A rocky start

The neighborhood association’s picnic was last Saturday. It went pretty well (cool & overcast, but good attendance), but started off a little crazy!

To begin with, I woke up with a sinus headache, a bad one; but they often fade with a big glass of water and a mocha, so I didn’t worry about it. We went downtown to get said mocha and to pick up the burgers from Stewarts Meat at the Farmers Market. I even managed to be first in line, by being 15 minutes early. So good so far.

I hopped on my bike at 10:30 with membership forms, clipboards, a sign, and our dishes, but when I got to the park, nobody was there. Waiting, waiting, waiting. (Headache still there.) Eventually D turned up at ten to eleven, and said, oh, his truck really wasn’t going to work that great for picking up the (donated by a local shop) grill, they’d have to take it apart. So I called C, asked if he could get it with the truck. Which still had some of the gravel from the weekend before, helping L set up a new patio zone for a hot tub. So he came over, swept all the gravel out, and he and Don went to the grill store, came back with the grill, and set it up. Mostly, that involved plugging it in. Electric grill? Huh. Cool.

Fantastic…except as we set up all the other stuff, condiments and whatnot, it didn’t seem to be heating up at all. At the same time, we realized that nobody had remembered to put tomatoes or lettuce on the shopping list. The power wasn’t working at the shelter.

By the way, the headache wasn’t getting better, in fact, it was rapidly becoming the sinus headache of DOOM.

C tried to find a phone number for parks on the internet on his phone, which of COURSE was dead-slow. He did finally find it, and I called in, talked to a guy who seemed to think that Lions Park shelter required a reservation, who seemed genuinely surprised that the power had ever worked for us at a picnic, and who wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to get anyone over. (Something about “I’ve been trying to get ahold of them for something else”?) Thanks, dude. Somehow, despite the headache, I managed to be polite and understanding.

So then I had to get up and announce in front of the milling & restless crowd — by then it was about 11:30, IIRC — that we didn’t have power for the grill, we didn’t know when we’d have power for the grill, and so you might as well just start eating sides.

Happily, this seemed to inspire some problem-solving, and they worked out someone who had a propane grill that they were willing to bring. Or rather, have brought: it was another job for C & D and the truck. In the meantime, I figured it was about time that I go home to get some Excedrin. (Because, well: sinus headache of DOOM.)

Just as I took off on my bike, my phone rang. It was the parks guy, calling me back, confirming that yes, the facility guys do turn off the power “occasionally” (at random?!) to prevent loitering. Also, that he’ll try to get ahold of them and have them come turn it on. Great!

Time to get home, finally, and go hunting for Excedrin. Bottle #1: the few remaining pills are melted to each other, which is what happens when you take coated tablet out in really hot weather, apparently. Bottle #2: contains exactly. two. pills. Thank goodness.

The “new” grill got dropped off, and C took off again to get the tomatoes, lettuce, and to pick up the burgers from our house. After much fiddling to get the new grill lit, by the way: now that nobody (?!) smokes anymore, it’s much more rare for anyone to have matches or a lighter on them. (The winner: former Mayor Foutch & his wife; her daughter put a lighter in their glovebox as part of an emergency kit.)

So everything’s cool, right? Nope. One last trainwreck just for fun…the burgers were frozen. Solid. Obviously I forgot that that’s why I picked them up a day early last year, or maybe that was just a lucky happenstance. In either case, there was frantic attempts to thaw. Which, happily, were mostly successful, after one or two of the first ones were ruined.

And from there it was a great picnic. C got up and made a quick thank you announcement, at the urging of Mark Foutch, and invited people to come to the regular potlucks, plus there was a nifty announcement about benches for the Madison-Avanti Garden that we got a grant for. I met new people, yay! Including the woman who bought the house at the end of our block last fall. And eventually, my headache died back enough so as to become merely a dull roar, allowing me to actually eat something. (A hot dog. A glass of lemonade. A couple of small brownies.)

Whew. Now I’ve got that all off my chest. 🙂

(BTW, the parks guys never did show so far as I’m aware.)

2 Replies to “A rocky start”

  1. I feel ya abt the sinus headache. Glad you’re on the mend and had a good event. I like Foutch, too. Good guy and down to earth.

  2. …And I was sitting at home with a *charcoal* grill and plenty of fuel and flava. Yeah, my house is across the street from your zone, but if I knew you were having that much trouble grilling, I would have came to the rescue!

    Parks these days probably require forms in triplicate a month in advance to get the power turned on. Budget cuts, ya know. If I were a park manager, and cutting the power meant saving a job or even just a few bucks to save another more visible service, I’d do it too in this environment.

    And as your one and only beloved smoker friend, I always have fire, even when I run out of smokes. I’m always down to cook someone else’s food. Frozen patties are perfect for a hot grill. Thawed patties fall apart and can even fall through the grill.

    Anyway, sinus + caffeine headaches suck.

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