An Unpaved Suburban Life
Published January 19, 2005
Some nights, after the kids are in bed, my husband and I sit around and talk about the good old days. Like way back when we had a paved road in front of our house.
Yes, we had a paved road once. We used to drive down our street and swing right into our driveway without giving it a second thought.
Then it happened. The machines came. They tore up our road and, in its place, left a long and winding mud puddle.
I realize the workers out there will eventually pour a nice, smooth concrete road. The lucky folks on the north end of our street (that would make it “North North Burnet Drive”) have been enjoying their new street for a couple of months now.
I know ours will be finished soon. The problem is that we have to live here until then.
I’ve used this time to master the technique of driving in the mud without getting stuck. And I’ve become a pro at it, if I may say so myself.
Coming down the finished part of North Burnet, I speed up so that I hit the mud doing about 35. With a lot of prayer and a little steering wheel maneuvering, I can slide and skid my way right into my driveway. No easy feat in a 10-year-old Suburban.
Getting out is even more daring. After making sure no one is coming, I put the car in reverse, burn rubber out of the driveway, slam it into drive (before the tires sink too far into the mud) and punch it out of there like I just stole something.
So far, my strategies have worked. But I still keep my cell phone with me in case I have to call my daughter’s school to tell them she will be there as soon as someone pushes us out.
More than once, workers have told us early in the morning that we cannot drive our vehicles on the road that day — either because they are pouring lime, or they are digging a two-foot-deep trench, or some such.
So we have to move our cars down to the end of the street. On those days, it has been easier for me to stay home while my husband walks/drives our kindergartner to school.
Being trapped in my house, I’ve been forced to watch more TV, and those medication commercials are unavoidable now. You know, those commercials where smiling people warn about “sexual side effects.” Just what is a sexual side effect? Does this mean the drugs will make you pregnant?
Because that’s a sexual side effect if I ever saw one.
Then there’s the noise. All day long, giant machines go back and forth in the mud. Sometimes they are digging up the mud. Sometimes they are smoothing it back down. All I know is whatever they’re doing causes a horrendous racket. Ever try to put a baby down for a nap while all the windows in the house are rattling?
We Lakewooders tend to be patient people. We waited patiently for Spur 330. We wait patiently for the train on Baker Road. We drive patiently for 10 minutes to the nearest grocery store. So we can survive driving on mud roads for a while. When all this is finished, though, I will have
never been so happy to see a slab of concrete in my life.
Until then, if you see a white Suburban coming down North Burnet, you might want to get out of the way.
Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is