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Summertime and there's always some damn thing...

It’s hair day. The day I get up and look in the mirror at my graying roots and wonder what would happen if I just let it go. Then I climb down from the ledge and go get the roots done. Despite having very short hair, I am in the market for a new style even if my options are limited to a buzz cut or a wig. C’est la vie! I’ll let my hairdresser run wild. Maybe purple is in my future!

Purple is big in Sarasota. We have a huge purple performance venue, the Van Wezel Center, that’s in the center of a local tizzy. Developers and our City and County Councils seem to be on the verge of bulldozing it in favor or a new edifice costing $350 million (plus overruns) that we taxpayers will be on the hook for. Some things never change.

Like our local government. Our big election is August when, believe me, the only people in town will be me, Robin and anyone else with poor planning skills. Our intrepid Councillors have never met a development that doesn’t meet with their approval (see above), even if no one else wants it. We are getting a huge Mote Marine Aquarium (ok, that’s nice—and well sited out near I-75) and a massive mixed use downtown shopping complex (The Quay I think is the current name). Penthouse condos topping out over $10 million (now considered chump change in our market) and plenty of retail space.

There must be great tax advantages in retail space because we have oodles of it here in Sarasota and a good chunk of it resembles the vast and endless Sahara (unpopulated). Pink (literally) elephant shopping centers from the eighties, echo filled malls being “remarketed” as fulfillment or medical centers while our “mallplex” the UTC mall seems to be building out a location for every retail outlet in the country.

One of the newest national chains to open is Top Golf, which advertises the opportunity to eat, drink and putt. This sounds like a great idea to me as it eliminates the really hard part of golf, the approach shot. That’s the hit where you try to get your ball anywhere as long as it’s close enough to the green to use your putter (the only mostly safe club to hit). It’s a challenging shot because the course designer has spent months trying to set up the holes so that you have to go over raging rivers and cavernous sand pits to keep you away from the green. Of course, the prize that awaits you when you do hit the green (if you don’t roll off into the aforementioned sand and water) is usually a irregularly shaped 30 x 50 foot surface with grass an exact one millimeter in height and NO FLAT SPOT.

Grass is a problem at my house. When I told the landscape people I didn’t want to have to mow grass they suggested this neat stuff called Zoysia Tenuifolia. It grows in small clumps and never gets tall enough to merit mowing. When things go well, it is lush and green and so soft looking that you just want to rub your hand over it. Or steal it, which is what happened a lot when it was planted. After a couple years, we’ve learned about irrigation, fertilizer and the general inability of most garden guys to get it right. We’re on our fourth gardener after four years and again, hoping for the best and expecting, God, more head banging. I’m ready to toss a load of river rock out there and be done with it.

Of course, getting anyone to deliver a load of anything is dicey in Florida right now. School will be starting NEXT WEEK and every truck driver will be picking up extra hours driving the school buses or waiting at the newly implemented detours that impact every major thoroughfare. The biggest joke in town is a neon road sign reading “temporary” detour. I get to visit new neighborhoods on every trip. It’s especially fun to try to explain to the gate guards that Wayz insists I traverse their community.

Maybe they’d take me more seriously if I hadn’t dyed the hair purple.

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