Canadian Thoughts On An American Trip

Canamerican Flag

I’ve said that I treated the invitation to visit our D.C. hosts as a Royal Summons, but it was us who got treated like Royalty when we got there.  Here’s a shot of us arriving.

Harry and Meghan

More through coincidence than any planning,, we had three successive, different ethnic-food lunches.  One day it was Greek food at a strip-mall restaurant.  The next day, our kind hosts took us to an upscale Afghan establishment.  On the third day, while trying to find decent coffee, (we never did) we stopped into a Thai restaurant beside a Drunkin DoNuts.

Canada is getting screwed for gasoline, even though we pump more oil than the United States.

After calculating for US gallon/Canadian liters, and US dollar value vs. Canadian dollar….
Exiting Southern Ontario, gas was selling for about $1.30/L.  I bought gas 3 times in the US – 83.8cents/L, 76.7/L and 72.7/L – 1/2 to 2/3 the cost in Ontario.

Usually, the closer to the highway, the higher the price.  Pleasantly, surprisingly, this was not the case on the Pennsylvania and Ohio turnpikes.  All the rest centers sold regular for $2.749 (73.8/L).  When I got off in Toledo, the city stations wanted $2.849.

Gas Cost

When I crossed the bridge back to Windsor, the in-town stations wanted $1.269/L.  Twenty miles down the superhighway, where they’ve got you by the short and curlies, where it’s ‘pay or walk,’ the price was $1.369/L!  And there’s 4 liters per US gallon, so that’s another 40 cents/gal rip-off.

Something else I found, that pissed me off….  We wanted to keep all purchases on this trip on a credit card, so that we could keep track of them.  When I went to buy gas with the credit card, the screen on the pump said, “Enter 5-digit ZIP code.”  I’m from Canada.  I don’t have a ZIP code.  I tried entering our host’s ZIP.    The screen now said, “Does not match billing address.  Please prepay at office.”

Now I have to walk a pilgrimage to Coventry….and back.  Not too bad in the city, but I felt sorry for the guy waiting behind me at the Ohio rest area.  This is like gassing up at the Costco, only there, the prepayment authorization is for $150.  Some pimple-faced kid asks, “How much do you want?”  Enough to fill it up.  “Well, I have to put something in the machine.”  $50! Put in $50!  It only took $38.50 to fill it, instead of $75Cd.

Like the jaunt to find John Erickson a few years ago, we again circumnavigated Lake Erie.  Only, this time the trip wasn’t so much a circle, as a deeper oval.  The total trip, from door, back to door, amounted to 2243 kilometers, or 1402 American miles.

There are 12 houses in BrainRants’ little cul-de-sac.  Four of them, including him, fly American flags.  Only yesterday, a letter to the editor urged Canadians to show patriotism by flying Canadian flags.  No need – we know who we are.

On our hosts’ kitchen wall hangs a repro of an old station clock, with the hands at 8:45.  I assumed that it was just a rustic piece of art…. until one morning I was having orange juice and my morning pills all alone, and – tick, tick, tick.  So it works, it’s just jammed and not going anywhere.  I was reminded of The Mamas And Papas’ song, 12:30, or The Guess Who’s, No Time.

I estimate that Rants’ subdivision was hacked out of the woods about 40 years ago.  The developers left lots of trees, in some cases, too damned many.  Our stay was almost like camping in the piney woods, although most of the trees were cut-leaf Maple, and Oak.  It allowed me to commune with nature.

There were many birds, some of whom, by their calls, aren’t present in Southern Ontario.  Rants isn’t much of a bird person.  When asked about them, he identified them all as grey-breasted, Northern Virginia Shit-birds, so-called because of their ability to put white polka-dots on parked cars, so aggressive that they eat holes in the paint-job.

I love birds.  In my de-forested area, both the bright Blue-Jays and Cardinals are skittish creatures, hiding high in trees, sometimes heard, but seldom seen.  As I watched Rants at his forge in the garage, a Blue-Jay landed on a branch in the Maple in front of the house, barely above the garage door, and sat in plain view for several minutes, while we were disgusted by discussed Trump.

As I went to get a beer, through the back door of the garage, I saw what I first took to be a dried Oak leaf, fluttering in the breeze.  It turned into a bright-red hummingbird, which eventually brightly flitted into the neighbor’s yard, and molested some flowers.  The daughter gets the occasional green hummingbird at a feeder behind her house, but red ones are uncommon here.

Baby Cardinal

Later, as I went for another beer, I thought I saw the hummingbird again, but it magically transformed into a bright red Cardinal, apparently unafraid of humans.  It lingered for a few moments, then it too casually flitted to the neighbor’s yard.  Wow!, three usually unseen birds in the course of an hour – Mother Nature must really like me.

