A big heartfelt thanks to the folks who came out on Saturday for the St. John's Clean-up; two of the people I coerced into coming out won prizes (besides the obvious prize of my charming company) for their valiant efforts. I was also able to make sure my street probably got the most thorough cleaning, although that being said, it took 5 people two hours to clean just the front of about 6 blocks - the back lanes didn't even have a chance to get touched.
Spring is a great season because there is so much hope in the air; you see folks who you never normally see out in their yards cleaning up, wanting a fresh start and you can't help but feel like this is the year it's all going to be different. Sadly, in a few weeks, once the grass starts to grow much of the hope gets abandoned and too many people just give up again. With absolutely no scientific evidence behind this statement I think spring is the best time to suss out the absolute rottenest apples in the neighbourhood - if they can't be bothered in spring, if they don't have that initial burst of pride in their surroundings then there is basically no hope.
The house I was having a bit of a dilemma with has sprouted two broken windows since my last post, which can only lead to trouble. That being said, if only arsonists took requests.... It's one in a cluster of no so great houses, but there is hope on the horizon - I hear through the neighbourhood grapevine that the owner is thinking of tearing it down to build a nice shiny new house. Combine that with the other houses that are hopefully going to get some fix-up orders from the City and Voila! all should be good with one little section of the North End again.
Spring also means flowers. Oh how I love flowers! If you need flowers, please skip the Home Depot's and Wal-marts of the world and pick them up at a little family owned garden centre - I suggest the Jolly Green Thumb at 6905 Roblin Blvd - it's only about 100m outside the Perimeter, but there are dozens of them all around the city. Since Mother's Day came about as early as it can and spring has come about as late as it can come this year I didn't have my flowers out in time to have them
Spring also means the neighbourhood gets a little rowdier. I'm at an awkward age - I'm very much an adult but not so old that I don't still almost remember what it's like to be a teenager. Being a homeowner makes the fist shaking "kids these days..." old person come out a lot but I try to remember that some of the stuff the kids are up to here is no worse than what we got up to in the suburbs. It doesn't make the petty vandalism or theft feel any better but I know that most of the kids I grew up with turned into mostly functioning members of society regardless of if they stole a garden gnome or two when they were young.
Firecrackers were going off with abundance this weekend, which I hate mostly because they always turn into tales of "gunshots all the time" by "a neighbour who didn't want to be named" in the paper later on when they are reporting on some other crime. We used to do that in the suburbs a lot too, it was a big thing in the late 80's/early 90's to bring a bucketload of firecrackers back from the States (was it legal then? I'm so confused, because EVERYONE seemed to have them but now you can't bring them back, what gives?) and we'd shoot them off. So I mostly hate them not because life has come full circle and I am now the cranky adult but because every time I hear one I see a quote.
I am also excited for spring as it means outdoor projects can get underway for the year. Last year I painted the house (still hoping Google street view will come back for a new shot of the place!) and this year I am putting in a new sidewalk. One of the best things about living in the North End is that I got double the house at half the price so I get do way more projects than if I had bought elsewhere. Even with how property values have skyrocketed the North End is one of your best bets for value for money and a chance to be able to afford to personalize.
So now that spring is here, bring on summer!