09/09/09 - I've had that date in my head for months and not for the reason you may think. That's the date school starts here in my neighborhood. Anyone who has followed this blog from the beginning knows my very first post was a gripe about living across the street from an elementary school.
If I've learned anything buying and selling real estate in California it's that you should NEVER buy near a school. People often say to me that it must be reassuring that at least one neighbor is quiet at night. I usually set them straight in short order. Yes, it is quiet for about two hours from 8 - 10 p.m.
Many people don't realize schools get deliveries 24 /6 (Friday seems to be the quietest day.). The first driver arrives around 10 at night. Another at 11, then 12 and 1. 2 a.m. and all is quiet...that is until Mr. 3 a.m. arrives. I can often tell you what time it is without a glance at my clock by the way the driver handles the locks on the gate...Mr. 3 a.m. struggles with it so. Mr. 1 a.m. drags the gate. There are other deliveries at 5 and 6. What on earth one small elementary school needs with so many deliveries bewilders me... any why can't they get it delivered between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. ???
I had lived here eight months when I got a new neighbor on the other end of the block. He and his wife had retired and bought in this neighborhood to be near their two children and several grandchildren. I had learned to sleep through all the delivery trucks and dragging gates and jangling locks... but my new neighbor was dying to fight city hall. He passed out petitions and held meetings. I gladly signed but had little hope. And then one day, a nice man and woman from India introduced themselves to me... they had bought that little house on the corner! The man and his wife had lived there barely three months!
Aside from the deliveries, schools have a lot of noise. There are the parents parking and honking and even yelling at each other from 7:15 a.m. on. There are the kids screaming in the school yard...another noise I've learned to block out but I have to watch Mabel. I once did not realize the electric gate had failed to shut and couldn't find her. The sound of the kids was just too tempting...she had crossed our busy street and was playing in the kindergarten playground with all the little kids!
And then there are the bells. The school bells ring all day long but the ones that bug me are their security alarms which often go off repeatedly in the middle of the night. Or the holiday bells. The powers that be over there never remember to turn the bells off on holidays so the whole neighborhood is up early on every holiday!
Add in the parents that see nothing wrong with blocking our driveways or parking in them..."because I was only going to be a minute." It's never just a minute. I can't begin to count the number of reprimands I got from my last real job because I couldn't get out of my own damn driveway in a timely manner!
And let's not forget the garbage. I find complete lunches discarded in my shrub, homework on my porch and dirty diapers on my lawn...with a trash can less than 20 feet away.
So NO, schools do NOT make good neighbors!
But why is this back to school date different from any other??? Because for the first time in the nine years I've lived here...I've had more than the usual two weeks between sessions.
California is broke and we simply could not afford summer school! So I've been living in quiet, garbage-free, come-and-go-when-please bliss for three whole months!
As far as I'm concerned, California can stay broke!