Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just park the car...

I live in a city that has more cars than places to put them. That means parking in San Francisco is often a competitive sport. People think we have it easier because we have a handicapped parking placard. That only works if Maggie is with me in the car and I never use it when she is not. One, it’s not right and two, the fines are CRAZY – like $750 or something. Out here in “the avenues” where I live, parking is not that bad, at least during the day. Nighttime is a different story, though. It is not unusual to circle for 20 minutes looking for parking.

We have two cars and we have a house that has a garage for one car and a driveway for the other. Theoretically. We cannot really use the garage to park a vehicle because we need to get the wheelchair through the garage to the elevator in the backyard. There isn’t room for both. Because of that, the garage has slowly filled up with stuff. It is ridiculous and out of control. I have to fight to keep a path wide enough for the chair to get through. It would not surprise me if Oprah showed up to expose this so that the viewing public could marvel at how strange this is and blame our behavior on the stress of having a disabled child. Actually, we just have too much junk.

Even without a spot in the garage, we still have the driveway, right? Well, not really. We leave the driveway open for the night nurse because it is impossible to find parking at 11:00PM. Now we cannot use it during the day much either. Recently, the City made our street a two-hour parking zone. Because we are residents, we have a permit that allows us to park on the street all day. The permit, a sticker on the bumper cost a lot, but far less than the inevitable parking tickets I would get. The school nurse brings her car here and rides the bus with Maggie. Her car is here all day every school day. Now I give her the driveway during the day so she won’t be ticketed every single day. That means I have free rein to use my driveway from 3PM until 11:00PM every day. However, I had better get the car parked on the street before 11:00PM or I can plan to spend 20 minutes searching.

On top of this constant dance, there is street cleaning. You cannot legally park your car on the side of the street being cleaned on certain days. On our side of the street, it’s the first and third Tuesdays from 8-10 AM. On the other side, it’s the first and third Thursdays. It used to be every week, which was actually easier to remember. Now I feel like I have to consult a sundial and a calendar to determine whether I have to move the car. In October, there were five Thursdays but only four Tuesdays. It is too much information to process. We have to pay $53 a pop when we forget, which is definitely several times a year. Inevitably, I hear the street cleaner coming and yell, “Where are the Cars?” but by that time, it’s too late. The parking ticket people come before the street cleaner. Perhaps today I will pay for the ticket we got two weeks ago.

The picture is of the parking signs on our street. There's my van with the obligatory sticker on the rear bumper and the nurses van sticking out of my driveway.

Today is the first Thursday and both cars were on the wrong side. I put Maggie on the bus and saw there was no parking available yet. I needed to wait for people to start leaving for work. I set the timer so I would not forget. At 7:50, I moved both cars to our side where they could sit until 12 days from now when they clean our side.

Unfortunately, we may have to use them between now and then.

Today's Gratitude: I'm thankful for my kitchen timer.

1 comment:

  1. Sally
    Thanks for the morning chuckle. I had completely forgotten about the parking circus in San Fran. Since moving to Marin we park in our garage, driveway or the 2-3 spaces in front of our house. Dont be jealous...ha ha ha!!!

    Amanda and girls


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