September 15, 2009

the strangerhood ...

Before you buy a new car - you test drive it a few miles. Before you buy a new couch - you sit on it for a few minutes. Shit, before you order a bottle of wine - you sample it with a sip! Well, it recently occurred to me - about 35 seconds ago - that before you actually purchase a house you should be allowed to live in it. I'm not saying for an entire year, but at least a few weeks. I realize this is all very wonderland-ish but stay with me.

When we were searching for a house, 3 years ago, we did most of our "looking" online. We put in our criteria and made our check-lists. It was a lot of fun figuring out what neighborhoods we liked and seeing how our ideas of 'what the perfect home is' would differ or match. Before long we had narrowed down our search and were ready to take the next step, open-houses.

On one of our notorious Sunday drives, we ended up using a well-known "cut-through" street that I grew up just a few blocks from. I never gave the area much thought, it wasn't exactly on my dream neighborhood list. However, we stumbled upon a nice, out-of-the-way cul-de-sac that I had never noticed before. The open-house sign is what drew my attention on this particular day. We decided, knowing full well that we couldn't afford the house that happened to be "open", to take a walk through for the hell of it. We pretty much fell in love with it. It had everything we wanted and then some. Despite the price tag, we moved in 3 weeks later.

I had always loved the idea of a close-knit community. The neighbor that you could borrow that cliché cup of sugar from, people that you can trust and call upon when you need something, block parties, dinner and drinks together, etc. I had hoped that this cute, little cul-de-sac would provide some of that goodness. Wrong.

We moved in during the cold weeks of December in 2005. We have met two people as of September 2009. "The lady" rolled her window down, to introduce herself, while driving up the street- and "the man" introduced himself to me while I was heading off to work one morning. They were both very nice. I have since spoken to "the lady" maybe twice (hollering hello from the backyard) and I have exchanged waves countless times with "the man" but have had no other contact. Now, I am not trying to play the victim role because I could have totally gone door-to-door with a basket of crap and introduced myself and my husband - but I'm clearly not "that guy".

I do understand that most neighborhoods nowadays do not have these so-called perfect neighbors that I think I am missing out on. I further understand that if it bothers me THIS much I should make the first move by ringing some doorbells and making some small talk. But the truth is - I really don't like anyone else on our street. Now you are thinking, "How can you not like them if you don't know them??" Well, sweet pea, here's how...

House A:
The "two, little kids and a big ol' white trash mama" house. She does nothing but yell at said two, little kids. Riding their bikes - yell. Sitting in their front yard - yell. Playing with their friends - yell. These kids can't swallow without getting yelled at.

House B:
The "I love to detail my car four times a week with T-Pain blasting out of my trunk" house. Yep. This kid washes his car like sixty-two times a month. Not only does he enjoy a super clean vehicle but he loves blaring the WORST possible music ever created. Lucky for me, he upgrades his speakers on the daily so I can hear those computer-generated voices CRYSTAL clear. 

House C:
The "my family grows by the second" house. I thought only four people moved in but somehow there are eleven thousand current occupants. It used to be two children playing basketball - the other night it looked like The Knicks were out there.

House D:
The "no matter what you say, Mom, I'm going to give you the hugest attitude at the highest decibel" house. Well that one pretty much speaks for itself.

Anyway, you get what I am saying. Things aren't always as they seem. I felt so confident in our decision to buy this house and create our "home" here. We are happy for the most part.Well, I won't lie and say that I wouldn't love for someone to make eye contact with me for a smile or a wave. Or that when I have shoveled for two and a half hours and have barely made a dent that I wouldn't love for someone to bring over their snow-blower for eight minutes. Of course there are likes and dislikes everywhere you go ... but general 'kindness' wouldn't kill anyone would it ??


  1. Very well thought out, Sheri! As a home owner in Warwick I can agree with everything you said. It occured to me months after buying our first home that I do not want to live here any longer. We liked the pricetag on our home (purchased right at the fall of the market) but have had several annoyances ourselves on the other end of the city. We have the "rockstars" who jam out on their not so bad music but I would still rather not hear anything but the birds doesn't help that it goes on from 9 AM until 12 AM. We have the screamers, the fighters and the abusers. On the other end we have the non wavers, Im too good to acknowledge your exsistance neighbors. At this point I could offer some sound experienced advice for potential 1st time home owners the main thing is not to go for that Sunday drive...You see a neighborhood that you think will fit your lifestyle and expectations then go Sunday, go Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Wednesday...Go when ever you can because you will be surprised with what you see and will thank me later for it!


  2. You forgot House E, the Wife-Murdered-and Buried-Her-Husband-in-the-Yard house.

    I hear you on this one. I don't know any of my neighbors, and one of them -not sure which one, which drives me crazy - called the cops on us once. (For nothing, by the way.)

  3. It might make you feel better to know that my friends all live in one of those super tight neighborhoods and have their own gripes about the upinyourbusinessness of the place. I know you are only wishing for like 1/16th of this for you and your kids, and I hope you get it, I really do, but sometimes the grass isn't really greener, just nosier.

    This might make you feel better: You did a nice job with this piece---open, honest, and real. Nicely done, Erin

    1. Thanks for reading, Erin! Honestly, I think you're right - over the past few years I have learned that I'm fine with just being in our little bubble and if they don't want to wave at me - screw 'em !! haha

  4. Do you live in my neighborhood? I feel the exact same way you do! We've lived here since 2009 and have only met two of our neighbors "officially." I kept expecting someone to come by and bring us a pie or something, but nope...nothing. And honestly, I don't really know if I WANT to meet any of my neighbors anymore...because from a distance, they really don't seem very nice.

    Great post. I could relate to it so well! Thanks for linking up with the Lightning and the Lightning Bug!

    1. Thanks Katie, I really used to take offense to their unwillingness to communicate but over the past few years I've seen them go about their daily lives and realized I don't want ANY part of that jazz. HA!

      Nobody is bringing anybody any pie anymore. Those days are gone. It's alright though - more pie for us ;)


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