Cranberry Can Conundrum

Monday, September 19th, 2022 – Safeway

This morning was relatively cool at about 50°F (10°C) and for the first time in a long time, we wore long sleeves. It was a bit depressing knowing that winter is approaching. However, in other ways it was a great walk. Clear skies with the moon and stars, no roadkill and we found money!

A penny in the crosswalk, well run over, and a penny at the Shell station stuck to the pavement with what looked like gum. Okay, maybe it was only an okay walk.

Yesterday, as we came up the hill in the car from Riverside Drive, we spotted something glass in the middle of the road.

We knew that if we left it there until next Saturday it would be a mess to deal with. So, we walked the half-mile down the hill and picked it up. It was some car or truck window that had fallen out. We bagged the big pieces and swept the finer pieces off the road. It now sleeps in a dumpster that shall remain anonymous.

We’ve heard some adage about “If the shoe fits, walk a mile in his shoes.” Okay, probably not the right quote, but still.

The shoe didn’t fit, and we’d already walked over a mile, so we tossed it in the garbage.

A very nice lug nut.

And it’s still in great condition. We were happy to lug it home to toss into our lug nut collection.

Someone dropped their receipt book. There were only about five receipts in it, and we didn’t know who the seller was until we saw this one.

Zorro! We looked up the Totem Lake Trading Post and it went out of business in 2016. We tried to find Zorro.

But he must still be wearing his mask.

We found what looks like some wedding debris. A rose with a pink and a white balloon attached to signify the uplifting beauty of an eternal union.

But the balloons were deflated, and the rose was fake. We wish the marriage goes well, but we do not hold out much hope.

Okay, this is beginning to get to us. At the top of the Tolt pipeline, there is a guard rail barrier.

About six weeks ago, some dog owner started stuffing their dog’s poop bags in the guard rail channel. At least we hope it’s their dogs poop. Once or twice a week, we collect them. We keep threatening, but this just may be the thing that pushes us to purchase a trail cam.

At the bus stop where someone has been leaving books, one disappeared.

“The Midnight Tree.” We found it on Amazon, and it’s rating was 1.5 stars. We know J.D. Robb and Mary Higgins Clark are good authors. The person who took the book chose unwisely.

Also at the bus stop, someone left some graffiti, fortunately in chalk.

420 is code for marijuana, don’t ask how we know. But perhaps if you gave that one up, the other one would solve itself.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 – Park-and-Ride

The weather today was much like Yesterday, cool and clear. No roadkill and no money, but as we left the house, we spotted some discarded mail in the ditch.

Then, later in our walk, more mail as we approached home. We feel this guy is taunting us, but it’s probably just a coincidence. It was all junk mail, the mail thieves keeping any “good” stuff.

We remember the old western movies where the bad guys were after the mail on the train. If the movie were made today, it would be “Damn it, another Fred Meyer ad!” Back then, it was, “Darned, another Sears catalog!”

The first batch was all from an address that was ahead of us on our route. We left the mail by their driveway and later, sent them a message about it. The second batch was from an address behind us, so we just tossed it.

Yes, we could have followed the rules and taken it to the post office like you are supposed to, but the clerk would probably just say, “Damn it, another Fred Meyer ad!”

When we went down into the gulley for the first batch of email, we stepped on a buried wheel cover.

A slightly rusty Volkswagen cover that has been there a while. Recycled.

The back corner of the park-and-ride was a mess.

They say that discretion is the better part of valor. That sounds like an excuse for a lack of bravery to us. However, we used our discretion today and left the valor to the Metro professionals.

Also, at the park-and-ride, we found our first neck gaiter of the season.

When we started walking in 2015, we found very few of these. During the pandemic we found a lot more until the pandemic scare started to die out this last spring. We sure hope this is not a sign of the things to come.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022 – Safeway and 100th Ave NE

Today we found no money and removed a roadkill squirrel from the road. The temperature was about the same, except when we reached about a quarter of the way up Norway Hill, we started smelling smoke from the Washington fires.

When we reached the summit, the smoke was very evident.

This is a photo from the top of the Tolt pipeline showing the smoke in the valley.

The sun was orange due to the smoke.

This caused some eerie effects as the sun rose.