I took a walk, early one morning, while waiting for the wife to arise.  Ambling through the nearby woods, I met a lady walking her dog.  She told me that his name was Giggs, a Welsh name, after a well-known (to her) Welsh football (soccer) player.  Strangely enough, she had met another woman with a dog, also named Giggs, after the same soccer player.  There’s an Ontario transport company named Gigg Express.  Now I don’t have to research that name.

White Lady In The Hood, if you’re still out there and reading this, I still haven’t met a stranger.

The ancient Bob’s Big Boy restaurant that has been in front of our Taylor, MI, Red Roof motel for years, since April of this year, has been turned into a Wahlburgers.  Marky Mark and his two brothers should stick to acting.  I was not impressed – with the concept – or the service.  On a four-item order, one was missing (which I didn’t pay for, but should have noticed its absence), and one was wrong.

To the rest of you who are out there reading this – Thank You!  Let’s do it again, soon.  😀

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Smitty’s Loose Change #2

Smitty's Loose Change

Extra Extra

NEWSPAPER HEADLINE

Caller to distress line gets recorded message

SUB-CAPTION

‘It’s fortunate I wasn’t in crisis’

Then why in Hell were you calling the distress line? To find the time of the next bus??!  When I saw the headline, I thought it referred to the 911 line.  When I read it, it turned out to be a suicide prevention hotline, and I cut a little bit of slack.

Still, like idiots who overload the 911 line with complaints that McDonalds didn’t put onions on their Big Mac, if you call a suicide hotline when you’re NOT in crisis, somebody with a bottle of pills, or a car running in the garage can’t get through, and gets the recorded message that you complained of.

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RECENTLY-READ BLOG-POST OPENING

If Batmans parents are died how can he be here? The writers didn’t think this threw.” With a picture of Superman, that he’d captioned, “I got to get out off this planet.” (signed) Capt. Darkfeir

Well, if Superman’s going, I’m going with him. I know that this is probably a gamer-boy, still living in his mom’s basement, but, if we’ve got people so lazy and dumb that they can’t/won’t read the back-story to a comic book, society is doomed.

It didn’t occur to him that Bruce Wayne was already 10, when he witnessed his parents’ murder, but he believes himself so smart that he’s spotted a contradiction that no-one else has noticed for 80 years.

I almost left the planet when I saw his ‘parents are died’ construction, and ‘threw’ for ‘through’ usage.  The Superman caption needs some work, although maybe he wants to be Capt. Darkfeir, instead of ‘fire.’

***

A local man is a powerful bicycling proponent. He rides his bike everywhere in the city.  Recently, his 18-year-old daughter was on her way to school.  She rode her bike without a helmet, on the wrong side of the road, and failed to stop at an intersection.  She was struck and killed by a turning car.  Now he is demanding that some level of government ‘train all young cyclists in bike safety.’

Another man took his 3-, and 5-year-old sons into a busy Tim Horton’s Coffee Shop and ordered a tea. The clerk placed it on the counter in front of him.  Too distracted to pay attention to either his tea or his kids, the tea somehow got knocked over onto the 3-year-old, severely scalding him.  Now he’s whining about, “Why did Tim’s make the tea so hot?”  After that dumb bitch cooked her crotch some years ago, see warning on all cups, “Caution! Contents may be hot.”

When, oh when, will asshats like Bicycle Bob, and Koffee-Shop Klutz, take responsibility for their actions and offspring, and not try to palm it off onto government or business?

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SDC10828

Last year I mentioned that there was about a 200 square foot portion of my back yard where the grass had been supplanted by millet, from seeds that birds had spilled from a feeder. The above photo shows what that section of lawn(?) looked like, just before the first mowing this spring.

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That’s all the random rants for the moment. We now return to my regularly organized confusion.  😉

 

Flash Fiction #95

Rats

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

RATS! CURSES!

“The moon is made of green cheese. Pass it on.”

What??!”

“Don’t mind me. That’s just something I say, to pass time while I’m stuck in a line.  Sometimes people ‘get it’, and pass it on.  I hate being in long lines.  We’re just like those birds, only without a guiding wire, or a string of elephants, each holding the tail of the one in front.”

“Don’t you touch my tail buddy!”

“Well, the wait is worth it. I look forward to my morning Starbucks latté.”

“Starbucks??! That’s that line mister.  This line is for Justin Bieber concert tickets.”

Aargh!!!

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Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #76

Bird

PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler

FOR THE BIRDS

How long is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Only 2.65 miles??  Are you sure?

What made me agree to walk the entire route? I think I’m two inches shorter, because my feet are worn off right up to the ankle.  Some little girl almost tripped me, and then made off with one of my plumes.  If I’d had feet, I’d have kicked her right in the….spectator section.

Next year I wear roller skates and hold onto the float. I’m going to have a hot bath and go to bed.  Be sure to wake me – in time to open Christmas presents.

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story