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On Leaving North Portland

October 10th, 2007

Honest to pete, I need to stop reading Hockey God’s blog. You know Hockey God, aka Steve? My husband? Yeah, everyone is weighing in on his blog re: should the Wacky Family move or not?

You don’t see them over here packing. You don’t see them kicking pitbulls for me.

My response?

Dear NoPo Parent,

First of all, re: “But we can’t get going when the going gets tough.”

Yes, we can. See ya. And see this.

You’re not married to me (and for that, you should thank God, because really? I’m a handful) but Hockey God is married to me, and this conversation should we stay/or should we go now? has come up about 50 times since we got together 10 years ago. This is nothing new for us, talking about leaving.

Which you don’t know because you and I are not married, see? So you don’t get to weigh in here.

Portland-metro area is and has always been fifth choice for me, or sixth, after San Diego (family, great weather, Mexico close by); Lisbon, Portugal (where my husband and I fell in love); Oh, Canada (on the prairie, or East coast, hockey); Iowa (family, Amish country, boating on the lake); and Manhattan (always, always my first choice, but not my husband’s).

Has a pitbull tried to eat you lately? I’ve had it with that shit. At what point did I say, “I’m done”? Last Thursday, when a pitbull tried to nibble on me. Try saying something to me like, “Sheesh, sorry — that must have been a drag” or “I’m glad you’re OK,” or something, would you? instead of rambling about restaurants and “wrestling with questions” and yadda-yadda-blip.

I love my neighbor (not the Nekkid One, although I do love her, or the Nasty One, who I do not love at all, but another one who lives nearby). But when she showed up on my front porch last year, with a pitbull attached to her leg, I wasn’t that fucking pleased. So when I say, I love most of my neighbors and will miss them… Yes, I will. But I won’t miss the other shit. I won’t miss calling my sister and saying, “Library/community center/neighborhood is in lockdown, I can’t stop by.” My sister lives nearby and there have been numerous times we haven’t been able to navigate the twenty-odd blocks between us because the police? They’re either over in her neighborhood or they’re here in mine. And usually someone has ended up dead, or close to dead.

We are divided and at each other’s throats here, and that is the last thing I wanted. I thought we were past all that. See: Chavez Blvd. We are so not past that.

This is my life. This is my reality, not yours. Mine.

I didn’t care for it much, the evening we couldn’t come home because of the sharpshooters on the corners. I don’t like the SWAT teams circling. I don’t like the way the kids get scared when the cops are searching house-to-house. I don’t like when a Hispanic family’s house gets raided and then INS or the FBI is all, oh, sorry! Wrong family!

I don’t like how I’ve taken to yelling, “Move, bitch!” at male drivers. I don’t like that a homeless man was shot to death right down the street. (Edited to say: And worse, that no one seemed to care.)

I don’t like my nearby neighborhood schools being in fucking lock-down every time there is an “incident.” I don’t like it that Jefferson High School is in perpetual lockdown, just because PPS said so.

I don’t like that the Nekkid Neighbor asked us to walk to the library and later, I was glad that we didn’t go because a man was shot to death on the corner. Five minutes before my neighbor walked by.

I was glad she had called me, because all I could think was, maybe that was her five minutes that made the difference. What if she and her baby had been right there, right then? What if my babies and I had been with them? Would the outcome have changed? Would it have been more than one person dead? How can I know?

She was so shook up, all she could say was, “I saw his feet.” They were sticking out from under the police blanket.

My kids are going to be at home and in public schools here for about ten more minutes and then they’ll be off to college. So please you will not try to run our show. Go get your own blog and go off on there, would you? You have plenty to blog about, it sounds like.

And last of all, I don’t like the nickname “NoPo,” cuz the word po’ is colloquial for “poor.” Were you aware of that? NoPo to me has always sounded like, “No mo’ po’ people around here, boss, just us chickens.” It’s not North Portland that I’m leaving, or Northeast, where I’ve lived my entire life.

It’s NoPo.


  1. megs says

    I don’t like that people always talk about Jeff’s lockdown, when Roosevelt has been that way for the past three years and no one seems to care. Also, like I said on Hockey God’s blog…Just shoot the pit bull, and avoid the ticky tacky suburbs at all costs.

    October 10th, 2007 | #

  2. WackyMommy says

    The admin. says, “It’s not lockdown. They just can’t leave.” ???

    I had not heard that about Roosevelt, from the parents I know who have kids there. Thanks for letting me know. I don’t know any kids at Roosevelt or I’m sure I would have heard complaints.