The orange sun created some interesting effects as it rose above the trees. By the time we descended to home, the air was much cleaner, but not clean. By mid-afternoon, the smoke had become dense everywhere and at thee o’clock, the smoke had reached 201 parts per million (PPM) according to the EPA. It should drop through the night so we will not need to cancel our walk tomorrow. Damn it.

We picked up a kid’s umbrella across from the 7-Eleven. We figured it would be a good gift to our newest grandson.

That is until we got it home and opened it up. We may need to keep it for ourselves. Halloween is coming up.

We found a make-up brush.

And no, we really found it. We are not making this up.

More screwing around on Norway Hill.

A used condom. At least they put it back in the wrapper. When are the home DNA Analysis Kits going to become available. It will be a game changer.

We have two pickers, one for each of us. They seem to have a lifetime depending on use of four months, plus or minus, and there is generally no indication before a failure. So yesterday, one suddenly broke near the beginning of the walk, so we traded off between us. Today, the second one broke.

The failure point is a cable that runs between the trigger and the pinchers. Every time the trigger is pulled, the cable at the trigger is bent at a ninety-degree angle and eventually it suffers from metal fatigue. That’s ‘metal’, not ‘mental’ fatigue. We suffer from mental fatigue.

Anyway, in this case, metal fatigue is bad. However, we use it to our advantage on virtually every walk. As you are probably aware, we collect beverage can pop tabs for charity. When we pick up a can, we remove the tab by bending it back and forth until it breaks. We have a Bud-Bull difficulty rating with the Bud Light can being the easiest to remove at one and a Red Bull can the hardest at five. Yes, our walks are pretty boring.

However, we learned our lesson. We always keep spare pickers on hand. Time to order another pair of spares. And, conveniently, they come in a two-pack. We always order yellow ones. Maybe the blue ones last longer?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 – 160th to 124th Street

Today we didn’t find much of interest. We removed a very flat rabbit from the road but found two dimes.

One dime was in very good condition in the park-and-ride. The other was in the gutter near the freeway onramp and very beat up. On Monday, we found a pair of pennies and today a pair of dimes. Perhaps tomorrow, we will find a pair of twenties. Don’t laugh. It happened to us once, back when litterers were generous.

On the northbound freeway onramp, we spotted a large piece of paper near the center of the ramp.

As we approached it, it began to blow farther down the ramp, and we needed to run to grab it.

We didn’t want to spend much time on the ramp to examine it, but at home we took a picture of it.

It was a piece of plastic with instructions on how to install tire chains. And the first instruction was,

So our question is, why was this guy practicing putting on tire chains on a freeway onramp in the middle of the city with no snow in sight? We hope he gets his knees wet when he uses the chains.

Friday, September 23rd, 2022 – 100th Ave NE

Today we got out a little earlier than normal and the weather was warmer, almost 60°F (15.5°C). We found no money and came across not roadkill, but for some reason, there was a lot of trash, easily three times normal and it was spread along our entire walk.

There were random cups and pieces of paper to several trash-filled fast-food paper bags. Even on Norway Hill, we found several pink Solo cups including this stack of four unused ones. At the top Tolt Pipeline, we found some trash including more pink cups (used), a pair of patriotic flip flops and a hairbrush.

It could have been the remnants of a baby or wedding shower. But at the Tolt Pipeline? Really?

At the end of 112th Ave NE at the beginning of our walk, we were surprised to see that the city finally changed the signal timing. Several months ago, we noticed that the traffic light was set to wait for the presence of a vehicle then wait exactly one minute before changing.

This is a very busy intersection during the day, but at 5:30 in the morning there is very little traffic and we noticed that drivers would stop, creep out to see no traffic anywhere and run the red light. We notified the city and received a very polite reply that told us they knew what they were doing and ignored us. Evidently, they got a lot of other feedback and finally modified the timing to almost instant, short timing change.

We should probably send them an email thanking them, but they would probably just think we were gloating, which we would be. Okay, we will send an email.

At the same time this morning, a Sheriff’s car drove through the intersection, waved at us and flashed his lights.

If he had been stopped by the quick light, he probably wouldn’t have been so appreciative. But we do appreciate him and all law enforcement.

Near Safeway, someone lost their Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.

