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Archive for August 18th, 2007

We got .83 inches of rain last night.   It was wonderful.   You could almost hear the shrubs and flowers sucking in the water.   The temperature dropped during the night too, and today we had a nice breeze and the high was only 82.   What a relief..

None of the animals liked the thunderstorm last night.   It was a little nerve wracking.  There was a lot of energy in those clouds, and there were a lot of ground strikes.  I saw one during my 5 o’clock massage and counted it off, it was about 2 1/2 miles south of here.  Today when I called my friend who is a dairy farmer, I asked her how they had enjoyed the blessing of the rain.   It turned out it was a mixed blessing.   That ground strike I had observed hit one of their bale rings and killed 7 of their replacement heifers.  

There was a strike right behind our house too, and all the street lights on the next block over are still out.   The block was without power for several hours too.   The outage didn’t affect us, but when lightning is hitting the ground all around you, it isn’t exactly a comfortable feeling.   But you hate to complain when you have been praying for rain, and at least there were no tornadoes.

Since it was so cool today I got busy working on straigtening up the front yard.   I was cleaning up rocks, and raking the soil out even, trying to patch the big gouges left by the track hoe.   As I was working, I kept hearing drag races.   Seriously, there was the sound of screaming engines, and then an announcer saying things like, “He got up to 124 miles per hour!   How about that, folks?  Give him a big round of applause.”   Then it would be quiet for a while, and then I would hear another acceleration.  Every once in a while there was loud music, too. 

My irritation level went up a notch when I discovered that my lovely plumber had broken my wheelbarrow when he borrowed it to move road base from our pile in the back yard to the ditch he had cut across the driveway.  The screaming engines disturbing my peaceful afternoon  work in the yard began to really annoy me, especially since I could not figure out where the noise was coming from.   I even walked around the block, but could see nothing.   Finally, I called our police dispatcher, and asked them if there were drag races going on somewhere.  

They didn’t know of any, and so I told them that it was very curious.  I said maybe it was somebody with their TV or stereo turned up real loud, or a party.   The police don’t like to think people are drag racing, and we do have an excessive noise ordinance, so they said they would check it out.   I went back outside, and presently a cop car drove down the block.   He went off around the neighborhood, and disappeared.   

The drag racing continued, intermittently.   Finally, I couldn’t stand the curiosity or the annoyance any more, so I hopped in my truck and began to drive around looking for the source of the noise.   Sure enough, over a kilometer away and across the interstate from where I live, I discovered the source.   There WERE drag races going on.   The Harley Davidson dealer had an event going on:  DynoDrag racing.   

There was a big flatbed trailer fitted out so you could put your motorcycle up on some sort of rollers, and do a quarter mile drag race without ever moving.   The rig was equipped with a miniature christmas tree, and could sense the speed and time it tood for the “quarter mile.”  Actually, pretty cool, except for the fact that everybody within a mile radius had to listen to it whether they liked it or not.   I wouldn’t have minded the engine sounds so much, it was the announcer and the pounding rock music that was sort of bugging me.    I approached the owner of the store, and asked him if he knew that people over a half mile away could hear his event.   

He was pretty amazed, actually, and even sort of proud.   I suggested that perhaps he might consider rearranging the speakers, or even turning them down a bit.   “Oh,” he said.  “We’re done now.”

“That’s good,” I said.   “Maybe the next time you could figure out a way so that everybody for a mile around won’t have to listen to it all day.”

“Oh, you’re just lucky we aren’t doing it tonight,” was his sneering reply.

Obviously, he really didn’t care whether he bothered anybody or not.   Rather than get into an unpleasant argument, I contented myself with saying, “Well, I sure do appreciate your helpful attitude.   I’ll make sure that if I ever need a motorcycle not to purchase it from here.”   Then I got in my truck and drove straight over to the police station.

My stress level has been pretty high the last few days.   It was really high when I approached the dispatch window where there is a sign that says “Ring bell for service.”

The girl was sitting right there, so I just said “Ring a ding ding!”

“How can I help you, Ma’am?”

“I called a couple of hours ago about drag racing.   I just want to let you know that there WAS drag racing going on.  DynoDragRacing.  It was over at the Harley Davidson dealer.   He had some sort of event going on.”  The dispatcher told me that they had sent an officer out to try to find what I was complaining about, and I said I had seen him drive by.  She went on to say that he had not been able to find anything.   I told her it wasn’t surprising since the source of the noise wasn’t actually in my little neighborhood, but all the way across the freeway from there.

When my annoyance about having to listen to the noise all afternoon started to get brushed away, I’m afraid that I got a little perturbed, and even raised my voice.  There were several very interested cops gathered in the dispatch area, listening to me rant.  The burden of my diatribe was something about excessive noise ordinances, and eventually the dispatcher told me that someone would be out to talk to me. 

Well, I ended up having a long conversation with a nice older officer.   He is the one they send out to soothe the troubled public.  He exudes calm, and has extremely good listening skills.   Eventually, he got me calmed down, and after a good twenty minutes of discussion, we came to the conclusion that the best course of action for me would be to go down to the City Hall come Monday and ask about whether a business needs to get a permit to have an event that involves so much noise and outside speakers.  And if they do need a permit, did the Harley guy have one or not?   Anyway, he got me settled down, and so I went on home and proceeded to work on the mess the water line replacement left behind for a couple of more hours.

I had just come in the house after quitting for the evening, and was removing my boots, when the phone rang.   It was Jim.   “Have the police been by yet?”

“The police?!   Why would they be coming by here?”

“Well, I just called them and asked them to check on you.   There was a garbled message on the cell phone when we got here.  It sounded like you had hurt yourself or something.   When I tried to call you back, there was no answer, so I got worried and called to ask them to check on your well being.”

“Well, I never called you.   It must have been a wrong number.”  Right about then, there was an authoritative knock on the front door.  “That is probably them right now, Jim.  Let me answer the door.”

I rushed to the door, sweaty and dirty, one boot on and the other one off, and opened it to find two of Lebanon’s finest in attendance.   Both of them had been interested bystanders during my rant earlier in the afternoon.   I’m sure that they probably thought I had gone back over to the Harley dealer and gotten into a shouting match, and then he had come over here to retaliate.   Or something.  They were certainly ready to rescue me, they had their flashlights in hand, and looked quite alert.

“Is everything all right here?”

I reassured them, told them that the phone message that concerned Jim must have been a wrong number, and apologized for putting them to a lot of  trouble.   As they were leaving, I said to them, “Gee, you guys have really been attentive.   This is the third time you’ve been bothered by me today, and I really appreciate the care.”

“Just doing our job, Ma’am.”

“Well, I really do appreciate it.   And it is very reassuring to think that if there had actually been something wrong someone was willing to check on it and help me out  You have a good evening, now.”

My mother told me the police are your friends.   I think she was probably right.

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