- Private group -
Mon, 08/28/2023 - 7:00am

This spring was perpetually moist and clammy. Not clammy in the sense that Liana and I went out to dinner for fried clams and cioppino a lot, but more like what I envision shaking hands with Kevin Spacey would be like.

Not only has this spring been perpetually moist and clammy, but this summer is shaping up to be a moister and clammier than even this spring. Like shaking hands with Quentin Tarantino.

The crappy weather should have worried me this spring. But the thing that REALLY kept me up at night was the sidewalk out in front of my shop. Seriously.

It started a week and a half before Memorial Day when a confident young man poked his head in my shop and told me they were ripping up and replacing the sidewalk in front of the shop tomorrow. When I asked how long it would take, he assured me, "Three days, tops. And the sidewalk will be open during construction."

Despite working most of my adult life as a contractor, I didn't suspect a thing. And that's the part that hurts the most. I didn't see it coming. I had gotten old. I was no longer the predator. I was the prey.

● ● ● ● ●

The next day, a Three-Man Crew parked a truck with a towed flatbed and a series of vehicles in all the public parking slots out front. Then they proceeded to rip out all the bricks and throw them as loud as they could, and with as much dust possible, into the waiting flat bed. "Right on schedule!" I thought to myself. "This will be all wrapped up by this weekend!"

The next day, Three-Man Crew blocked off the entire sidewalk, including the entrances to Black River Gallery and my shop. They told people not to use my front entrance, but rather come in through my back door right next to my cash register, where I would have the opportunity to legally blow their heads off as robbers or just a plain old violently-insane home-invasion enthusiasts.

After a short, animated discussion with Three-Man Crew, I was allowed to open up my front door to normal business. I was grateful, and Three-Man Crew seemed ahead of schedule. It was all good unless you were Black River Gallery that had no sidewalk access access whatsoever.

I started having serious doubts as to whether Three-Man Crew would have this project wrapped up in three days. My main tip-off was that it took them five days to remove all the bricks and they hadn't replaced a single one.

They DID leave early on Friday to take a relaxing weekend, leaving a "CAUTION" tape blocked-off and ripped sidewalk. All their equipment was solidly entrenched in the public parking spots out front. Hopefully, they'd come back nice and rested on Monday for a great push to finish up their project.

The glass was still half full.

● ● ● ● ●

Over the weekend, I saw people walking down the middle of the street. I can't blame them inasmuch as the sidewalk was blocked off and there was no signage to tell them what to do. I gaped in horror as a gigantic pickup truck with dual vertical exhausts and a bumper sticker that read, "I'D WALK A MILE FOR FRIED BREAD" narrowly missed a mother and stroller.

That scenario played out for most of the weekend. Thank Dog no one was hurt. The horns and screeching and loud swearing was too much like summer for me to bear. At least I had an entrance to my shop. Black River Gallery was completely shut off from any foot traffic. Or maybe their customers were coming trough the back door. I didn't hear any gunshots, so I assumed the owners were using a taser or pepper spray.

● ● ● ● ●

On Monday, 3-Live Crew got back to the scene. The older man with a substantial beard (Ol' Grizzly) appeared at roughly 9am and sat on my bench out front with what looked to be a large coffee. Clean Shaven Guy showed up around 10am. He walked down to the Red Cup and got a coffee and sat down next to Ol' Grizzly on my bench around 10:30. Then The Owner showed up around 11am without a beverage of any kind.

They didn't look as rested as I thought they should have.

I was joyous when they finally started laying bricks sometime in the afternoon. Even the dust and horrible noise of the brick saw couldn't break my spirit. They were making good progress, and all I could hope for was maybe a little less brick dust in my lungs and shop.....


Or just subscribe to our monthly newsletter here: