Monday, March 19, 2012

Exploding Eyeballs

I didn't have allergies until I moved to Arkansas. Now, this morning my eyeballs feels like they are going to pop out of their sockets, or maybe just explode. I might be overstating just slightly. But my head is throbbing, my eyes ache and they're weepy and crusty, my nose is running and I feel generally foggy.

Tomorrow is Spring, but the pollen has been thick for over a week. The weather has been beautiful, at least 10° or more above normal for many days now. We've had a little rain, so all the trees are sprouting new leaves, but before the leaves emerge we are treated to those little hanging pollen thingies covered in the green dust. They are everywhere: on the oak trees in the yards that surround us and on the birch trees in our back yard just beyond the pond. With the slightest breeze, those hanging pollen thingies discharge a fine green dust into the air that ultimately settles on every surface. Our patio is covered with a layer of green powder. The hot tub has a green powder ring around the outside edge of the water. Every surface everywhere you look is covered with a thin to thick layer of green, depending on how long the surface has been sitting unmoved and untouched.

Yesterday we sat outside on patio most of the afternoon while Tom smoked a brisket. Each time I'd put my iPhone down face up on the table, within five minutes the screen would be covered with a layer of pollen. We should have gone inside, but no. We were determined to get as much fresh air as possible after being cooped up indoors all winter. Fresh air that's not so fresh. Today I am paying for it and I'll again stay indoors until it rains, which is hopefully tonight or tomorrow, if we're lucky.

Kroger installed perimeter lighting at the end of last week. One huge light pole is behind our fence less than 40 feet from our property. They turned the light on for the first time Friday night and at 8:30pm, well after dark, this is what it looked like from our patio....

Kroger Expansion 3-16-12

Isn't that special?? Who needs patio lighting? Or solar lights on the pergola or around the garden? Not us. Thanks Kroger.

Sarcasm aside, we sent an email immediately (8:34pm to be exact) to the director of the planning department, the director of code enforcement and every single city council member, along with that photo, expressing our lack of appreciation of Kroger's lighting gift as well as detailing the specific points where Kroger's lighting is in violation of city lighting codes AND the terms of the PUD (Planned Unit Development) under which Kroger was approved to expand. Imagine that. Kroger in violation of city codes and PUD regulatory guidelines. Want to see my shocked face?

Source: E*Trade Commercial

Saturday afternoon we received an email from one city council member....yes, ONLY ONE out of nine, and this particular city council member does not even represent our ward. The silence from our two ward representatives is deafening. Sunday morning we also received a curt email from the planning director, "I have contacted Kroger."

Ours is not the only property affected. Our next door neighbors have also received Kroger's generous lighting gift since another light pole was erected directly behind their property. Unfortunately, they don't have the tree coverage we do and while our bedroom is luckily situated in the front of our house, their bedroom is in the back of theirs. They are not only gifted with [read: subjected to] a bright as day backyard 24-7, but at over double the allowable height and sans the required shield, the perimeter light easily pierces through their ample window coverings and casts a beautiful orange glow into their bedroom all night long. Imagine never having to use a night light ever again to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night! Now that's special.

You know, if the officials and employees of the city planning and code enforcement departments and the mayor and city council members have decided they just don't feel like doing doing their jobs to appropriately oversee construction of the monstrosity they so recklessly approved, and that we, the neighbors directly adjacent to and adversely impacted by said monstrosity, are going to be required to monitor Kroger's code compliance on their behalf, maybe we should be compensated in some way. A monthly stipend maybe. Or how about free groceries for as long as we own our homes. Then Kroger can make a monthly withdrawal from city officials' wages.

Okay, that's off my chest.

It's Spring Break in Conway. The girls next door are playing out in their driveway just beyond my office window. Laughing, squealing, yelling...."I'm telling mama!" I love hearing them.

Only four more weeks until our trip to Florida! I have a little magnetic white board on the side of the refrigerator that I'm using to make a list of things I want to take with us.


I have my priorities in good order.


altadenahiker said...

About that light -- I'm infuriated for you.

Terri said...

Thank you Karin. Misery loves company.

Allison Shallenberger said...

“Imagine never having to use a night light ever again to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!” - I could see your frustration over this lighting debacle! Have you tried other types of lighting for your patio? Perhaps ones that are not this high and bright.
Allison Shallenberger @