Sunday, June 21, 2020

Big Ball of String

Yesterday was a day of peculiar events.

First, I'd noticed over the past few weeks some string lying on the sidewalk and street near our flat. It wasn't a small quantity of string, but one long piece that ran downhill for about a block and a half before slipping into a storm drain. It looked like a ball of twine had rolled downhill, unspooling as it went. I was envisioning animals getting tangled in it and people tripping and who knows what else, and of course no one was going to take ownership of this situation.

So, being my busybody self, I finally took some scissors and clipped the string, which was tangled in someone's rubbish bins (probably where it originated) at the top end, and rolled it all up. I then clipped it at the point where it disappeared into the storm drain, and the loose end shot into the drain with an energy that surprised me -- I think it must have been caught up in running stormwater somewhere below the street. (I told Dave I hoped it wasn't tied to anything important -- or alive!) I threw the collected twine in the trash.

And then, while walking the dog, I found a red wallet lying in the street. I really didn't want to have to deal with finding the owner and it didn't seem to have been there long, so I thought they might come back for it. Olga and I walked our normal route around the neighborhood, and when we got home half an hour later, the wallet was still lying there. So, grumbling, I picked it up and went on Facebook to find the owner.

"Why can't people hold onto their sh*t?!" I asked Dave.

The owner of the wallet turned out to be a teenager who lives down the street. He texted me back in the early afternoon -- probably about the time he finally rolled out of bed -- and collected his wallet soon afterwards.

I took Olga to the cemetery in the afternoon, where the insect life is humming. I saw ladybugs (top) and a grasshopper -- and look at that bright red mite just to the right of the grasshopper! It's tiny enough to fit on the head of a pin but it's so colorful it stands out. I tried to figure out what kind it is -- there are clover mites and velvet mites, both bright red, but honestly I can't tell them apart.

Our first dahlia blossom has appeared, and as you can see, we have many more on the way. All the dahlia plants are looking great -- I'm so happy with how well they've grown. Hard to believe they were just bare pots of soil two months ago! The flower seems more pink and less yellow than last year, at least so far.

Otherwise, we had a pretty placid day. I read a lot, or at least tried to, when our upstairs neighbors weren't sanding and pounding on their patio floorboards above my head. That guy is a home improvement maniac

Oh, and speaking of home, our landlords e-mailed me back and said they're renewing our lease. So we should be hearing from the management company with the new documents any day. Whew! What a relief!


  1. So pleased about your renewal. We are lucky being protected tenants so do not have that worry, we have lived here since 1965 but I understand what a worry it must be each time it comes around.
    Love the grass hopper.

  2. So pleased that you haven't got to move on /out. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be in a position where your home can be taken away at the drop of a hat!
    Very strange about the string....I guess you will never know why it was there. Enjoy your day, a bit damp here. Hoping it will be nice this afternoon as eldest son, girlfriend, and grandkids are coming round later in the garden. Girlfriend's birthday, and Fathers' Day.......(I had to think about whether or not there should be an apostrophe after Fathers or not. Anyone like to put me right? )

  3. The red velvet mite is significantly bigger the the clover mite. Honestly, I thought that everybody knew that. May I humbly suggest that you weren't paying attention when differences between mites were covered during your schooling. You were probably looking out of the window.

  4. Thinking that the string and wallet were some how part of a candid camera trick I waited for the GOTCHA! Nope, Just the usual good Citizen Steve doing how he do! The universe needs more like you. And then there would also be more Dave's and more Olgas - enough to go around, and that would be a good thing!

    Love the lady bug and the cricket, or whatever that bug is. It is very handsome!

  5. Oh, Steve, these photos are glorious. Thanks for sharing the beauty. As for the string and the wallet, you've done your good deeds (very good deeds) and I think you have a right to be a prick for the rest of the month... No, I don't really. I admire you. Your mother would be proud. Unless she's like Rooster and Miss Hannigan's "sainted mother" in Annie, but I strongly doubt that.

