Archive for April, 2009

The Prom

April 24, 2009

My girls will jump at the chance to look like a princess.  I’m totally screwed when it’s time for them to get married.  I see them trying to get the horse drawn carriage and a corps of guards trumpeting their arrival…it’ll be bad…very bad.  This year our seventeen year old is a junior.  The junior prom is her chance to be princess for a day.  In January she began looking at prom dresses on the internet.  I viewed the process from across the room with the same morbid curiosity that I have when approaching a bad accident.  I ponder the damage… to my wallet.  With my wife in school I’m all about managing cash flows.  There will not be a hefty price paid for the dress.  The Salvation Army Thrift Store may be too extreme, but Old Navy…hmmm do they make prom dresses?  Could the Snuggie double as a prom dress?  I wouldn’t have to worry about post prom sex if she wore one of those.  Just two easy payments of $29.99!  I couldn’t do that to her, could I?

            I didn’t go to my junior prom.  High school was not the experience it could have been because of my introverted, dorkdome.  I wasn’t in the “in” crowd, I wasn’t hanging with the student council, the jocks, the nerds, the hoods, or the theatre people.  I got along with most everyone, but I didn’t feel like I fit in with any of them.  I didn’t wear the cool clothes.  I had enough zits and whacked out hormones to make me awkward and uncomfortable.  There were plenty of girls I would like to have asked.  One or two may have even said, “Yes” but I was haunted with the thought, “What if they say, No?”  Not asking was better than rejection.  So, instead I sat in class, pictured them naked (thank you hormones), and sat home alone on prom night.

I watch my daughter narrow her dresses/gown choices.  They ranged in price from “highly offensive” to “They want how much for that?”  Thanks to the influence of the media on teens there are other costs to consider too like manicures, pedicures, and hair stylists.  I may be nearing age fifty, but my vision is still good and I wasn’t seeing that happen.   I kept thinking, “What ever happened to painting your own nails, using your own blow dryer/curling iron etc.?”  

My wife suggested that she could sew a cool gown for her.  That concept worked about as well as using Jane’s Addiction to open the show for Clint Black.  But the more they discussed it the more they shared the vision.  My wife loves to sew.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell.  When the zipper doesn’t go in like it should she sounds more like a steel worker who hates everything.

Prom day came, the gown looked great, and my daughter looked great even without the professional manicure. There was a group of kids meeting at her date’s home before they went to dinner.  The parents were meeting there to take pictures.

It was a beautiful day.  I spent the whole day working in the yard until it was time for the photo shoot.  I grabbed the camera and headed off to take pictures.  Apparently it was a social event for the “in parents”.   I hadn’t gotten the memo.  They had all rushed over from the country club.  (Insert Ivy League accent here).  They were dressed to the nine’s and I arrived wearing a, “Here Fishy, Fishy” tee shirt my mother in-law bought me thirteen years ago, hole riddled jean shorts, and work boots.  The kid who answered the door thought I was the lawn guy.  Nice!  Crap!  The dad glanced at me to make sure I wasn’t tracking anything in…then he went back to his conversation about running for governor.  It was just like high school.  I had a couple of nice zits festering on my chin, the clothes were working for me, all I needed was an awkward erection and my flashback was complete. 

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Our Neiborhood Crime Czar

April 9, 2009

We moved into our neighborhood seventeen years ago.  It’s a quiet middle class neighborhood made up of ranch and two story homes built in the late fifties. I like most of our neighbors. Gladys Kravitz is alive and well and living two doors down.  She’s the head of crime watch.  She fancies her self a shrewd detective.  Each day she sits, nose pressed against the front window, looking for malcontents.  She calls regularly asking us questions about irregular comings and goings.  She’s very serous about her roll as the crime boss.  I can tell what she’s up to when she calls because she uses the suspicious tone.  “Did you notice an odd dog barking last night around two AM”? Honestly, she asks that!  I want to say, “That wasn’t a dog it was me”.  We were making love with the window open.”  Suspicious dog at two AM are you kidding?  What made it odd?  Did it sound like a chicken?  Could it have been a coyote and not a dog?

I know she means well but she’s not helping. Another time she called and asked, “There was a blue truck driving slowly down the street at 4:30 PM yesterday afternoon”.  “Do you know anything about that”?  I would think to myself, “Yes it was my new crack dealer.”  “He wasn’t sure where I live so he drove slowly to look at the house numbers.”  “He asked me to say hello to your husband”.  You know you’re in the suburbs when crack dealers deliver.

Two years ago she called asking if I knew that one of the neighbors was going to add a second story to their home.  I said, “No, they don’t talk to me about family matters”.  She said with her very suspicious voice, “Me ether, but I don’t like it.  It won’t blend in with the other homes”.  I almost said, “The Kremlin called, they want you back”.  Look I’m in favor of anyone who improves the property values here.  If they want to add a second floor…good for them provided they don’t use mud and twigs”.  If it ends up looking like a beaver hut or a back yard fort, I’ll sign a petition, but until then I’ll reserve judgment.  Well as luck would have it the guy was selling drugs and work was halted after he was arrested.  For two years the second floor sat unfinished.  It was a monument to the durability of Tyvec home wrap.  It was obnoxious.  It was an eye sore.  I felt the self-righteous stare of Mrs. Kravitz every time I rode my bike past her front window.  I wondered if and when the work would be completed.  I suspected an accidental house fire would take care of the problem.   The family would blame a faulty space heater and pocket the insurance money.  Then move to a new neighborhood.

