Thursday, February 24, 2011

It Was Worth The Wait

The other evening I needed to pay my internet bill. It was due. Yes, I could have paid it online, but whenever possible I prefer to deal face to face.

When I walked in the manager was once again manning the triage desk. One of the things about paying my bill in all kinds of weather while wearing my gear is folk tend to remember me. He and I have this little dance we do each month. I tell him I want to pay my bill. He tries to direct me to one of the self service machines. I remind him that since my head injury I don't do machines. He says he remembers and I believe him. But even so, he next offers as he does every month to walk me over to the machine and do all the work for me. Each month I decline and every month he reminds me how much he hates to see me wait. We go through this every month. This month he was particularly keen to get me to a machine since I might be facing as much as a thirty minute wait. I assured him it really was fine. Finally, he gave up. He wrote down my name and I retreated to the wall of windows that face somewhat west.

Waiting for me was a view of a most remarkable sunset. I knew that if not for this unintentional wait I would have missed this sight completely. I would have finished my commute, had the bike hooked up to the battery tender, and been in my condo feeding the cat. As it was, I had nothing else to do but stand there and watch the sunset intensify in color--orange, yellow, multiple shades of purple, and even some green.

At one point I noticed the manager dealing with a particularly angry customer. I admired his patience, but thought I detected a certain sense of burden on him. I began to suspect this had not been an easy day for him.

I watched the sunset unfold and waited for the manager to be free of customers. When this happened I called to him and motioned him to come over to where I was standing next to the door. He came over. I told him to open the door, step outside and look west. To my surprise he didn't question me, but just did as I asked.

I watched him stand there looking at the sunset. He stood there for at least a full minute, maybe longer. Then he came back in.

"Pretty cool, hey?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said and smiled at me.

As he left me, it seemed he had a little more bounce in his step, but these things are difficult to gauge and I was well aware I could have imagined it. I went back to watching the sunset and waiting to pay my bill.

Later, the manager walked a customer to the door. They have a custom at this store. After your dealings are completed, the person who waits on you walks you to door, opens it for you, and thanks you for your business. It is a nice touch and I like it. Anyway, the sunset was waning, but still glorious as he closed the door. I said to him, "You didn't ask her to look at the sunset."

"No, but I did text my wife and asked her to look at it," he said, smiling as he pulled out his phone and showed me the proof.

"Cool," I said.

Eventually, I managed to pay my bill. The whole transaction took maybe a minute and a half tops. And, it was worth the wait.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stumped #3

Today was my first ride of February. That's a long time between rides -- too long.
The alley after two days of nearly 60F temperatures.

My first goal was to get out of the alley which I accomplished just fine. It was actually easier than I'd anticipated. My second goal was to get a photo of another stump sculpture I'd discovered in Kirkwood.

Unlike the other two I've found, this one has been painted.  The Pelican is rather impressive.

I spent the rest of the late afternoon ride just wandering around. There was lots of water from the run off of the snow melting.
Through the Looking Glass?

The sun was getting low in the sky as I headed for home.

Getting back into the alley was a little more exciting than I liked, but I stayed up. It would have been a cold wet fall.
Three or four inches of water surrounded by slush -- yum, yum.

As I was putting Billie away I noticed a familiar smell in the air. Sure enough my neighbor had pulled out the lawn chair and was firing up the Barbecue.

It was good to be back on the road.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So Near, Yet Too Far

There is a block and a half of ice between the Symba and the open road.
Billie is hidden behind one of the garage doors on your right. The white is not snow it is sleet covered by ice.

This is where the alley meets Ivanhoe Street.

Ivanhoe is the street that leads to freedom. The City of St. Louis concentrates its resources on clearing  streets that have been designated  as snow routes. Ivanhoe is not a snow route. The snow removal strategy for streets not designated as snow routes is to simply let the snow melt on its own.

We have had just enough warm weather followed by quite cold weather to make the side streets not only very slick, but rutted as well. Usually when the streets get this way, I cheat and ride the Symba out on the sidewalks, but the sidewalks are not in much better shape. So, even though all the other streets I take to work are clear and dry,  I'm stuck commuting by car.
This is the view from the File Room where I work looking towards Police Headquarters.

This is from another window. The Police Headquarters is on the left, but now part of City Hall is in view. Notice how nice and dry Tucker Blvd is.

Others are riding. My friend Maggie rode both yesterday and today. And, as I was taking photos I noticed a scooter parked on the sidewalk in front of the Jail.
The nice thing about a 50cc scooter is you can park it anywhere.

Apparently if  you take the markings off  your 150cc scooter and pretend it is a 50cc,  you can park it anywhere you want as well. You can even park it right in front of the City Jail. I don't think that would be my choice..

The high today was 20F and the low tonight is expected to be 8F. The forecasters are predicting a warm up to begin on Friday with the high in the mid to upper 30F's. By Sunday we may see temperatures in the 50F's. So, soon the scene that greeted me when I arrived home tonight may only be a memory.
Early evening on the Ivanhoe Ice Field.
But, until then clear highway will remain so near, yet too far.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The freezing rain continued on and off through out the night.

Ice can be beautiful
We got enough ice to make the trees pretty, but not enough for the power lines to come tumbling down.
Unsightly icy build-up as of 0900 CST

We didn't get the snow the forecasters had warned us about, but we got lots of sleet.

Ice and sleet build-up as of 1330 CST

People pretty much heeded the warnings to stay in. Again, this is sleet not snow. If it had been snow it would have been quite deep.

On my walk I saw this car. I suspect this isn't what its owner had in mind. I think someone is in for an unpleasant surprise.

The sleet and freezing rain mixed on the ground to make something that was like sand. Walking in it was like walking on the beach. You can see how it flew into the air as this car went by. When I got home I told Heather it was more like sand than ice or snow. I said, "I could ride in this. I should get Billie out." She said, " A . . . no." Billie stayed in the garage.

As that famous former St. Louisan once said, "It ain't over til it's over," but it does appear the St. Louis Metropolitan Area dodged a bullet. We may get two to four inches of snow over night, but that is a far cry from the numbers that were originally bandied about.

And, we are one day closer to Spring.