>> Saturday, October 16, 2010
We live in a very nice, quiet section of our neighborhood. We're not quite on a cul-de-sac, but we're definitely off, off the main road. The girls can ride their bikes safely without worry of becoming the road kill of some teenage NASCAR wanna-be. And we can walk to Nani's school - which I love!
I always felt safe here -- from the moment we moved in, I loved our neighborhood. We're a 5-minute walk from the grocery store, Dollar Store (yippee!), Starbucks (double-yippee!), and pizza shop. (My Marine has his own happy place with the local hole-in-the-wall bar too.)
My neighbors to the immediate right are a very nice older couple. He's retired Air Force. She gardens and makes him sit in the garage to smoke his cigars. He's our very own Neighborhood Watch. You want to know what's going on? Go see him. He lives next door to his son. (How convenient. Or crazy. You decide.)
There's the guy a few houses down who brews his own beer. His garage doesn't store cars, but kegs. Lots and lots of kegs. I get this feeling that he missed out on an important phase of his life during the college years. Every once and awhile you'll see him
weaving on his bike riding his bike up and down the street waving at us.
To our left is the nice couple who has extended family living with them. They're quiet and keep to themselves, but are very sweet. Every time the brother visits his family in Mexico, he brings us back tequila. I've got more bottles of tequila in my freezer than ice cubes. He visits a lot. When they have parties, they are always bringing us over plates and plates of food. Taco Bell this ain't. We're talking homemade tortillas people. Some of the best Mexican food I've had! Next time they're going to see my face pressed against the window begging for food like a little street urchin. "Please sir, may I have some more?"
Across the street are my guardians. James owns the house but has had a series of rotating roommates. He has always watched out for me and the girls whenever My Marine is gone. The whole time he was deployed, James took care of us -- shoveling my driveway, fixing my car, plumbing issues. Anything I need - he and his rotating roomies are there. They also provide hours of endless entertainment. Like my first winter here -- they built a snowboard ramp in their yard. They would pile all the snow around it, climb up the ramp, slide down and end up in my front yard. They put on a fireworks display every July 4th that rivals the county's. Absolutely adorable -- every single one of them. I love them like brothers and love knowing they would do anything for me in a heartbeat.
And down the street is the Iraqi family that moved in about a month ago. Sweet couple with 6 girls. Finally someone for Nani and Nudgie to play with. From what we gathered, they left Iraq and went to Syria and then came here. The husband came by the other night to ask My Marine to help him with their washer and dryer. They didn't know how they worked. He keeps asking My Marine about his time in Iraq. My Marine thinks that he was stationed in this man's hometown -- which is now a base. Broke my heart. The girls are very sweet and love to play with my girls.
So overall, a great neighborhood. But like all great neighborhoods -- there's always one that just doesn't quite fit in. And in this case, we think it's the house itself. Kind of like the Amityville house....it just attracts "colorful" people.
The house is now a rental. We've had no luck with any of those neighbors - except for the owners who decided to move to a farm and rent out their home. Every time we've seen them, I've resisted the urge to latch myself to their legs and beg them to move back. I promise I won't tell the county they have horses in their backyard.
The first family they rented to was very nice. Lots of fun with two little girls. I envisioned block parties and our girls walking to school together. But a'las. It was but a fleeting thought. Stupid guy did his job so well they moved him to Nebraska for a promotion. I cried the day the moving van pulled away.
I cried even harder when the second family moved in. She was agoraphobic and he was an alcoholic and very disturbed. So disturbed that he committed suicide by hanging himself from the tree in the backyard. Our Neighborhood Watch neighbor said that the agoraphobic wife wouldn't even leave the house to try to save him. Very sad and tragic. Yep - that was an exciting morning here on the block. They only lived here a month.
The third family was a clan of LARP'ers (live-action role play). Every weekend we'd see them in the front yard dressed in medieval garb sword-fighting, drinking mead, and channeling Sean Connery in "Highlander". Then they'd all pile into an RV and drive away to God knows where to do God knows whatever LARP'ers do. I dreaded going for the mail because I seriously thought they were going to launch a seige on me. And then on Monday morning, they'd leave the house with their travel commuter coffee mugs and wave as if nothing happened. They just recently moved to conquer another kingdom.
Now we have The Clampetts who moved in two weekends ago. We knew we were in for some interesting neighbors when he opened the door to his truck and bottles and cans fell out. I just prayed they weren't beer bottles and cans. They had a playpen set up in the bed of the truck where they left their baby as they unpacked boxes. I saw one of the clan leaning against the fence post chain-smoking while directing the truck as it backed a boat into the backyard. (Redneck hot tub anyone?)
Anyone want to take bets on how long they stay?
So there you have it. A glimpse into my own little slice of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. The only thing missing now is the Trolley and Daniel Striped Tiger.
And how about you? Any colorful neighbors in your neighborhood?