News, notes & opinions: July 2016

It doesn’t matter your age, at some point in the summer, you are going to find yourself lying in the grass forgetting about the world.

Don’t fail summer

It doesn’t matter your age, at some point in the summer, you are going to find yourself lying in the grass forgetting about the world.

If you don’t, then you may have failed summer. And, trust me, it’s pretty hard to fail summer.

My daughter and I talked about this the other day while, well, lying in the grass in the backyard. The wind whipped up just enough to encourage the trees above to fan us. The sun was hot in the best way possible.

“What did you do during summer when you were my age?” my daughter inquired.

“This,” I said, while covering my eyes with my forearm.

“What else?”


Here are just a few things that you should try to accomplish this summer:

  • You should eat plenty of popsicles, enough to stain the area around your mouth.
  • You should jump into a pool … a lot of times.
  • You should forget where you left your shoes. And when you find them, you shouldn’t put them on. By the end of the season, the bottom of your feet should be as hard as steel.
  • At some point during the summer, you should wonder when the last time was that you took a shower and not have a clear answer. Yes, going swimming counts as a bath. Also, a swim suit is an acceptable replacement for underwear.
  • You should catch lightning bugs. You can even call them fireflies, if you’re feeling exotic.
  • You should get a sunburn.
  • You should lose track of time—all the time.

The most important thing to remember about summer is that it’s the best time of the year to live in the moment. It’s the best time of year to forget your worries. It’s a time when a lawnmower buzzing or the exhaust from a classic car should elicit romantic memories, not annoy you.

It’s the best time to just lie in the grass and be content with life.
—Dave Manley


Local businesses deliver, make wedding day perfect

The day is done. And it was perfect. Well, nothing is perfect, but when your biggest complaints are either the humidity or the fact a bartender wasn’t sure how to make some of the cocktails that guests were ordering, then it’s as close to perfect as anyone should reasonably expect.

A few months ago, I used this space to hint at some local businesses that would be helping my daughter and her then-fiancé celebrate their big day, their wedding, May 28. I promised to “name names” to let you know who delivered on their promises and who didn’t.

There is an amazing amount of blind faith at work when you sign a contract with a local business for a product or service whose outcome could make or break the most important day in a young couple’s life. How do you go about even making those decisions? How do you know whom you can trust with your 50 percent (or more) down payment? Heck, you have no way of being certain that the business will be around in six or nine months, the advance reservation you need for booking some of these vendors, especially when you’re competing with other weddings, graduation parties and reunions on a busy holiday weekend.

You rely on word of mouth as the best reference. Maybe some personal experience, but the last time anyone in our family ordered 200 cupcakes was never.

So you do your research, but mostly you hope (and pray) for the best.

And we got everyone’s best. We are forever grateful that every person we dealt with came through and genuinely wanted to make sure our expectations were met. Here are the local businesses that went above and beyond for us:

Rings: Hartville Coin and Jewelry. (Stylish sterling.)

Rehearsal dinner: Mulligan’s Pub. (Say yes to the salmon.)

Hair and makeup: Chris, Donna and Sue at Zwick’s Hair Salon in Louisville. (Beautiful and glamorous while looking completely natural.)

Cake and cupcakes: All Occasions Bakery in Jackson Township. (Order extra of the Red Velvet.)

Photography: Kathryn Nutt in North Canton. (Can’t wait to see the album!)

Flowers: Forever Flowers in Green. (Amy’s work is amazing.)

Limousine: BVIP Limousine Service of Medina. (Clean and on time!)

Reception: Ohio Prestwick Country Club in Green. (Unique layout; excellent food—and lots of it. Thank you, Melinda!)

Hotel: Cambria Suites in Green. (Amy kept everything straight even with late changes.)

Music/emcee: Allen Cruz & The Galaxy. (Allen and bandmate Josh Huddleston played live music during the cocktail hour, and Allen’s selections the rest of the evening kept the dance floor full all night. So much fun!)

If you’re planning for a big event in your life, I would recommend each vendor without hesitation. We will savor a lifetime of great memories because of them.

Thank you, all!
—Rich Desrosiers

The ‘80s: You and me, babe, HEY HEY

Def Leppard! Guns N’ Roses! U2! If I’m in my car, the ‘80s music is blaring. And the kids are complaining. “Dad, this is so lame.” “Can we PLEASE listen to something modern?” “Why can’t Mom take us to soccer?”

I don’t care. My car, my music. That’s the rules in our little part of Plain Township.

I think it’s an extremely fair rule. My wife rolls her eyes at this, although it should be noted here that while she only is about two months younger than me, her musical tastes seem to predate me by two decades. We generally don’t hear ‘80s classics in her car, either.

Which is fine. Her car, her music.

Again, a fine rule for which I cannot take credit. It goes way back to when I was a child, twirling around Wapakoneta in my parents’ Aerostar minivan. Guess what was on the car radio then?

Creedence. The Who. The Beatles. My dad’s favorites.

My brothers complained. (They complained about everything.) I just enjoyed the tunes, though. And they were good ones. That’s why the classic rock stations (which seem to play ‘80s stuff about half the time nowadays anyway) are also in my rotation. The person who tries to hit a button on the radio when “Baba O’Riley” is on is liable to find themselves out the door at 60 mph.

Nowadays, when the complaints start, I suggest the whiners stay quiet and just listen to the lyrics.

“This is good stuff. It was so cool when I was your age.”

Except when the 9-year-old girl hears Def Leppard belt out “Pour Some Sugar on Me” then asks what it means.

OK, let’s turn off the radio for a while.

—Scott Brown


Need a vacation from a vacation

This is the year and the summer I’ve been dreading. I knew it was coming one of these years. It is here now.

Our home, which was built in 2003 by the original owner, was purchased in 2008. It isn’t very old. Our kitchen is the focal point of the home. It is about 550 square feet, including the added breakfast room. I’m not sure why it’s called a breakfast room. No one has ever eaten breakfast in there.

The reason why nothing has been upgraded in the kitchen? It’s 550 square feet. We’re not talking pocket change to redo anything. We’re talking vacation savings and then some.

I was talked into—told—it is time to upgrade the kitchen. I’ll be taking a vacation to do this. Why not? The kind of money we’re talking to remodel the kitchen isn’t leaving anything for a vacation. My vacation will be a nice cold beverage in the new kitchen when it’s all done.

The entire project is adding up quickly.

New flooring.

New backsplash.

New counters.

Because you know who is doing most of the work, well me and a friend who has carpenter skills, we are saving a great deal of money on replacing the kitchen. The counters are being installed by the professionals.

When did things become so expensive? Or have they always been that way?

I wonder … did it cost about six grand in 1960 to remodel a kitchen? My inflation calculator tells me it would have cost about $800. Ah, the good ol’ days.

And that brings me to the minimum wage movement across the country.

What’s going to happen to these prices if minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour? What’s going to happen when people making $15 now want a $7-an-hour raise?

Prices will go up. Fast food value meals will go from $5 to $10. More and more places will rely on technology to sell merchandise.

So maybe I should install this kitchen now.

My $6,000 is going to be more valuable sooner rather than later.

—Todd Porter