Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Five hundred meters from home, we turn the last corner onto our street. It's been a long day, the kids are tired and grumpy, just holding  that last hot dog and cotton candy in their stomachs by a thin barrier of determination not to puke in Grandpa's car. The rides were fun, the swimming a blast, the heat, almost unbearable, and the sun blinding and punishing. And we're so close to home.

"Don't forget," I say, wearily pointing to the far side of the road, too bushed to actually complete the thought. My husband knows, anyway. The road is much smoother on the opposite side of the road. So long as there is no oncoming traffic. But today, there is.

And why? Because this is the summer they finally fixed our pathetic little park and added an honest-to-god play structure to the sandy lot next to the forty year old slide and swing set. It's a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. If you don't mind hordes of screaming preschoolers, parents tossing their gum wrappers and cigarette butts in the ditch or after-hours teens spray painting the corner store and backs of the neighbors' garages all to graffittied shit.

We never really did get a tally on the amount of money spent on this fantastic new park of ours. We did notice we got about a third the features the planners promised, twice the traffic, half the maintenance, and organizers knocking on our door three times a year asking if we'd like to volunteer in the concession,  watch for and snitch on the delinquents setting fires in the garbage bins.

We also noticed that the sorry state of our little suburban road to our house changed from pitted and dangerous to downright death-defying almost overnight. So when do they come in and fix that, I wonder? Or was that what they were doing when they took down the leaning Neighborhood Watch sign and replaced it with no parking signs for soccer moms to ignore?

On a less ranty note: The last book from my Ageless series has been released at last and is available from Pink Petal Books.

Series Blurb:
In a world disintegrating under the weight of too many people, the Ageless men and women are finding their lifespan stretching well beyond normal, and discovering they have abilities never before documented. When children are few and far between, and people find they can shift to animal form with a thought, the rift between those doomed to age and die and those who seem ageless is growing. 

Morgan has taken advantage of this rift to seize control of the central nervous system of the world's social structure and make his bid for world domination. It's up to Mikko and Ken and their small band of friends to stop the takeover even as they struggle on a much more personal level to find love and balance with one another.

 Book Blurb:
 Mikko's life is turned upside down when his old mentor, Morgan infiltrates his mind and forces him to hurt the lover he's been trying to save. The attack leaves them both broken and uncertain, and Ken decides leaving is the only way to save Mikko more pain. Accompanied by friends who seem to have designs on something more, ken sets out on a quest to find Morgan and stop him.

Old friends and new lovers are all the pair have to sustain them on their individual journeys. There's no telling if they'll ever find the peace they seek for the world, or for themselves.


Faith said...

Well, at least you got a swing set. In our neck of the woods, we're lucky to get a street or park bench, lol.

Anthology Authors said...

You know, Jaime, we live near three schools (elementary, jr. high and HS). The traffic is horrendous during school. A few things would help it:

1. Enforcement of traffic laws -- this would do wonders for it;

2. A few strategically placed speed bumps -- not that I like them, but it would force drivers to slow down;

3. Drop older kids off farther away and let them walk. A little bit of exercise wouldn't hurt them;

4. Don't stop in the middle of the road in front of the school to drop your child off, and then proceed to chat with them for another 5-10 minutes. Finish your conversations ahead of time.

There is a group wanting to create a "Safe Routes to School" here. Their plan includes:

1. a stoplight at the end of our already too busy street. That should really help traffic. Um, no.

2. making two of the streets one way and tearing out half of the park down the street to do it. O.o

3. putting a stoplight at another intersection rather than just regulating the number of kids crossing the street. The stoplight would be overkill. The kids just need to be taught etiquette. Yeah, I know. Good luck!

All of these ideas were the brain child of people who don't live right here and wouldn't be affected by any of it. When we protested, one had the audacity to call us NIMBYs. (Not in My Backyard) Easy to say when it doesn't affect him. He was some professor at a local university who tried to throw his academic weight around. It didn't work. I don't give a rat's ass if he has a PhD in something, that doesn't make him smart. (g)


Jaime Samms said...

But you have that view, Faith!!!! My kids love country living, but they are involved in too many extra curricular things to make that feasible right now, so suburbia it is...

We're also at about the center point of thee elementary schools, Marci, and a college. Traffic can get pretty bad. I've seen cars go through the four way stop three houses down from us (at the end of the park, no less) without even slowing, never mind stopping. There are six houses on the block where I live, with a convenience store and the park across the road from us, and I've seen people speed from one stop sign to the next, getting up to probably about forty km/h in those...what...? 500 feet? Idiots.

Anthology Authors said...

It's the same here, Jaime. People will peel out, accelerate to God knows how fast to the stop sign that's maybe a couple hundred yards. It's rare people will completely blow through the stop signs, but they roll them all of the time. I've even had someone roll through the crosswalk and stop sign and almost hit DD's stroller while she was in it. (This was four or five years ago.) The woman didn't even look at us. I wanted to take a crowbar and smash her window in. Maybe she would've see us then.

Fiona McGier said...

On my block there is a stop sign at the end of it, and a grade school across the street. People almost always roll through the stop sign as if it says, "Slow down a little, hesitate as if you were checking, then roll right on through." When my kids were still in strollers I used to glare at people, daring them to keep on rolling through right in front of me. I'd go so far as to smack on the back of their cars if they did, and when they stopped, in a panic, I'd yell at them to get off the damn phone and pay attention in a school zone!

Jaime Samms said...

I just think people in cars have a bloated sense of their own importance when they're driving around. It's like that commercial, with the woman in line acting like a fool and getting in people's faces, and the caption at the end is "If you wouldn't behave that way out of your car, why would you drive that way" or something. I think people seem to just forget the basic tenants of good behavior, sometimes...

Anthology Authors said...


Did you ever see that Goofy cartoon? The one where he's fine until he gets behind the wheel of his car and he turns into a psycho? That fits a lot of people, I think. (g)