On the top was the statement to open the other end. Well, why not turn the label over? Ocean spray has a reason. According to this site,

A representative at Ocean Spray … explained that there’s a totally logical reason behind this anomaly. “The rounded end of the can is filled with an air bubble vacuum, which makes it easier to get the sauce out. When you open the bottom of the cranberry sauce can, you need to simply insert a flat knife between the can and the jelly to activate the vacuum. This allows air to reach through to the bubble, and, in turn, push the contents out.”

What that means is the rounded end isn’t actually the bottom…which means the cans aren’t actually upside down. They’re just differently designed cans.

Chuck is an engineer, and his head was spinning at this explanation. An “air bubble vacuum?” Folks, an ideal vacuum is the absence of any gas, and yes, this includes air. Then there was, “This allows air to reach through to the bubble, and, in turn, push the contents out.” Okay, the air allows the vacuum to push?

Here is Chuck’s translation of what is really happening: They place the label upside-down so people will store the can upside down. This causes an air bubble, not a vacuum, to form at the top of the contents. When the can is opened and the knife is inserted, more air is added to the bubble and the weight of the contents causes the cranberry sauce to slip out of the can. If the air bubble were not there, slipping the knife in would create a path to the other end of the can but with no existing bubble it would be difficult to break away from bottom of the can. Or is it the top?

Someone is having fun with the sign.

It originally said, “WE ARE NOW OPEN! COME IN!” They could have used, “newcomer woo pee pan”, but it wouldn’t have been as funny. Or maybe it would.

It’s Friday, time to check out Chuck’s vest pocket.

A cheap fingernail file which Chuck should keep in his pocket in case he chips a nail picking up a beer can, a utility knife blade which should not have been in his pocket. Another Pokémon card, we still do not know how to play the game; and two Teawaxfamrs marijuana cards.  Is this some kind of adult Pokémon? A stray golf tee, which reminds us, we have not found any golf balls for a while, probably because the tee was lost. A QFC rewards card, useless to us.

A pink and red insect labeled 2004 Accoutrement that Google couldn’t identify, a tiny scary mask, maybe for the unidentified bug, a fifty-dollar check from a research facility that pays people to participate in research projects. This sounds like selling your blood, but we don’t want to be judgmental.

Legs, probably part of a McDonalds toy and a note “He’s strangely obsessive and borderline stalker-esk with me since day one.” We’re pretty sure the person was not talking about Chuck.

Saturday, September 24th, 2022 – Riverside Drive

Today we removed five roadkill: a crow, another smaller bird, two rats and a snake. Strangely, the two rats were within about five feet of each other. Did one rodent get run over and the other go out to mourn it? Are rats cannibalistic? They are: “Starving rats are resorting to war and cannibalism to survive coronavirus lockdown.

We did find money today.

Woo-hoo! Five pennies in the parking lot in Bothell, one for each roadkill, coincidently. We took them. The pennies, not the roadkill.

We came across some car parts.

A lug nut for our lug nut jar. A truck ran off the road into someone’s front yard and left its running board. We left it, we do not have a running board collection and it would not fit in our bags anyway. Finally, another wheel cover, this one’s a Ford. It was in bad shape and ended in a recycle bin.

We picked up a sweatshirt on the Tolt Pipeline Trail.

When we got home and straightened it out, it was from a school near us. We are too short to play basketball, so later in the day we placed it on the school’s fence near the driveway.

A run-over hand sanitizer dispenser from Honey Bucket.

They say it delivers 1,200 uses, but we can only think of one use.

At a service station, there was a Goodwill shopping cart with four cans of soup.

Probably some good Samaritan gave some food to a person that didn’t want it. We took the soup to a food bank where it will be appreciated.

A couple of things to note on the freeway onramp.

A condom: more distracted driving. A bottle of Diet Pepsi, probably belonging to an Amazon delivery person.

This is ironic.

That wraps up a smoky walking week. This week’s take:

  • 27 Cents. Hardly worth walking for.
  • 13 Mike’s Hard Lemonade cans on Norway Hill.
  • 7 Roadkill.
  • 7 Balls retrieved, mostly tossed back into yards.
  • 3 Batches of stolen mail.
  • 2 Condoms, used.
  • 1 Monster umbrella, Monster Scary, not Monster Big.
  • 1 Pair of patriotic flip flops.
  • 1 Upside-down can of cranberry sauce.
  • 1 Invoice by Zorro.

Have a great week and remember to store your cranberry sauce correctly.