    I’m just defensive because I’ve been getting grief from everyone about moving. (I thought the reaction would be — don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out. Ha.) It wouldn’t be just one pit bull, unfortunately. There are several on and around our block, and on the way to school. It’s not just the pits — a shepherd came at us, a boxer tried to rip off Wacky Dog’s head, a smaller dog snarled and snapped in my son’s face, I had to grab him out of the way…

    Stupid dog owners.

    October 10th, 2007 | #

  3. BlackFriend says

    Um, let’s see how easy it is to show the house when i show up in assless chaps, with a Doberman, German Shepherd and Rottweiler all off-leash. Then my daughter will back up a truck covered in rust and primer and we’ll unleash the rats, possums, raccoons and Riki-Tiki-Tavi in the yard.

    I move toward sabotage rather than quiet convincing.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  4. WackyMommy says

    Assless chaps, yeah there you go.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  5. MamaToo says

    It is this time of year, especially, that I wish we lived somewhere where it does not rain, then mold, then rain some more for months on end. You are a better woman than me if PDX is only 5th on your list behind those other locations!

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  6. megs says

    I say lets all go to Paris and start our own school! That’s the first choice on my list of where to live…And free health care to boot.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  7. Vixen says

    Hmmm San Diego, eh? I hear its pretty nice there. I hear some people, despite the lack of heat and working toilet in their house, still live there and think its “The Greatest Place On Earth”. However, I must warn you…you and HockeyGod will need at least three more jobs each to afford it OR quit all your jobs and on welfare. OR live in a house without heat and a working toilet. Now wait a minute, that sounds really bad. Its not. I love it here.

    Oh, and to the stand up and fight for a principle people: You walk in WMs shoes and her kids shoes and then say you would stand and fight for a principle when your children are exposed to such fear, danger and horror.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  8. WackyMommy says

    Thank you, Vixen, for your continuing support and always good advice.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  9. megs says

    “fear, danger and horror.” what? hey, my kids grew up in the same neighborhood. A little fear, danger an horror makes for a stronger character.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  10. Anne says

    Right there with you! You gotta do what you gotta do. Last year we moved to a quiet (some say boring) Portland neighborhood after we walked in on a burglar in our oh-so-hip Belmont neighborhood house. THis capped five years of drugginess and insanity.
    Life is too short, and being a mother means you have to think about your kids first.

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  11. WackyMommy says

    I’m tired of the other PTA moms saying, “What? That has never happened to us!” Yeah, well I guess my life sucks more than everyone else’s. It’s all cool. I’m psyched to give another neighborhood a try. Wish everyone else was too, for us, but whatever.

    Oh-my-gawd!!!!!!!! Belmont is so cool! What? hahaha

    October 11th, 2007 | #

  12. Melissa says

    Come to the burbs! I’m in the Beaverton/Aloha neighborhood and only a 10 minute drive from the MAX (and 30 minute ride to the Hawks games).

    (I found you through Joy Unexpected)

    October 12th, 2007 | #

  13. Steve says

    Considering we’re a ten minute MAX ride from the Hawks now, your 40 minute commute to the Coliseum doesn’t sound all that good. Just another trade-off… Of course, we’d be closer to Valley Ice Arena (about five miles vs. about nine miles now) for my own skating and Jaguars games.

    October 12th, 2007 | #

  14. WackyMommy says

    It’s always about the hockey, isn’t it?

    October 12th, 2007 | #

  15. Mrs. Flinger says

    Oh, jeebus, people just like drama. You do what you gotta do. As someone who lived in South Portland, and worked for PPS and drove to all the north Portland schools and such, it’s not the easiest place to be. (Ducks from fire) But this is someone who moved to Seattle for the water and the view of the mountains and who contemplates moving to texas nearly daily. So, y’all, do what ya gotta do. And I’m sorry about the pitbull. Shit. And about the homeless man. And all of it. God.

    October 14th, 2007 | #

  16. nan says

    We are trying to build a house (not recommended, really) and move further away from my parents (we are next door now, and that IS recommended when you have small kids!). Last night my mom said “how long have you been here? Just about 7 years? You know, my dad always said you should stay in one place for 40 years!” I said “yeah. And his wife LEFT him!” (with kick aimed at husband). They say that moving is the second most stressful thing you will ever do, so my grandfather was probably right. Moving is like getting married, or losing a limb. I hope your move is easier than mine, which it has to be… We bought our land in the dry season, and now that it is raining there is a RIVER running through the centre of our house site. I love the third world.

    October 15th, 2007 | #

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