Sunday, December 22, 2013

On living in a city that nobody wants to move to

It occurred to me the other night, that Detroiters are blessed in a way that they themselves cannot even begin to comprehend. Hear me out, OK, and if you don't believe me, just ask anybody from Colorado.

The realization came to me as I was stopped at light on Jefferson, alongside 4 other drivers. The snow was heaving down, my pathetic windshield wipers completely failing to clear the snow and ice, as my beleaguered defroster blew lukewarm air anywhere but where it was needed. the temperature was about 15 farinheight and the roads were an absolute disaster, with nary a plow or sanding truck in sight. The light turned green, but instead of gassing it into the intersection, we all just sat there waiting. After a few seconds, two cars on the cross street tried to stop for the light, failed, and slowly spun their way across Jefferson in front of us. It looked like automotive ballet!

Nobody honked, nobody gunned it, Everybody just waited until it was safe to cross and then carefully and then did so. This exact scene played out over and over as we made out way home, creeping along with everybody else at 10 Mph on a street that usually sees 45. Nobody ran up the back of me, everybody stayed out of everybody's blind spots, and everybody Slowed. The. Fuck. Down.

I was like "Ho-lee-Shit, this is fantastic!

Do you know why driving in storms is such a pleasure in downtown Detroit? Because almost everybody who lives here, is from here! Because nobody wants to move here! No Californians! No Texans! Nobody from suburban Miami! Count your blessings while they last, my friends. It won't be like this in another 10 years.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Failed pickup lines of Detroit

Failed Pickup Lines, 101. 
Jefferson and Belvedire
Guy: Hey, you got a dollar you can spare? 
Me: Um, let me check....
Guy: cause I'm just trying to get a bus, so I can make my court date.
Me: OK, lets see, (pulling out a Doritos wrapper, lighter, receipts, business cards, fliers, etc..)
Guy: You having a nice day? You look Good. 
Me: So I have like, 17 cents. (dropping it in his hand) here you go. You take care, bud. OK?
Guy: You got a man? Any chance I can get in touch with you so I can see you again? 
Me: Not a chance in Hell, but thanks for asking. 
Guy: Awww baby, I'd treat you good!
Me: Dude, You just asked me for a dollar to get to court. But good luck with your court date!

I don't know if it is the weather, or what... 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A cautionary tale

If there was ever a selling point for how truly wonderful it is to live in Detroit, consider this: The nearest Walmart is in Canada. This is a wonderful thing because it removes the temptation to purchase imported stuff I don't need, made under exploitative conditions in the third world, from a store that mostly employs underpaid, overworked, and hostile people, funneling Stone's hard earned cash to a giant conglomerate in  Arkansas.

Stone and I try, (but don't always succeed) to purchase the things we need instead of the things we want. We buy most of our stuff used, make a point of purchasing things made in the United States whenever possible, and torture our poor kid by not allowing her to have any "cool" toys. We are, in summary, total assholes.

This week, however, I broke the cardinal rule, and for the first time since we moved to America, I shopped at Walmart.  See, my really awesome truck gets like 9 miles to the gallon, which adds up, especially when most of your trips are within 2 miles of home and require stopping at Every. Goddamn. Light. On. Jefferson.  Walmart had these adult cruiser bikes on sale for 88 bucks each (Assembled by Chinese Children!)  and after dealing with a variety of flakes on Craigslist, and shopping the classifieds, I caved in, and decided to drive 25 miles into the suburbs on a Sunday morning to worship at America's Consumer Utopia.

We came, We saw, We shopped. In addition to the bikes we bought some sidewalk chalk, socks, shoes and leggings for the kid, a few bottles of mediocre wine, and as an impulse purchase, a ten pack of ladies briefs.

They were four bucks! Four bucks for TEN pairs of panties in various shades of pink and white and grey! The picture looked good, the patterns were pretty,and hey 10 high-cut ladies briefs, 100% cotton, for 4 bucks??? I'm in!

My joy dissipated rather quickly upon returning home and test driving the first pair.

WTF? I could use these a parachutes...

I'm only in my 30's! I'm too young for Grandma Pants! 

It's like instant karmic retribution. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Men of Detroit, Part 1

It was 101 degrees today, in a hopelessly under air conditioned city.

