Posted by: mommytoo | December 5, 2007

winter coat weather

it’s snowy here in philadelphia, and it’s actually sticking to the ground!

we bought our house more than two years ago (this is our third hanukkah here) and i’m still getting used to the chores and challenges that each season brings, as a homeowner.  leaves just got done, soon it will be snow!  i thought this would be a good time to describe our very interesting, very intense, neighborhood, which my mom calls mister rogers’ neighborhood.  it’s a short drive from center city, so it has the characteristics we like about urban life (close to things we like, different kinds of interesting people, etc).  but we also have some of the advantages to suburban life, like parking spots and woodsy areas to walk the dog.  there are lots of jewish lesbian therapists (which is what d is); lots of well-intentioned political correctness (we fit in); lots of babies (getting there); lots of dogs (check).

my best neighbor story will be familiar to some of you.  to preface the story, i’ll explain that we live in a row home, attached on both sides.  on one side is a woman, let’s call her donda.  we share a walkway, which runs between our front yards.  she’s very holier than thou, which is completely in the tradition of this ‘hood — hippies can be that way (am i really contributing to the problems of the world if i walk the wrong way around the coop?).  anyway, our driveways are around back, there’s an alley around the corner that you drive down, and all the driveways shoot off it.  we never use our driveway, and we sort of ignore the backyard.

okay, so donda is a fan of notes.  she sometimes writes them by hand, but more often she types them.  last year we got a note that was typed to the first few neighbors in from the corner, telling us that she was getting the alleyway behind our houses paved, so could we not use it on one particular day.  okay, no prob.  at the bottom she hand-wrote that perhaps we’d like to get our (admittedly crappy) driveway paved.  we left her a note back, saying thanks but no thanks — we don’t have a ton of money and even if we did, there are a dozen things we’d do in our house before the driveway that we never use.  okay, so she writes back (leaves a note in the middle of the night, it seems) that she understands, and she could pay for it; we could pay her back monthly.  i called d from work that day, and we agreed that that was not an option — we don’t want to be in debt to our neighbor!

when i got home, i looked out the back window, and our driveway was re-paved!  when called her to say “um, our driveway got re-paved when we said we didn’t want it to be,” she said no problem, we could take our time paying her back.  who IS this lady???  i mean who DOES that???  (no, we didn’t pay her back, and we’re not going to.)

on the other side is a hetero couple about our age, we’ll call them sharon and john.  when we first moved in, i was hoping they’d be cool people, having chosen to live in an integrated, progressive neighborhood.  it became clear pretty early on that that wasn’t the case, though… our first inkling was the first fall, when i was getting rid of the leaves in the front yard.  john was out on the porch (which was share, there’s a gate around our portion) smoking with some guy, and he called to me “how do you decide who blows the leaves?!”  which is not the most homophobic/sexist thing i’ve ever heard, but it does give you an idea of what he’s like. 

they just had a baby boy this past summer, named first, middle and last name after john (how original).  i’ve only seen the baby once, and d has never seen him.  d thinks sharon has post-partum depression, because she hardly ever leaves the house, and speaks even more rarely — john is definitely the spokesperson of the family.  when we started telling people d was pregnant, i saw john outside and told him (i tell almost everyone i see).  what does he say?  “tell her congratulations.”  ew!!  are you serious?  i was pretty offended by that, so i just said “thank you!  we’re really excited.”

lots of people around here are cool and interesting and don’t do nonconcensual work on other people’s houses; but i do think it’s annoying that our immediate neighbors suck.


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