Today’s Puzzle

Wildfire Smoke

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Smoky days in Vancouver

Here in Vancouver we have been pretty lucky with the air quality from the wild fires. While we had several days of gray sky, red sun and falling ash it never got to the “hazardous” zone as did Portland. Over the weekend we went to Spokane, Washington. Their air quality had been designated “hazardous” for three days in a row but was marked only “unhealthy” when we arrived.

On our return trip we took a detour via Route 14 as I-84 was closed because of the fires. While we did not see actual flames from across the river we could see, smell and even taste the smoke. The air quality was definitely “unhealthy” in some areas that we drove and I was very glad we were only passing through!

New in Vancouver?

One of my favorite online community connections here in Vancouver, Wa is an app called Nextdoor. (available throughout the United States as well as a number of other countries). I first joined when I was in Albany, Oregon and then again when I came to Vancouver. It is a wonderful way to connect with people in your area. I mostly have used it for lost and found pet alerts but have made a connection or two with other messaging.

Community Public Alerts via Nextdoor

A few months ago I started getting city alerts through Nextdoor which I like a lot. Although we get the local newspaper it is a great way to get first alerts about local stuff. Never been bombarded with information overload but just enough to keep informed. Think it would be excellent in time of a natural disaster. With the current forest fires I’m tending to think about stuff like that. And of course the threat of an earthquake in our area is always there in the back of my mind.

Local Recommendations for old and new in Vancouver

One of the biggest things I like about Nextdoor is getting recommendations for services in the area. You can ask a question about needing a good plumber, dentist, tree removal, whatever and almost always a number of folks will respond with their experiences. I like to read these help requests when I have time and join in the conversation if I can. Being fairly new to the area myself I’m not always a good resource but sometimes I can offer a tidbit.

Buy and Sell or give away for free

This is another feature that is good. I haven’t used it yet though periodically I do check out what is for sale sometimes. I see lots of posts about things for free. Anything from free firewood, dirt, or cement blocks to chairs, tables and TV sets. Often times I read one of those notices and my mind tries to come up with a way I could take advantage of something like that. So far never have but it’s fun just to see what people are giving away. Satisfies my “nosy” urge I guess.

Post an Event

“It’s a great way to get the word out about local events like yard sales, neighborhood meet-ups, and community-wide holiday get-togethers.” This is a quote from the Nextdoor website and it sums it up well. I am joining with my sister in Albany to do a yard sale and we plan to post it on her local connection.

Last week there was an announcement for a meet your neighbor party and I really wanted to attend. Unfortunately we were out of town that weekend but I will be looking to go next year. It was sponsored by a local church and maybe was a way to build up their attendance but they have been doing it for a number of years and sounded like a fun event. They even encouraged local businesses to put up a booth if they wanted. I might do that next year too.

A weekend trip to Spokane

Last weekend Jon and I went to Spokane for a wedding event in his family. It was a super fun time. On the way we stopped and saw my brother Roy in Yakima. This was the first time for going to his place. Actually for me the first time going to Yakima period. Anyway I was talking to him on the phone as we traveled and he said to let him know when we got close as he lives in a gated community. He said he would have to come down and make sure we could get in. As luck would have it my phone’s battery went dead and I was not able to connect with him. Was a bit worried how we could get inside the gated community if there was not someone at the gate to talk to. I tried googling his name on Jon’s phone which was working fine but every site wanted to be paid for giving out a phone number.

Finally we got to the main thoroughfare before his street. We had been on paved road all the time to this point but darn if his street didn’t look like it was just gravel. I made the comment to Jon that this must be a pretty “new” gated community as the street wasn’t even paved yet. Either that or we had the wrong address.

There was finally a lull in traffic and we drove across the highway. There were no big fancy, walled in gated community setups that I could see. Just small, ordinary houses, some with a bit of lawn and a number with just weeds. Went a bit further and Jon says, there is the street number. I scratched my head. Hmmm? Could this be Roy’s place? We couldn’t drive into the driveway because there was a chain link fence around the yard – and oh look – there was a padlock on the gate. Yeah, Roy – you sure live in a gated community. Thanks for the heads up.

Typical gated community in Yakima, Washington