Back when my husband and I were city slickers, and we were looking for a house in the snoburbs, we shared a distaste for the houses with manicured lawns our realtor insisted on showing us. We didn't want to live in a neighborhood with perfect lawns (ahem, cough cough - the overclass neighborhood just to the south of ours*).
But today, I went out front with one of those obnoxious leaf blowers and raked the storm detritus into the big paper yard bags I just bought. I was so proud of myself. Maybe I've lived in snoburbia too long, but those perfect yards are starting to look pretty good. Next: Maybe I'll go crazy and hire a landscape designer.
* My friend lives there, and she says she and her husband are the "white trash" of the neighborhood because they sometimes have lumber stacked in their front yard. The neighbors look askance.
With Hurricane Irene just hours away, everyone here in snoburbia is making preparations. I fairly tackled an overbooked gutter cleaner and cajoled him into charging me a fortune to clean the ecosystem out of our gutters. Check. We tried to buy a generator, to fit in with all our neighbors, to no avail - sold out.
Now for the basics. First, provisions from Trader Joe's: Stacy's Pita Chips, arugula pizza, champagne grapes and wine. I made couscous, and stocked up on ears of local corn, tomatoes and rosemary rind goat cheese from the farmers' market. Oh, and don't tell anyone, but I neeeeed my Cheetos and Diet Pepsi.*
I and my friends are feeling wistful around here at summer's end. Everyone is returning to town or getting one last weekend in before shuttering the beach house. But most notably, all* the 18-22s are disappearing again, headed back to Connecticut and Boston. Graying dads are buying dorm refrigerators and XL twin sheets. Soon we'll see no more tattered Volvos with 15 bumper stickers at the ice cream parlor. No more Tom's shoes. We'll see them next spring, when they return for their D.C. internships.
Why not enjoy a pizza from a wood-fire brick pizza oven? God, no. Wood-fire ovens are now in those D.C. tourist restaurants that call themselves "grilles," where people wear denim shorts and tucked-in golf shirts. I saw one in Youngstown, Ohio, fergodsakes.
Anthracite coal... is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, and is virtually free of smoke and emissions. It burns cleaner than a wood fire.... Our coal is mined from existing mines and does not disturb new areas. Every time we purchase coal from the mine, funds are provided to a Federal Fund to restore the environment under The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
I had to laugh at this story about Abercrombie & Fitch asking Jersey Shore cast member The Situation (really) not to wear their clothes because it hurts their image. I hate to tell them, but nobody in snoburbia has been wearing A&F for at least three years now. It couldn't possibly get any more downmarket.
If you live in overclass snoburbia, you must like wine. You must know about wine. You may have a special room just for wine - or at least have a wine rack under your soapstone counters.
I like a cheap wine. I pronounced this boldly the other day in polite company, and was met with incredulity and laughter. I was instead served "a good wine" by someone who really knows his wine. I didn't like it. I just didn't like the taste. But I smiled, validating his teaching moment.
Whenever I do like a wine, it turns out to be mass-market. This does not stand me in good stead in snoburbia. I have just discovered Barefoot Pinot Grigio. I like it! It must be lowbrow. You probably hate it.
I just saw the school supply list for 6th grade. It said: "TI-84+ graphing calculator for IM, Algebra & Geometry." The rest only need "an inexpensive calculator."
Now I'm feeling really, really guilty that I didn't put my kid in the two-week summer math prep class to get him into advanced math. Now he's going to have to carry the badge of shame - the "inexpensive calculator."
But he's already a year above grade level, so no need to worry, right? So not true. In snoburbia, above average is below average. It is not enough to be one or even two years above grade level in math. If your middle school child is not picked up by a special school bus that drives him and a select few to the high school for Algebra II, he is not going to MIT.
We still have a few weeks of summer - maybe I'll get him a tutor and have him do an extra math packet!