Entries tagged with “Safeway”.


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Many of the blacktail deer around Mitchell cabin appear to have large sores on the inside of a back leg. If they were indeed sores, that would be worrisome. What is going on? Do their knees bump against each other when they run? As it turns out, all’s well. It’s just a matter of deer being able to do things we humans would never try.

In this photo of deer-turkey Siamese twins I posted a few weeks back, the spot on the deer’s left hind leg looks downright bloody. But as I have now read on a whitetail hunting website, what we’re seeing is not a sore but a tuft of hair whose purpose is to catch urine for the deer’s “tarsal gland”:

“Each hair is associated with an enlarged sebaceous or ‘fat’ gland that secretes an oily material that coats the hair. When a [squatting] deer ‘rub-urinates’ — allowing urine to soak the tarsal gland —  the oily secretions absorb certain compounds in the urine. Studies have shown a diverse population of different species of bacteria living in the tuft of hair that makes up the tarsal gland. These bacteria interact with the compounds from urine in a way that creates the characteristic color and odor.

“Does, bucks and even fawns rub-urinate year-round, but bucks do it more often in the breeding season, which is why the stain and odor of a buck’s tarsal gland is more prominent during the rut. Changes in the composition of a buck’s urine also likely contribute. Older, more dominant bucks tend to rub-urinate more frequently, so the stained area is larger. In some cases, the stain extends down the inside of each leg.

“The exact mix of bacteria is unique from deer to deer, which may give each deer a unique scent that other deer can recognize. This scent is likely deposited in scrapes when a deer rub-urinates and urine flows over the tarsal gland onto the ground. It is likely tarsal-gland scent carries information about the dominance status, sex, health condition and possibly other characteristics of the deer it came from.”

A tarsal gland on a whitetail deer.

Turning to other oddities, I’ve had two recently at the Safeway in San Anselmo’s Red Hill Shopping Center. The first occurred around the beginning of the year on a day I was driving my backup car, a 28-year-old Nissan, to give it some exercise. I parked in Safeway’s lot, but when I later tried to drive away, the battery was dead. A neighboring driver let me attach jumper cables to his battery, but it did no good. I thanked the man and went looking for a phone to call AAA.

I don’t own a cellphone, and there was no payphone to be found. Luckily a friendly woman in a real estate office let me use their phone, and I called AAA but got a dispatcher in God knows what part of the world. After I explained I needed a tow operator to get my car started, I told her it was a white, 1992 Nissan with its hood open, parked in front of the Red Hill Safeway in San Anselmo.

“Is Safeway a store?” the dispatcher wanted to know. “Yes,” I told her. “It’s a supermarket.”

“What state is San Anselmo in?” I told her “California.”

“What’s the street address….?” The dispatcher went on and on like this as the woman in the real estate office rolled her eyes. Finally the dispatcher told me a tow truck would come by in 45 minutes to an hour and a half.  I groaned, thanked the woman in the real estate office, and the tow truck was there in 10 minutes. The call took almost that long.

More bizarre yet, while in the same store one day last week, I went into the men’s room and entered a stall only to have a metal panel that formed the main wall of the cubicle fall over on me. I was startled but not hurt, and I subsequently informed a store clerk that the men’s room needed attention.

The deer, at least, never have to worry about such mishaps.

A tip of the hat to Safeway Inc. for demonstrating that even corporate chains can be good guys.

As I explained in a March 31 posting: on Feb. 22, I bought $3.67 worth of Asian chicken wings from the deli counter of the San Anselmo Safeway store, thinking the spicy wings would make a good snack on my way back over the hill to West Marin.

The fried wings seemed tender enough, but when I bit into one, I felt a sharp pain in my lower jaw. I checked and discovered the wing had been sitting in the warming tray so long that the bottom side had become rock hard. Biting into it was like biting into a pebble.

When the pain stayed with me, I went to my dentist, who took an x-ray and confirmed the tooth had fractured at the gum line. He removed the top half of the tooth and referred me to an oral surgeon to remove the root and begin the process of replacing it with an implant. By now I’m well on my way to getting an implant, with the process expected to last eight months and cost more than $4,600.

As soon as I’d had my first dental appointment, I told the store manager what had happened, and he said it was store policy to make customers whole in such matters. He told me to provide a written account of the incident. I also gave Safeway the dentists’ estimates.

It took three months for Safeway Inc. to process my claim, but a week ago Safeway sent me a check covering my losses. From time to time, most people find themselves in unpleasant dealings with large institutions, so I was pleased to discover Safeway behaving the way one would hope.

 

The debacles began on Feb. 22 when I bought $3.67 worth of Asian chicken wings from the deli counter of the San Anselmo Safeway store. I thought the spicy wings would make a good snack on my way back over the hill to West Marin.

The fried wings seemed tender enough, but when I bit into one, I felt a sharp pain in my lower jaw. I checked and discovered the wing had been sitting in the warming tray so long that the bottom side had become rock hard. Biting into it was like biting into a pebble.

