Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in

So I know you've all been breathless with anticipation for the next installment of The Development Next Door. I can feel the keen excitement vibrating over the ether. Truly.

But unfortunately, there's really not much to report.

We had a community meeting at the neighborhood church last Wednesday night, which was supposed to be a forum where all the people who live on the street could express their feelings about the proposed re-zoning. I don't know what we were thinking - if you'll recall my last post on the subject, my ineffectual tirade against people who don't care enough to attend a City Council meeting - I don't know why we thought holding another meeting was the answer. Which is a roundabout way of saying nobody came. Or not nobody, exactly, but very few people. The developers came, of course, and brought their lawyer with them, which I didn't think was really in the "neighborhood meeting" spirit, but then, they didn't ask me.

There was much arguing, and much interrupting of each other, but it remained mostly civilized and well-behaved, if with a seething undercurrent of animosity. Our awesome City Councillor had the flu, so it was truly amazing that he even showed up to run the meeting, which he did.

The developers and their lawyer pretty much monopolized the discussion and tried to make the issue that they stood to lose a lot of money if the street was rezoned, and how unfair it was to them to do this. They kept talking about what a nice project it was going to be and how good it would be for the neighborhood ("We're not going to cut down ALL the trees..."). Whether that's true or not, I don't really think that's the issue. Our little street can't support five more townhouses - we don't have the sewer and water resources, we don't have room for the traffic increase, and we can't afford to lose the green space. The whole point of re-zoning the street is to keep ANY future development, no matter how well-intentioned, from happening, because the street (technically, it's not even a street, it's a Lane - we don't even have sidewalks) can't support it.

But this developer couple (it's a husband and wife team - the husband is Chinese and an architect/engineer, I guess, and the wife is Caucasian and a duplicitous pain in the ass) are trying to make people feel sorry for them, because they have been so greviously wronged, you see. The bought the property, which was advertised to them as being Residence B and thus capable of being developed, in good faith, and NO ONE TOLD THEM that the city was thinking about re-zoning it. This despite the numerous flyers I peppered the neighborhood with and the numerous letters the City Councillor has sent out. You see, they don't get the mail there. They bought the property, but they don't live there. They're not ever planning on living there, even if they get to build their five condos. And yet they still have the audacity to address those of us who live on the street as their neighbors.

So anyway. Nothing much was decided or accomplished at this meeting. I said I thought it was disingenuous of the developers to pretend that they were trying to make the neighborhood a better place when what they were really about was making money. The pain-in-the-ass wife said that they would be lucky to make even a very small amount of money on this project, and then later in the meeting the husband let slip that they stood to make in the vicinity of $200,000 in their worst-case scenario. So I guess that's not much money to them.

(Side note: Two people in the neighborhood who are on my "side" in this issue have spoken to me in seperate conversations about the developers and, during the course of the discussion, referred to the husband as "The Chinaman." Each time that happened, all I could think the rest of the conversation was, "Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature...")

The meeting where the City Council has to vote on the re-zoning proposal is December 4th, which is coming up quick. I don't know if anyone else on the street is planning on stepping up and making some noise, but I'm guessing probably not, judging by the lack of attendance at the neighborhood meeting. If people aren't willing to walk half a block to the church to talk about this issue, they're probably not going to write letters or make phone calls to the City Councillors. *sigh*

The other sort of blech thing is that I told our City Councillor that we were probably going to be moving next summer. I felt dishonest not telling him when it's virtually a certainty - a lie of omission, basically. And of course I got all worked up about it and started blubbering when I was talking to him. Poor guy. He had the flu and just wanted to go home and go to bed, and here's me sniffling and snupping and generally getting way too emotional. He was very understanding and said he was sorry to hear that we would be leaving. I tried to tell him what a great public servant I thought he was and just ended up blubbering some more. I hate that I do that. I felt like I was in 10th grade again trying to talk to Mr. Kathan the Scary Physics Teacher about my test grade. Ugh.

So that's that with that. I guess we'll see what happens on the 4th.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fat bottom girls, you make the rockin' world go 'round

This is awesome.

Tell 'em Penn says hi.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thursday night your stockings needed mending

So I've been at this mom gig for almost a year and a half now.

The pay is for shit, but the non-salary benefits are pretty awesome. I don't know about my boss, though. The language barrier's been a big hurdle for us. He's a bit of a tyrant at times, and I'm not sure he appreciates how hard I work for him. He never gives me any kind of feedback on the quality of my work, so I'm always sort of winging it. And the overtime! I feel like I never have a day off.

But I guess I'll keep at it. You know how bad it looks on your resume if you leave a job after only eighteen months.


