Home > Life or something like it > The Lay of the Land here in the ‘hood

The Lay of the Land here in the ‘hood


Entry 12/13/2011 10:36:41 AM – Mentat 624

Admittedly, it’s been some months since I’ve been mobile. And by mobile in this case, on my laptop and working on something that doesn’t involve being at the house. Of course, this mobile is nothing glamorous. It’s Tuesday and being tired of being a shut in because of the cold, I’ve decided to bring all my toys along with me so that I can do my laundry. Good thing about that is the fact that other than the attendant, I’m the only person in here at the moment. The only bad thing is that I took my sweet assed time to get out of the house to work on my laundry and did so before my morning coffee. Not that it should be too much of a problem for the likes of me at the moment — I still have a number of hours before the beginnings of my caffeine withdrawal from kicking in and giving me the start of the dry mouth and petty annoyance of a throbbing headache. At least I have the coffeemaker at the house all prepped up so when I schlep my butt back to the house, I’ll be able to simply hit the start button.

It’s hard to imagine that at the moment, there’s only two more weeks until Christmas, and another after that before it’s 2012. But then again, sitting here and thinking about it, I can’t say that the year’s sped on by for the likes of me. Sure it sped up for a little bit — particularly when I was moving out and losing Cricket, but the year for the most part has been dragging along rather nicely. The sort of feeling that I like when it comes to knowing a year is a year and not feeling as though it’s been only a couple of months.

Got the call from my Uncle Armand inviting me over for Christmas, and of course I accepted it. Not sure whether my aunt’s going to make the sort of noise that I would expect given — but at the same time, there’s sort of an peace dealing with Aunt Norma’s side of the family (in spite of the fact that they have got to be the loudest extended family I’ve dealt with in my lifetime). Sure, there’s a bit of dysfunction — all families have them — but it’s not the sort of dysfunction that ends in drama and conflict or the friction I recall all too keenly when growing up. That and I have to say that I’m not loathing fixing my uncle’s computer as when I checked up on it on Thanksgiving, it was in surprisingly good shape. No viruses, malware or spyware to be found (other than perhaps the usual tracking cookies) and the thing didn’t have the sort of errors I would expect to see from too many programs being installed and uninstalled. Perhaps this time through, Uncle Armand learned his lesson from the amount of crap and crapware they used to load up and decimate the last computer? Heh, here’s to hoping on that.

So the neighborhood… Heh, what a menagerie where I live can be.

For starters there’s the 24-hour car wash outside my house. It doesn’t see much business after sundown (in spite of the fact that there’s more than plenty of lighting provided), but there’s like this unspoken time when people start herding their way to the place to start cleaning their cars: between 9:30 – 10:15 AM daily. While the industrial strength vacuums’ whine is enough to drown out with the proper use of music — the rap, reggae and hip hop played at mind-numbingly loud and with more bass than should be played can barely be drowned out through the use of a pair of earbuds. While I might have a small range of music that I can happily enjoy — what I hear outside my window is not part of that range, and certainly not with the excessive bass that I tend to hear from people’s car sound systems either. Fortunately by the time they’re at the vacuums, they’re almost done — so I have to put up with craptastic noise for about 15 minutes while they beat out the running mats and vacuum the interior of some of the pimp mobiles that make their way there. Can’t wait to see when the snow and ice start collecting — I’m sure by that point they’ll stop going altogether and wait ’til the end of winter to start their car-cleaning rituals all over again.

Strategically speaking, things are damn easy enough to get to. I have three pizzerias, (one across the street, the others within a couple of blocks), a bevy of Italian restaurants catering from classic Northern (spaghetti, red meats, and chicken) and Southern (Seafood and Sicilian). Then there’s a couple of sushi houses within walking distance, along with a handful of Mexican fast food joints. Bakeries of all sorts too, one downwind from the house that I can smell in the dark of the morning when I had the windows open during the warm spells at the beginning of November. And various bars? I can’t even begin to count them… gay, straight and ambiguous; there’s plenty to choose from all within walking distance. Downtown Providence is a brisk walk (about 1.5 miles/2.4 km) from the house. Thayer St/East Side just a little bit farther away from that (and easy enough to take the East/West Trolley-Bus and go through the Hope Tunnel for bypassing the winding roads above). After that, there’s Kennedy Plaza in the Downtown Financial District, which is the central hub for the public transit system for the state. At least the good thing is that I cut out an hour to getting to it trading up to being able to get to it within ½ hour.

About the only downside is the fact that I’m really close to the Woonasquatucket River and that means I’m in a flood zone because I’m at the bottom of the valley. And while the embankments near enough to the house are 8 feet (2.4 meters) high, the area is still well known for being lakes and ponds during the heavier flood seasons we have here. At least this time I’m on the second floor, which means I don’t need a sump pump but instead a canoe if it reaches the windows. So far there have been a couple of shallow ponds on Atwells after the rainstorms and that’s only because the drains on that side of the road need to be reconstructed. *knocking on wood* Hopefully it won’t be a skating rink during the remainder of the winter here.

