Each year when we flip the calendar from June to July, there are some things we expect to run out of.
Patience with state politicians who refuse to go home? The needle’s on empty, brother.
Air conditioners, fans and other items to help take the edge off the impending Heatpocalypse/Warmageddon? The shelves are empty, sister.
Money in our Good to Go account? And the blood plasma and scrap metal we usually sell to help pay for the annual Narrows Bridge toll increase? Long gone, friends.
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But we always assumed the 253 would forever be flush with one commodity.
Tacoma is not a wealthy city, but we’ve always been affluent when it comes to effluent.
Suddenly, however, we find ourselves in shallow doo doo, faced with a shortage of an essential resource on a scale rivaling the Irish Potato Famine or the 1970s Energy Crisis.
To be precise, we’ve exhausted our supply of Tacoma Grow, better known as Tagro.
The city has cranked out this environment-friendly, award-winning blend of sand, sawdust and biosolids since 1992. The compost is nutrient-rich, safe, affordable and — best of all, for a nostalgic sniffer like ours — evocative of the old Tacoma aroma.
Tagro has lately diversified into yard products including something called Aged Black Bark, which sounds like a Brown and Haley Roca confection.
But this year, for the first time ever, the scoop-it-yourself pile of free Tagro at the plant on Portland Avenue is gone.
“We’ve been down to zero inventory before, but this is the first time we’ve had to shut the gates,” Dan Thompson, the Tagro program manager, told us this week.
The pooh-bahs hope to replenish the stockpile by early July.
Keep your fingers crossed.
Olympia has its signature artesian wells and timeless theme song: “It’s the water.”
Tacoma’s claim to fame is no less emblematic of who we are.
It’s the wastewater … and a lot more.
Keep it moving, people: The Tagro problem, Thompson said, is twofold:
No. 1: Local folks did lots of gardening and planting this spring.
No. 2: There isn’t enough of it. Number two, that is.
“If you guys would just eat a higher-fiber diet, that would solve the problem,” Thompson said, only half joking.
So it’s time for each of us to do our part by sitting down on the job.
If that doesn’t do the trick, the city might start importing undigested sludge from the city of Yelm and waste byproducts from the Darigold dairy in Chehalis, Thompson said.
What about the thousands of visitors who were in the area last week, staying in hotels and watching professional golf? They came, they saw, they flushed, right?
Indeed they did, Thompson said.
“Flows were up a little bit (during the golf championship),” he said, “but that won’t be translated into Tagro for 15 to 20 days.”
So shame on us for doubting the local politicians. They were right when they promised the U.S. Open was the gift that keeps on giving.
Oh, no, not Seagro! Friend of the Schnoz Tim Pavolka brought the shortage to our attention this month when he drove his trailer down for a load of Tagro and was turned away.
Our crud is the “crown jewel” of Northwest landscaping products, Tim said.
And Tacoma’s loss could be Seattle’s gain, if we’re not vigilant. The northlanders already stole Russell Investments and the University of Puget Sound law school. Could “Seagro” be their next heist?
They’re definitely full of you-know-what up there.
More news from your toilet: A UPS chemistry professor and his students are going where other scientists fear to tread. Dan Burgard is using more than $120,000 in federal funding for a three-year analysis of marijuana traces found in wastewater collected at two sewage treatment plants.
Sounds like a creative way to administer a community-wide drug test while avoiding the middleman. And specimen cups.
To protect the integrity of the research, UPS wouldn’t tell us whether Burgard is taking sewage samples in Tacoma.
If he is, we wonder if it’ll be hard to separate the pot from all the meth down there.
Give us this day our yearly bread: We left sad and hungry a couple weeks ago after the annual Sound to Narrows run.
Tacoma-based Roman Meal was the event’s title sponsor, as usual, and the Centurion was there to offer runners moral support. But the company’s bread chariots were MIA.
A Sound to Narrows spokeswoman tells us Roman Meal didn’t distribute its traditional free bags of bread because of its recent downsizing and partial corporate sale. (And that wasn’t the real Centurion; it was a volunteer in a borrowed costume.)
We’re told to expect a different title sponsor next year. Sniff.
But here’s a can’t-miss replacement idea: free bags of Tagro!