Sunday, April 27, 2014

Don't you want to be my neighbor?

I know I talked a bit last week about how I like my neighborhood.  Here's more, plus a fun (IMO) kicker about something fun I did at work:

Jeff had an all-day poker party so it was just Alison and me who went to help out at the annual Canterbury Park clean-up. She had her acting class in the afternoon so we went early, thinking we'd have to leave before it was over.

Alison tackled weeds in the playground while Katie and Rob Vrable and I worked on the north entrance. Brad Beach was roto-tilling around the trees and came over to lengthen the bed for us -- work smarter, not harder, right?

As I was explaining we had to leave early because Alison had Young Actors Theater later, a jogger came up the path, "We did that for two years. Loved it!" she called out as she trotted up the path to the Monon Trail.

Later, as I was toiling away, shovel in hand, I hear my name. "Hey, I thought that was you. I saw your hair shining in the sun a quarter mile off."

My friend Mike Potter was out training for the Mini-marathon. He doesn't live near me but was using the trail for his work-out.

Alison, meanwhile, had struck up a friendship with my friend Kathy Davis' daughter, Rory. They live a street away. Alison was chatting up her babysitting service. Rory was asking when they might get to have a play date. 

Other neighbors came in and out during the morning, ready to help get the park ready for the good weather.  We chatted about whether Adam and Trisha Brand would come out to show off little Veda. 

I don't know all of the people who came in and out. Some were there to work, others to play, but it wa just a great atmospher It was like all the good things small town are thought to offer -- quick smiles and "hey there neighbor!" kind of atmosphere.  We might all be high from the great weather, but Iike to think it's just the way of Canterbury.

While Alison and Hannah Ogden sharpened their acting skills, Karin and I took a long bike ride along the newly expanded Fall Creek Parkway. As we went north, we noticed a section was closed and were pondering what to do when another cyclist called out to us that he knew the detour and would be our scout.

Turned out he was a partner in a development firm that's building up the downtown and whom Karin had been hoping to meet to see if there were partnership opportunities with the downtown YMCA. He was looking for ways to incent his tenants and the talk of a fully equipped gym came up. 

It was a gorgeous ride. Karin and I have had a hard time getting together lately so it was great on all fronts.

After I picked Ali up, I ran back to the park to transplant some flowers from my yard to fill in our newly expanded space. Jenna had just arrived and the girls had zero need of me. 

On the way back, Beth Jansen from down the street, was driving by and stopped to chat. I'd cleared some mud and leaves from my street, which tees into hers, and she was appreciative. It wasn't an altogether altruistic move. Good drainage is important to all of us who have basements and I have a low spot in my backyard I'm trying to get level with the rest of my yard. The two wheelbarrow-load of dirt is getting me closer to goal.

I had the girls jump up and down on it to help tamp it down. They declared it the best chore they'd ever been assigned.

While I was gone transplanting, the girls had decided they'd make cupcakes to sell along the Monon. I'm happy nurture their entreprenurial spirit but I'd really rather tackle their cleaning skilz. To say they are not proficient cleaners is like saying Bruce from jaws had a slight eating disorder.

The Brands and Baby Veda were out (!) when we went back to set up their cupcake stand. So I went to see them as the girls put their sign and display up.  Veda needed a diaper change but they were planning to go over to sample a cupcake after they addressed that.

Despite the neighborly support, the girls didn't have record sales. 

"The first lady who bought cupcake took one bite and spit it out. But the nice lady ate hers and put the wrapper in the trash down there," they reported. 

Alison and Jenna's friendship is such that the spitter didn't dampen their spirits. And truth be told, they might have been a bit too liberal with the sweet icing on top of their whole-wheat flour and Truvia cupcakes.

Sales were slow enough that they resorted to making videos of Alison going down the hill backwards in her wagon, spilling over on more than on occasion. Jeff and I went to retrieve them at 8 p.m. to find they'd packed up the wagon and were playing in the sand volleyball court as happy as the first time they'd discovered it as toddlers. 

They're back there this morning, sans cupcakes, hoping to make more exciting videos. I hope they've not seen that terrible Jack-Ass show. Now that I think about it, I might have to spy on them to be sure they're not going to break any limbs. I set them off with an admonition to keep the screaming to a minimum, but then we agreed: it's a park. There are supposed to squeals and screams and laughter.

So anyway, it's just been a nice weekend, and I was reminded how lucky I am to have nice, friendly neighbors. And it's clear that mine isn't the only 'hood with friendly, happy people.

As for my work story, you know I'm a country music fan and Blake Shelton led me to become a fan of The Voice. This season, there's a contender who has a connection to Angie's List, and I was finally able to connect with him on the phone. This is the result:

I've gotten some fun responses via Twitter from people in far flung places who also appreciate the stylings of Josh Kaufman. One is a woman who teaches public speaking in Virginia who's also a fan of the show and wants to Skype with Team Usher for her class. I'm hoping to connect them. 

Possibly the most fun response, though, was from a stylist at my hair salon, which happened to be the venue for my phone conversation with Josh. She had a bit of a contact high from being in the building when Josh Kaufman had been on the phone. As I checked out, she came by to ask how it had gone and I whipped out my notebook and reported to her and others around the desk. It was hilarious. 

And not an uncommon reaction. You heard it here: Josh Kaufman is going to be a star. 

If you're in the WTHR-Channel 13 viewing area you can catch Angie's List shout-out to Kaufman on Andrea Morehead's report Monday afternoon/evening. 

As for me, I'm heading to the park. Cross your fingers that the girls have all their parts in the right working order. And possibly watch for them on JackAss. 

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