We had a neighborhood crime watch meeting last night.  I didn’t go.  I noticed that most everyone who came to the meeting, drove.  Americans over weight?  How can that be?  Surely it’s not because we are…oh…I don’t know, sitting in front of a window all day or driving a block to attend a meeting?  It’s not like our neighborhood is the size of Manhattan.  It’s two and a half blocks wide and three blocks deep.  It wasn’t raining.  Here is an idea, rather than narcing on neighbors over doughnuts maybe we could ponder the merits crime prevention over salads and green tea.  Harsh?  Well maybe a little, but give me a break.  Every day the news mentions the healthcare crisis.  There wasn’t one several decades ago when people were active.  Maybe next time we can use Skype for the neighborhood meeting.  That way no one actually has to push away from the dinner table. 

We could each have an IV of pork gravy and two liters of syrupy Coke   Here’s a word to the villains who are casing our neighborhood.  “Stay away from the kitchen window and you’ll be fine.”

I love the neighborhood.  It has a lot going for it except these meetings….and the unfinished home.

Last summer a car of thieves pulled down the street in eyeshot Kravitz.  She was outside vigilantly working in the front yard.  One bullet in her breast pocket and a pencil drawn badge taped to her sleeve.  Her ears were pealed for suspicious noises and her eyes were poised to spot unscrupulous movement.  A car caught her eye.  They parked in front of their target house.  They kicked in the front door, took a big screen TV, computers, other electronics and then left.  Our esteemed crime czar saw the perps commit the crime from her front yard…one house away…THE WHOLE thing!  Once the criminals had driven safely away, she called real police.  They arrived and started asking for descriptions.  She couldn’t give the police a plate number, make of car, or description of the three intruders.  It was a blueish car.  That’s it!  I guess that’s why they call it Crime Watch.  I know that’s why I don’t attend the meetings.  Move over Barney, you’ve got competition.

 

 

Taxes & Stalling

April 4, 2009

I have set aside this weekend  to do corporate taxes.  I’m starting the day by blogging because it makes me feel better.  Taxes make me feel unappreciated.  I’m not opposed to paying my fair share.  I realize we need the money for infrastructure, defense, and pork.  I eat pork occasionally…who doesn’t like ribs and the occasional BBQ sandwich.  This year I’m a kinder gentler Greg.  I’ll keep my opinions on government spending to a minimum and I’ll try to see the positive…today. 

We’ve had a lot of positives to embrace.  Extreme Makeover was in town this week rebuilding a home, transforming a neighborhood, and creating a lot of good will.  They are in the Brightwood neighborhood of Indy.  There have been dark times in Brightwood for decades.  My daughter danced for a children’s dance company, Iibada, whose home was in the gym of a closed catholic school in that neighborhood.     It’s not a good sign when churches leave the neighborhood.  Missionaries are combing the globe to reveal God’s message, the message in Brightwood….leave.  The city school left too.  Apparently the superintendant of Indianapolis Public Schools received the memo that God had left the neighborhood so public education followed suit.  The homes across the street from the Catholic school were stripped of aluminum siding as high as the crack heads could reach without a ladder….their motto….head in the clouds, feet on the ground.  Most of the businesses have fled the area.  There are giant, empty red brick fortresses that stretch for blocks with no plumbing and half a roof.  Their walls have been tagged so many times you can no longer tell who’s “it”.   The businesses that remain are single operator…um…pharmaceutical establishments.  There is a liquor store, because I don’t think you can be classified as a distressed area without a little booze.  Nothing says good morning like a cold 40 and the classifieds.  Get the picture?

…by the way my wife just asked me how the taxes are coming…mums the word. 

So somehow Extreme Makeover found out about a single dad in this neighborhood.  They had four-thousand volunteers show up to help with the construction and landscaping.  They’ve been taping all week.  I wanted to go watch just to see Ty Pennington in action.  I think they take away his meds for the taping.  The minute the cameras shut down the producer is next to him with a big dose of Ritalin and a bottle of water.  My fear, they say, “driver…move…that…bus!” and the bus stays in place because the tires on the opposite side have been stolen during the commercial break. 

Not only was this home rebuilt, but 200 homes in the neighborhood have been impacted in a positive way.  The neighborhood will get free wireless access, all of the neighbors will receive free computers, and all of the alleys will be paved.  It’s cool to see all that can happen when people come together.  Maybe they can stop by to help me with taxes on their way out of town.

 

For more information on Iibada Dance Company log on to, www.iibadadance.org.  You should check them out…beautiful dancers, tell momma Sabra I said hi.  She’s a saint.