Do you know what my neighbor Sid wore to work today?

My neighbor Sid. The man has style. 
Men of Detroit, we salute you. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Red Plums

Walking the dog the other day, we spotted this incredible red plum tree, laden with fruit.  It's two blocks from our house, on one of the busiest streets in the city, yet totally untouched. The tree is in front of a gorgeous but currently unoccupied historic building so impressive and simultaneously neglected that I can only fantasize about owning it. 

Oh. Wow... are those plums?

Yes, those look like plums.

Holy Hell, there are like 20 billion plums on this tree, and they are all delicious.
 So when the weather finally cooled down enough to consider baking anything, we took the wagon and a cool box to the tree and loaded up on free, fresh, delicious fruits. we got about 30 pounds, which was way less than 10% of the fruit on the tree.

Part of the haul. 

Are they not gorgeous? 

A rinse in the sink 

And then Stone spent 4 hours cutting them into cheeks, and setting aside the pieces with the pits for jam.
What an amazing man. 

Some of the cheeks, ready for pie, tarts, and crumble. 

The first four pies in progress. 
This year plums are the new cucumbers. We have three litres of Jelly in the fridge, plum sauce for duck, plum chutney for cheese, four pies, 17 small plum cobblers, a dozen plum tarts, and a dozen plum crumbles, plus more in the freezer awaiting the return of our German friends to make them into that plum stuff that Germans put on pancakes.

Good times. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stuff my kid says

The following conversation was told to me by the admissions director of the kid's school here in Detroit, relayed to her from the kid's very pregnant teacher back in January.

Kid: What color is your baby going to be?
Teacher: What do you mean?

Kid: Like, what color is your baby going to be?
Teacher: Well, I'm white, and my husband is white so the baby will also be white.

Kid: Why?
Teacher: Because that's how it works.

Kid: I think you should decide to have a black baby instead.
Teacher: That's not really how skin color works...

Kid: Yes. It is.
Teacher: Ummm.... maybe you can see the baby in the summer when you are back. I am pretty sure the baby is going to be white.

Kid: NO IT IS NOT!!!!
Teacher: .....


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Keeping cool in Detroit

It's been a hot couple of weeks up here. Like, temperatures that compete with the hellish confines of Houston, Hot. People are making deeply questionable fashion choices,   wandering around the city in outfits that would make even the total slobs among us weep. The Riverwalk is packed, and the Belle Isle beach is hopping every afternoon. I have not cooked a meal inside for 9 days, and everybody is getting sick of BBQ and salads. 

The Dog is shedding like crazy, and mostly lies around the house panting and wishing he had been adopted out to a family in Alaska. 

The Kid is extra whiny and needy, refusing to wear clothes, preferring to lie butt naked on the filthy hardwood floors, complaining to the dog about the unfairness of parents who won't take her to the swimming pool  Right. This. Minute. 

As for Stone, things around here look a lot like this:

Indeed as I type, Stone is sitting in front of the open window, smoking a cigarette, in full view of the neighbors, wearing nothing but a worn out pair of  blue briefs. Our neighbors must be counting the seconds until we leave...

The forests and parks on Belle Isle are providing an almost daily escape from the opressive heat inside out house. On a recent walk we discovered some really cool art made out of gathered sticks and logs, about 1/4 mile into the forest. How Neat!

Tuesday evenings, we go watch our neighbourhood Football team play one of the other neighbourhood teams. GO VILLAGES!! We are currently undefeated!!  There are about 30 Detroit neighborhood soccer teams that play in the football league.

Nothing is more fun than kicking back with an ice cold Martini while watching your neighbors and friends run around in the heat.

Yeah, those guys brought a real martini shaker, glasses, olives, and a silver tray. Class. 

Later in the week I am hoping to write a little bit about our nightly happy hour chit-chat sessions in the back yard. Our neighbors come out for a glass of wine and we all just sit around and talk. We can talk for hours about everything under the sun, but mostly about politics, race, and the future of Detroit. I'm telling you guys, the conversations are fascinating. I feel so lucky to get to be a part of them, and to learn from some of the old souls in our city, and the young movers and shakers.