June 13, 2011

A few observations from my vantage point here in the Valley of Sun as of June 9, 2011:

Recently I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of business closings around our immediate area. The Salty Senorita Mexican restarant was a shock, as it always seemed to be filled with people. The Ultimate Electronics store next to the Petsmart has also closed – I think that entire chain went out of business. This follows on the heels of the On The Border Mexican restaurant that also went under a few months ago, as well as a group of small businesses in the strip mall where I typically get my swimming pool supplies. There are 12 storefronts on that strip mall and only two have functioning businesses. I’m no economist, but between these sights and from talking with people this Obama economic recovery is going nowhere.

Which is why when you see clips like this, it makes you realize just how big a disconnect there is between the politicians in Washington and what’s going on in the real world.

You know monsoon season can’t be far behind when you see cumulus clouds starting to stack up beyond the mountains to our north and west. Saw them for the first time today…

We’re very fortunate that our subdivision has a HOA that is really hands-on. The other night I saw fliers placed beneath the windshield wipers of cars parked along the street, warning them that such practice is verboten. And I got a letter the other asking my flag be taken down because it had a big tear in it. I’d been meaning to take it down after the last windstorm did it in and was glad for the reminder. With the collapse of home values around here you’re very fortunate if you have a HOA making sure places are kept up and tidy and not allowed to fall into neglect or disrepair. Our subdivision, called Summer Meadows, has been very fortunate. Driving around it looks like no more than, say, 10% of the homes are obviously empty and/or up for sale. Not that far away from us to the south and east there are subdivisions up in the 50 percentile or even higher.

Regardless, everyone around here is underwater with their mortgages. We’re fortunate in that our house’s value has only dropped by about 40%; there are others who are far worse off than that.

It’s late Sunday night and I’ve finished my nightly walk, cooled off with a swim in the pool, and am enjoying a Sam Adams Boston Lager on the patio. All is quiet around me – Tracey’s watching TV, my sister-in-law Tam has long gone to bed. On Sundays anytime after 3 PM the only sounds you’ll hear are everyone’s garage doors opening as people come out, unlock their gates, and bring their identical black trash barrels out and place them at the same place on the curb they did a week ago before disappearing back into their homes, their garage doors closing fast behind them. Around 5 or 6 o’clock the smell of steaks, burgers, and hot dogs being cooked on gas grills fill the air. To me, it’s almost mind-numbing in its predictability and regularity.

In the dark, gazing at the bright half-moon above I can help but think my life has been reduced to being just a bit player in some larger life play right out of The Monkees’ “Pleasant Valley Sunday”.

Some people might call this the American dream, and for some it is. Hey, for all I know, it is. Still, in the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder if for me it’s just the flipside.

Someone is burning wood in their fireplace and it smeels really nice.

A freight train blows its whistle and from the sounds of it, it’s a long one. The whistle stirs my restless bones and makes me long for places far and away.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:38 | Comments (2)
  1. I always go with Pink Floyd’s “walk-on part in a war” from Wish You Were Here when I’m feeling insignificant, which is a lot lately. 🙂

    Comment by Rob — June 13, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  2. It is an amazing 70 degrees at 1pm…very little humidity…AC is off…windows open and it is perfection. Have been making a made dash to finally get all the rest of my flowers planted..The big ass deck is finished and days/evenings such as this are made for porch/deck sittin’. At night the fireflies are out in force…full moon last night…just magical here on the creek.

    Comment by Jana — June 13, 2011 @ 10:25 am

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