Adapting to Changing Times

It occurred to me that I’ve never shown my completed kitchen after having described its many layers of deconstruction (early in this blog).

Here’s how my kitchen looks today:

kitchen new 1

This is how my kitchen looked four years ago:

kitchen old

I love being able to hang dried herbs and old baskets from the exposed beams.

kitchen baskets 1

Here’s a view of the utilitarian section of the room, with appliances and other modern apparatuses.

kitchen new 2

I placed rice paper in the central frames of the large window to block the views of the incessant street traffic and all those heavy trucks.

Rant Du Jour

If you’re new to this blog, here’s a recap redux: Ipswich, Massachusetts has the largest number of first period (earliest) homes in the United States, but in one part of town (where my house is located, which I’d assert is the oldest part of town) these homes are at great risk (from seriously heavy truck traffic and seriously heavy truck vibrations, high speed limits, and a lack of stop signs or any other kind of traffic calming strategies).

In an effort to help fix these problems, I’ve repeatedly asked the town for a traffic study. The official response is that they already did a traffic study. In 1968.

1968 was an interesting year. Richard Nixon was elected to his first term as president of the United States and the Beatles released The White Album. Ipswich not only did a traffic study, but John Updike still lived here and his novel Couples was published that year. Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway also came to town to film a scene from the first screen version of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Seems like only yesterday.

Except that trucks are heavier now. Much heavier. Their weight limits have grown incrementally these past 50 years. For example, in 1974, the maximum federal weight limit was 80,000 pounds; but now the weight limit in Massachusetts is 127,400 pounds. And when we observe that some of the tractor trailers that speed within inches of these oldest houses in America are carrying 12 automobiles on their double-deck trailers, we may assume they are in the 127,400 pound range.

I recently noticed that the Ipswich town historian wrote about that 1968 traffic study in a 2014 blog entry. That traffic study concerned the potential creation of a new stretch of highway to run through many towns, including Topsfield, Rowley, Hamilton, Essex, and Gloucester, as well as Ipswich. It appears to have been a highly detailed proposal for a project that never happened.

That’s not the kind of traffic study I’ve been talking about.

The kind of traffic study we need is free and quick, and it would involve only key people, such as the town planner, local residents, and the state representative. We all need to get together some morning during the height of truck traffic on Route 1A/High Street between the railroad bridge and donut shop to feel the houses shaking and to observe the giant mega-trucks speeding along a few feet from the front doors of the oldest houses in America. If everyone were to observe this hazardous situation firsthand, everyone would agree that it is seriously dangerous and perilous and needs to be fixed.

What I’m asking for is not expensive or time-consuming. It is not rocket science.

It is simply common sense.

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