Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Thursday
May022013

Standoff in Green Acres (Sponsored Post)

***Winners announced here.

This post is sponsored by Child Safety Sign 360 - Degrees. A 360 degree sign you can buy and install yourself warning drivers to slow down and watch for children.

The sun was performing a spectacular finale slipping below the horizon, birds were chirping, my kids were playing on our front porch and I was watering our flowers. Another beautiful summer evening was descending upon the Pennsylvania countryside.

An Amish buggy clip-clopped slowly past and then the unmistakable sound of a muffler-less car assaulted my ears. But this time I was ready. The same jerk had roared down our road at the same time for two evenings in a row. This time, I stepped to the front edge of my porch which is maybe two feet from the street, put my finger on the trigger of the nozzle, widened my stance and nervously waited. Was I really going to do this? Yeah, I was really going to do this.

The annoying buzz of the exhaust came closer, I could hear it cresting the slight hill leading up and past our house and then the electric blue car zoomed into sight. I waited until he hit the corner of our property and then I gripped the trigger, igniting the jet setting on our brand new nozzle. I couldn't have timed it better. A firehose of water hit the front left side of the car and, as the car rocketed past, I had a split-second to notice the driver's window was open! That was something I hadn't counted on, intending only to spray the car as a warning to slow down.

Almost at the exact moment I noticed the driver's window was down the screech of brakes filled the quiet evening. The electric blue Camaro came to a stop about ten yards past my house.

*****

The one drawback to living in a village established more than 150 years ago is that the houses were built pretty much right on the road. Which really isn't a drawback but for one reason; little kids and cars don't mix. Generally though, I prefer to have a smaller front yard which makes for a larger backyard where we spend most of our time playing. And, with the house right on the street it makes for more socialization with neighbors if they happen to pass while we're on our porch. After all, that's what porch sittin' is all about. Well, that and cold beverages.



The speed limit in our village is 35, which is higher than the usual 25 for residential zones but, well, that's the country way. And it's usually not a big problem as traffic isn't very heavy... Except for in the mornings and afternoons during the school year when buses and parents are dropping kids off and picking them up from the elementary school behind our house. But then, parents and bus drivers tend to mind the speed limit.

It's when the bed & breakfast down the street starts serving up its famous dinners each evening that folks from miles around head to our village for socialization, a bite to eat and a cold one or three. Again, most of these drivers are respectful but, as with any neighborhood there are always those hot roddin' hooligans - god, I sound eighty - that rev their engines and roar down the street and, if I happen to be on my porch I sizzle with anger. I can't wait until I really am eighty because, man, would I love to wave a cane or even a walker in self-righteous indignation.

Which brings us back to the beginning of this story; the time I squared off with a hot roddin' youngster. The car was stopped in the middle of the road where he had screeched to a halt after being pelted by cold hose water. I stood defiantly (nervously) on my porch, gripping the hose like a weapon, staring hard at the side mirror from which I figured he was sizing me up but couldn't quite see for sure because of the low slant of the evening sun cutting into my eyes.

He sat there gunning his engine. I stared hard, fingers on the trigger of the hose nozzle. After what felt like an hour but was probably only ten seconds, he hit the gas and took off. I had won our little standoff and hopefully taught him a lesson too. Slow down, jerkoff or I will hunt you down and waterboard you with my hose.

This is exactly why I was intrigued by Child Safety Sign 360 - Degrees. Because yeah, we have all those Watch Children signs in our neighborhood, but they just blend into the rest of the signage at the side of the road. Speed limit signs, deer crossing signs, it's all stuff the Department of Transportation puts up. But these Safety Signs are signs you can buy on their site or you can pick one up at The Home Depot for $18, put around your mailbox or any other pole and remind people that hey! It's not about speeding because there isn't a cop around and you can get away with it... We live here and we don't like you speeding either. It's also nice because then I don't have to stand on my porch with my hose at the ready. Because I will get you, do not doubt a mama bear.

This morning just before the usual heavy traffic going to and from the elementary school Henry, Violet and I decided to set out our Safety Sign and see if we noticed a difference. First, at Violet's instruction, we planned to stand on the porch and show our new sign to passersby. Except we needed some passersby. So we commenced to waitin' around for someone to pass.



We waited...



And waited...

And waited some more.



Mama! A bus!



"Good morning!" He says. "Slow down please."



"Ma'am. I'm gonna need you to take it down a notch. Thatsa girl. Thank you! Have a nice day."

Henry has this whole thing under control. I might as well go in and watch Live With Kelly and Michael. But I guess we'll go attach the sign to our mailbox and let it do it's thing.







Watch for children, yes. But they're also watching you.



After I dropped off the kids at pre-school, for kicks, I sat on the porch for fifteen minutes or so and I'll tell you what; drivers see the sign and brake. I think there's something about seeing a sign like that on someone's property and not some government installed thing that blends into the scenery that makes people slow down. It hits home a little harder and reminds you of what could happen if you're reckless.





