Devil's Head Diary


Carolyn Wiley

Blue-Tarp Beautification and Appliance Migration

People lucky enough to reside in areas of great beauty are naturally inspired to delve into artistic expression. The side effect is that, per capita, people in the Puget Sound area spend more time on the fine arts, literature and cultural entertainment than in any of the contiguous states. This investment in leisure pursuits is only exceeded by their investment in boats, but that is understandable—just look around.

The desire to make things more beautiful affects the way Puget Sounders take care of their stuff. For instance, a November wind sends a limb through your roof, requiring an immediate, albeit temporary, fix. Right away, you go to into beautification mode. After all, you can’t do much about a hole in the roof until the rains stop—say in mid-May or later. So, you head out to Home Depot and invest in the universal fix. Even if you don’t get around to fixing the roof in the dry season, it’s no problem—blue tarps usually last a couple of years. You have to admit that a cheery flash of color gleaming through the trees on a dreary winter day lifts the spirits of all who pass by.

Curiously, blue-tarp beautification is prevalent in areas affected by the magnetic forces that are released by sun flares. The magnetic phenomenon, known as appliance migration, usually starts with small things, like toaster ovens and such. These small appliances begin to congregate and, if left unattended, the combined magnetic energy intensifies until hot-water tanks and stoves are pulled right out of the house and into the front yard. The stuff may sit there ignored and exposed to the elements until the magnetism becomes so strong that the whole pile trundles over to be with the old cars behind the barn. Since the pile of stuff seldom grows after installation of a blue tarp, we can assume that blue tarps act as some kind of magnetic shield.

One of my friends was telling me about some new arrivals who had just bought a place on the Key. They were asked what attracted them to the area. The newcomers explained that it was because they were impressed with the number of swimming pools that showed up in the satellite view on their Google search.

Although I’m a fan of local beautification efforts, I had never considered the economic impact that a few well-placed blue tarps could have on neighborhood property values.

Perhaps it is about time for us to start showing a bit more appreciation and respect for all the blue-tarp people who go the extra mile to enhance the image of our Peninsula.

I feel inspired to invest in some backyard boat beautification myself.

Carolyn Wiley lives in Longbranch.