Who Are These People?

The panhandler situation in Tampa is getting even worse this year. They are getting bolder, hungrier, and more “persuasive.” No, I’m not talking about homeless people.

I’m talking about droves of “charity” workers. Who are these people? They come in two main varieties around our part of town:

  • women dressed in some sort of funky 1940’s nursing uniforms with buckets and no indication of their charity
  • men in shirts and ties with buckets marked “Help Homeless Children of America”

Let’s start with what I know about the situation. They used to be satisfied to walk up and down the median. No longer good enough, they walk up the middle of double turn lanes and don’t get out of the way so you zoom past them at 45 mph with 9″ to spare to get through a long light. They frequently walk in front of your hood and stare you down. They will walk right up to your window and look in to see if your peripheral vision is broken. Regarding the first group mentioned, two weeks ago I witnessed a collector who was glad to stay put in the median, however she was clapping, singing, and turning in circles. Yeah… I’m giving you money.

Secondly, what homeless kids in America need donations on the street like this? Homeless children are accompanied by their parents or are considered orphans. Have orphanages sunk this low for raising money? Homeless children are almost always going to be in a shelter with one or more parent or they are in the foster care system because their parents are homeless and our government cares so much about kids that they won’t allow them to sleep on the streets with their parents. So don’t give me this bull about the money in your bucket going to homeless children in America. What’s the money really going to be spent on? Your salary? Your spiritual leader’s 3rd car or second divorce? I’d like to see your 501(c) and your financials.

The mayor needs to put an end to these types of fund-raising. I know you can’t stop all of the homeless people and people on hard times, but these organized groups of 2, 4, and 8 collectors has got to stop.

Modern Day Street Urchins

Street CollectorOn any given day on my way home, if I take city streets I pass three to eight intersections with various people collecting money from the raised concrete medians and spreading out like ants among the cars at a red light. What else would you call these people collecting money for ambiguous or unknown “charities?” This man looks quite official compared to most of the urchins in Tampa, despite his ambiguous identification.

We are not talking about firemen with boots, nuns in full regalia, or a big Ronald McDonald. We know about Salvation Army standing outside Wal-mart at Christmas and the Girl Scouts selling their cookies. Those are established charities who have earned the trust and recognition of the public and do not (most of the time) approach you or attempt to overtly solicit your funds.

Almost all of these urchins’ actions convey that they think that merely wearing a button-down shirt and tie in the hot summer heat with a box or bucket gives them the right to incite guilt for not rolling down your window. Looking the other way doesn’t work — they will enter your line of sight. I have seen them walk up to cars with open windows and convertibles with the tops down and try to persuade the drivers.

Here are a few of the examples of charities and “beggars” I have witnessed:
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Rainy Season Is Here

When we moved to Florida 13 years ago (Gosh!!!! Has it been that long?), we jumped into a full-tilt rainy season the first summer here. What constitutes normal? Rain, rain, and more rain, almost every day during the summer.

I call summer as any day in May through November here. There may be the odd day that is actually a comfortable mix of temperature and humidity slapped in there somewhere (usually a work day), but those are few and far between after May. When I walk outside in the morning to go to work at 4:45 am, the temperature is usually between 75 and 82 degrees with 90-99% humidity. Basically, it’s a deodorant check right off the bat, “yup, I’m covered.” Somewhere between 10 am and and 8 pm it is supposed to rain somewhere in the area for some amount of time. Every single day, unless there is a high pressure front pushing things away.

The last 3 years or so have been gradually drier and less normal, until most ponds and lakes are showing visibly lower water levels. That all changed the weekend, as it has rained somewhere in the Tampa Bay area between Clearwater and Lakeland every day without fail. It’s so cool to see rain on our retention pond and lightning in the distance. My favorite lightning is the completely black sky at night with the cloud to cloud lightning that reveals the clouds that were previously unseen.

I think it’s time to start taking weather photos. What is the weather like in your neck of the woods?

*Update* New Closing Date

Now that the title company called to schedule our closing, we were given a few options for closing times. We opted for closing on Thursday the 29th in the afternoon, so I could get a full day’s work in and then take all of Friday off to do errands to prepare for moving. Wouldn’t it be great to have the shelves in the garage in place for our stuff when our moving help is there on Saturday?

I’ll take Friday and Monday off and we’ll do our best to get situated. If anyone wants to come help, we’ll take care of the food and refreshments.