Monday, July 18, 2011

My City, Medina

There are many things about the city Medina that I am going to miss.  I love the square and all the neat things that happen there.  The band concerts, parades, farmers markets, and multiple festivals are all a part of my family’s regular experience.  Having lived in Medina for over a decade there is much that I appreciate about this small town.  However, I have to admit, I often didn’t know a lot about the local news and issues.  For years I was completely oblivious to the political nuances and happenings of Medina because I did not subscribe to the local newspaper the Medina Gazette.  Instead, I read my news on the internet.  But then we began to receive receive The Post.
The Post is a weekly “newspaper” that is delivered free of charge.  It seems that about fifty percent of the articles are advertisements for local companies and restaurants.  But the first several pages can be very interesting.  Besides containing actual news about Medina there is an opinion section where readers can send in a letter to the editor and spout off about one of the local controversies.  Sometimes they can be very feisty.  I found myself reading about one controversy in particular that had people’s dander up.  As read the letters I could tell that people were angry, seething even, perhaps foaming at the mouth as they wrote their letters to the paper.  There was name calling and side taking and variety of unhappy words hurled.  There was even a Facebook page for the supporting the inflatables. And then, for reasons I still don’t understand, I added to the pile of words myself with my very own letter to the editor.
The controversy I’m referring to is the inflatable image atop Bill Doraty’s KIA dealership next to the northbound ramp for Highway 71 on Route 18.  The photo above is of the Hampstar present at the time of my letter.  The inflatables change every thirty days or so to reflect the season.  Right now there is a big orange dinasaur on top of the building.  For over a year there has been an ongoing battle between the owner of that dealership (Bill Doraty) and the Medina Township Council/Police.  The Township has demanded Doraty remove the inflatable and has apparently cited the dealership many times for various violations.  So far Doraty has refused to comply.  The result has been an epic public struggle between Doraty and the township that has reached the federal court system.  The most recent update indicated that a judge had ruled that KIA Doraty was in violation and must remove the inflatable.  It’s still there.  
The letter is an example of what a smart alec I can be and made me famous for a week...not really.  Looking at the letter again reminds me that I have grown to know this town and with that have gained a comfortable familiarity with it that makes Medina feel like my home.  Soon, I’ll be in a town and I’ll be oblivious all over again.  When we move to Waterloo one of the first things I’ll do is get a subscription to the local newspaper.
As for my letter, I submit it to you in this space.  Please don’t judge me.

I was surprised to learn about the controversy of the inflatable images atop KIA Doraty’s main building along I-71 and 18.  My family, especially my 5 and 3 year old daughters, enjoy the seasonally themed images and try to guess what the next one will be. I think it will be a football but my daughter is hoping for a pumpkin. Although this “eye sore” may detract from the ambiance of the setting offered by exit ramps, Dairy Queen, and On Tap, my family has been willing to put up with that knowing we can count on some entertaining quirkiness when we exit 71 to go home. However, I must express my disappointment with the current inflatable image of one of the “Hamstar’s” used to promote KIA Soul. I would have much preferred the sock monkey from the Sorento commercials. Even the orange single-eyed monster would have been better than the hampster. Mr. Doraty, please consider this in the future. Also, thank you for entertaining my family even while others may not appreciate it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life In A Box

I like to think of myself as someone who is not materialistic.  I believe that the most important things in life are things that money can’t buy.  Family, friends and the love that we share.  That’s why when we decided to move I didn’t think transferring our stuff from Medina to Waterloo would be that big of a deal.  Boy, was I wrong.  Apparently, even though I think of myself as not being materialistic, I have accumulated a large amount of stuff over the years.
In anticipation of our move Ingrid and I began ridding ourselves of unnecessary goods  in January.  It began small with the two of us opening a drawer and seeing what was inside and pulling a few items out.  We were looking for things we were willing to part with it.  Of course we had to talk about it first.  An example conversation might of have gone like this...
“Do we really need this ice cream scoop?”
“No, but we might.”
“But we always use the one with the thumb lever.”
“We might need it.”
Back in the drawer it would go.
We had a variety of conversations like this involving bowls, clothes, toys...endless toys, papers, books, etc. etc. etc.  We actually got rid of a bunch of stuff this way but soon realized that was slow, painful, and not the best way for married people (or anyone for that matter) to work together.  So we did the sensible thing and did nothing for a while.  Then we did the really sensible thing and asked one of our friends who is well organized to help us.
As an aside here I would like to report that we had many options when seeking help.  For some reason it seems that all of our friends have very organized least more organized than ours.  Our friend (I’ll refer to her as Nikki) that helped us  has a home that is a marvel of organization.  Whenever we go over to her house we are always impressed with the fact that it always looks like she just finished cleaning.  One of my favorite things to do is open her version of a junk drawer which is always neatly organized.  Inside there are a few pens, a pad of paper, a few up-to-date coupons, schedules all in the same place every time.  I would compare this to our junk drawer but I was unable to open it.
Nikki helped us a great deal by organizing how we categorized our stuff.  Basically pack, sell, or give away.  Since then we have been going through the process of deciding what possessions of ours will make the cut.  Anything that does make the cut is packed into a box and stacked into one of our “designated areas” for later shipment to the Great North.  In this process Ing and I have had many conversations about what is practical when considering what will come with us.
Me: We don’t need that. (Holding up a JC Penny set of casserole dishes) It isn’t even open.
Ing: I want to keep it.  You never know when you need them.
Ing: It’s hideous.
Matt: Yes.  But wonderful.  (I was referring to a clay sculpture I made in elementary school. See photo below)

What I have learned in this process is that some of the most important things to us are absolutely worthless to anyone outside our immediate family.  Things like kids drawings, photos, a book made by Ing when she was in elementary school, baptism shoes, and the like.  None of it is worth what it will cost to move to Canada but it will come just the same.  It’s a representation and a bookmark for our memories.  We’ll put our life in a box, transport it over the border, and unpack it again in Canada.