Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mrs R goes to Washington, or something like that

A few months ago, some stakes appeared in our yard that were an ominous sign, especially for my pine trees.  After calling the city, my fears were confirmed: the stakes represented where near curb and gutter would be put in, including a new sidewalk and parking strip.  I know this sounds like a positive thing, and ordinarily, it would be.  But, I had a beef with the placement.  For a street the size of mine, I'm supposed to have 35' between my house and the sidewalk. I would have 25 feet. Which sounds decent sized, but really, it would take out a good chunk of my front yard and driveway. On the plus side, the have to move the power pole, and the public works guys are working with me to make the power company move the pole so it's not in the middle of my driveway.  The other sad thing is that my two enormous pine trees would be cut down.  It all seemed fairly needless, since across the street is just an empty field.

It could be worse though; my neighbor on the corner will be less than 9 feet from the sidewalk. She is renting and can move when her lease is up.

I decided to address city council with my concerns, and I brought a few neighbors along. I woke up yesterday morning, knowing I was on the agenda, and felt really depressed and hopeless about the whole thing.

My neighbors all spoke to the council, as well as I did, bringing up really great points. The city council seemed genuinely appalled at how close our houses would be to the road, and the safety impact.  However, they also saw my hopeless side- we are growing, and as much as I'd like to pretend otherwise, my road is a collector road and needs to accommodate the growth. They acknowledged that the situation was lose-lose, and the only way to truly fix it was to go back in time and build the houses further back. If they were to go west, the cost was pretty prohibitive. That sucks, and I can understand why that's not a viable alternative.

Feeling like my concerns were legitimate made me feel a lot better, even if I wasn't terribly happy with the compromise. And honestly, if I were an objective party, I probably would've come up with the exact same compromise.  We will not have a parking strip, just sidewalk, curb and gutter. It makes the yard at least that much bigger, which will help.  They will also paint lines in the road, which will give a 9' parking lane on either side, which will hopefully slow traffic down a little.

My friend who was at the meeting now thinks I should run for city council- there's two seats opening up.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

If you can't say something nice...

I know that I have been very bad about updating this blog. It's a couple different reasons. First, I've been very busy with life, the kids, my mini "farm", work, girl scouts, boy scouts, girl scout cookies, etc etc. So, there's plenty of fodder to write about. The things weighing most heavily on my mind are things that I have difficulty talking about on a public forum, like this. I try to be sensitive, just in case the subject of a blog post is reading. But, I'm not the NICEST person I know, so I end up opting to not say anything at all. I'll try to sum up the past month.

M turned 13 on 2/28. He got a bunch of camping gear, since his troop goes camping every month. He held his birthday party a couple weeks late, and they played video games and had a lot of fun. Michael also took 3rd place with his science fair project, which was pretty neat.

S finished up her girl scout cookie sales. She only sold 500 boxes this year, which is down 100 from last year, but considering how cold it was and sick I was, that's pretty great. Even though our troop had less girls selling this year, our overall numbers were up, which was great.

Both K&M were on the National Academic League at their school. It was introduced to their school back in 1995. This year, they were the undefeated district champions, which was a first for the school, so it was very exciting. They went to Nationals. They won their first game against AZ, but lost their second game to Baltimore. It all took place via video conferencing. I felt like their loss to Baltimore wasn't exactly fair, but what do you do?

K was just named student of the month from the music department, and we're going to a special breakfast to honor her next week.

Z's birthday is tomorrow, and he is so excited he can hardly see straight. He is still big-time into legos and playing on the Wii.

J has taken up a very rigorous bicycle training program- he plans to ride a century (100 mile) bike ride the first weekend of May. I'm being slightly more sensible and only riding 50. However, I haven't been training like he has, so I'm getting a bit concerned.

I joined a new gym where they teach pole dancing, aerial silks, aerial hammock and other unique fitness. I think aerial hammock would be my favorite, but the class times are really inconvenient, so I've only been to one of those. I've been to several silks and pole classes, and have had a lot of fun.

Our neighbor and her cow tenant had a big falling out. He got all of his cows off the property a couple days ago. I was informed that once that happened, she did not want to share pasture anymore. (Ever since she's had animals, I've let her graze them on my back pasture, since I wasn't actively using it. But, she wants some separation now, so I'm respecting her wishes.) All of the cows back there did some damage to the fenceline, so last night, we had our other cow owners come over and help us repair it. So, we just have our two little cows on our property. It's a lot quieter now. Hopefully it'll stay that way. We have no gate, so if they do happen to escape, getting them back in the field will be a bit of a trick. The fence seems very sturdy though, so I think it'll be ok.

Our city wants to improve the road in front of our house. Unfortunately, I hate their plans and feel like it endangers our house and family. It also takes away our two huge pine trees and a good chunk of the front yard. Setback from our house to the sidewalk is supposed to be 35' by code. If their plan goes through, our setback will only be 25', so I am feeling very apprehensive. It could be worse though- my neighbor on the corner will have less than 9 feet from their building to the sidewalk. That's not even enough to park a car! I'm on the agenda for the next city council meeting. I am hoping I can get them to alter their plans so it's safer for us residents.

Our good friend and neighbor two doors down, Margaret, died of cancer a couple weeks ago. She'd fought off breast cancer a couple years ago, and people thought she was doing ok. But, on March 7, they discovered cancer in her femur and her spine. Her doctors gave her anywhere between 6 weeks to 2 years. She only lasted about two weeks. I think that once she realized it was terminal, she was done. S has really had a tough time coping with her death.