Big Lift’s Happy River

Big Lift’s Happy River

NPR has been tracking retail prices, to gauge the effects of tariffs on consumer costs. They picked a particular Walmart in Georgia and compiled a shopping list of a 100 items. Items selected to run the gamut of all the many different things that Americans regularly buy. They published an article that compares the prices from a year ago to now. Here is a link to their article. Cod and cabbage lead the list with the largest jump in price, but these price increases have more to do with bad weather than with tariffs. While garlic, with the third largest price jump is a good example of the effects of tariffs. What got me interested in this subject, was the higher price of toilet paper that I had already noticed. Apparently, this price increase is not tariff related either, but is because of higher transportation costs for its raw material, wood pulp. Some things on their shopping list have gone down in price, but unfortunately I had failed for the most part to notice these changes. This is because for the most part I don’t but those items often enough to notice the changes. China’s reverse tariffs have forced down the price on some seafood items like shrimp and lobster. Even though Saint Louis is as landlocked as you can get, I’ll have to have to start shopping for more shellfish. Most of the items on the NPR list did not change in price.

The pictured salty is not likely to carry any of the shopping items on the NPR list. With its larger than normal cranes, it is designed to carry outsized cargos. A popular example of this type of cargo are wind turbine blades. With this ship’s name, Happy River, I leapt to the conclusion that it was of Chinese origin, but now I am not so sure. It was built in the Netherlands and was likely deadheading back down, after dropping off turbine blades that usually come from Germany.

I think that the protectionist trade policy that the current administration has adopted is horribly misguided. Trade wars are not easy to win. Especially, when you try to go mano a mano and all alone against a command economy. The latest round of US tariffs have been delayed until after the rush of this year’s holiday shopping season. That means that the real bite from tariffs won’t be felt until next year, which also happens to be an election year. We’ll see how happy voters are about getting a huge sales tax, just in time for next year’s election.

Endless Summer

Endless Summer Sunset

The joke around Saint Louis these days is, “How you liking this July weather?” With highs in the nineties it sure feels like it’s still July and not September, but there are some differences. With fewer hours of daylight now than July, it cools off overnight and I can usually shutoff the AC for a few hours. That’s not the usual case in July and while it has been mainly days with highs in the nineties, there are plenty of other days, when it is not that warm. Plus, I think that the humidity is a little lower than it typically is in July, but overall it is warmer this month than it normally is, leading to the sensation of an endless summer.

Anne and I went for a bike ride this morning, getting out and back before the heat really kicked in. Drumroll… Sixty years ago, Hawaii became the 50th state and today, Anne made it her 50th state too, when she spied a parked car with plates from Hawaii. She plays the license plate game. She’s got an app for that. Before our ride was over, she was more than halfway through the states in her new game. And yes, on the way back home, we circled the block, looking for that Hawaiian car again, but alas it was gone. Thinking that its owner is a bible thumping church goer, Anne made note to look for it again, next Sunday.

My consolation prize came from a passing cyclist, who complemented me with a, “Nice bike!” Forest Park was too crowded, so we headed to Tower Grove. I promised to make lunch, so we didn’t stop to eat on South Grand. I made my Californian chicken salad, chicken salad with fruit and nuts. On the way home, we came upon the remains of an early morning charity walk. It had a huge finish line sign that Anne could not resist. She sprinted ahead and while crossing over the line, raised one fist in victory. I just chuckled. Next, we stopped at Kaldi’s for a smoothie and iced coffee. When we got up to leave, a family that had participated in that charity walk took our table. They recognized Anne by her jersey and had seen her fist pump her way to victory. I just chuckled, again.

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

Yesterday’s weather was fine. Today’s was a little wet. I made my world famous avocado toast for breakfast. Yesterday, just as we were about to launch towards the Festival of Nations, Harry called. He had gotten a spam call on his new phone and then notice that he had missed a call from Anne the day before. The two talked for a while, while I fidgeted. Eventually, they signed off. Anne told me that Harry missed my cooking and dishwashing. It’s nice to be missed.

Today, we checked radar. It looked threatening, but we launched anyway. We got to the farthest point in the park, when the rain caught us. Turning around, we rode home in a light, but steady rain. I figured that we would get caught by some rain, but when we left home the storms were small and scattered. While we were out riding, they had congealed into a more solid front. Still, while on our bikes, we escaped the heavy stuff. Interestingly, before we launched, I went to unlock the basement door, but the key just spun without throwing the bolt. Fortunately, I had a replacement lock, which after a little bit of fumbling, I got installed.

We lunched on the last of the gazpacho and were just getting ready to drive to gyrotonics, when the heavens opened up. So we bagged that opportunity for some cross-training. When the rain let up, we drove to the grocery store, where Anne got her hair cut next door, while I shopped. I finished first and went to the hair salon to wait. The rain started up and we got wet again.

Tomorrow, Anne starts school. She’s starting at the beginning again, with her first assignment at the Early Childhood Center. One of her automated sub apps always contracts this school’s name into an acronym that it pronounces as Eck! With her repeated dousings today, Anne has ably demonstrated that she is immune to the Wicked Witch of the West syndrome, “What a world! What a world!” Those little munchkins better watch out, or she’ll get you my pretties. 

Sunset on Lake Superior

Sunset on Lake Superior

Today is our last day at the cabin. I am looking forward to our departure. It was a beach day or at least the weather was quite beachy. For us, it was laundry day. Between laundry, Meijer’s, an interminablely long lunch at Pickles, packing and making beds, neither Anne nor I have made it to the beach yet, but now, when it is almost five, maybe we can walk the beach. Tomorrow we’ll launch south and overnight in Ann Arbor. On Wednesday, we’ll head home, after being three months on the road. It will be good to sleep in our own bed, even if it is ninety in Saint Louis. I checked for the first time in a long time and was plesantly surprised to see that the Cardinals are in first place. September is almost here, which means playoffs. Maybe the Cards will still be playing in October?