Officially Technological

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Garbage Day In Blackhawk

Garbage day in the Blackhawk subdivision is stressful. First of all, our neighborhood is one of the old neighborhoods in Fort Wayne. Not really, really old, but old enough that most of the houses have had several owners. All the trees are grown up (except the two that we planted this year in our yard and our neighbors down the street also planted a few too), and you might get the impression that many kids have also grown up there. I mention all this to impress upon you that our neighborhood is a bit in the style of the old-order associations. The association is a little “roll your eyes” kind of controlling. They’re not crazy controlling, but they definitely have standards to adhere to. For an example, a home-owner is not allowed to add-on to their house without getting the plan signed by the association. Sidewalks must be cleared, it has also been “suggested” that exterior lights should be turned on at dusk.

Homeowners in the Blackhawk subdivision are the kind of people who generally keep their homes up. Pretty much the worst thing you’ll see there is random junk laying in people’s backyards (if you have a view into other people’s backyards), or a small smattering of those holiday blow-up things that people put in their front yard. But generally speaking, everyone’s yards are neat, and trim, and most people even weed-whack the edges of their side walk to make the grass straight. And this is exactly to the liking of the association.

You may be wondering what this has to do with garbage day. What could garbage day do to disrupt the quiet solemnity of this organized neighborhood? Would it be ridiculous to say that garbage day is the most stressful day of our week? Is it wrong to wish that garbage day would be reorganized? Perhaps by the association - who can mandate when people are to turn on their lights and how they are to redecorate their homes - should be in charge of garbage day. Maybe I should explain why garbage day is so stressful.

For Northeast Fort Wayne, garbage pick-up is on Wednesdays. I’m not sure what time the trucks leave the land-fill, but I can imagine that it must be pretty early, because they come in to Blackhawk between seven and eight, which either means we’re the first neighborhood on their route or they start very early in the morning. In fact, they have been known to come so early that the nine-to-fivers (like Brian and I) have to take our garbage to the curb the night before. Which frankly, with Tuesday evening activities and such, we hardly ever remember to run the garbage out to the end of the drive. So, on a number of occasions we have missed garbage day all together. Normally, this is no trial to two people (but I can imagine that to have children in diapers it would absolutely critical for the garbage to be taken away every seven days - if not before). But at times it has been an enormous inconvenience. Especially with the amount of redecorating we’ve done. After a few of these times, Brian and I have become very skilled at hearing the dump truck driving down the street in our sleep. We have been known to fly out of bed (mid-dream) and race to the curb with our garbage can and socks in all sorts of weather to beat the truck. Sometimes we do beat the truck, but sometimes by the time the truck is close enough to wake the residents in neighboring houses, it is too late, and we are standing at the end of our drive with a full can of garbage in our socks, and with our hearts thumping against our chests like hearts thump when they are woken from a sweet sleep to be exercised mercilessly.

After the dump truck goes through, the neighborhood looks like a garbage can massacre. Cans are turned on their sides, or upside-down. Often they are left sprawled across the drives. Sometimes they’re clutching precariously to the edge of the curb as though they may fall into the road at any moment. Our normally peaceful subdivision with its unassuming grown trees and happy children skipping to the school bus is left looking like a garbage can war-zone in which our garbage cans have definitely lost the good fight.

So, perhaps it’s time for a garbage revolution. A new regime, so to speak. A removal (no pun intended) of the old system and the implementation of a new system. So, perhaps in the upcoming mayoral election I’ll vote “garbage reform”.
posted by Julie at 3:22 PM 4 comments

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Raise Your Hand If You Like Thanksgiving

I wish Thanksgiving decorations were as fun (by "fun" I mean sparkly) as Christmas decorations. And I wish Thanksgiving had more (or any) cool music like Christmas does, because I love Thanksgiving. I love the turkey, I love the stuffing, I love the pumpkin pie, I love the apple pie, I love, love, love Thanksgiving. I love how you can get together with your family and get a day off of work to do so.

This year Brian's birthday is on Thanksgiving (the last time Brian's birthday was on Thanksgiving was the year we were at Michigan State together). Which I love. I wish my birthday would be on Thanksgiving, but it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot you want to give thanks for in the middle of January. Mostly, in January you just want to get from your car to your door as quickly as humanly possible (without, of course, slipping on the ice and breaking your tail bone).

When I worked at HoneyBaked Ham, we thought of Thanksgiving as a warm-up for Christmas. Since Christmas at HBH, lasted about 20 days, we had to start getting ready for it before Thanksgiving. Once we were all set up for Christmas, Thanksgiving would strike, and we would see all the flaws in our systems, and have a week or so to correct them before we started in on Christmas. The week before Thanksgiving week was always busy setting up, putting things away, ordering extra stuff, etc. etc. One year it took all day and two employees to rearrange the walk-in freezer to accommodate all the Thanksgiving and Christmas frozen side dishes. After a few years of this continuous activity between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I came to think of Thanksgiving as Pre-Christmas too.

