I Get Gnarly

We met friends in Hershey, PA on Thursday and spent all day Friday at Hershey Park, then made the drive home after a full day of playing. I’ll have a detailed review of the park over on KidsOutAndAbout.com soon. But for now, some random, non-park-related observations.

First, as we began our long drive home, I couldn’t help but notice that my bunion has reached freakish proportions:

Eeeww, right? That’s crazy. It’s amazing that I can wrestle that bad boy into a shoe right? Between that knobby foot and my “transient migratory arthritis” (I am not even kidding about this) and some other gnarly thing going on, I am beginning to feel a bit like an old crone.

When I went to look up “gnarly” to reassure myself that I was saying what I meant to say, good ol’ dictionary.com referred me to its synonym, “gnarled.” Much to my delight, it not only confirmed my first definition (bent and twisted like a gnarled tree), but also a third definition that fits quite well with another random photo I’d like to share.

 

Guess where this photo was taken? No, come on, guess! Come on! It’s a brand new playground that’s just been installed! Guess where?

 

At the Niskayuna Town Pool!

 

Now, I like a playground as much as the next gal. More, in fact. I’m heartily pro playground! So why am I feeling all gnarled about it? (And in this case we’re talking definition #3: crabby, cantankerous). Because there was just a big hullabaloo about money issues in the town. One whole huge group of people wanted to create a soccer complex so that kids could play soccer year-round without driving to heck and gone. Another whole huge group of people were opposed to the soccer complex because our current fields are under-utilized in the off-season and meanwhile we have some crazy sewage issue that needs attention. I was getting overwrought emails from both sides, and I remained Switzerland. Truly, I’m sure that my family would use and enjoy a local soccer complex, but I can understand that, as a family in which 50% of us are passionate soccer players and the other 50% are mildly enthusiastic fans, we are not a representative sample of the town, while I’m sure that nearly 100% support adequate sewage facilities. Whatever. I’m a Libra, so I see both sides of the issue.

But now, we apparently had some parks improvement money coming to us from the state, and I suppose it was some sort of use-it-or-lose-it proposition (this is wild speculation–anyone know for sure), and so they’ve plunked a playground next to the pool. A playground that many will enjoy, I’m sure, but certainly not something for which anyone was begging. Especially since there’s other random playground equipment in the general vicinity. It just seems. . .  thoughtless. I know that it’s a completely different set of funding–town vs. school district–but I can’t help but wonder how much teaching staff salary that playground equipment and installation is worth. Or if you kept it with town parks and recreation, perhaps they could have made improvements to the actual pool, or even gotten something that could be used for the current outdoor recreation soccer program that might be used, as well, if they do manage to make an indoor soccer facility a reality in the future? And most residents would appreciate a reduction in pool fees.

In any case, it just seems like a random and thoughtless use of money, which is probably because they had to come up with something or not get those funds. I can understand the impulse to “get what’s coming to us,” but multiplied across the state, well that sort of sucks for the state as a whole. Especially when we’ve just spent a bunch of money on stuff that could have been spent better elsewhere. And I don’t know about any of you, but I heard nothing about these plans ahead of time, but I predict that they’ll be asking for thank yous and congratulations about this fabulous playground later.

In any case, I’m sure that my kids will play on the playground. There will also be swings, and a gate between the pool and the playground. It’s expected to open as early as mid-week.

 

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