Less-than-perfect Haven?

Planning a trip to Italy with one’s neurotic mother while scrambling to meet work deadlines and trying to finalize a bid on a new home 800 miles just isn’t enough for me. Nope, I’m going to make vegan pizza this afternoon for the guys and gals of TRT, because this is my last show and I’ll be missing the real cast party.

What a day. What a week.

I’ve been telling people that when this recent spate of Crisis craziness ends, I have noted on my calendar that I will collapse. Or my head will explode. Today I’m putting money on the latter, if the combined throb/pound working over my left temple is any indication.

Our home for a week

Our home for a week

So, where to start with what is probably the last edition of C?WC? until late in the month? Well, there’s this: I’m going to Italy in two days! Still kinda hard to believe, the whirlwind way this all fell together. We have made contact with one relative who speaks good English, I have my list of genealogical chores duly mapped out. We’re staying at an organic farm, which should be cool, though the owner did warn of mosquitoes (it’s near a rice-growing region along the Po River). So, DEET? Check. We have reservations to see The Last Supper, and the weather, from what I can tell, is going to be perfect. Once I relearn the whole standard-shift thing, and say a little prayer to a few saints on the highway, we should be all set. Of course, there is the whole neurotic-mother bit referenced above (at least one niece has warned me to drink plenty of vino), but I will put the best spin possible on this. And my sister is thanking me for taking Ma thousands of miles away, even if just for a week.

The other big news, as some of you more careful readers might have noticed, is that we are inching towards buying a house. The bidding is done, and the price seems good. Now we just have the inspection/appraisal/mortgage gantlet to dash through. Piece of cake, right? Of course, Samantha is the lucky one who gets to deal with the nitty-gritty of that. But if all goes to plan, by 7/1 we will be ensconced in our new West Haven home.

And I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Home for much longer, perhaps?

Home for much longer, perhaps?

The home, by all accounts, is wonderful. The immediate neighborhood seems nice. The larger surroundings? Maybe a little dicier than I would have liked, but with our price range, you make concessions. And part of me is actually a little more excited about being an urban homesteader than I was with the first house we bid on (chronicled here). But for all my research on West Haven as a whole, I could not uncover everything.

A little back story: the city is, surprisingly, west of New Haven. It has some pluses: growing ties to Yale, its own thriving little private university, and – as the guy in the planning and development office told me – more shoreline than any other town in CT. I called him to ask about the neighbor directly across the street – an abandoned factory. We see the back of it, as it fronts the next street over, and though there’s a bit of space between it and us, it’s still not overly attractive (though as a friend pointed out, no loud parties or disputes either). The sellers said an over-55 active

Our new neighbors?

Our new neighbors?

adult community had been in the work for several years, but obviously there was no action. So, the call to the P & D guy, who said it is still a go; he had just signed off on something a month ago.

He also told me about ambitious redevelopment plans for a strip of industrial waterfront nearby. Baby steps, though one day he hoped for a mini Inner Harbor, a la Baltimore. A wee bit grandiose perhaps? Oh well, “make no small plans,” as they say here in Chicago (though, appropriately for this post, the sentiment might have originated in Italy, via Machiavelli. Cannot authenticate that…). We also chatted about the new commuter train station to New York. Work has started, and when it’s done I think it will be a huge plus for the city.

But still, the apprehensions…taxes are high, partly the result of huge financial mismanagement by the previous mayor. Some serious debt at work. Current mayor says it’s under control and things are on track. Then I read this little tidbit and I get a little nervous. Possible state takeover of finances? Whoa. And I also read some of the online comments about this mayor, and one challenger in the upcoming primary, and I don‘t know who to believe as the charges and countercharges fly: she’s a crony of the old discredited mayor; he’s secretive, a liar, and no better. Oy. Samantha told me to let it go (not an infrequent refrain from her lips to my anxiety-addled brain), and every town has problems. I tried to, and then I tried to imagine something good coming out of it. Maybe I could be a gadfly, doing research, challenging the pols, fighting for the openness and good government I believe in. Start a separate blog, and become something of a local crusader. (Hmm, talk about grandiose…) Of course, I could just turn into that crank at the town meetings everyone ignores. Or I could get swept away by another part of the Crisis and do nothing, except bitch and moan. There is one last alternative: I, like my beloved character Mayor Mac, could run for office myself.

Ha ha.

Anyway, lots to think about, as usual, though it could be moot if the deal blows up and we end up in another town. But I’m ready for the search to be over. I know Samantha is. And some little hunch says things will turn out OK, as so many people have told me. Assuming my head doesn’t explode first.

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~ by mburgan on May 15, 2009.

3 Responses to “Less-than-perfect Haven?”

  1. Hey, we could be (kind of) neighbors again!
    With all that anxiety I’m glad to see a possitive hunch closing your post. I hope you have a good vacation and come home to a new settled life in CT!
    We’ll see you and Samantha soon!

  2. I vote for Michael Burgan for public office in the city of West Haven. Put your money where your mouth is, baby.

  3. Trina, thanks for reading and commenting. I was just thinking today, assuming all goes well, that you guys will be our closest “neighbors.”

    Trip was great; many posts to come in the days ahead!

    And Samantha, you know I have much more mouth than money. But I guess stranger things have happened…Mac Comes Alive!

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