Sonora Dog Goes RV-Shopping

The Wienermobile was in town yesterday, so we took Mister B to see it. He may not have gotten the connection, but the personable young reps who drive it around the country did, and were all over him. By their account, only 38 other dachshunds have visited the Wienermobile so far during its 2020 tour, which surprised us. They wrote his name down and took his photo to post on Oscar Meyer’s Instagram account, and gave each of us Wienermobile whistles. Guess what, though? They don’t hand out hot dogs. Too bad, because we’d have totally shared with our good boy!

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By the way, Oscar Meyer gives Wienermobile drivers stage names. The young woman who took Mister B’s photo wore a nametag that said “Musket,” which she told us is a combination of mustard and ketchup. I’d like to tell you the guy’s name was “Footlong,” but you’d know I was lying. We didn’t get his name.

It was a fun morning. We stopped at a farmers’ market in Udall Park on the way home. Mister B met some other dogs, I bought a bag of kettle corn, and Donna got expensive steaks to grill on my birthday. Mister B sacked out when we got home, happy and exhausted.

Earlier this month, we hand-delivered our mail-in ballots to the county recorder’s office. That was the only place you could drop them off at the time, but since then additional collection sites have opened, like this one in the parking lot of our local library:

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As to the second photo, a librarian friend says don’t laugh, it happens all the time. At least the librarians don’t have to walk far to deliver errant ballots to the right place!

I once took a safety engineering course where I learned the least effective way of getting humans to do things correctly is to give them instructions. As in adding “lower the wheels before landing” to the checklist, or putting labels on book drops. The best way to ensure we do things right, every time, is to make systems foolproof: self-lowering landing gear, electronic sensors on slots that allow only objects embedded with the right RFID chip to be inserted. And we’d hate that.

I went in for a pedicure Friday, first one since February. We’re slowly starting to do normal things again, with precautions of course. At the nail place, those included masks and a plexiglas screen between me and my pedicurist. As with haircuts it’s appointment only; no walk-ins hanging around and breathing on you. We’re learning to work around the pandemic. Speaking of work, all we need now is to figure out how to get a few million jobs back. The economy’s booming like never before, Trump says, so it should be easy, right?

Every few weeks, when I come back from running errands, I’ll drive up and down our subdivision streets to see how things are looking — I’m president of the homeowners’ board, so it’s part of my job. I was making the rounds Friday when I noticed a guy in a car following me and waving. I stopped and he pulled alongside. It was one of the other board members, and he wanted to tell me he and another neighborhood resident were concerned about a problem with a house that just sold: there was a brush pile on the back side of the property that needed to be cleared before the sale closed. Not only that, he and the other guy had called the country department of environmental quality to come inspect the property before the sale goes through.

The house and property in question is next door to ours, so when I got home I went out back, beyond our backyard fence and into the shiggy between our house and the highway, to check it out. The neighbor’s back 40, it turns out, is pristine. It’s our lot they’re talking about!

We pay a yard crew to come by every month. They take care of the front, back, and sides, but anything to do with the wild strip between the backyard fence and the highway is extra. In the 22 years we’ve lived here we’ve had the back lot cleared of dead brush twice, but the last time was over 10 years ago. The two mesquite trees behind the fence have since died, killed off by parasitic mistletoe, and there’s a pile of brush from an earlier cleanup I hadn’t realized was never carted away. It’s a mess.

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Well, our house isn’t for sale, and we’re certainly not the only residents of the subdivision who need to clean the brush behind their homes, but I feel bad and want to do something about it right now. It’s not in the budget, though — we’ll have to save up. Meanwhile, it’s discomfiting to realize at least two neighbors have turned their attention toward our little slice of heaven.

For some reason the eerie opening paragraph of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” comes to mind:

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. … Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”

© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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