Saturday, January 05, 2008

Questions for Daisy Jo

It might of kind of be called a meme, but I don't really know what that means. The United States is a very big place but surprisingly to me, I have only ever connected with one blogger in the United States. Yes, my blog is a bit parochial, so I guess that is to be expected.

There is one who I feel I have connected with and I clearly recall how I came across her, so I shall lay upon her the responsibility to answer a few questions.

She has a gorgeous house, without it being grand, and lives in Ohio. At some point, I am saving it, I shall slip in 'down by the banks, of the old Ohio', but the time hasn't been right yet. She doesn't post quite as often now since she 'picked up', but no matter, she is still lovely.

So Daisy Jo,

Is politics relevant to you? Do you keep up with the election news?

How many people live in your town?

Does it have a Walmart? (Is this the status symbol of a US town?)

Do you shop in a multinational supermarket? Like a large company one?

Is it hot in your town in Ohio in the summer? What temp is a killer hot day? Do you have cooling airconditioning?

Which public utility company annoys you the most? Electric? Gas? Oil? Phone?

You must have central heating and a boiler/furnace. Is it fuelled by oil or gas? Is that your hot water heating system too?

Does your heating heat your whole house? (Here we can manage with just heating the living area in winter)

My council rates, that is the local government authority, are around AU$1,000, equivalent to $US880. Do you pay similar to some government authority?

Has there ever been street cars in your town? Is the public bus service decent? Is there a railway? Can you go to New York from your town by train?

Do you have a vacuum cleaner or a central vacuum system.

Do you get paid monthly or fortnightly. I would guess monthly. By cheque or bank deposit?

I reckon most of my Aussie readers would be quite interested in the answers if you have time. I am.

6 comments:

  1. Well now, this won't be a short comment, will it?

    As a younger woman in college, I was actively involved in politics. I worked on campaigns, going door-to-door passing out literature, etc. As I've aged, I've become jaded, but my work is tied to the outcome of some political races, so I keep up with things but not as closely as I did when I was younger.

    The last census of my town was taken in 2000 and at that time, the city's population was a little over 35,000. I would imagine it is closer to 45,000 now with the addition of new subdevelopments (residential housing areas). The county has many small villages within a 10 minute drive, which was the equivalent of a day's buggy ride back in the 1800's. I grew up outside a small village called Sugar Grove, and the population of that village is about 600.

    Lancaster does not have a Walmart open yet, although the building is built and will be opening soon. Walmart is obviously the most heard-of all American stores; while the prices are low, Walmart has a reputation for not offering its full-time employees insurance benefits. Walmart is also known for putting many small companies out of business because of the low prices; after all the competition is driven out, the prices are raised. I am not happy about our having a Walmart opening soon; I am not alone.

    Our town has four grocery stores; two of one national chain(Kroger), one of another national chain (Meijer) and one independent company which has two other stores in Ohio. Aside from the grocery stores, we have one butcher's shop, but no bakeries or fresh market (which I find appalling.)

    Summer season in Ohio begins June 21 and ends September 21st, as with all other US towns. The average summer temperature is 29c, which is 85 for us. I would consider it blazing hot when our temps reach into the range of 32c to 37c, which is about as high as the temperature reaches here (between 90 and 100f.)

    I do have air conditioning. It is a central air unit, attached to my furnace. Some folks here only have window units that cool just one room, and they consider central air a luxury. My furnace is fueled by gas, as well as my water heater. My electric is individually billed, but the local utility company combines the others: gas, water, sewer, and trash. The Lancaster Utility Company is the only company to offer service in town and is privately owned; the other utility companies are publicly owned and governed by the PUCO, which regulate them for price-gouging, etc. Since the local company is private, there is no regulation on their pricing, and I would not be the only resident of the city to proclaim them giant "wankers", to borrow one of your words.

    Because of the low temperatures in the winter (-12 to around 1), our whole houses are heated to keep plumbing pipes from exploding. Because of the prices, I have my utilities on a budget and pay $175 every month of the year. My total utility expense, including cable, is about $400 per month.

    Oh taxes! Do I pay them! Most taxes are taken directly from our pays. Annually, I pay $1120 (USD, and I don't know the conversion) in local taxes. I also pay $834 in property taxes per year for the ownership of my home. With the exception of a couple of states, every state has a sales tax on purchased goods, other than food, and that amount varies depending on the city where one lives. Our rate is 6.25%. I also pay $931 to the state, and about $3000 to the federal government. Other than the sales tax, the amount of tax paid is based on the amount of money one earns.

    Once upon a time, we had street cars and a train station. Those days are long gone. The closest train station for interstate travel is three hours away, so I'd still have to have a car to get there. There is no public bus system in our town, although larger cities do. Our one taxi company is privately owned and horrible; it takes about a hour for a taxi to arrive when called. I've only ever had to do it once to pick my car up from the repair shop. If you don't have a car here, you're walking!

    I suppose there are some newer houses here with central vacuum. Most people, myself included, drag the machine out of the closet once a week. My house was built in 1950, so no luxuries like that here. I don't have a dishwasher either.

    I had to Google "fortnightly" to be able to tell if that meant twice a month or biweekly. The Freshman is paid twice a month, while I am paid fortnightly. I would prefer to be paid either monthly or twice monthly on set dates, but I don't get a say. Money is deposited into my bank account. It's been so long since I had actual cash that I've forgotten what it's like. Back in my waitressing days, I always had pockets-ful of crinkly tips. ~sigh~ I miss those days.

    Whew! That was fun!

    (I consider myself properly chided and will begin posting more frequently, now that the holidays are over.)

    And thank you for your comment on my loveliness. I feel quite lucky to have encountered you on the world-wide web, and cordially invite you for a visit if you ever happen this way.

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  2. Dictionary.com advises: a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes. I liken it more to a TV interview (probably some wish fulfilment on my part there!)

    Great set of questions and also response from DaisyJo. We get a terrific idea of local life from your blog, Andrew, but rendered in a way that makes it universally applicable. A fine slice of life from both of you.

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  3. Fantastic Daisy Jo. Many questions arise but I will think about them. Btw, fortnightly is once every two weeks, which is better than twice monthly.

    Thanks for your words Lad. I genuinely wanted to know.

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  4. I was worried there may be a few things that wouldn't translate. Feel free to ask away.

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  5. Pretty well got it really Daisy Jo. With some quick mental gymnastics, I would say you pay less tax than we do.

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  6. Very interesting reading, great idea Andrew :-)

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