Thursday, June 30, 2005

Inching towards progress
My contractor is doing too projects for me at once. He's completing the repairs at my condo from the fire. It's just a huge laundry list (no dryer fire pun intended). He calls me several times a day with updates and questions. Most contractors tend to disappear for long stretches of time and he doesn't and that's GREAT.

But his crew is stretched thin between the two projects. But by the end of this week the only thing left to do at my condo should be installing the dryer and carpeting the stairs. He probably won't do this until we can pay him something. The insurance adjuster has been sitting on our claim for weeks now and the association has no money to pay him. We may have to dig in our pockets to give him something. I feel terrible he's a few grand out of pocket on this.

All this means that we're falling behind schedule on our renovations at our new house. But they're doing the demo as fast as they can. They've dismantled our old kitchen and they're starting to take out a useless back staircase. Yesterday afternoon he pulled them all off the house and brought them over to the condo in an attempt to close nearly everything out over there before the end of the week.

It's just so amazing how much damage a small fire can wreak. The fire itself was contained in our laundry area. But the firemen damaged a whole bunch of windows and screens and even a door that they kicked open. We had to repaint a stairway because of damage they did getting down the stairs.

Hopefully the condo will be finished by Friday, pending the dryer install and the carpeting. Then they can start the real work at our new house.


Nothing is ever simple.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Teenaged Drivers
I read this editorial in today's Globe by Eileen MacNamara. She talks about teenagers causing deaths as a preventable tragedy. How do we prevent it? Teenagers who live in suburban neighborhoods need to drive. It got me thinking about neighborhoods in general.

Teenagers do pretty much everything recklessly. Combine that with inexperience behind the wheel and that person is dangerous. It takes years to really learn how to drive safely. The problem is compounded by the fact that so many of us in this country live in relative isolation in the suburbs. We are distanced from public transportation and recreation by distances that can only be traversed by car. If we focused the suburbs into walkable neighborhoods with movie theaters and coffeshops clustered in the midst of houses teenagers wouldn't have to drive so much to have lives.

I grew up in Cambridge. By the time I was 20 I knew 10 or 15 people my age that had died. None of them in car accidents. I lost friends to cancer, gunshots and hiking accidents, but none of them were behind the wheel when they died. Why? Because we lived in an urban area with a decent public transportation system. Most of my peer group didn't get their licenses until they were in college. There was simply no need. Our parents tended to have one family car, so the people that did drive had very limited access to cars.

It's just another reason to put safe sidewalks into the suburbs. Just another reason to rethink our complete dependence on cars.

This from the woman with the gimpy knee who's been driving into Boston to get to work!

Monday, June 27, 2005

another lovely morning

Got in my car today to drive to work and I thought a bird had exploded on my back windshield. Upon closer examination it turned out to be an egg. The egg has partially cooked onto the glass. I'm dreading cleaning it up.

Who does that?

I suppose we've been parking in this schmancy cambridge neighborhood with visitor permits for nearly a month now. We're just here for the summer, so there's no point in trying to get a regular parking permit.