The Marvelous Wonderettes

The Marvelous Wonderettes

It is 1958, the night of the senior prom, at Springfield high. Go, Chipmunks! Entertainment was supposed to be supplied by the Crooning Crab Cakes, from the boy’s glee club, but their band leader has just been suspended for smoking outside the girls’ locker room. Luckily, the boys are replaced by four singers in crinolines, the Marvelous Wonderettes. What ensues is an utter charm bomb. Set in two acts, first on prom night and then the ten-year reunion’s night, we are treated to a nonstop sock-hop medley of first ’50s and then ’60s rock-and-roll hits. Being performed on the main stage of the Saint Louis Repertory Theater, this musical is the perfect balm for our often raw January weather. We loved it! 


Trumpeter Swans

Today featured a high in the upper fifties. Quite the change from even this last weekend. The warmer weather seems to have unlocked all of the moisture that has been trapped in the soil. This thaw has unleashed both fog and mud. A particularly drab combination. Anne and I got out for a walk today.

On our walk we surveyed all of the construction that is occurring in our locale. Closest to home are the dueling utility projects. We have AT&T installing fiber and the sewer district uncrossing the streams. Both of these activities seemed to had gone dormant during the cold weather, but today both are being worked in full force. The sewer district had moved a block closer to home. They’re on the next block over now and new hieroglyphs, scrawled on the asphalt, appear daily in front of the house. The drilling rig is back again. I’m not sure what they are drilling for, but I don’t think that it is oil. On our walk, we encountered a weird audio phenomenon. A strange deep basal echo that appeared to bounce from one side of the street to the other. It was caused by the phone company’s pushing of fiber cable beneath the ground. 

In addition to the ongoing utility work, which to the casual observer appears to be rather amorphous and disorganized there are also a number of construction projects in the neighborhood. The biggest one is where a new hotel, restaurant and shopping center adds to the advancing retail sprawl that has been moving ever eastward towards us for years now. At the other end of the neighborhood, a quaint old retail building that had featured a florist and an antique store, for longer than we have lived in Saint Louis, is slated for immediate demolition and replacement with a doctors building.

Dan’s old middle school was demolished in prep for an almost 200 unit, five-story apartment building, but the site has sat idle now for almost a year, while the developer tries to get funding to commence construction. Word is that the old Schnucks property that has sat idle for two-decades may soon be developed. Plans include a new smaller grocery store where the old store building still sits and a high-rise apartment building where the parking lot is now.

All of this work will be good for property values, but much of the new building will only exacerbate local traffic, which is already bad. Not as bad as when the New I-64 was under construction, but do we really want to return to those days? I certainly don’t, but I must admit that this is a desirable area to live in. 

The Cold Is Leaving

Iced Fountains of the Grand Basin

But some ice still remains. It got above freezing yesterday and we got some rain, which then froze on the ground. This morning, the roads were well treated, so any freezing hadn’t lasted long. I drove Anne to school. Afterwards, I drove through Forest Park and saw these ice formations around the fountains in the Grand Basin. It is supposed to continue warming up this week. We might even see 60 ºF! That’s going to feel like shorts and t-shirt weather. I definitely will need to get the bicycle out for that. That’s it for today, short and sweet.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Anne, Joanie and I attended the Eagle Days festival at the Riverlands. These seasonal river fêtes celebrate our winter migratory avian visitors. Bald eagles are the main draw and we saw a few of these, but there were way more Trumpeter swans to see than all of the other birds combined. I’m guessing about a thousand were present. They are the largest North American waterfowl. I’ve since learned that it also holds the dubious epitaph of being the heaviest North American bird. We also saw a kestrel, American pelicans and a host of other birds. The captive Red-shouldered hawk was on display at the Audubon center. It is a rescue bird.

Both the Mississippi and the Missouri are ice covered. The water is low and it looks like barge traffic has halted. In addition to the swan’s honking, we also heard the deep almost sub-audible creaking of the ice. People were walking on the ice, which seemed risky until I saw that someone had been heaving thirty-pound paving stones on to the ice, without making a dent. The paper said that this is our longest, continuous subfreezing cold snap in thirty-five years.

Afterwards, we headed over to Alton, IL, for lunch at Just Desserts. This eatery and quilt shop is always a fave with the ladies. The food is good, but the pie is to die for and is why we dine there. The day’s menu is written on chalkboards and items are erased when they run out, but sometimes new items also appear. We always order our desserts first, because life is often short and uncertain and the very best pie slices run out first.  

Bomb Cyclone

Sea Star

Those clever, clever people at the Weather Channel have invented yet another new phenomenon that they’re now calling a bomb cyclone, what has been called a nor’easter like forever. As if a cyclone alone isn’t destructive enough, they had to go out and weaponized one. This storm is supposed to terrorize the East Coast this week, starting down in Florida and then working its way north to NYC and  New England. Apparently, mother nature still has the biggest button of them all.

It’s forecast to strike NYC on Thursday, when Dan was planning on flying back to the Big Apple. He went online, looking for an alternative. Initially, American wanted $438 in change fees, even though they were already offering free flight changes further south. Eventually, though they updated their algorithm and were able to accommodate Dan for the lofty fee of 10¢. So, he leaves Saint Louis today, a day early, allowing him to easily make a Friday job appointment. Some more good news is that once this bomb cyclone leaves, our arctic cold snap will soon follow suit and depart too.

Not to belabor this winter weather, but we received a robo-call from the water company. It announced, “We don’t know if frozen pipes have caused you a service interruption or not, but if it has, then we don’t know when we will be able to restore your service. Have a nice day.” Thanks for the warning! Later, a salt-slurry truck came by and laid down chemicals on an ice river that had formed in the gutter from up the block, earlier this week.