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Woodworking column: A message from Walnut Street

Living near campus here on Walnut Streets obviously has its ups and downs and my wife and I are glad we made the decision to move into our 1880 vintage house 20 years ago.

No this screed is not about our sidewalks. We have one new paver that's so white it glows in the dark and warns pedestrians of a bump coming up. So we're happy about that. There are other benefits. Our neighborhood is lively and as we grow older we welcome seeing young folks on their way to classes, despite the ugly backpacks most of them are lugging along. We like to hear the chimes that emanate to our enclave from across Cascade.

Young folks also come in handy when we take delivery of a huge chest of drawers or a washer-dryer. Look for the Alpha Gamma Rho warmup jacket housing a husky ag major. Those folks can single-handedly pick up the front end of a Farmall Super M!

There are other pluses to our interurban life. For instance, if we so choose, we can refurnish our house every year or even every month or every week, getting rid of unwanted furniture. All we need do is attach a FREE sign on the unwanted sofa in question and place the sofa on the boulevard. More than likely said sofa will be gone in less than an hour.

That sort of thing doesn't happen everywhere. My sister-in-law lives in Tinley Park, a fancy suburb outside Chicago. If she needs to rid herself of an outdated TV set, she has two choices. Pay for its removal and disposal or drive to River Falls where she can dump it on our lawn and be rid of it lickety-split. For free!

Recently we have ridded ourselves of two overstuffed recliners, a Naugahyde loveseat, a

lamp or two.

That's not to say our proximity to student scroungers is all peaches and cream. In the past two years two expensive bicycles have been stolen out of our garage. Vandals have attempted to jump start our garaged 2015 Hyundai Sonata and our 2004 Hyundai XG350. When they couldn't make them work, they simply stole the garage door openers for both vehicles.

As I've also mentioned before, muddy-footed students on their way home from celebrating downtown have made use of our lily-white sofa to bed down for the night. It turns out to

be an ego-booster, especially if they thank me for not calling the gendarmes. I get sort of a

warm feeling when I take a kid outside and point him to his real dorm.

On the ups and downs balance sheet, I guess parking is the number one problem of living

near campus. At first, I thought it educational when I saw the first September influx of cars. "Golly, that girl just taught me a new swear word and I'm already retired," thought I when I watched a virginal frosh verbally tear into a non-trad for edging her out of her parking spot. But then reality struck.

As the time for class periods was changing, I became aware of a worse problem. Blocking exit

from our driveway. It's especially irritating when the yellow curb is visible before the snow begins to fall. Now that the snow has fallen, students seem to think they can get by with major infractions, so major I was recently forced to drive across our lawn when I came home from coffee at Selah Vie.

For a time, I only called the police if the car sported an out-of-state plate, but as things got worse, I'm even calling in America's Dairyland plates. And calling in is no fun either.

Me: I'm calling to report a red Kia with Minnesota plates. It's blocking our driveway.

Police: Oh [wearily] ,what's the license number?

Me: I didn't catch it, but it's a red Kia, Minnesota plates and its rear end is hanging way out, blocking our driveway.

Police: Oooh [impatiently] Do you really have to get out of your driveway?

Me: I suppose not, I could probably walk to Minneapolis.

Police: What kind of car did you say?

Yesterday, the snow covered up the yellow curb marking. So my Beautiful Wife, went out and brushed off the snow. And set up a stool on the boulevard, as a marker not to go beyond it. When I returned this morning from Selah Vie, the stool was gone. If you were the scofflaw who took it, beware of sitting on it. Its legs are wobbly and if you sit on it, you might go boom on your kiester. We certainly wouldn't want that to happen.

Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.