Tuesday, May 10, 2022
2018...I couldn't have known four years ago how our lives would change. We picked up our new Black Lab puppy in Oregon in mid-July... she has been a constant thread of joy to both of us for the last four years. In September we noticed that the one acre of trees and rocks directly south of us, which had been undisturbed for the thirty years since we built our house, was now being disturbed...we had neighbors. The decision had been made to clear-cut the property. All 815 trees were removed. Construction noise right off our deck was new to us. The new owner graciously let us keep two trees that grew on the border of our properties. The earth movers rolled in and fought the rocks and stumps making a construction pad as close to our house as possible. I am still struggling with this gross imposition. The house is now in place but the battle goes on with the huge rocks and the landscaping. Large tractors and cranes are waging this battle even today, as my house shakes and jumps and the pictures on the wall swing cockeyed with every movement of these incredibly noisy machines. The wife says, "He's a dig-a-hole/ fill-a-hole kind of guy." Which may go on for the rest of our lives. In November of that first year Paradise burned...thirty thousand people ran for their lives as a blow torch wind ravaged their entire town. This happened just down the hill from us (fifty miles, as the crow flies) so, we got much of the smoke. Eighty-five people died.
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Small independent merchants are toast in America. Everybody seems to be OK with that. We buy with enthusiasm from corporate retailers and manufacturers who are more than happy to shove the 'little guys" off a cliff. You probably don't remember a time when you could go downtown and buy a toaster or a television from a 1200sq. ft. appliance store. The Big Box guys, with their 20 acre parking lots, sell everything from shoes to computers to automobiles. Now, the Big Boxes are starting to fall off the same cliff. Shopping has moved to the internet. My suppliers have also dropped all interest in keeping the small independant merchants healthy. They have run full speed ahead to the internet buyers. A few of them swam in the Big Box pool negatively affecting the "quality" association with their brand names. Now, they too are swirling down into the internet drain. Left in the dust are small independent merchants who invested decades into helping patch-up the mistakes and oversights that these same suppliers sent our way. Whose truing the wavy wheels for these guys now? Things don't get fixed by the little guys here in the 2020's...they are returned and of course, disposed of, by the robots who call themselves businessmen and women.