Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Driveway's Tale

Our parking situation is terrible. We are at a T-intersection so we can't park in front of the house. We're not even allowed to park on the same side of the street as our house. So I have to park across the street and two houses down. Getting CJ plus groceries plus any packages to and from the car is a logistical nightmare. We knew this when we bought the house, but our realtor and the seller both suggested that we put in a parking pad. That seemed like a good solution to us, since there was the perfect place for it.

I had an asphalt contractor lined up in March and all that needed to be done was to get a permit from the City to cut the curb. The City hemmed and hawed, forgot about me several times, and sent someone out to take pictures twice before finally decided to deny the permit on June 18. The reason given was that we have a garage and we should just park in there. Except it's not a garage. It was called an "outbuilding" on the listing sheet. It's impossible to park a car in it because it only has a person-sized door. Even if we put in a bigger door, the building remains too structurally unsound to support the weight of a car. Park my car in there, indeed. We were planning on tearing it down in the near future since in addition to being useless, it is also an eyesore. (The street-level person-sized door is on the opposite side. It's just as ugly, trust me.)

 At which point I pitched a fit and the underling I spoke to promised to have his boss, the Public Works Director, call me to talk over the situation.

Do you think he called me? Um, no. I tried calling him once week and sometimes more often from June 18  until August 6, always leaving messages with a coworker (he apparently doesn't have a voice mail). He was much much too busy to return my calls. Then on August 6, I finally caught  him off guard and he accidentally answered. I almost didn't know what to say because I was so used to leaving just my name and phone number with an unnamed coworker, but I somehow managed to explain the situation and set up a face-to-face meeting for August 13.

We all got dressed up (CJ included) and showed up at the city building for our very important meeting. He surprised me by actually being in the office and deigning to keep the appointment. He actually seemed like a very reasonable person. He said that he had looked into the matter and it was apparently tied up in legal. He promised to follow up with them that afternoon to see where we stood and said he would get back to me the following day. August 14, if you are keeping track.

Do you think he called me on August 14? Or any day thereafter? Of course he didn't, you silly person. A month (and several un-returned phone calls from me) later and we have still heard not a word.

Needless to say, my dander is up. I realize that a driveway, or lack thereof, is not a big deal to he who has to deal with broken water lines and street repair and whatnot, but it is extremely important to ME. I've been dealing with the dilemma of a) parking illegally while I unload groceries b) parking legally and illegally leaving the baby in the car while I haul tons of groceries across the street or c) parking legally, putting the baby in the playpen and leaving him home alone while I leave my property to unload groceries. All three options make me very nervous. If you're curious, I choose to park illegally on my front lawn where the driveway should be while I unload. Very classy.

Is there a patron Saint of driveways? Or of Public Works Directors? Help, help, whoever you are.