The neighbors themselves are mostly quiet. Saturday and Sunday being the only exceptions (and usually when they have extended family over from such places as Maryland and Massachusetts). It’s then I get the choice listening what can only be really bad Mariachi music. Heh, admittedly the bass isn’t quite as bad as the noise coming over from across the street at the car wash, but it’s enough that I can feel it with my feet and through the chair that I’m sitting in. It seem that one weekend, the neighbor that plays the Mariachi music did not approve of the music I was listening to (90s dance and trance) and decided to compete to see who can actually play the music the loudest. I bowed out of that “competition” given that they were probably at 70% volume to my 45% and the instant that I put the headphones on, they turned their music down quickly. Passive-aggressive much there, eh? I’d hate to see what their reaction would be if I were to play Goa-Psy-Trance? No doubt they would not approve.

There are a lot of sirens cutting through the area. Be it police, fire or ambulance (my house is within spitting distance of the district fire company). More sirens than I recall living ½ mile up the hill from where I am currently, and even more than I’m familiar with living in NYC, Seattle and Atlanta combined. While I’m fortunate in that they’re not stopping in my part of the world — it’s certainly something that makes me wonder how much this part of Federal Hill and Olneyville have changed. Heck, in the month and a half that I’ve been living here, I can actually count on one hand how many of those sirens have ended in multiple-alarm fires occurring within a mile (1.6 km) of the house. Pretty amazing that given that I don’t remember quite that many fires going on in my immediate vicinity in all the years that I’ve been walking around on this planet.

Oh… And there’s this really odd quiet about the neighborhood between 6 – 9 in the morning. Traffic on Atwells and Valley Streets is remarkably low-key, there are no sirens to be heard, and I don’t even hear the sounds of the busses that run through the area as well. It’s as though for those three hours the neighborhood’s either just waking up, or taking a breather form the hustle and bustle that’s going to follow for the remainder of the day. It’s usually during this time that I would most try to enjoy my morning coffee and news feed reading. Heh, that is until the Insane Cat Committee decides on throwing their tantrum for attention.

Yes, as I’ve been tweeting a bit — my roommate’s cats have been throwing all sorts of tantrums in the morning when their food bowls are empty or that they’re feeling lonely because my roommate’s been over his girlfriend’s house watching her cat for this month. Picture of them in my tweets show them loitering around my door to get my attention to feeding them. One morning I had opened my door and was working on boiling water for my morning breakfast, and the three of them were standing there at the doorway just staring at me to get my attention. Pain in the butts that they area about it. Particularly Wilma (not Wendy as I had accidentally called her to an acquaintance) who has this uncanny habit of staring without blinking half as much as her partners in crime — Saucy and Whiskey. Saucy is still going through heat (much to my regret) and causing all sorts of noise at 2 – 4 in the morning caterwauling entirely too much for my liking. My roommate Mark has talked about getting her spayed — but that’s not going to happen until she calms down from this heat (and more importantly when he gets some money from the people that owe him). Sure Wilma and Whiskey are fixed, but that doesn’t seem to put any damper on Saucy in the least.

Mark’s pretty all right, but unfortunately suffers from the problem of dreaming a bit too big for his own good. Then again, it’s always been my experience with artistic-types that they tend to have impractical delusions when it comes to projects, jobs and careers. Take for example the job that he’s trying to get — an outreach program sort of sale job to sell artistic materials to the local colleges and universities. Last week he sent in his CV/Resume and cover letter and is currently playing the waiting game to see if the person that he’s been in contact will consider him for the position. Yes, he hasn’t even gotten the interview for the position and he’s already talking about being shipped out to the HQ in California in January for training. Of course, reminding him to keeping his feet on the ground and looking at it one day at a time was met with disproval and being accused of being a “pessimist”, but hey… What do I know about this? I have savings for the next 6 months, and he’s barely scraping by (and has been for some months before I showed up here).

[Last Edited: 12/13/2011 06:03:22 PM]

So it’s dark here in the Tundras of New England, and I’m finally through with cleaning the house. While it wasn’t messy per se, given that it’s only been me the last couple of weeks — the cat box had seriously reached critical mass. As I had commented after dry heaving a bit while cleaning it (to friends and acquaintances online), I’ve been spelunking into caves and found guano pools from flocks of bats to being less vile than that cat box. Seriously I understand that the roommate’s hard pressed and all… Not to mention the majority of the time dealing with his girlfriend’s cat over at her place across the city… But seriously last night, the box was smelling rank and he was here long enough to recognize the stench as the box in the bathroom is near enough to the living room to have smelled it. At least he had enough replacement litter for me to change out the litterbox.

Heh, I should’ve paid attention to the red flags when he said, “I’m really neat” and yet the house was pretty disheveled when I first moved in. What I think he should’ve said is that he was slovenly and disorganized, I would’ve accepted the role of cleaning up more than I have.

Well, I think that’s about it. Time for me to work on supper and then perhaps play a bit more game before retiring for the evening. Until the next time.

  1. 01/02/2012 at 7:50 pm

    Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care

    • 01/02/2012 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks much… Happy reading.

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