Our family was out for a walk with Farley on Sunday. It was just a little spin around the block, as Nancy was only 5 days post-surgery and wouldn’t be allowed to put weight on her foot for another 3 weeks. She was rolling in style with her decked-out knee roller, the Nimbus 2000. You know, the one that comes standard with the flaming frame, the tassel-bedazzled handlebars, the velvet knee rest and the front rim brakes? Of course, we went with the optional storage basket, rear-view mirror, and, obviously, the classic old-school bicycle bell to warn slow-moving pedestrians.
But that wasn’t what I wanted to tell you about. An interesting thing happened as we strolled, rolled, and zig-zagged (Farley) down the street that runs behind and parallel to ours. First, we saw that our neighbors from behind our house had their house on the market. “Huh. The Js have their house on the market. I didn’t know they were moving.” This was Nancy remarking. Of course, it’s no surprise that we didn’t know this. Without dogs to walk this winter, and with Nancy having her foot issues, we had basically been hibernating. I don’t think I had even driven down the street behind us, much less walked.
But that wasn’t really the odd thing, either. Just as we were getting closer to their house, trying to make out the name on the unfamiliar realtor sign, we saw J, male head of household of said neighbor’s house, coming out the front door. But here’s what was odd. He was coming out of the door of the house across the street from his. Huh. Now, you might think, “What’s odd about that? Did he have a cup of sugar in his hand? Some eggs? You know, some people are friendly with their across-the-street neighbors.”
This is true, but what you don’t know about that house, given the fact that you don’t live in our neighborhood (I know that because nobody in my neighborhood reads my writing), is that the house he was emerging from…is under construction and unoccupied. Yeah, that changes things, doesn’t it? There is not likely to be a sugar or egg dispenser in an unoccupied and under construction house.
Let me tell you something about that house. It’s brand new. There was an old house on that lot. It had been foreclosed-upon a year ago. After the bank sale, the old house was demolished, and what can best be described as a monstrosity had been erected in its place. It’s like 12 stories high, give or take nine. We had not really been watching the construction so much as hearing the construction for the past 12 months. We had been feeling sorry for the people in the neighboring houses.
Now, imagine our surprise to see J emerging from the monstrosity. “Hey, J, how’s it going?” Nancy asked.
“Good, good,” J replied.
“Are you building that house?” Nancy asked.
“Yeah, in fact, we’re moving in next week.”
“Huh.” That was all of us.
“Yeah, in fact we just accepted an offer on that one last night.” He pointed at his old house, which now stood humbly in the shadow of the monstrosity. I felt sorry for the old rejected house.
We exchanged small talk about layouts and the impracticality of tiny houses like ours compared to the comforts of monstrosities. I won’t bore you with the details. J, much to his credit, admired Farley and talked of getting a new dog to keep their old one company. He didn’t have to say it, but he clearly meant that they were looking for bodies to fill the monstrosity.
Later, as we walked down the block, Nancy noted how glad she was that she’d never made a snarky comment to J or his wife. We certainly might have, had we ever ventured out of our own house. Something along the lines of, “Bet you’re thrilled by all that racket and mess across the street, huh?” or “Wow, can you believe that monstrosity? What kind of a person needs a house like that?” No, we wouldn’t want to have said that…unless it’s in a blog that no one in the neighborhood reads.
Anyway, as we strolled, rolled, and veered down the block, it got me thinking about how odd it might be to move across the street. Do you get a moving van? No, maybe a minivan? Butseriously, do you carry your washer and dryer across the street? Your refrigerator? No, that’s silly. I’m sure their new house will have all new appliances. But furniture? That’s actually a long way to lug a sectional or a king-size bed. Is there an upgrade from a king-size? Yes, that’s perfect. I just looked it up. A California King.
Wait, I’ve got it. Maybe they just rent one of those big construction cranes. Park it in the middle of the road and have it pick up a couch from the old house, swing it across the road and plop it down on the new house side.
I was thinking about how hard it would be for me not to pull into the wrong driveway every day. I have a hard time with the transition from 2019 to 2020, never mind someone moving my house to the other side of the street. I can picture it now. You’re driving down your street; you’re tired after a long day at work; you click the garage door opener absent-mindedly; you don’t notice that the door never opened, and you crash right into your new neighbor’s garage…that he just converted into a family room. Oh, sorry.
I was wondering about the mail situation, too. Would the new occupants get tired of strolling across the street every day to drop off your misdelivered mail? And speaking of mail, I hope J didn’t have a big supply of return address labels, because then there’s a dilemma. Throw out the old ones? I know my relatives would be breaking out the Trump Sharpie, crossing out the old number, and squeezing in the new one. Perfectly good labels.
These are all the things I’m wondering about.
Not important things. Not survival things. Although…as I’m thinking about pushing Publish, I’m reminded of my principal’s sage advice, “Don’t press send unless you’d be okay with your words being in the New York Times.” I wish.
Another dilemma. More readers…but J’s family reads the Times. That might also mean that I’d find J sitting in the cab of his new crane, dropping a couch on my house or driving his SUV into my family room.
What the heck. I’m risking it.