August 2008

My city seems like it is on fire. Last night I saw so many of the things that make our country seem out of balance. The Big One and his friends are out trying to raise funds to help support their choir. We got permits from the city and the boys are doing great. . .for the most part.

Our first night we saw a drunk guy playing in a fountain while we were waiting for a bus. Last night was worse though. The Big One and I were waiting for the 4 and a man was sleeping on the street. Cops all over the city, women dressed in red, white and blue wearing elephant scarves and flag pin decorate our freshly cleaned, painted and waxed city and no one seemed to notice this sleeping drunk. When he got up and started getting belligerent I grabbed my phone and dialed 911. He tried to get on the 61 (to St. Paul) then the 14 (to Brooklyn Center) and I knew my bus was next. Both drivers of the Metro Transit gave him a couple of drunk tests and wouldn’t let him on the bus.

Next, a brave woman flagged down one of Minneapolis’ finest who was in a squad car. I didn’t hear the conversation but the drunk was really mad. Great. I was ready to take a cab home at that point. The cops ignored the man and drove away. They must of just been going around the block to be on the correct side of the one-way, I thought naively. Nope. Ignored. Completely.

My 4 bus arrived. Although many riders pleaded with the driver, he let him on anyway. The Big One and I went out the back door and went for pizza even though we were tired and had blistered feet. I’m not kidding. We pleaded with the driver. I guess our safety meant nothing. Pizza was great though. Pizza Luce feeds the car-free family in their time of need again.

Earlier today the tough-as-nails 5 bus driver engaged her bus into drive before I even got up the stairs. She honked and yelled at everybody.

And best of all a local liberal woman told one of our boys that she wouldn’t support the boychoir because one of her friends, who is gay told her that the choir was anti-gay. Just like the boy scouts. Huh? “And why else would you be working the RNC?” she wondered. I wondered which aliens might have abducted her sense of reason.

I’ve never seen so many cops and yet the city is full of all the same symbols of poverty and need. The woman coming from the shelter to find the Drake hotel with her 5 kids in tow. People sleeping drunk and sleeping on the streets. The 5 bus packed to the gills with the angry bus driver behind the wheel.

And those helicopters that vague suggest red, white and blue? What do we make of those?

Today is another day. Live music/theater/dance on the downtown streets.


My thanks to R. T. Rybak who sent us this message on my facebook account:

Great to hear about your great effort! You are really showing us the way of the future…..By the way, get ready next Spring for one more way to get around…Bike Share will let you pick up a bike at stations around town and drop them elsewhere….So keep it up!!!

I love our Mayor. Still wondering when he is going to go on a family urban cycle ride with us though. Can you imagine? I’ll make him pull Devil Baby in the burley!

Thanks again, R. T.

Is anyone waiting for an explanation on this?????

Inquiring minds want to know what the car-free dad is doing upon this gas powered contraption. Are you one of those inquiring minds?

Flood the comments and it will make him write his first explanatory post.

I’m not passing any judgment. Just commenting. I haven’t taken my test yet but I will. Isn’t it cute?

One of our neighbors (not the mulch stealer) who shall remain unnamed, called 311, the City of Minneapolis Information line on us.

As I sat filling out reams of paperwork for The Big One’s Kick Off Meeting for the Minnesota Boychoir I saw flashing lights in my eyes. Painfully aware that my neurological system is on overload, I thought nothing of it and did the usual dog shake to get myself centered again. Still flashing.

There she was. The transit cop. Affinity is not a word I would use for my feelings around transit cops. When my cousin was killed by one in an ugly domestic in New York, I stacked the stereotypes and the hatred in my body. I approached this one with caution.

“May I help you?”

“Just trying to get the trailer off the boulevard.”

“That’s ours.”

“We got a complaint through 311.”

“Ah. The neighbors. Could we just move it?”

“Sure. Just attach it to your car and you can leave it here forever.”

Yeah. Car. Okay. Let me think that one through.

“We don’t have a car. Could we just push it up the hill into the yard.”

“Sure. I have to wait though.”

So, Dancer husband with the bad shoulder and I with my chest pains and shortness of breath (not to mention the dizziness and vibrating eyes) pushed that bad beast into the yard where it awaits the arrival of the housing inspector.  Anyone need some dried up old pine boughs for a nice summer fire?  I’ve got some I need to get rid of asap.

I love my neighbors. Even the mulch stealer. But the neighbors in the dollhouse next door — their perfect dog whose poop doesn’t smell and the lawn where weeds never grow. Those I could live without. The last issue brought out the shaken fist over Devil Baby peeing on a tree. That was the day of National Night Out and she and her husband who ALWAYS attend stayed in the house with the drapes drawn. The drama before that was the issue of our awning up against OUR house.

“I can’t get behind it to weed. You have to move it.”

My house. My awning. Technically, my weeds.

I moved the awning. Her shaking fist scares me.

Look at my sweet, sweaty boy.  He is where we are fundamentally different.  I would rather risk looking dumb putting my bike on and off the bus rack then ride up the hill on a hot August day.  He did it.  He totally did it.  And he rode down Hennepin Avenue in the center of the Avenue on the bike path.

He is an amazing urban cyclist.


It’s been a wild one folks.  Really wild.  Been having these awful symptoms that were making me crabby.  Saw my Doctor who has two grown kids who are car-free and we started getting closer to some answers.  Chest pains.  Out of shape mama (how can I be in such bad shape if I ride and walk up that damn hell many times per week).  Shortness of breath.  My heart is fine.  My iron is high.  Lots more to learn, I guess.  I’m still hung up on the stress echo.  I asked the cardiologist, “Do I have the fitness level of a couch potato?”

He replied, “Not a 400 lb couch potato.”

Nice.  I’m out of shape.  Unusually out of shape.

During all of this, we got 15 yards of black dirt/compost.  12 yards of mulch, which our neighbor who I might call Path Man (sort for pathologic), stole this evening.  Get this:

Me:  “What are you doing?”

Path Man:  “Getting some mulch.  If you think that I’m stealing it, I’m not.”

Me:  “No, I didn’t think that.”

Steaming, I run into the house to figure out why my husband would give away mulch that cost us a fortune.  He didn’t.  The guy must of hauled 3 – 4 wheelers full.

To quote the Devil Baby, “Whatever.”

I’ll be in touch.  Gotta run, and run, and run.  It is finally raining.