Report from the OP, September 1, 2022

Apologies for the lack of substantial posting, but I’ve been busting it in the real world, or busting it as much as this tired body will allow. For some reason, I’ve been low on energy, and by the time I do what needs to be done, there’s nothing left for anything else. I can’t count the times I’ve been told that getting old beats the alternative. Sometimes I wonder.

But on to things observed. I have paid only scant attention to the national goings-on and even less to international events. Therefore, we’re skipping them.

Locally though, things are decidedly…strange. Some parts of local life apparently don’t notice the goings-on on the other side of the street, so to speak.

In observed good news, I’m seeing a number of new housing starts. If I’ve counted noses correctly, 4 new houses and one cluster of duplexes-5 so far, but there appears to be room for 2-3 more. None of the locations seems to be lacking materials or workers.

Homes for sale are now segregated into 3 groups. One is “inexpensive” homes in decent/good neighborhoods. These remain on the market for about a week. Two is “inexpensive” homes in crappy neighborhoods. They cost nearly as much as the ones in decent/good neighborhoods, but sell much slower, taking as much as a month to move. Three is expensive homes, such as the ones at the local lake or in “nice” neighborhoods. Those tend to sit for as much as several months, even longer at the high end of the spectrum. I’ve seen a few, perhaps two, where an overly optimistic asking price has been reduced early on in the process.

A very local example how skewed the market is: Near us was a 1980s vintage double-wide mobile home that sits on a half-acre lot. It’s in pretty good repair, but is absolutely nothing special. It sold for $189,000. WT Actual F, over?

I’ve seen gas on one side of the Bitty Burg selling at $3.18 for 87 octane. However, on the other side of town, the side I live on, it seems to be stuck at $3.48-3.50. Diesel is behaving the same, $4.69 in the same area as the $3.18 gas and $4.97 on the side with the $3.50 gas. Bitty Burg truly is a small town and I’m amazed to see variations that large within 2-3 miles of each other, and on the same street. Before gas became so expensive it was rare to see a 5¢ difference.

Grocery stores all remain well stocked, although prices are continuing their inexorable rise. There are occasional bare spots, and as it has been since the Time of Wuflu, it’s one list for Chain A and one for Chain B. I’m still seeing quite a bit of the “pick it up, examine, sigh and put it back on the shelf” behavior. It really hurts to watch that. I am well and truly blessed that we haven’t had to do that–so far.

I have noted that the “Back to school!” sales on school supplies were ravaged much earlier than I remember from previous years. Back to school clothing, not so much. The racks were full.

I went by one of the county high schools today, and while cars are horrendously expensive and gas equally so, it isn’t stopping high schoolers from driving to school. It does seem to have put a dent in the number of parents lining up to retrieve their hellspawn baby darlings after school, though.

While traveling out and about, I’ve been paying attention to every car dealer and used auto lot I pass. Used vehicles are in good stock, and seem to be almost exclusively late-model vehicles. I can’t say anything about the prices. New vehicles are a very different story. The local-ish Subaru dealer might have had a single new Subie on the lot. Or it may have been there for service. Hard to tell from where and how it was parked. The local Buick-GMC dealer had two Buicks and three GMCs. The local Dodge/Jeep dealer may have had a dozen of all models on hand. Both Chevrolet dealers I passed seemed to be better stocked than anyone with perhaps as many as 36 or so each. I can’t say anything about Ford dealers, since I avoid them like the plague. 🙂

On the highways, truck traffic is variable. I saw fewer disabled vehicles of any type on the side of the road, but still, more than I’m used to seeing. You’d think it was the 70s again. I did see a car transporter with a full load of brand-new, still in the wrapper Corvettes. Surprisingly, he didn’t have an armed escort that I could see.

This past weekend, the Bitty Burg Amateur Radio Society attended a festivity put on by a local do-gooder group. There are fire trucks, heavy equipment and the like, meant to let the kids have some fun (“If they blow that horn one more time, I’m disconnecting it with extreme prejudice!”) while raising some money for the do-gooders’ programs. The crowd was perhaps 25% of the pre-Wuflu crowds. While we achieved our goal of spreading the good word about ham radio to the families, I fear the fund-raising wasn’t so great. Special memory of the day: “You are going over there and getting your face painted because it’s free!” Said, I fear, between clenched teeth.

In happy news, our county fair is returning after two years of hysteria-induced absence. I will be going and will report on the experience. Be good and there will be pictures.

Rainfall is continuing, although it’s spotty and not as frequent as anyone would like. From the looks of things, the corn crop is what it was before the rain, but the soybean crop is looking quite good. Temperatures have moderated to something more like normal.

Daughter is winding up Week 33 of pregnancy. She’s as big as a house and miserable. Roughly three more weeks to go. So far, OB reports are positive. Delivery is scheduled for an OR rather than a birthing suite. Docs will be standing by in the room if a C-section is needed. They’re being very cautious about the delivery. I’m perfectly happy for them to be cautious.

Old Friend had his last day at work Wednesday (yesterday). He spent today appliance shopping with Mrs. Old Friend and tomorrow we’re all taking a celebratory day to the mountains for lunch and cheese shopping. I’m along for the ride, so whatever suits me just fine. But we’re getting an early start and I need a shower.

Out here.

1 thought on “Report from the OP, September 1, 2022

  1. Unfortunately, my Lady and I will probably have to forego our annual October mountain trip to the Blue Ridge this year. I remember this really great cheese shop in a small town up there, but danged if I can remember the name.

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