1. I have cleaned out my jeans pockets while getting undressed to go to bed and found Goldfish cracker crumbs.

2. I have stepped barefoot onto a Lego in my child's darkened room and had to stifle the urge to scream in pain so as not to wake him.

3. I have had my "morning constitutional" with my child sitting on my lap because he won't leave me alone in the bathroom for even a minute.

4. I have found the lost sippy cup rolling around on the floor of the car and opened it to discover days-old milk well on its way to becoming some sort of feta-like cheese.

5. I have spit on a tissue and used it to clean my child's face.

6. I have used the five-second rule to determine whether to allow my child to eat food that's fallen on the floor.

7. I have endured the looks of old ladies in the supermarket while my child throws a screaming tantrum because I won't let him have a particular item (in this case, a balloon. Damn floral department.)

8. I have cleaned up boogers, poop, pee, puke, tears, blood and pretty much any other human effluvium you can think of except for the one that's exclusively the domain of males and we're not even gonna go there because my boy's only a toddler, for Christ's sake.

9. I have sternly told my child, "No!" and then walked into another room to release my stifled giggles because whatever it was he did was incredibly cute, but I didn't want him to see me laugh 'cause that'll just encourage him.

10. I have unapologetically told a disapproving (male) passenger on a plane that it was not within my power whether my child cried or not, but it WAS within his power whether he was a dick or not.


1. I have never yet had the opportunity to say "Because I said so."

2. I have never yet been to the emergency room. For my child, anyway.

3. I have not had to make an asparagus costume for the school play that's tomorrow.

4. I have not had to stay up until 2 a.m. waiting for my child to come home from a party.

5. I have not had to talk to my child about sex, or death, or God.

6. I have not had to teach my child to drive.

7. I have not had to watch my child walk away from me on the first day of kindergarten and resist the powerful urge to grab him up, cradle him in my arms and run shrieking into the wilderness to live like Walt Whitman and hide from the evils of society.

8. I have not had to shush my child while riding public transportation when he asks, "Why is that lady/man/person so fat/dirty/smelly?" and try to quietly explain to him while throwing apologetic smiles at the fat dirty smelly person.

9. I have not had to buy any cookies, candy, wrapping paper or magazines to support my child's sport, school club, or scout troop.

10. I have not had more than one child and have never had to endure the eternal "Mine!" and "He's touching me!" dramas.

I'm sure there's lots more, but ten seemed like a nice round number, and those were the ones I thought of.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don't sleep in the subway, darling

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the results of last week's elections. We didn't exactly stay up til all hours biting our nails and waiting for the results of Virginia and Montana to see if the Democrats would take the Senate in addition to the House, but we did manage to sit through a couple hours of CNN's "America Votes 2006" coverage, which is saying something for us. I can't watch any "real" news anymore without cracking up at the self-important music*, the swooping camera effects, and the pompous commentators. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have finely-tuned their parody/satire/fawning copy of the straight news so well that everything on CNN feels like a joke to me.

I was, however, bummed that Question 1 didn't pass here in the Bay State. Apparently, all the big liquor stores contributed a lot of corporate money to the "No" side of the debate and tried to scare people into thinking their kids would be in mortal danger from all the drunk drivers sure to be on the road after buying their beer at Shaw's, instead of having to WALK NEXT DOOR (oh, the humanity!) and buy it at the drugstore. *sigh* I really don't care too much one way or the other, but it would have been nice to be able to get wine at our Trader Joe's, for pete's sake. Having grown up in a state where they have DRIVE-THROUGH LIQUOR STORES, for the love of christ, I can't see how having wine available at grocery stores is really such a big deal.

I'm glad the Democrats did so well. I don't think they really had as much to do with their victory as the Republicans did, though. I saw Bill Maher on Larry King talking about it, and he put it best:

"What Democrats have to take away from this -- and I think they already have learned this lesson -- is that it wasn't really a victory for you. It reminded me of the World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals didn't really win, the Detroit Tigers lost it. Every game I tuned in, the Tigers were throwing the ball over the infield, over people's heads. The Cardinals just stood on the field and won.

That's sort of where the Democrats are. Let's see if you can win an election against a party that hasn't disgraced itself so horribly in every single way a party could disgrace itself."

When we found out Rumsfeld had resigned, KB and I actually high-fived each other. As if we had something to do with it. Like when your favorite sports team beats a rival and you say, "We won!" You didn't do anything. Your team won and you watched them, that's all.

But I'm still happy.

Thanks for reading.

*Have you seen "Broadcast News"? If you haven't, drop what you're doing (or at least open a new window in your browser) and add it to your Netflix list, for the love of all that is holy. It is one of the most quotable movies EVER, and worth watching just for the very short segment where Marc Shaiman (and some other guy) play the News Theme Writers who are pitching a new theme song for the news to the producer. It's hilarious.