We're going to look at houses today. We need to move for an assortment of reasons, including space constraints, an improved commute*, and we're going to take another crack at public school for my daughter, but in a different school district.
We'll miss our neighbors when we move, of course. There are eight houses on our street, although you'd never know it on Halloween, because we're the only ones that decorate, and for a long time, we were one of only two houses that turned the lights on and admitted to being home. Only the most intrepid and dedicated teenage sugar fiends crossed our busy street to come claim the candy - although we tried to make it worth the trip by giving them giant handfuls and hoping they'd remember us next year. No, they didn't.
Did I mention there's a really busy street behind our house?
Our neighbors are fabulous, of course, if by fabulous you mean memorable and yes, I'm trying to be tactful here in case any of them knows about my blog. First, there's the old Russian guy, who introduced himself as we were moving in by yelling at us for having a moving truck on the street, because his wife wouldn't be able to back her car out of the garage if she wanted to - even though the truck wan't anywhere near the garage and as far as I could tell, his wife wasn't actually attempting to drive anywhere.
Then, of course, there are the Pillars of our Community - the people whose house faces ours and whose driveway is almost, but not quite, directly lined up with our own. The "not quite" part is important, because what this means is that the little decorative brick pillars with the brass light fixtures that stand on either side of their driveway don't line up with the sides of our driveway - rather, one of them lines up perfectly with the second stall of our garage. No, you can't see it when you back up.
We also learned this the day we moved in, when the cable guy's truck knocked it clean over.
Of course, that was several years ago, but we remember the event annually when the pillar is once again knocked over, usually when we're not home to point it out to people before they start backing up. Our neighbor apparently considers that to be the only possible solution to the problem, when she came over to discuss it with me the one time someone hit it and didn't politely go over to them and offer to pay for the repair.
We say: design flaw. They say: people should be more careful, and it's up to you to make them so. We say: Safety hazard that should be removed. They say: then we won't have two matching pillars.
I've considered offering to remove the other pillar with my own car, but I don't think that would help the situation.
But far and away the most memorable house on our street is what we refer to as The Jungle House. We don't know the neighbors in that house, which has a Willy Wonka quality to it - nobody ever goes in, nobody ever comes out. We know people live there as we sometimes catch furtive glimpses of them through the thick layer of vegetation that they've planted around the house, which you can barely see behind it all. My personal theory to account for all the shrubbery is that it's a Knights Who Say Ni retirement facility.
We wondered about The Jungle House for several years, until about a year or so ago, when it went up for sale, and we went on line to get a sense of property values on our street**. Suffice it to say, the inside of their house is just as unique as the outside: there's a pool table in the living room, for example, and a hot tub in the garage.
In the garage, you ask? But isn't that kind of an unpleasant place for nine people to sit in a jetted tub? Well, in other three-car garages, sure, but this garage has been completely finished with amenities including a giant television with surround sound, an extra shower, and wallpapered in - what else? - a delightful jungle-themed paper.
Some people might be confused by putting a garage to such a purpose, but we looked at the pictures and suddenly understood why they chose to park their van on their front lawn, concealed behind all that shrubbery.
No, we'll miss our little neighborhood when we move, although it doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon at the pace we're going.
* For my husband, not me. My commute improved a lot when I started working from home - there's no traffic in the hallway, although I usually manage to trip over the dog on my way to work.
**Not because we're nosy or anything.