a very eclectic jukebox, the service is good, and the clientele is like having a front row seat at the circus.  I never took Susie there until they banned smoking.  (In the days when they still allowed smoking, Steph told me to toss my clothes into the laundry basket and head immediately for the shower whenever I returned from there.)

The Blue Danube, 2439 N. High St.

Susie and I both ate quite well, one of those meals where we roll and stagger out of the restaurant.  The total bill came to $26, including tip.  We had just missed a southbound High St. bus when we left, so we walked back to Weinland Park, all two miles of it.  Both of us still felt stuffed when we came home, despite our having burned off at least half the calories we consumed.

Gay Pride Weekend just ended in Columbus.  Susie and I went to a potluck at church Friday night, and she helped make signs for the march, while other people helped bake.  Susie worked with an entire cookie tin full of crayons and colored markers, and produced her own sign.  Someone else stapled it to a stick for her, which was a good thing.  The staple gun at church is capable of inflicting Passion of the Christ-type wounds in the hands of inexperienced people (double meaning there, both of them would work).  After we came home from the potluck, I went out to Goodale Park, where the LGBT community had set up booths, food stands, and music equipment.  It had rained earlier in the evening, and I think that kept some people away, but the sky was clear by the time I reached the park.  The ground was muddier than I would have liked, but the sidewalks were dry.

I walked home in an alley parallel to High Street, and out of the blue a guy offered me $20 if I would stay with his very drunk boyfriend.  How drunk was the boyfriend?  He was so drunk, he was unconscious on the concrete under a fire escape.  I would earn the $20 to stay with the drunk while the sober half of the couple went to get their car.  I agreed, and the sober boyfriend left.  A lesbian couple came up the alley, took one look at the guy prostrate on the ground, and one of them said, “Party on!”  I refrained from making any snide comments about him.  Although I haven’t touched anything stronger than Diet Pepsi since 1998, I have been too drunk to make it home under my own steam more times than I care to admit.

The sober guy came back, and the two of us loaded the inebriated one into the car.  As I tried to get him to his feet, I marveled at how somebody has finally invented a boneless person.  The guy was almost completely dead weight, but the boyfriend and I finally managed to get him in a sitting position in the passenger seat of the car and put on his seat belt.  (I even found myself saying, “Hold on, Baba Looey!” while I was trying to get the guy into position.  No idea where that came from–I haven’t seen Quick Draw McGraw, even on Boomerang, since I was about six.)  The sober guy, true to his word, handed me a $20 bill before he got behind the wheel and they drove off into the night.  I was pleasantly surprised to get the money, although I would have chalked it up as a mitzvah performed had he not paid me.

It’s almost 11 p.m. right now, and the neighbors right now are going full blast–so I’m playing Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells to drown them out.  If their decibel level is still off the charts later on, I will really crank the volume on this laptop (I have my Tweakers plugged in as well) when Oldfield plays “Sailor’s Hornpipe” in increasingly high volumes and manic tempos at the end of the second movement.

Bookstore work yesterday made me feel like I was being kept after school.  Susie went to the Pride march, and she proudly displayed her self-made sign for all to see, and participated in the post-march festivities in Goodale Park until mid-afternoon.  Fortunately, people were there to take pictures and post them on Facebook.  It wasn’t as good as being there, but I re-posted pictures of Susie on my Wall.

A very color-coordinated Susie during the Pride March yesterday.  (The Ohio Supreme Court is in the background.)  She chose the colors of her clothes and her leis quite deliberately.  Many thanks to Linda McNabb for the photo.

I arrived in Goodale Park after the work day ended at 2 p.m.  I made my leisurely way up toward Goodale Park, stopping for lunch at the Golden Arches and then waiting for the bus.  The wait at the bus stop took longer than usual, because of all the Pride events downtown and the Short North.  One of the first things I remember when I arrived at the park was hearing the Capital University Pride Band playing mainstays from the early 1980s.  (This is the 30th anniversary of Pride in Columbus, so I’m guessing that’s why all the ’80s music kept coming up.)  It was the first time I’ve ever heard “867-5309/Jenny” played by a brass band.  I have always pitied anyone who had that number, or Pennsylvania 6-5000.

