3 sep 1999        

- the in crowd -

this is the life for me

This is the problem with being the family with all the cool stuff. The neighbors always wanna come over and use it.


The photo above pretty well sums up the tone and temper of the summer we had on our little cul-de-sac this year. It's the habit of six or seven of the families around here to gather in some combination on just about every weekend for a backyard barbecue, part of that whole neighbor thing. We all watch out for one another. We go to the kids' games, swap tools, do vacation pet duty. When a car goes through the neighborhood a little too fast or a little too loud, we can trust that somebody else in our little tribe has made the same note of it. We peek through our miniblinds with no shame. It's Neighborhood Watching at its most refined. Whenever I hear people talking about how isolated they are, how they don't know the people next door, how things aren't like they used to be, I take some comfort in how the folks on our streets have made the effort and taken the risks to get to know each other. It can be a hard thing to do. The mix isn't controllable. But, with some luck and chemistry, a few families can form an attractive core and then you're off and running.

At our house, the summer's main project was the annual slash and burn ritual wherein we attack, in a most unsystematic fashion, the unkempt portions of the yard. The dark corners gone fallow are exposed. The delineations between grass and planters are made more clear. Every tree loses some limbs, I come close to doing the same myself, and some Big Ticket Item gets the boot. This time, obviously, the BTI was the hot tub.

The Big in BTI refers, on this occasion, not to its value but to its size. The huge honkin' thing sat out in the back part of the yard for years without being used. Its main function was to serve as the focal point of Viv's Backyard Renovation Dream. My main function has been to deflate this dream with practicality and common sense at every turn. See that picture up there? It's a victory party.


I'd like to thank those of you kind enough to hound me about my lack of September updating. Your whining indicates a fondness for this journal that humbles me. The delay has been due to server trouble, and, as you can see, the Gnomes of Webdom have eaten their eye of newt and turned around three times thus making the latest stuff viewable at last.


  today's music:



today's wisdom:

"All the modern inconveniences."

- Mark Twain