Monday, April 30

Love Thy Neighbor

I thought I'd branch out a little and start writing about some things that maybe aren't directly baby-related but are more just life-in-general stuff. My reasons: One, because (contrary to what this blog seems to imply) my life is about more than just my child; Two, because not everyone cares about my child and that he learned how to honk the horn on his riding car last week (which, incidentally, he did); and Three, I think I'm running out of original material with the child, so I thought I'd develop some other topics of interest to blog about.

First on the list, Our Neighbors. Don't worry. This is not a post where I rant or complain about everything that drives me crazy about the people who live around us, although I can't promise it will be completely free of complaining because sometimes it slips out without me even realizing it. Rather these are just some observations I've made and some entertaining little anecdotes I wanted to share.

We bought our house in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia a little over three years ago in January 2009. It was the very first house we looked at, and I fell immediately in love with it but someone else outbid us on it so we had to continue our search. When we couldn't seem to find anything else that we (mostly me) loved, a miracle happened and I saw that Our House (because it had already become that in my head) had been put back on the market. At the last minute, we put a new bid on it and it was ours! I have loved our neighborhood, our community, and our city ever since we moved in, and while we may eventually have to upsize (if we have the 10 kids that Blaine wants to have), we really look forward to many years in this house.

Of course, when you buy a house, you get the neighbors as well (unless you live in some distant and remote land I guess). Fortunately, most of ours turned out to be pretty good, and even though we only know three of their names, I thought I'd introduce you to our neighbors as we know them:

First there's John - He was the very first neighbor we met because my nana asked him to come help us light the pilot light on our water heater. He's the only neighbor that we know both his and his spouse's name, or their last name for that matter. And he's the one we talk to the most, meaning he always comes over to talk if he sees us outside. He's very nice and even gives us vegetables from his garden sometimes, but he's one of those that never really ends the conversation so you always have to do it yourself. I can handle that, but Blaine sort of has the same problem so he sometimes gets trapped into standing outside forever with John, just suffering through the awkward silences and trying to think of what else to say (as I look out the window laughing at him). One little problem with John is that he thinks Brock's name is Blake. I didn't correct him the first time he said it and so now it's gone on too long that I can't tell him! You know when that happens? You just don't really know how to break the news to them that they've been wrong all this time. I figure I'll just wait until Brock can say his own name then he'll probably correct John himself, and then John will think Brock is dumb and doesn't know his real name. What a predicament.

Then there's Mr. "Cathy" - That's not actually his name. Cathy is his wife's name, but I don't remember what his name is, so I just call him Mr. Cathy (not to his face though). I like Mr. Cathy because he gives us things that he cleans out of his garage. He brought us a huge bag of cookie cutters one day that his daughter used to cook with, and he gave us four big plastic tubs to put Brock's toys in. They have an older son in the military who graduated from high school last year and a daughter still in high school. Nice people.

The neighbor who formerly hated me - I've mentioned her a couple of times in the blog (Here and Here). In hindsight, I don't think she actually hated me. I think she's just more of an introvert like me and doesn't really talk to strangers. The interesting thing about Molly Maid (as Blaine refers to her, since she used to have a sticker on her car because she worked there or something) is that somehow she knew Brock's name and how old he was. We've never actually had a conversation before, just a "Hey, how's it going" here and there, but Blaine said he was outside with Brock one day not too long after his birthday, and she stopped and said, "Brock just turned a year old, didn't he?" I just thought it was strange because we've never talked to her, and I know she didn't find out from John because then she would have thought his name was Blake. Maybe she found the blog and reads it, which would be kind of embarrassing to me considering those first two posts.

Mr. "Talker" - Again, not a real name, but we've never actually introduced ourselves. He lives toward the beginning of our street and likes to sit outside and fiddle with his bicycles and fix stuff in his yard. He's a sweet little man and loves to talk, hence the nickname. I always pass him when I'm taking Brock on a walk, and Mr. Talker will usually start up a conversation as we're approaching his house and try to wrap it up by the time we pass, or maybe I wrap it up for him since I don't stop walking. That sounds kind of rude now that I think of it, but I'm just trying to get my exercise in and he seems to understand. He always starts off by commenting on the weather and ends by telling me to have a good day. I became a big fan of his the day he told me I was getting a lot of exercise walking Brock around but that I didn't even need it! I love you Mr. Talker!