There were many slogans supporting gay marriage, and I support it from a small-L libertarian standpoint.  Lately, though, I have been seeing it through the very jaundiced eye of my recent experience on the marital front.  I recently told a gay friend of mine that whenever I hear about gays and lesbians wanting to marry, I think of an incident during John Kennedy’s Presidency.  During either the Bay of Pigs debacle or the Cuban Missile Crisis, Barry Goldwater was in the Oval Office with an increasingly sleep-deprived and edgy JFK.  After receiving some worrisome news on the phone, JFK turned to Goldwater and said, in complete exasperation, “And you actually want this fucking job?!”  That’s pretty much my take, from where I sit at the moment.

Susie and I celebrated Fathers’ Day in culinary delight this morning, making our first visit in eons to Hometown Buffet in Consumer Square.  I can’t remember the last time we ventured toward the west side of Columbus, out toward my erstwhile employer Medco Health, and the 40 Motel.  (The latter has been much less interesting since the owner stopped posting witty comments on the marquee outside.  One of my favorites was NEVER PLAY LEAPFROG WITH A UNICORN.)  Susie and I both ate well–I highly recommend Hometown’s meatloaf, by the way.  I went up to the buffet three or four times, but in an effort to be abstemious, refrained from having dessert.  It’s like people I see who order mountains of food and then wash it down with Tab because they’re watching their weight.)  But we atoned for it by shopping at Kroger afterwards.  Getting all the groceries home in two backpacks on the bus was a Sisyphean project.

I’m going in to work late tomorrow.  I have a few errands to run in the morning, so I have the luxury of not setting the alarm when I finally do hit the sack.  My work week consists of the Industrial Commission and the Discovery Exchange this week, although Saturday will be jam-packed from the moment my feet hit the floor that morning.  The bookstore will be in the morning, Comfest will take up much of the day, and then around 11 p.m. Susie and I will be headed to Grandview to the latest Return of Nite Owl Theater.  (Fritz the Nite Owl will be showing The Terror (1963) with Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff.  When I heard those names, I was hoping the movie would be The Raven.)

This has been the weekend, but I sure don’t feel all that rested!

Gotta Post Today

For those of you who conscientiously follow my blog (kind of like Fritz the Nite Owl’s “14 viewers out there in the darkness,” you know May 31 is kind of a holy day of obligation for me.  On this day in 1669, Samuel Pepys wrote the final entry in the diary he began New Year’s Day 1660.  According to my computer clock, it is almost four hours into May 31.  Since it is impossible for me to sleep right now, I’m here at the keyboard blogging.

Pepys’ diary, describing the Great Fire of London in September 1666.

The temperature right now is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the coolest it’s been in the past 36 hours or so.  The current relative humidity is 84%, and the air conditioner is not working right now.  That’s one of the reasons I’m not sleeping right now.

Another is that I napped for much of the afternoon.  Susie and I share a Sprint 4G wireless card (much more cost-effective than a cable router), and in the afternoon, she came home from the playground vowing not to go out again the rest of the day, because of the heat.  So, while she was online, I went up to my bedroom and stretched out on the bed to read.  The next thing I knew, it was late afternoon, and Susie was knocking on the door to announce she had just made a pot of spaghetti.  (I was not going to ask her to, because of the heat.)

Possibly the fact that I drank about half of a two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi tonight may have something to do with my current wakefulness.  That is doubtful, and I don’t say that facetiously.  My caffeine consumption is so heavy that I’ve built up quite a bit of tolerance to its effects.

So, that is why I’m sitting here in the front room in my shorts, with the laptop screen lit before me, my two fingers tappety-tapping across the keyboard, and the Alan Parsons Project’s “You Don’t Believe” sounding from my speakers.  (I am keeping the volume low, since Susie has taken over the master bedroom, directly above this room.)

Today was a good day to make only occasional visits to Facebook and the ‘Net anyway.  Most (but not all) recycled the same Memorial Day pictures and treacle ad nauseam.  (John Fugelsang was correct when he posted, “The best way to honor veterans is to stop creating new ones.”)  Plus, many people are up in arms about Jim Tressel’s resignation as Ohio State’s head football coach.  I was told to “GO TO HELL!!” by one Marietta High School classmate because I wondered if Tressel needed to resign so he could write another book about integrity and faith in God to live one’s life.  (Even the most die-hard fan has to get a chuckle out of the title of Tressel’s book Life Promises for Success: Promises from God on Achieving Your Best.)

Later in the evening, I felt that I had to remind my Facebook friends that Monday was the day Jim Tressel resigned.  The calendar does not say December 7, 1941; it does not say November 22, 1963; it most certainly does not say September 11, 2001.

