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Save the playground

23 Mar

The scene:  two dads and I were pushing our kids in swings at the playground.  All three of us watched as a group of 9 to 12-year olds played a game of “grounders” on the playscape.

NOTE: This game appears to involve one kid closing his eyes and occasionally yelling “grounders!” Meanwhile, the other kids climb all over the playscape.  I have no idea if there are winners, if someone is “it”, or if points are scored.  However, I have seen it played many times at the playground by my house, and most kids seem to walk away happy and exhausted.

Dad #1:  “You are thinking the same thing as me, huh?”  He is thinking that one of those kids is going to slip and fall off the slick plastic playscape roof.  They keep climbing on top and dangling off the side.  Game strategy?

Me:  “Yep. Kids will always find a way to play on something as it was NOT intended.  But, let’s not take pictures. Somebody might decide the playscape is unsafe and remove it.”

Dad #1:  “Right. Some over-protective mom might decide it’s too dangerous.”

Dad #2:  “Man, we did way more dangerous stuff when we were kids.”

After our short parental conversation, I thought that this chat could have gone another way — we could have decided to tell those kids to get down from the playscape roof.  We could have told them that they were not allowed to play that way.  We might have prevented a 9-year-old from taking a bad fall. Maybe 8 feet down. Onto wood chips.   

We could have done that.  But that would have ruined all the fun they were having.

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Is that granite?

19 Mar

I’ve realized there are many status symbols here in suburbia — our cars, our electronic gadgets, our children’s most recent abilities. One of those status symbols has become particularly peculiar to me, especially with the recent house crisis.

Granite countertops.

Women in suburbia have some sort of obsession with having large, flat, extremely expensive polished rocks in our kitchens. I’m not sure when this trend began, but now everyone seems to want them. No — NEED them.

When we picked out our kitchen “amenities” a few years back, I went for the Corian (OK — fake Corian) countertops. After all — they provide basically the same utilitarian purpose as granite, and were half the price. OK — there is one fall back: I can’t put a boiling hot pot on my fake Corian countertop — I need to put my $2 potholder under it.

And yet, after visiting many neighbors, I see granite, granite, granite. I even hear about foreclosed homes, now abandoned, still with their granite countertops. After all, granite is too heavy to move or steal.

“Are these granite?”

“Your countertops are BEAUTIFUL!”

“Your husband let you get these?”

And I admit, a little envy — or maybe inadequacy– creeps in. I don’t even know why. So strange that suburbia.

Who the frick is ringing my doorbell at 1 a. m.???

5 Mar

Oh, the police.

Yep, last night at 1 a. m., John and I were rudely awakened to the doorbell ringing and fist pounding at the front door. After my brain registered “oh, that’s the doorbell”, I kicked (oh so gently!) my husband and mumbled something about seeing who is at the door.

A few minutes later, I hear John say something like “you need to come down here.” That doesn’t sound good. I’m not sure what I responded, but I’m betting it was a half-asleep “why???” I get myself to the top of the stairs and I definitely hear my husband say “police.”

OK. Now I’m half awake.

As I stumble to the door, John is trying to explain that the police have the wrong address, but they still have to confirm that I’m not being beat up. Apparently two different addresses were called into 911 about a domestic disturbance (a woman being assaulted), one number difference. It’s either our house, or a condo a few doors down.

I guess my sleepy stupor responses were convincing enough to the police because they did not stay long, and they were headed off to the other address.

This small event reminded me (this morning after I regained full consciousness) that our little Utopian suburban village is not immune to the darker side of humanity. I generally think that my neighbors are all “good people” but clearly I don’t see everything that happens behind closed doors. This doesn’t mean I’m going to change the way I interact with my neighbors; I like to take people at face value and treat people the way that I want to be treated. And maybe this 911 call was a neighbor looking out for another neighbor. It would be nice to think that someone was looking out for me.

Vain side note: As I went back to bed after talking to the police, I had a silly thought — “I’m so glad I bought these new pajamas this week!” You have to understand — my husband has been teasing me about my 15-year-old nightgowns. But they are SOOO comfy! I finally threw away the mid-90’s flower flannel one that had the shoulder torn away, and was paper thin. I hope those police appreciated my new outfit.

She wins a bronze!

4 Mar
A. was so excited when she won 3rd place at the egg race at our Annual village picnic.