When the pain stayed with me, I went to my dentist, who took an x-ray and confirmed the tooth had fractured at the gum line. He removed the top half of the tooth and referred me to an oral surgeon to remove the root and start me on the way to getting a new tooth implanted. That will take about seven months and cost about $4,500, I was told.

On March 16, the oral surgeon removed the root and sent me home with a mouth full of gauze. The surgeon’s office is in Novato, and I decided to drive home by way of San Rafael. As I was passing the sound barrier just north of downtown, however, the engine on my Acura suddenly died. I managed to coast into the slow lane and turned on my blinkers.

My car had just enough momentum to reach the Heatherton Avenue offramp but not enough to make it around the corner at the bottom. Fortunately, a San Rafael policeman came along and used his patrolcar to push my Acura around the corner to a safe spot.

AAA then towed the car to Easy Automotive a few blocks away, but it was already closed for the day.

Unable to reach my girlfriend Lynn Axelrod by phone, I rented a car and drove home.

The next day Easy Auto called to say rainwater had gotten into the computer that controls the engine, and that, in turn, had also ruined the fuel pump.

Heavy storms are annual events in West Marin. Flooding from a storm three years ago blocked my drive down Mesa Road in Point Reyes Station.

Replacing the fuel pump was not a problem, but my 1992 Acura is so old replacement computers are not available from the dealership, and it took a week of calling around to find a wrecking yard that had one. For awhile I feared I might have to replace the entire car.

The repairs cost $1,600, and when they were done, I was still stuck with the problem of water getting to my engine. To solve that, I called Teeters & Schacht in Novato, a shop that specializes in such work, and the owner told me to bring in the car.

On Wednesday, I headed off to Novato but didn’t get beyond the bottom of my driveway. Something felt wrong, and when I stopped to check, a brand-new tire was flat. Fortunately, Greenbridge Auto in Point Reyes Station was able to fix it relatively quickly, and I resumed my trip.

After I left my car in Novato (with a $500 estimate for repairs), Lynn drove me home where I discovered that my computer was in its death throws. Steve Bowers, a computer techie from Inverness, made repeated attempts to revive it, and finally we agreed I needed a new computer.

Computer technician Steve Bowers installing my new iMac.

That required another trip over the hill, where I spent $1,600 at Best Buy for a new iMac. Yesterday evening, Steve began installing its software and transferring backup files from an external hard drive. He came back today to install more and is scheduled to return yet again to finish the job.

Meanwhile, my car is still in the shop. Including the cost of a computer technician, I’m spending more than $8,500 to get things back to normal. And — worst of all — my posting is late this week. My only hope is that Safeway will reimburse me for my dental work. The store manager said I will be “made whole” but was startled when I told him that will take more than $4,000. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

While all this has been going on, we residents of Campolindo Drive have gotten into a scrap with our garbage company, Redwood Empire Disposal. The garbage trucks have been doing so much damage to the turnaround at the end of our private road it looks like Libyan tanks have been maneuvering on the pavement.

Each week one or two large garbage trucks lays waste to the asphalt while turning around at the end of Campolindo Drive. In what seems like extortion to me, Redwood Empire Disposal is threatening to cut off garbage pickups along the road unless residents agree to let the damage continue while promising not to sue.

When one neighbor complained, Redwood wrote all of us, “Our trucks are quite heavy, and the maneuvering of the tires does sometimes cause damage to the roads.”

The company acknowledged, “Redwood Empire Disposal does have small garbage trucks. However, these trucks are reserved for use on county-maintained roads that are too small to handle our regular trucks…

“If possible, we will offer private roads the service of the smaller truck for a special service fee. Unfortunately, at this time we do not have a small truck available to service your private road.” Assuming Redwood someday gets around to buying another garbage truck, doesn’t this sound like protection money? Pay a special fee or we’ll damage your road!

Redwood concludes by saying that unless all eight homeowners along Campolindo Drive sign letters saying they won’t sue the company for the damage it has caused and is causing, it won’t pick up our garbage — unless we haul it to Highway 1.

Not only would that be a long haul for most of us, it could result in a line of 24 garbage bins along a section of highway that has no shoulder. In West Marin, it’s common to see recently emptied garbage bins that have blown over. In this case, they could easily be blown into a traffic lane of Highway 1. The situation would be neither safe nor sightly, and Redwood Empire’s financial liability for any traffic accidents its row of bins causes could be hundreds of times greater than the cost of fixing its damage to our road.

Since the Marin County Board of Supervisors franchises Redwood Empire to pick up garbage around here, we’re waiting to see if our supervisor, Steve Kinsey, will help us out. I doubt residents along Campolindo Drive are alone in having this problem with Redwood Empire Disposal. I’ll keep you posted about this too.

All this could get a person down, so the trick is to appreciate its absurdity. Write a wry posting or entertain the crowd at the Old Western Saloon.