Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The real circus

We have had a busy week.
We had several things to do that included driving into inner Salt Lake and we narrowly escaped with our lives.
It's a busy place, this city center designed by Brigham Young. I think it worked really well in olden times when there were far fewer cars and more genuine concern for mankind.
Now, there are cars everywhere traveling at a high rate of speed and not very many friendly drivers.
There are split-second decisions to be made, a wide variety of mistakes to make.
It's really very scary.
One night we had to be at the Capitol Theatre by 7 p.m. for a play so we decided to eat somewhere in the city "on our way."
To do that we had to find a place to park and to dine that was located close by.
And since we're coming from Utah County, we had to get onto the freeway and then down the freeway through the eternal construction zone.
Bless our little electric car.
Because we are a zero-emission vehicle, we could slip into the carpool lane and zip on by everybody else — that is, when people would allow us to change lanes and come over. For some reason, drivers in Utah are very territorial.
We made it through unscathed.
Then we had a little trouble at the intersection when the green arrow went off and everybody started coming at us before we were out of the way. (It was their turn, why should they back off just because we were still in the road?)
For the next event, my daughter and I and three grandkids headed out.
My daughter drove and skillfully dodged drivers who were not happy to share the road. She's lived in Salt Lake and is used to the insanity.
But we still had to find parking within a 4-year-old's ability to walk to the arena. We still had to jump out of the way when crazed drivers raced out of the entryways and tried to run us over.
Then coming home, we were stationery for a good part of the time, absolutely not moving for 45 minutes for no good reason we could see.
Honestly, it took forever.
My advice? My plan for the next event?
Stay away or take the Trax.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rules and fools

Marc's picture of foolish folk
The bison and the elk in Yellowstone Park look benign.
The bison are fuzzy. The elk are sleek.

Hey, good-looking.

A fool and his bison. (Not Marc, he's behind our car.)

They basically stand there and give you the eye while you take their picture.
It's easy to begin to believe they won't hurt you if you come up beside them and give one a hug even though you've been given a brochure telling you they're dangerous.
And, after a while, when you've seen a herd or two, they kind of look like friendly foe.
We found that people in Yellowstone Park generally ignored the warnings.
When a big bison stood near the road, people parked close and got out of their cars to get a close-up.
In one instance, a little kid sat on the sidewalk while his dad walked right up to the beast.
We held our breath.
See, I bought the "Death in Yellowstone" book and I've been reading all about the instances where a bison suddenly charged and gored. I've read about elk deciding to show humans who's boss.
People have died because they didn't listen or take care. And currently, there are about 5,000 bison in the park which makes them more dangerous than bears because the bears are mostly out of sight.
I know the warnings are issued for good reason.
The herd at Mammoth Springs hang out at the public park and the ranger stresses because people crowd around.
I see you. Do you see me?
The bison are huge and fast and unpredictable.
Hey mom, there are some people here.
We watched one big guy flip over and take a dirt bath out in the meadow. He was really pretty agile, not a rock like he first appeared to be.
We saw a momma and a baby bison run fairly quickly ahead of the herd.
I don't think people should assume these guys are just going to stand around and do nothing.
I think they have a breaking point.
And I, for one, don't want to find out where that is.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blind spots

It's only taken us a year and a few months, about $500 and a generous visit from Marc's older brother and his wife to get our 26-year-old windows updated.
Still seems like only yesterday that we were happily hanging Wal-Mart vinyl blinds in all of our windows when we moved in here.
At that time, creme-colored slats were the thing.
And we've been pretty happy most of these years.
But the look was tired and when we rode around on our bikes in the evenings, I couldn't help but envy the look of wooden plantation blinds in the houses we passed.
When we were in Bear Lake last summer, we discovered Kerry's wife Lori had opened an interior design shop.
She could do plantation shutters and blinds. She would do ours if we wanted.
I came home and started thinking seriously about it.
The problem was they are in Montpelier, Idaho and we're here so it seemed like a pretty long road trip for them.
I called on a couple of ads I cut out of the paper.
The one guy said, "You'll want to spend the money for real wood blinds, not those composite things." Then he took a cursory look around and threw out a $1500 quote.
The next guy smelled of cigarette smoke from the cigarette he tossed on the sidewalk as he came to the door.
So when Lori said she would order them for us and arrange for installation I was thrilled.
I started giving her measurements and color requests.
We worked until I understood the difference between plantation shutters and plantation blinds. (One is way more expensive and impractical for someone whose windows can't open behind couches and an office desk.)
We kept at it until I was somewhat confident in getting accurate measurements.
We took down the old, melted, dusty blinds.
We placed an order and I started spackling and painting. Marc started making new screens. We ripped out the padded window seat in a bedroom and ordered a vinyl seat.
They Kerry and Lori went on a golf vacation and we started trying to find a working install date.
Yesterday they made it.
We grilled steaks and Kerry patiently hung blinds on three windows.
They look great, professional, smart and clean.
They cut the light, open to the sky if we want and provide both privacy and a touch of class to the three rooms where we've put them. In the back bedroom, they cut the heat dramatically.
Both Lori and Kerry took their work ultra seriously, making sure everything hung straight, was securely fastened and snapped into place. They made sure the babies wouldn't be able to get hold of the cords.
If you want Lori to help you, she has a website: and a store in Garden City at 65 W. Logan Road #7.
I recommend her.