It’s raining again. Rain is unusual in southern California. Rain when it comes is a treat, but this rain has come nearly every day for weeks. Now rain is like a hoped for guest that stays just a bit too long. The image outside my front door is a sort of suburban paradise. Shiny streets reflecting the gleam of tastefully placed house and yard lights that in turn illuminate trim yards surrounding immaculate homes.

This morning the rain was a bare mist. Instead of dropping my kids behind the school I chose be over-protective and drive them to the front. Naturally other parents made the same choice, and the line of cars leading to the front of the school was quite long. I was feeling just a shade out of place in my ten year old Honda followed by a new white SUV with Cadillac spelled out in gold letters, passing shiny new grey Mercedes sedans, and in turn following a massive Lincoln Navigator.

Has the neighborhood really changed? I like where I live, and the neighbors are all decent folk. Two houses across the street just sold for full asking price, and in little time. The neighbors once the slightly adventurous sort that colonize newly built areas, are slowly being replaced by people with fatter wallets. Does this make a difference, and if so what? The divorce and the marriage that preceded left me drained financially. I know time will solve this problem. For now I feel a bit out of step.

The kids will be back Sunday afternoon, so the house is quiet and waiting. The little weekly tasks are done, and the bigger jobs will have to wait for better weather.

The weeks without the kids are quite different. Thoughts run longer and deeper. Words build up until they can be put down on a page. When the kids are home, a thousand little interruptions keep any but shorter and more fragmented thoughts from forming.