  6. Good news on the lease. You are a very responsible citizen--said it before--a good guy.

  7. Your works are certainly more interesting than mine. I see the same trash on the same road every time I walk. Unless I walk on another road at which I see different trash. Mostly. Of course there's more to see but I never find wallets of great balls of string. Your insects are superior to ours, too. All our insects want to do is bite us. Or destroy our garden.
    Suddenly I'm wondering why I live in Florida.
    Good news on the lease!
    Home improvement guy needs a different hobby.

  8. Dahlia season is the best! The colors in our neighborhood are so beautiful this time of the year. Nice of you to pick up that wallet. You're a good neighbor. Sometimes being observant gives us more tasks.

  9. I'm thinking that part of your place in life is to rescue and recycle all lost and dying things. I would have been worried about what might be attached to the other end of that string too. I try not to throw out anything with circle handles or cut out holes on it. I worry animals getting caught up in them. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. Love the dahlia, it's looking beautiful. Your story about the string made me think about Twilight Zone. I started watching that old show on Netflix and it is unbelievably dated but I'm enjoying seeing so many actors I haven't seen in ages. That string story is just the kind of thing that Rod Serling would wrap a story around. Possibly some kind of alien creature living in the storm drains....

  11. The roll of twin is rather spooky.

  12. Are you sure there wasn’t a clown attached to that twine? Love the dahlia!

  13. Here's To A Roof Over Your Head - Hand Out An Olga Treat Now That The Stress Of The Unknown Has Diminished


  14. well, yay! you won't have to leave the garden. I expected you would have kept that ball of string.

  15. Congratulations on your renewed lease. Frankly I can't think why any landlord wouldn't want you guys to stay as long as you want.

  16. That is a huge relief, I can only imagine.

    Is a big ball of string the same as a big ball of wax? lol That's what I thought you meant at first when I read the title.

    I'm forever wondering why people can't take care of their own messes! It's not that hard to do, people. And yet, they do not.

  17. Dahlias are so out of fashion here and it is a shame. Wouldn't the best thing to do with a lost wallet is to take it to the police station?

  18. Briony: It must be so nice to live with that kind of security! I think we're more secure than I think we are. I'm just a worry wart. (Is that an expression in Britain?)

    Frances: Our afternoon was much nicer here -- hope yours was too!

    YP: The next time I have a mite question, I shall contact you forthwith.

    Linda Sue: Yeah, sorry, that was a lot of build-up for no real punchline!

    Mitchell: "Annie" -- LOL! I definitely have my cranky moments.

    Mary: Thank you, although I'm really not trying to toot my own horn. Those are just the most interesting things that happened that day!

    Ms Moon: You could be like David Sedaris and take a trash-picking stick with you! It makes for good stories occasionally.

    Robin: Yeah, I think I have a habit of looking down as I walk, which is why I find all these things!

    Edna: Yeah, especially because some of our trash seems to "escape" on its way to the landfill or incinerator.

    Sharon: IT'S TRUE! I didn't even think of a "Twilight Zone" connection but that would have been a great way to frame my blog post!

    Red: It WAS spooky. Very strange.

    Bug: Ha! A very very small clown, given the size of the grate on the drain.

    Padre: It is a huge relief!

    Ellen: Ugh, no! Way too filthy to keep. And just not worth it!

    Catalyst: From your lips to the landlords' ears!

    Jenny-O: Is there significance to a big ball of wax? I remember a cartoonist (I think?) years ago making a cartoon about the World's Largest Ball of String, a purported tourist attraction somewhere. Maybe Gary Larson? Anyway, I was loosely alluding to that. :)

    Andrew: Dahlias are still very popular in England. I don't even know where our local police station is -- there's one right up the road but it's been closed for money-saving purposes. Easier to just go straight to the owner!

  19. The internet tells me that "ball of wax" is used to mean "the whole thing" or "everything" but around here we seem to use it to mean "the whole mess", implying more than that. I initially interpreted your title in that way, to mean you had both a full and a bad day :)