Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beautiful Snowfall

February has been a very cold and windy month this year.  Plenty of days in a row of single digit lows and highs barely above 20 degrees F.  We got a little bit spoiled during December and January when we had a few warmer than usual days, plenty of sunshine, and hardly any snow.

Yesterday made up for that lack of snow, as we had at least 8 inches of snow in Homer!  I hope you and the kids got outside to enjoy something fun!  It wasn't even very cold, just about freezing all day. That is so much warmer than it has been, but it will still be very cold this week and next according to the forecast.

So enjoy the snow that is still on the ground!  How it makes the neighborhood a lot quieter.  The snow blanket deadens the sounds of traffic and the usual din of the community.

Here are a few pictures from around the store yesterday.

The Homer Post Office at SR 661 & Homer Road

This much snow fell by late morning.
Standing under the Store Canopy

The snow continued all day and early evening.

Snowmobiles are the way to go in this weather!
These kitties frolicked in the snow between naps. 

4-Wheelers are great on the farm and in the snow!
Kitties first big snow!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's for Everyone's Safety

I need to let off a little steam.  Please bear with me.

Why do some people "cop an attitude" (take offense) when I ask them to please move along when they have no business parking in the store parking lot? Of all people, locals (and previous locals) should know better.  The intersection has poor visibility to drivers under the best of conditions, not to mention the lot is small but sufficient for the tiny store's customer traffic. There is a parking spot for two vehicles, maybe three.

Often people pull off the busy road into the tiny store parking lot or onto the berm of the road to text, eat a snack, make phone calls, mess with their GPS, take a rest, or wait to "meet someone,"  When this occurs during the morning, noon, or evening "rush hours," it is the most problematic because that is when most traffic is passing through the intersection and when most customers might need to park in the lot.  I do not want customers to try to park on the outskirts of the parking lot, because it is not safe.

Multiple "Customers Only Parking" signs are posted around the parking lot, and that means only for customers while they are shopping.  Despite this, loitering vehicles usually take the prime parking spaces, right in front of the signs!   This is a tiny carryout, and shopping only takes a minute or two. I want my customers to have a place to park and not have to jockey for position with loitering vehicles.

These improper parking incidents occur frequently enough that it is necessary to monitor the lot and ask people to leave when they do not belong there.    Most people understand the issue and move on without any commotion,

 I usually approach the driver with a smile and politely ask if they need help, because sometimes they do.  Sometimes they are just lost and in need of directions since there are no road signs indicating the direction of travel or location of nearby towns. However, when the answer is "No, thanks, I'm just waiting for someone" or "I didn't want to text and drive", I think to myself, "why do you have to do this here on this private property."   Why not pull into that guy's driveway over there--same thing! Why not drive around the corner and park on the street!

Another concern is risk and liability for insurance purposes.  That is why often I will take a picture of loitering vehicles, especially if they refuse to leave or are presenting a hazard to the line of sight at the intersection. If they are the cause of an accident, it would be good to have their identity for followup and responsibility since they had no reason to visit the business establishment.

Vehicles using the store's parking lot to "meet someone" or "wait for someone" is the excuse that bothers me the most for several reasons.  First, they will be there longer than it takes to shop, and second,  because not only will ONE vehicle be parked, idling, usually backed in as if they intend to stay awhile, and with their headlights shining into my neighbor's living room, but ANOTHER vehicle will be joining them, taking up another parking space (or worse, parked on the road berm). Usually the plan is to exchange children, and usually these are over-sized Sport Utility Vehicles.  So then two large vehicles, both sets of adults, and numerous children also are hovering around the vehicles when it is time to make the exchange.  Usually there is much standing around chatting, many hugs and kisses, and general congestion in the tiny parking lot.

When vehicles park in the lot with the intent of "meeting someone" or to exchange children, depending on the time of day and road conditions, I will allow it but ask them to please not do it again (in other words, do not make a habit of using this parking lot for the children exchange).  When it is not a practical time or place for this, I will usually ask them to leave and suggest other nearby places to park and meet such as across the street at the post office or down the street at the various parking lots associated with schools, libraries, township government, etc.

The root cause of the problem may just be that the store is in "the middle of nowhere" and so it is a convenient "oasis" for pulling off the road for any reason that presents itself.  It is halfway between several more populated college towns, and it is true there are no other stores within 5 to 10 miles in each direction.  Or perhaps old habits die hard.  Maybe ten or fifteen years ago before the store was there, locals might have used the parking lot as if they owned it.

Please be considerate of this small business owner and the customers who want to park safely and the drivers who want to be able to see the oncoming traffic, and the neighbors who do not want headlights aimed at their windows for ten minutes at a time.  If you need to exchange children in Homer, why not meet at the Homer Elementary School parking lot or the library or the post office.

Thank you for listening.  I really do not enjoy asking people to leave the parking lot, and I especially do not enjoy when the driver wants to dispute with me or refuses to leave.   Sometimes these incidents create ill will, and this is "bad for business."  I am truly sorry that we cannot always have a positive outcome.  I prefer a "win-win" situation, and usually that is how it evolves.  The times that it turns out badly, unfortunately, are the ones people remember the most.  For this I am truly sad.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Are You Ready for Valentine's Day?

How wonderful that Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year!  Lovers, admirers, and friends everywhere will have the weekend to celebrate their romances, friendships, and fondness for each other!  For most people, weekends bring more leisure time, relaxation, and family time.  I hope you will enjoy some time with the ones who matter most in your lives.

There are so many simple pleasures that make celebrating Valentine's Day so much fun.  Some people have traditions of baking heart-shaped sugar cookies that can be decorated as simply or intricately as you want.  For those of us who partake in this tradition, I think we can agree that the real fun is the process of mixing all the ingredients, cutting out the cookies, and having fun decorating, baking, and enjoying the aroma as they bake!  This is almost as much fun as eating the cookies or giving the cookies as gifts.

I remember the pleasures of shopping for that sparkling heart-shaped trinket that I would wear on Valentine's Day to brighten my spirit as I went about my daily life that day and weekend...working, going out to lunch with coworkers or family, and then celebrating Valentine's Day with my soul mate.  It was always fun to receive a gift for Valentine's Day and to give a gift in return.  My favorite gift (giving or receiving) was always that box of chocolates!  Although I was certainly in awe of the beauty of a rose and the lasting beauty of carnations, flowers did not seem to me as practical as chocolates or something shiny that could be remembered a little bit longer and more fondly!  There is a season in life for stuffed animals....another season for that romantic dinner (chateubriand, asparagus, cheesecake for dessert, and some wonderful red wine) preferably several stories up with a window seat, and a foggy view of the lake!  If you are not already engaged or married, what a nice date to propose to your loved one!

Whatever you do to celebrate Valentine's Day, or even if you do not celebrate at all, I hope you will enjoy Saturday, February 14, 2015.  Stop by Homer Village Market to say hello.  We will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. in case you need anything.  We have cold champagne, many varieties of beer, wine, and spirits; chocolate covered pretzels, dark chocolate, lots of ice cream, plenty of gourmet appetizers, and lots of ingredients to make a delicious meal!