I have a new nickname: “Hammer.” My book club group, “Babes, Books & Booze”, bestowed it on me last night. One of the babes had emailed everyone Sunday asking if we could move the meeting back a week because she hadn’t finished reading the books. We usually meet every 5-6 weeks, but because of JazzFest we had a 2 month gap and picked two books to read.* Two other people wrote that it was OK with them, but it wasn’t with me because I had read the books and will be out of town next week so I put that out there and waited for others to reply. I called the hostess and she was in agreement with me, and she also could not meet later this month. I sent out an email stating this and that we were going to meet on the date we originally picked. When we met, the other “babes” cheered me and said I had dropped the hammer, hence the nickname.
It seems to fit since now as president of my neighborhood association, I have to maintain control. We have our first meeting where I will preside early next month. They can get pretty heated when certain topics are discussed. Monday, I called a small meeting about a problem property in our neighborhood. It’s a dump, not section 8 and the neighbors have witnessed drug dealing and other criminal activity. It’s been a problem for years. We’ve started a new campaign with the owner, a retired lawyer in a well-known law firm. We wrote a letter with a list of complains and followed up with a phone call. He was cordial, which he hasn’t always been in the past, but didn’t make any promises other than ask the tenants to be “tidier” and if there confirmed criminal activity, to let him know and he would evict. I invited the Quality of Life officer from the Second District Police to our meeting. I thought he’d only be able to address the crime, but he said can also help us with the trash and other issues, and if the owner refuses to cooperate, can have the property placed on a list of problem properties. Stacey Head has tried dealing with the owner on our behalf but didn’t get far. We are hoping a phone call from the police will strike some fear into the owner.
Being “the hammer” isn’t really in my nature and there are many time I kick myself, wishing I had spoken up or been more assertive, especially so after Katrina. That whole affair really took the wind out of me. I find myself being more fearful than I used to. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. The federal flood, lack of response from the government, the harsh words from the media and pundits, stupid and corrupt city and state politicians, increasing crime and the sluggish recovery can mess with anyone’s head. I was talking to someone about this yesterday and they asked if I worried about the upcoming hurricane season. I thought about it and realized that no, I wasn’t. I know what to do, more so now than ever. It is the things I have no clue about – ie. The recovery, will the city come back, better than before? Will the out of control crime get worse? Better? Will I be a victim? How long will it take? – that stress me out.
I like “hammer.” I think I could get used to it and embrace the title. My shield. I am really looking forward to “checking out” for a week and a half when we go to Boston next week. A break from the humidity, rebuilding, work, life… Dr. A sent me a link to a great article in the Washington Post about things to do in Boston – thanks! link
*The books were “Wine & War” and “Suite Francais” both set in WWII France and both fantastic.