Mr. & Mrs. Artificial Flowers - This house has been slightly amusing to me since the first day we moved in because they have all these bright, pretty, artificial flowers in window flower boxes and around their mailbox and their outdoor water fountain. I don't know why I find it funny, but I think it's because I never thought of it myself. I mean, how much easier and cost-efficient is that?! Quit worrying about digging and planting and putting in new flowers every season and just use artificial ones. Not to mention, you can have spring flowers all year long, even at Christmas or when there are 6 inches of snow outside. Mr. & Mrs. A.F. have a really pretty rock water fountain by their front porch and they keep it all lit up at night. It's always flowing, and Mr. A. F. is always tinkering with it. It seems like every evening I see him out there doing something to the fountain. I've always been curious what the inside of their house looks like for some reason.

The Meth House - This house, right across the street from ours, is on my neighborhood watch list because there are constantly 7 or 8 different cars parked in the driveway, and there are always different people going in and out. Ok, I don't really think it's a meth house (though I admit Blaine and I both had serious suspicions for a couple of months). The elderly lady who lives there has Alzheimer's and apparently her condition has gotten worse in the past year. She apparently also has about 10 children and 20 grandchildren with a million friends who come to check on her and take care of her because that house is busier than a train station. We met one of the granddaughters (and by "met", I mean we recognized her from across the street and observed her at work) working at Chick-fil-a one day, and she was very well-mannered and hard-working, which eased our concerns about whether she was a meth dealer. And after talking to John, who I forgot to mention is kind of the go-to guy for anything going on in the neighborhood, we realized that they are mostly all family helping out with their elderly mother/grandmother.

Brenda & The Screamers - In the house to the left of ours lives Brenda, Brenda's husband/boyfriend/lover?, and Brenda's grandchildren. Brenda's grandchildren like to play outside and scream like they are being murdered, particularly during Brock's nap time. Brock loves watching the little boy play basketball. Piper loves scaring the little boy to death by running after him and barking; poor kid. Mr. Brenda is an inspiration because when we first moved in to the house, he was quite large (yet unashamed, as he loved to walk around shirtless in his yard) and had a massive beard and long hair. At the beginning of last year, he started walking the neighborhood every day with Brenda or the kids and eventually cut his hair all off and shaved his beard. Blaine and I saw him one day a few months later and didn't even recognize him. He had lost at least 50 pounds and was no longer a hairy beast of a man. I was so impressed how he just kind of set his mind to it and drastically changed his appearance for the good. Now I think of Mr. Brenda every day when I start my walk with Brock and hope that my efforts will be rewarded like his were.

Finally, Mr. Landscaper - This man has THE most beautiful yard you've ever seen. He has rose bushes lining one side of the yard, tulips and daffodils blooming in huge patches in the Spring, a fountain in the backyard (you can see it from the road, I didn't trespass), a white trellis and swing, and flowers everywhere. I seriously love this yard and am so jealous of it. What's funny is that the man is probably 70 years old at least, but I see him out there planting and watering and pruning all the time. He's amazing. Anytime Blaine walks with us, I always point it out and say, "See, don't you want a yard that looks like that?!" One day I remarked to Blaine, who hates even mowing, "It's interesting to me as much as you love the outdoors that you don't like to do any landscaping in our yard." To which he replied, "I like the outdoors as they are; I like to leave them untouched and unadulterated by human hands." Which is fine if you're in the wilderness, but not so great if it's your lawn! Anyway, if I ever have a daughter I have plans to build a friendship with Mr. Landscaper and see if he'll let me have her pictures made in his yard (it's kind of too feminine for Brock with all the flowers, but it would be great with a little girl).


So, what can we take away from this post?
A.) I am a weirdo neighbor stalker who knows way too much about the people I live near since I've never actually met most of them. I'd say I'm a pair of binoculars short of being a freak.
B.) I need to be a little more sociable and friendly and introduce myself to these people who I've lived around for 3 years and don't know their names.
C.) There are some really fascinating people in this world, from whom I could probably learn a lot, and many of them can be found right across the street.


  1. You have an interesting set of neighbors.

  2. I would rather see more about the

  3. For one Shelby I love this, and smiled from beginning to end! I'm sure it is my fascination with personalities!