Monday, October 10, 2011

She Must be One of Those Job Creators I Keep Hearing About

I've been working on a project in town -- trying to get town approval for funding a new school building. It's no easy task. The first half of my effort was last spring and resulted in favorable votes at town meeting and town election for design funds. Now we're asking for the big bucks -- construction funds.

The project is solid. We need it. As a community we have to afford it for our long-term health. The people involved are honest and hardworking and have put in thousands of hours of volunteer time. And so on and so on. I believe we have sufficient support in town. Still, there are pockets of opposition and I will not feel calm about this until all the votes are in, 27 days from now.

Saturday morning, an acquaintance and I were standing outside the local market passing out flyers and talking to people. It was a productive morning. My acquaintance is terrific for this task as she grew up here and she knows everybody. Everybody.

A couple hours in, this woman comes by and starts chatting with us. She clearly knows my aquaintance. We tell her what we are promoting, and she immediately launches into a monologue about how we really don't need schools, and if they pass she doesn't know if she's going to be able to afford to keep living here.

We hear this a fair bit. The cost is not insignificant, and we are not unfeeling. Town officials are working hard to make sure the financing is as affordable as possible. We have tax abatement programs in town for those in need. And so on. So when this woman said this, I was sympathetic. Plus, she is absolutely welcome to her opinion.

But then (and of course there's a, "But then.") she said, "When I moved here, my taxes were $6000 a year. Now they are over $24,000."


I know the tax rate in this town. And when she said this I was quickly able to determine that her home is assessed at about $3,500,000. That's assessed value, not market value -- which likely would be higher.

I worked hard to keep my poker face on while I offered facts on the project. And this woman continued find reasons to dismiss those facts.

Shortly, though, the woman said, "Well, I've got to run. I'm trying to get to Nantucket for a couple days and need to make a ferry."

My acquaintance said, "Sounds wonderful. Where do you stay on Nantucket?"

The woman said, "Oh, I have a house."

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Oh the Ambivalence of Mother's Day

We just can't seem to get Mother's Day right. Or, rather, I can't seem to get Mother's Day right.

We had a fine Mother's Day. Really. We have a family project going on that I'm really quite excited about and the day itself was fine. Truly! We had casual dinner out -- and then I started to loose my shit.

I'm overwhelmed by house management. I've never been a very been a fabulous housekeeper, though I manage okay. But as the kids have gotten older, staying on top of all of it has gotten harder and harder. Tonight, trying to get the kids into bed, I blew up a bit, so pushed to the limit was I by some of this house and stuff management. 60% of the family ended up in tears. I'm not proud of this moment. I've already made my apologies. But it happened.

But why did it happen today? And not yesterday? Or tomorrow? Or Thursday? Why today?

All day I've been avioding the news media and even Facebook to a certain extent. All the posts by my friends and acquaintances about how much they love their moms and she's their best friend and all the gushing? Well, I kinda don't get it. Mom and I aren't close (I, uh, may have mentioned that here before), and even though I love her, there's a distinct distance, on both our parts. And then I feel guilty thinking that because I do know I'm lucky that my mom is still here with us. My husband lost his mother almost 23 years ago, and would love to have her healthy and available and part of our lives. Ditto with other friends.

The posts gushing about kids I get, but I wouldn't necessarily do something like that myself, especially on Mother's Day. Because I feel like such a screw up as a mom. I know my kids deserve so much better, and making such a grand statement on such a day feels weird. I think I feel like if I did that, it would be so laughed at. Like others would say, "What a joke! Her! Trying to claim some credibilty!"

The build up to this day by advertisers has become just unreal. It's like three weeks of in my face of how I don't have a Hallmark relationship with the one who gave me birth. I don't begrudge all of you who do. I don't! But could we all just step it down a couple notches? Please? And it's giving my kids this ridiculous idea that they have to go over the top for it to be a "good" Mother's Day. Mother's Day or not there are still dishes to be done, laundry to fold, floors to sweep -- and teenage boys who strew their socks all over the house, pre-teen boys who argue at the drop of a hat and tease their little sisters, and seven year old girls who don't want to eat their dinners but still want ice cream and dissolve into serious tears if she can't find a specific stuffed toy among the gazillion in her room.

My mom happened to call earlier this week. I swear here voice was overly perky, like she had to psyche herself up to call me. She called to tell me she'd been to a performance by the local ballet company (I'd given her a gift certificate for her birthday). She had a nice time, which was nice to hear. She also talked about she might finally have convinved my cousin and her family to come visit her, as she's been asking them to come out for years (her emphasis, not mine) and how said cousin's daughter loves to hear about the local sites. You know how often my mother has expressed a desire for me and/or my family come visit? Zero.

So, yeah, I have some ambivalence about this day. Which makes it a little more understandable why I lost my shit today instead of yesterday or tomorrow. I still wish it hadn't happened.

Bad mommy.