Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Don't Need Help, But The Company is Nice

"It won't be that hard to do. Just walk around and take photos of the streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters."

How bad could this be? Really. It's just a park. It's going to be redone. New playgrounds. New tennis courts. New walkways. New landscaping. More accessibility for the neighbors. This won't be a problem.

"Oh would you mind photographing all the concrete vents that protrude up from the parking garage underneath the park? There are 28 small vents and 8 large vents that are also access points to the park so they have two sets of stairs."

Not a problem.

Well, on day three of trying to get this done, it was a problem. All the walking was not good for me. I could only be on my feet for 4-5 hours, even with lunch and taking breaks on the park benches watching the world pass by. I still don't know my limits. One day, getting out of my office chair to go to the copier is an exercise in perseverance. The next day, feeling exactly the same, I could probably walk from here to Cedar Rapids. There must be cues that I haven't quite figured out that will tell me what my endurance is on any given day.

This last day was reserved for finishing up the vents. They allow air to get into and out of the garage that is under the park. As the garage will stay, the vents needed to be photographed prior to work starting. I started on one side and worked toward the other side.

Even in a city such as Chicago, wildlife abounds. Some animals are surprisingly resilient and adaptable creatures. I had finished one side where the small vents were and was working in the middle of the park where the large vents with their access stairways were. I had a plan for doing these rectangles. North, east, south, west. Always the same. At one point, I had this feeling I was being watched. I turned around and there he was, in the tree behind me. I posted the above photo to Facebook. In addition to being highly adaptable, gray squirrels have great camouflage on a gray, rainy day in autumn. I just chuckled and continued.

Well, not content to watch from a tree, he noticed my walking pattern and jumped on top of the large vent I was photographing. He was very, very curious, but, when I got too close, he took off, back to the safety of a nearby tree.

He continued to watch me as I progressed around this vent. But, curiosity got the best of him and he approached.

This resulted in my favorite photo.

He was looking for a handout. Obviously, he's been fed and has lost that overpowering fear of humans. He's still skittish in that I probably could not have reached out to touch him. I didn't want to. Squirrels can harbor fleas and the last thing I need to bring home is fleas, certainly not with a long-haired black cat. He posed in anticipation of a treat, which I did not have. I moved and he took off, but he didn't stray too far away. 

He's at the lower right in the above photo, following me as I do my documentation of this structure.

This was the last photo of him. He moved on after this after probably figuring out I had nothing to offer.

It was a gray day and I didn't want to be down here. This project had taken 3 times longer than we had anticipated. My knees hurt, possibly more from the damp, chilly weather than the actual walking around. I was either overdressed in my long sleeves and raincoat or under dressed when the wind whipped up and the drizzle started. Yet, for about a half an hour, the company was very much appreciated and made me laugh. I'm going to have the close up professionally enlarged to a nice 5x7 for the office.

Beverage:  Rooibos tea


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