Sometimes, change is a good thing

I've blogged about the changes in my old neighborhood before, particularly about the problems with the yuppies and restaurants. Yesterday, on a trip down to pick up Greta for a week's visit, I had the opportunity to see some good changes there.
  • The Commerce Bank has not closed. I've been increasingly annoyed with banking's attitude towards change. I used to collect coins in a jar and once a year take them in to add to my account. This became my Christmas Present Fund. Then banks started charging for the wrappers... limiting the number of rolls you could present at one time... arguing about whether this was legitimate. Excuse me? It's MONEY. And one would think that banks are in the business of money (bailout to the contrary). Anyway, that Coinstar machine you see all over the place takes a percentage of the money I deposit, so I don't like using them. Commerce Bank has Penny Arcade, and when they give you dollars in exchange, it's with a smile. So when Commerce merged with TD Banknorth, I got concerned. No need: the branch was open at 7:30, Penny was all ready to go, and the smiles were still there!
  • Breakfast was at the newly renovated Happy Days Diner. It's a diner, nothing more, nothing less. Thing Two likes diners, and this would be right up his alley. Me? I'm ok with diners. This one has basic diner-y food, and the new decor seems like it's brought in more people. Over the past 15 years I've eaten there a number of times. This place hasn't changed. And I mean that in a good way.
  • We debated going to Perelandra (the health food store) vs. the newly opened Trader Joe's. TJ won. Now, I'm not a huge TJ fan. I don't like being locked into one brand (although, as Neat & Simple Living says, too much choice can be a bad thing; and somewhere I read a story about an African man bemused by the concept of Baskin-Robins' 31 Flavors - who needs more than five?). Their gluten-free selection is pretty poor at this venue, and I really hate being rushed through. Why rushed? Thing One has a very low tolerance level for yuppies and being shoved around by rude ones trying to get though their shopping (note to people: shopping at TJs does not make you a better person!). I don't like moms who think that they have the right to clog up an entire aisle with their shopping cart and a child stroller, and I really hate having two people stop to kiss right in front of the soup display ("excuse me, you're blocking the butternut squash soup" just sounds both rude and lame). I was also looking for some cranberry concentrate, not available here. Still, the renovation they did on the old Independence Bank building was impressive and at 9:05 on a Saturday it wasn't a bad experience.
  • Our next stop was supposed to be at Beastly Bite, but we got sidetracked by Book Court. It's a great, small, independent book store. What's even better is that it's down the street from the Barnes & Noble, but it's still going strong. As a matter of fact, it expanded. Wow. Luckily, I had to buy the new National Book Award winners and they had everything except the fiction winner (don't get me started on why it should not have won!). I love independent bookstores not just because of the cozy, local flavor, but because of the knowledge they bring to books. B&N, Borders and other big stores rarely have staff that really know the product. Book Court? A++ on all counts.
  • Beastly Bite has a wonderful grey cat that is just so friendly, I nearly popped him into my bag and catnapped him home. The gorgeous tabby wasn't so friendly, but oh so cute. The Boys (and Greta - henceforth known as The Gang) now have Wevura and Before Grain food to enjoy.
All-in-all, the changes/renovations have been a good thing and reason to hope that my old neighborhood will continue to thrive, despite the economic climate.

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