Monday, June 22, 2009

Playing Frogger with the Devil's Strip

Welcome Summer!  The official start of summer was yesterday, which means only one season to go before the October 3-Day Walk event (123 days to be exact). Team University 101 really represented this week! I would like to thank my co-workers Adrienne Mojzik and Penny Smoak and two of the spunkiest University 101 instructors on campus, Jeannie Weingarth and Casey Goldston, for making a financial contribution to the Komen Foundation in support of my efforts.  Also, all the way from “The Sun” (also known as Tallahassee, FL) the Dorn Family made a commitment to find a cure for Breast Cancer.   Thanks to all of you!  I have raised $690 so far, 30% of my goal! 

If the calendar weren’t confirmation enough that summer is here, there is evidence from the sudden ambush on walkers everywhere-SPRINKLERS! You’ll remember from last week that I am stepping out in some snazzy sneakers.  Nothing sucks that “snazzy” out of your kicks like soggy socks. 

I have a personal grudge against sprinkler systems.  There is one in my yard and I have no idea how to even turn the thing on.  My thought is that if you water the grass, the grass will grow.  If it grows, you have to mow it.  My mission in life is to find ways to avoid mowing the grass!  I am a stanch supporter of the idea that we should all have Astroturf in our yard-green year round, soft for running and playing, bug resistant, not itchy…

To strengthen my grudge against the water spewing spouts, I think that my neighbors are in a conspiracy to drown me.  They water at the most random times of day-always when I am walking.  I walk between 6am-8am on the weekends.  Sprinklers are WIDE OPEN!  I walk between 6:30pm-8:30pm during the week.  Again, sprinklers are raining on the yards like an afternoon in Ireland.

When I am on my walk, I’m not always fully aware of what is happening around me.  I may have a little Boom Boom Pow blaring in my ears, or I could be deeply engaged in the most recent episode of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.  The distractions of Fergie and Carl Kasell may preclude me from noticing that I am fast approaching a home of horticulture hugers.  I often have to make a fast dodge to avoid getting caught up in the spray!  I am sure that the neighbors are fully entertained by my quick step motion to jump over the spray, or my effort to stall my steps and time things just right so that as the water starts to spin right I quickly spin left. There are usually 3-4 spouts per yard so I am likened to a game of Frogger…dodge, jump, jump back, forward, dodge, jump…before I land safely on dry concrete beyond the splash. 

I am not sure why the sprinklers are designed to reach the sidewalk anyway.  It is a dreadful waste of water.  I suppose they are trying to nurture the small strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  I recently learned on one of my walks that folks in a small region of Ohio, from Akron to Canton, refer to this as the Devil’s Strip.  Seems some guy left a ransom note that indicated they were to leave the money “…on the devil’s strip.”  The victim’s family had no idea what that meant but it made it pretty easy to identify the kidnapper-clearly someone from a small area in Ohio.  (Thank you MeShell Norris and the “All Things Considered” team.) The residents of The Summit neighborhood in Northeast Columbia have the healthiest Devil’s Strips in America! It is 26 evenly cut inches of thick crabgrass in a deep shade of green.

This week I logged 19 miles and 39,782 steps-all in dry socks and shoes!

That brings the total miles so far to 49 and the total steps taken to 103,916!

This week I tackle the 7-mile walk on Saturday.  That will be my longest in one session yet.  If it is as challenging as I expect, I may just take a quick run through the neighbor’s sprinkler to cool me off as I make the final stretch back home.  Hey, if you can’t beat them…

Happy Stepping!

1 comment:

  1. Is it bad blog etiquette to comment on your own posting? This is too ironic to pass up given my post this week. This morning I did my training walk before work because I need to mow the back yard tonight after work. I can no longer see the dogs in the backyard for the grass and weeds. UGH! It was only a 3 mile day so I took the pups and we did a 1 mile route, 3 laps. On our walk, I counted 17 houses with sprinklers running. 11 of those were spraying the sidewalk-right in our path!!! One of them cut on just as we were walking by and the sound was like that of a coffee pot when it reaches the end of the peculation cycle. It let out an incredibly loud Psssshhhhhsstccchhh sound that could be heard over my "This American Life" episode. I jumped, Riley took off running, and Joplin squatted to pee. I looked like a marionette puppeteer trying to untangle them and catching my breath from the startle. Dumb sprinklers, indeed!