Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Weather-related vicissitudes

It's a moderate 9 degrees here this morning and by Sunday, temperatures should climb into the 40s. So perhaps the worst of the cold is over.

Uptown for a late afternoon meeting yesterday, I got my first look at the occupied Hotel Charitone at night: Lights in apartments on the second through fourth floors and blazing from the big windows at street level. It's quite the transformation when you consider how many years it's been since there were signs of life on the northeast corner of the square at night.


If I hadn't been holed up avoiding the cold, I'd have been out with the camera taking photos of Mark Fisher and an intern from the Klingner & Associates architectural group of Burlington, who picked what so far have been the coldest days of winter to begin work on Phase One Facade Assessment Reports for Chariton's CDGB Downtown Revitalization Facade Improvement Program.

That involved extensive photography and note-taking, inside and out, around the square during sub-zero temperatures. The two headed home to Burlington last night with no evident signs of frostbite.

The owners of 35 buildings --- in an amazing show of interest and commitment --- are participating in the first phase. This involved a cash payment that will be applied to owner match if they decide to proceed in the project and involves detailed assessments of their buildings' facades. Those reports will be completed as the year progresses and this project advances.


I've been reading an e-mail this morning from a friend who flew back into Iowa through chaos in Denver from Long Beach Monday after a couple of weeks away from our bitter cold. The principal difficulty was caused by delayed or grounded flights from the East Coast that ordinarily would have been headed into the Midwest, then onward.

Mary Ellen finally made it back to the Cedar Rapids airport late in the day --- 23 standbys had been hoping for seats on her flight. But the absence of a shuttle from the terminal to long-term parking resulted in a long and cold hike. Welcome home to Iowa!


Then there was another friend whose vehicle burst into flames and incinerated itself out south of Lucas Friday evening. She had driven into snow drifting across the long farm driveway and gotten stuck, rocked the vehicle a few times in an effort to get out, then got out and attracted her husband's attention.

They were preparing to pull the vehicle out, when it spontaneously combusted.

The lesson here, for those who carry purses, may be that it's not a good idea to live out of them. Not expecting the car to burn, the purse had remained inside and went up with the vehicle --- all that useful plastic, various forms of identification, a few checks that will have to be reissued, papers for horses due to head off for sale in Oklahoma later this month, a stash of emergency cash, etc., etc.

Faced with the need to make weekend purchases, the only spending power that could be located in the house was a pad of checks; the only form of identification, a passport. Apparently store clerks are not accustomed to that combination.


And finally, for all of us Lutherans --- actual, recovering or wannabe's:

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