And I mean, seriously. Which would you rather see? This adorableness or an angry, make-upless, beslippered, country hausfrau lumbering your way with a hose pointed at your open window?



P.S. Henry would like you to know he is available to help direct traffic in your neighborhood but it's going to cost you... He's totally worth every lollipop, though.



Have you ever had to deal with people speeding through your neighborhood? What did you do? Take action somehow or just seethe with anger? Let me know and you're entered to win a sign from Child Safety Sign - 360 Degrees. I'll pick three winners Friday!

Reader Comments (18)

The pic of you is badASS! ha ha ha! love it! It's not beyond me to chew someone out over such things when it comes to my kids so more power to ya!

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicki

I also live in a small town. When we see someone speeding, we just call or facebook message their mom.

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTinaK

@TinaK That just made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately, with the bed & breakfast restaurant drawing so many customers, we get a lot of unfamiliar traffic.

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Adorable! I always admired the scene in The World According to Garp when Robin Williams loses his sh*t & takes a bat to the speeding red truck in his neighborhood ... not that it worked out so great for him... lol

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

We just yell "SLOW DOWN"... do it with the kids, so if the perp stops he/she won't think it's just YOU being irate. They won't scream back if they think it's the kids' idea :)

"country hausfrau" ... made me smile, you look like a anry ninja

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBonnieLee

We live near a four-way stop, at which at least half the cars in the neighborhood choose not to stop. It drives me crazy. If I am outside, I yell at them. My husband always says, "They can't hear you." It makes me feel better though.

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

Just a small correction, it's brakes and braking. Not breaks and breaking. Just sayin'.

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

There was one woman in our neighborhood who stood on the sidewalk for a few days with a pad of paper and pencil and pretended to write down license plates of people who were driving too fast. Not sure it made much difference, but I liked it. :)

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

This is a great sign - we're on a country road and people speed down it like crazy. There are families (including us) around who like to get out and walk - the speeders drive me nuts! I'm totally getting one of these signs for my mailbox...thanks for the great idea!

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

@Wendy - I just kind of died a little inside. Hate when I do that. I type here for hear all the time too. I know better, it just comes out of my fingers all on its own.

May 2, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko

Every once in a while we get someone speeding up in these parts!!

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShawna

Scott is the neighborhood watchdog or at least he reacts that way anytime a car, motorcycle, noisy kid, barking dog, bike, basketball or practically anything that moves fast or takes up his air space comes barreling the street past his house. Especially a moving vehicle making a racket. Noise is something he can't seem to tolerate much of. He's a regular Mr. Wilson. Yes dear, and openly hostile about it to me, but will not actually speak up about it. He will however call the police, or if it's an offending neighbor blasting music, and will also lodge a complaint with the geriatric community association leaders...in writing. Oh my, This isn't even a retirement community though there was a vote out to make it one. Lost to the lively folks who actually LIKE people under 55! Whole community is going to the dogs, he says. Oh man. Once he lobbed a piece of dog poop up on somebodies driveways after the offending pet owner permitted the defecation to occur in the street in front of his place without picking it up. Anyway...yeah people are nuts and I LOVE the sign! Your kids on the street there make me nervous. I would have to put in a hedge...with a gate. :)

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

I love your home and i love where you live. Does the slow down sign work for horse and carts too?

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

I'm in Sydney, Australia and I've never seen a house so close to the road!
I would lose my shit at those hooligans!
The hose though, I like it.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBig Red

Oh, and it's the first time I've commented even though I've been reading you since Violet was a wee dot.
Love your work, keep it up Lady!
Your friendly stalker from the southern hemisphere!

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBig Red

In my previous home, there speeding hooligans on our road all the time. Mainly, I just seethed in anger. We moved to a home right across the street from a school and there's a four-way stop at the corner. You wouldn't believe how many don't make a complete stop at the four-way! And most of them are parents dropping their kids off a school. My husband phoned the police department to let them know no body is making full stops at this corner by the school and they actually came out a couple of weeks later in an uncover car and nabbed people all morning. Anyway, do you (or any commenters) know why they built houses so close to the road (or perhaps trail, as it was) back then? I'm genuinely curious.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetts

@Betts - A lot of it had to do with the fact that there weren't cars then. Folks just pulled their buggies or horses right up to the homes (which were basically lining narrow, dirt country roads back then) and went inside. A country village built to accommodate horses and buggies 150 years ago is very different from a neighborhood built in this decade. Most newer neighborhoods design houses set far back from a wide road lined with bike lanes and sidewalks.

May 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko

This home is fantastic. I would love to have or own a home as classy as this one. And the two kids...oh my! so cute! you are truly blessed.

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrown Williams

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