I don't really have much of a point to this story except to say that now that I don't work in a seasonal business (in which most of the business is done between my two favorite holidays), I am excited for Thanksgiving. Brian and my 2 year anniversary of our engagement is the day after Thanksgiving, Brian's birthday, super awesome holiday, turkey... Really, it's all very wonderful. So, cheer if you love Thanksgiving.
posted by Julie at 1:47 PM 8 comments

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Love-Bug Underpants

When I taught at Brown Mackie College, I always tried to prove to the students that if they’re interested and passionate in their studies they would remember better. To prove this I would pick out a person in the class and say, “What were you wearing last Wednesday?” Without fail, they could never remember. Then I would say, “What were you wearing when you got your first kiss?” And again, without fail, they would remember. I would get answers like, “I was wearing a blue dress with lace around the sleeves, and I had my hair in a sideways pony tail, and my lucky bracelet and these really cool electric blue hoop earrings…” And the whole class would laugh, and I would say something about how when you engage your emotions, it makes it more memorable. So, if you’ve attached something important (in this case – your first kiss) to something unimportant (what you were wearing), you’ll remember it longer.

I mention this because yesterday my 7-year-old nephew received his first kiss. It was at school and a little girl called him over and when he went over to see what she wanted, she leaned over and kissed him. The action itself was so ordinary (in a cute kid sort of way), but there is so much more to the story.

As an aside, my dad has been a little tense about the middle finger on his right hand. He had gotten something stuck in it (like wire), and it caused a raging infection that landed him in the hospital for several days. Since getting out of the hospital, it’s been pretty touch-and-go, and yesterday he found out that it looks like the infection has now spread to the bone. Not the news anyone was hoping to hear, and since he narrowly escaped the removal of the finger before, everyone is now concerned that it will have to be amputated this time. As you can imagine, this has been pretty stressful. So, when they got home last night, and found that they had three messages from Clark to call him back, they were more than happy to have an excuse not to think about it for a while.

So, they called Clark, who was very anxiously waiting to tell them the news of his love-life. After gushing all the details; my dad was feeling a little more cheerful. So, when they said good-bye, my dad jokingly said, “Well, sleep tight; don’t let the love-bug bite.”

“The what??”

“The love-bug.”

“Hey! I bet that’s why Gracie kissed me! I’m wearing my love-bug underpants that grandma gave me for Valentine’s Day!”

So, I guess it’s good to know that when Clark gets to college and an instructor asks him what he was wearing when he had his first kiss, that he’ll have an interesting answer. Because, there’s absolutely no way he’ll ever forget that. It’s also makes me chuckle to think of an adult saying in front of class of his peers, “I was wearing love-bug underpants!”
posted by Julie at 1:43 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Happy Shopping, Merry Christmas

An Aside: I thought I had hit a blogging wall. Not just any blogging wall, but the kind that makes you close down your blog. But then today, inspiration struck, and the first thought I had was, "I need to blog this." And that's when I realized that no matter how out of fashion blogs get, and no matter how little I have to write about, I will still need a public space to announce my nonsense (otherwise I might take to the streets).

I have been noticing lately how busy I am. Which is a strange thing for me, since I usually don't notice how busy I am until I'm sick and in bed. But it was on the 3rd or 4th call to members of my family about Thanksgiving plans that I thought, "I don't know if I have time to be doing this right now." I was driving to tutoring (which I do every other Monday night, or so) from work, and every 38 seconds (a rough estimate) I was hanging up my cell, and calling a different member of my family to frantically say, "I talked to Lisa, and she said that won't work, so how about Sunday night?... Maybe?.... OK." *click* *dial* "Peggy said Sunday. What? Well, cancel it!... OK." *click* *dial*.... It was while I was waiting at a four way stop, and for someone to consult their calendar that it struck me that we hadn't drawn names for Christmas presents yet.

I say "yet", because normally this is done in September, and yesterday was October 1st. My brother, Jeff doesn't believe in drawing names before Thanksgiving (apparently it's more challenging for him to get into the Christmas spirit in 85 degree weather, than it is for me and my sisters). When we were kids, we used to not tell each other who we had, and it was always a "big surprise" on Christmas morning. But it was always really hard to keep it a secret (especially for me because I still have a hard time keeping a good secret - hence the blog). Especially when you're expected to keep the secret from the beginning of August until the end of December. Jeff was also opposed to any of us "forgetting" to keep it a secret (I don't think he's a fan of the entire process - except the getting gifts part, of course). If we were going to keep it a secret, doggonit, the people who wanted to draw names in August (Lisa and I) had better keep it zipped all the way to December 25th. We've since dropped the "secret" part, but we never dropped the "doing it early" part (a compromise). However, this year, as I was talking on my phone on October the 1st, I thought that we were cutting it unnecessarily close. After all, there are only 85 more shopping days before Christmas.

So, I got the "go ahead" yesterday to draw names for Christmas (Margo gave permission for Jeff - she said she just won't tell him until after Thanksgiving, I got Peggy's permission, and Lisa is up for drawing names after the Fourth of July). So, on my lunch break, I called Lisa and we drew names for Christmas. Kate (an unbiased 3rd party) drew them. She has a genius for name drawing, because she got it on the first try. Normally, we have to draw names at least a three or four times to make sure that no one either has themselves nor their spouse. But Kate! On the first try she got it right! A prodigy. She even worked through her initial confusion about whether or not these squares of paper were tickets, and what they were tickets for.

So, we're ready for anther Christmas at the Waibels. Well, as long as we can squeeze our shopping into 85 days. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is still undecided.

posted by Julie at 1:11 PM 6 comments