Thursday, July 30, 2015

The road to distraction

By the very distracted Mary Jane Maffini

As a writer, my worst enemy is distraction and yet look what was happening right outside my window for the past two weeks! How unfair is that? Yes. I know. We desperately needed that crumbled road surface replaced. No arguments.  But I am trying to finish the first draft of my seventh Camilla MacPhee mystery.  At the rate I'm going, you'll have plenty of time to catch up.

Our Eastern Ontario winters are brutal with their minus thirty temperatures and the freeze and thaw perioids are brutal and the salt plays havoc with the roads as well. Our section was eroded beyond belief.

You practically fell into the ditch if you ventured out for a walk. With two schools and a number of seniors on the street, this was a priority. But who knew it would be interesting? Not me. I expected noisy, smelly operation that snarled traffic, while workers stood around chatting. Instead, I find myself checking regularly to see the progress.

Rather than chaos and mess I found an operation that would fascinate any little boy. All those giant Tonka trucks. Yes!

We enjoyed seeing the yellow umbrella too. Very festive and there's a brutal heat wave here.

 The top coat has gone on after about two weeks and they are finishing the sides. As we were unsuccessful in getting a sidewalk (didn’t work with the rural nature of the village.Yikes!), we are still counting on a line clearly defining the walking area. Let’s see if our meetings with politicians and municipal staff will pay off. Of course, each one can blame the other if it doesn’t. The workers at the construction company have been cheerful, pleasant and helpful. Who knew?

We have learned that the guys with the white hats are the supervisors. My husband has lots of questions for guys in white hats. The men seem to have the ‘fun’ jobs and the young women ‘flagmen’ get the boring job of holding the SLOW and STOP signs and hoping they don’t get flattened in the process. Still, they’ve got pretty good tans and this smiling 'flagman' had long green hair to match her hard hat.

  I think I’ll be a bit sorry when it’s all over and we’re back to our regular life of peering out at dog walkers, cyclists, people carrying kayaks, school buses and ordinary traffic. We'll love strolling to the community mailbox without taking our lives into our hands. Plus I think I'll miss the steamroller.

And don’t be surprised if heavy equipment doesn’t show up in one of my mysteries some day. It seems a shame to waste it and surely there's a cozy murder weapon in there. Nudge, wink.

How about you? Road paving experience or something else silly or practical to distract and entertain you this hot, steamy summer?


Anonymous said...

Although not right outside my windows, we have had a MAJOR repair of some of our roads/streets for the past 2+ years. The state needed to repave the state road which goes through town, and the city needed to replace the 60 year old water and sewer pipes that run under that same road. Normally the two entities don't work together in planning but this time they did. Great use of resources but, boy, has it ever been a mess. You never know which streets you need to use in order to avoid the delays.
MJ, I just finished "By Book or by Crook" by Eva Gates, aka your friend Vicki D. I got a big chuckle when Lucy was wandering around with "The Sayers Swindle" in her hand. Cordella

Jeanetta said...

So glad the road work was entertaining for you, and the road has been repaired. Sounded like the road was in horrible shape.

Anonymous said...

The men and Tonka toys are still busy past the time they planned to finish because the water main lines and sewer lines aren't where they expected. This week they've worked under a brook in front of my house (apartment) and the neighbor's home and between the houses. The house vibrates at times. That together with the noise has me both curious and slightly off stride. And, the dirt dust is thick on the cars as well as keeping many windows closed - and it's summer! Next will come paving. I'm very thankful it will be done this year and not go into another summer. I know that here in the Northeast summer is the only time this work can be done. Thank you for writing of your experience. I'm grateful for the company. Zena

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Cordella! Your situation sounds very challenging with all those road works. Here when those complex sewer, water and paving projects took place a lot of small businesses had to close because no one could get to them.

I am so glad you noticed The Sayers Swindle in 'Eva's' book. I laughed out loud. Vicki D is a great gal and a fun friend.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

It was unbelievable, Jen. We need our shocks changed and a re-alignment of the car but had to wait until the road was fixed. Thanks for coming by!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

There should be a support group for us, Zena! Survivors of road projects. I think if the house had been vibrating I would not have been amused. My sympathies.

Hugs and thanks for coming by to comment.


Kate Collins said...

When life hands you lemons -- or road work . . . I had to turn my desk away from the front window because I was constantly looking up to see who was passing by, so I can only imagine how distracting a road crew and all that noise would be. Good luck!

Grandma Cootie said...

Steamroller - murder - hmmmm, I'm interested.

We are almost finished with the remodel here. I have been fascinated by all of it (except when we had the porta-potty in the front yard). When my granddaughter was little she would yell "MA-CHINE" whenever she saw a big truck or heavy equipment. That's how I've felt. And most of the workers are happy to chat while they continue to work so I've managed to use up a lot of time I probably could have spent doing something on my list.

And thanks for slowing down there, I do need the time to catch up ;-).

Nicole said...

Luckily no unpleasant distractions for me other than the unbearable heat! Happy Thursday! :-)

Unknown said...

I, alas, am not a writer, no matter how much at one time I wanted to be, but I am very easily distracted. I tell my husband all the time that I have the attention span of a squirrel. I have been able to work from home often in my position due the wonderful flexibility of my employer. I have positioned my desk to look out one of our windows at our small front yard and fairly busy road. I'm known to work an extra five or ten minutes on many days due to random time spent watching and photographing birds, squirrels and chipmunks, watching several people who walk by daily and watching large construction vehicles coming and going from the home-based construction company across the street. I totally get what you are going through with the construction. :-)