And how do I feel about Tressel’s resignation?  I remember a December 1986 editorial in The New Republic about the Iran-Contra scandal, when it looked like bad times were ahead for the Reagan Administration.  The author of “TRB in Washington” summed up my feelings about Reagan, and I echo them now regarding Jim Tressel:

Dear me.  Am I really the only one here who’s having a good time?  Dry those tears and repeat after me: Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

I managed just one walk tonight, and it was more out of necessity than a desire to exercise.  I walked to the Giant Eagle on Neil Avenue (about 1.7 miles) just before dark.  There is a Kroger less than 10 minutes away (on foot), but it is becoming a ghost town.  The new store, on the same site, is close to completion, and so, as they run out of items, nobody is restocking the shelves.  It’s been known as Kro-ghetto for quite some time in the neighborhood, and a friend of mine has been mugged at least twice in the parking lot.  So, apparently the solution is to let everything run out, and then close the store at the end of this week, and reopen it in the new building come July.  The new building is starting to look like something finally, and the current building will be razed so they’ll have more parking space.

I just question the wisdom of building a high-end store (with a butcher shop, fresh fish area, delicatessen, wine section, etc.) in this neighborhood.  Who patronizes this Kroger currently?  Mostly students, people on food stamps, pensioners, and immigrants who come to this Kroger because it’s within walking distance of campus, Weinland Park, and Harrison West.  Many of these folks aren’t all that rich.  (I use my Kroger Plus card with each visit, but that’s often a waste, because I accumulate beaucoup fuel perks, but, being a non-driver, I have no occasion to redeem them.)

It’s now about an hour from sunrise.  I walk Susie to the bus stop at 6:30 (a guarantee that the bully I mentioned in a previous entry leaves her alone), which means I set my alarm for 6.  I’m not really tired, although I’m sure I expended some energy here at the keyboard.  Wondering if lying down, even for a little while, is a waste.

Do Something About My Neighborhood–Just Not Yet

Last night, Susie and I were walking the few blocks from the Northside branch of the library back home.  Kitty-corner to the library is a Dollar Tree, with a Kroger across the street from it.  On our short walk home, Susie and I counted four shopping carts on the sidewalk, taken from Kroger’s lot and abandoned.

I was shaking my head and clucking my tongue about this, another new arrival in Weinland Park wringing his hands about the detritus in the neighborhood–the trash, the ditched shopping carts, etc.

And yes, I do want these to change, and I will lend a hand in whatever way I can.  But tonight I was grateful that the clean-up has yet to begin.

Our union handed out an early Christmas gift to each member today: a $50 gift card from Meijer.  I immediately emailed Steph with this news, and asked her to email me back a small shopping list.  She did.  Payday’s a week away, so it’s good to be able to stock up on groceries for free.  The only trouble is, the only Meijer store I could reach was over an hour away on the bus–way out in Gahanna, on the east side of Columbus.  (Any resemblance between that name and “Gehenna”, the Valley of the Son of Hinnom used as a metaphor for Hell in the Bible, is purely intentional, I’m sure.)

Distance or no, I realized that I needed to restock our larder.  I bought milk, cereal, bread, meat, pop, hot chocolate mix, and some things for Susie, and when I reached the self-checkout, the bill came to $50.12!  I have to hand it to Steph–she planned the list almost right down to the penny, except for the 12 pennies I had to pony up on my own!

Laden with Meijer plastic bags, I crossed the parking lot and waited less than 10 minutes before the westbound 95 arrived.  This is the bus that goes back and forth on Morse Rd., a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat.  I had packed the bags myself, so I’m sure I probably didn’t distribute everything wisely.  (The loaves of bread I bought are all kinds of funny shapes.)  I managed to load everything on the bus, and it was a pretty uneventful ride west on Morse until I got off to transfer to the bus that goes south on Indianola.  The handle on one of the bags broke, and I barely managed to catch the gallon jug of milk before it hit the bus floor and possibly burst.  A teenage girl sitting in one of the seats in front of me helped me organize things enough to get them off the bus.

I had to make two trips to get everything onto the southbound bus, and I dreaded the two-block walk from where the bus let me off to my house.  I looked around and, sitting under the streetlight, there stood a shopping cart from Kroger, the same shopping cart I had derided in my walk with Susie last night.  I was overjoyed to see this.  I loaded all my bags, all of them bursting at the seams, into the cart and pushed it home.  I was afraid the entire time that I would be the one person a police officer would arrest as an example to people who habitually steal shopping carts.  I must have engaged my cloaking device somewhere along the way, because I made it without incident to my kitchen, heaved a huge sigh of relief, and then began unpacking everything I bought at Meijer.