Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Drinking at Home

There's been something missing from the whole urban-suburban-transition, and that's been drinking. Now we're not talking about blackout-retch-through-your-nose-suffer-immobilizing- hangover-drinking. Rather we're talking about the sociable-and-civilized-sit-around-the-living- room-and-nurse-a-cocktail-pre-dinner-followed-by-wine-at-dinner-and-some-sort-of-post-prandial-libation-to-top-it-all-off-drinking. It's a lacuna with multiple sources.

First, the first-string drinking buddy is on the "unable to perform" list for 40 weeks -- though she is expected to return in time for New Years.

Second, the 'burbs seem quite a bit less social than the city -- perhaps it's the distances between people and the fact that any drinking must be followed by driving.

Third, everybody has kids, and kids and alcohol are not a great combo.

In our relatively alcohol-limited suburban existence we have formulated a thesis about drinking and place: our sense of place is largely determined by where we drink. It is through drinking that we place a claim on a space and make it our own. Note the phenomenon of the local -- it's a pub identified by the possessive, "our" ("Our local"), that tends to be in a neighborhood, or other place of importance.

When we drink somewhere we come to a know a place, its inhabitants and customs. Drinking in a house serves the same purpose -- just in a more intimate way. Perhaps this says something negative about our drinking habits, but truly it is around the rituals associated with drinking that we lay claim to a place, establish customs, know the inhabitants and become more familiar with the place. By way of example, if you are a drinker then you go out for drinks when you come to a new town, or have a drink when you visit someone's home in order to break down those barriers that separate us from new places, situations and people.

Drinking has been largely absent from our transition and as a result where we live does not feel like home. The other night, while enjoying a truly glorious, late summer night, we got crazy and drank wine together -- despite the 40 week proscription -- and sat on the porch and talked about things, both consequential and inconsequential. In that session of talking, and drinking, did feelings of true ownership, and true comfort begin to emerge. We finally began to feel at home. The transition from our formerly convivial, tipple-happy home in Brooklyn to a relatively, and involuntarily, dry house outside of Boston became less alien with a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Better Living Through Chemicals

One of the things that I never anticipated about suburban living was the chemicals in which I would find myself awash on a nearly weekly basis. See, I'm now a bit more than a recreational chemical user despite the fact that I primarily use only on the weekends.

Just this pass weekend, on the stretch of lawn between the sidewalk and the street,I sprayed copious amounts of crab grass killer. Earlier in the spring I bathed in Malthion while killing bugs on my roses. I used some other horrible sounding chemical to kill Winter Moths. I have spread in excess of 30 pounds of fertilizer and an additional 10 pounds of grub killer and 6 pounds of high test antifungal powder from my spreader. This is certainly not organic lawn care, that's to be sure, but the lawn looks lovely, I get plenty of positive comments about the health of the lawn, and I'm proud of the results. On the flipside though, if you add to this the copious quantities of H2O (read, money) that I've poured on the lawn in addition to the chemicals, it should look good.

See, when living in Brooklyn domestic, legal chemical use was limited to a can of roach spray, toilet bowl cleaner and bleach. Now I own a veritable garden supply store of chemicals. The suburban-moving-homesteader must become very comfortable, very quickly, with the handling, use, and even sometimes, disposal of serious chemicals. One must also tell the children to stay off the lawn for a few watering cycles. It's worth it though when you look out the windows of your home and see green lawn all the way to the sidewalk.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Dogs Are Loose

So, the second post is already a tangent, but what the heck.

I'm of the age, and the experience where I don't really believe in sports heroes anymore. I don't expect much from athletes except some minor decorum (no coke off hookers' asses outside of clubs), demonstration of esprit de corp (don't rip your mates and coaches in pre-season because your $6MM/yr. is disrespectful -- itself worthy of a post), and clutch performance (which is rare in a day of eroding fundamentals, too-large-contracts, and general lack of love for the game so why be clutch?).

That said, it took no time for me to feel the sickness of a fan whose hero is taking a fall when the charges of L'Equipe came out this week. Something truly stinks in Denmark, or Paris, as the case may be. The French media is shredding Lance for seven wins, for being American, for their inability to win their own race, for their own untenable political, social and economic predicament (see the WSJ, 8/26/05 Op-ed piece by Geoffrey Wheatcroft) etc. etc. Even if he is clean (which I believe, and want to believe) this pall will always hang over his head, and always taint his victories and his legacy. The dogs are loose and the steak is around Lance's neck.

The Cycling News has some great articles over the past couple of days, particularly this one about the ethics of the recent finding.

Why This?

I've been toying around with this idea for quite some time and have never had the time to do it. In a couple of quiet Fridays here at the end of Summer 2005 I've decided to jump into the blogosphere and add my words to the din.

Basically, I want to use this space to sound off about things that are important to me -- just like every other blogger. More specifically I want to use this space to chronicle my transition to the 'burbs. I was born in NE, lived in the burbs for a long time before living in Brooklyn for several years. Due to various life changes -- a growing family, a desire to actually own some land and another desire that the family grow up near relatives, we moved back to the ancestral hunting grounds. This blog, with numerous (anticipated) tangents will hopefully permit me to tell the story of this transition.