A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I was not terribly planning to blog yesterday, but if I had been, I would have had a really good excuse not to blog. Here is a bad picture of it:

Do you see, on that big tree in the middle of the photo, that toward the top of the photo the tree has a big black spot on it? That tree is in our neighbor’s backyard, and yesterday that tree was ON FIRE. Or at least sorta singe-ing. And after the tree was on fire, the power lines also in this photo were also trapped under another tree that fallen down (but not on fire). All that to say, we did not have power yesterday, and there were men in construction hats operating chainsaws at in our back yard at midnight. I think that would have been a good excuse for not blogging.

But, despite, the lack of electricity, we had a super-fun housewarming party involving pasta salad, card games, and a significant danger of Carbon Monoxide poisoning (it is hard to read the warning on a propane tank when your only light is the camping lantern sitting atop the propane tank). Thanks to everyone who came out and warmed our house!

Today is bright, beautiful, and inexplicably chilly. This makes me feel better about my decision to unpack my sweaters, and offered the opportunity I’d been waiting for to show you around where we just moved.

Snapdragons? Lady Slippers? If only I knew about these things. They are pretty and belong to our landlords.
Snapdragons? Lady Slippers? If only I knew about these things. They are pretty and belong to our landlords.
The firepit in the backyard we cant wait to see in action.
The firepit in the backyard we can't wait to see in action.

I grew up in the exurbs, and starting pretty early, I was a snot about it. Being homeschooled, I hated that I had to drive for half an hour to see any of my friends, that there were hardly any neighbor kids, and that the ones that existed in my neighborhood were [also] rich snots who had their own circle of friends to hang out with at their public schools. Then I went to college and became a snot about “community” and how you should live in an anarcho-syndicate commune either in the inner city or on a farm, and that landscaping is a bourgoise conceit.

Moving into this neighborhood has made me realize that I am so completely over all of that snottery. I love this neighborhood and everything about it. I love the fact that the houses are older and modestly sized. I love the old, tall trees that overshadow every street. I love the tasteful landscaping that graces nearly every lawn.

I also love that I do not own any of the houses in our beautiful neighborhood, so I don’t have to worry about repairing an old house, paying property taxes, mowing a lawn, or fretting about old trees falling on power lines and/or lighting on fire.

I have come to realize a couple of things: First, I would love to own a home one day, to have that sense of place and land and ownership and permanence, and to make a place beautiful and useful inside and out. And in the most ideal circumstances, I would love to own a home in a neighborhood just like this.

Second, I have learned that I do not know jack dumpling squat about home ownership. Just a couple weeks ago I learned about radon. What the heck is radon?! You mean that just by living in a house you are getting irradiated by the earth through your basement?! Our landlords are doing a little work on their yard, adding earth around the new concrete pad and planting grass. The grass shot up quick, and in our chatting with Mr. Landlord, he tells us that this is just a temporary grass that helps with erosion but will die off, so they have to plant the permanent grass later. Huh? Dudes, I do not work at Lowe’s. How he heck are we going to find out this stuff? I do not know about things like Gutter cleaning, Pest control, or Grout. I know how to spackle a hold in the wall, but what if I find a hole in the outside of the house?! There are so many things I do not know. Do I need to make sure that the bushes in front of my house are not invasive species? How do I test to make sure the radioactive dirt isn’t going to grow all my children a third leg? Am I responsible for the leaves that collect in front of my section of the curb? Are you still supposed to take Jell-O molds to new neighbors, or in the 21st century is that considered creepy?

It’s times like these, as we start thinking about buying a house one day, and I realize I don’t even know what questions to ask to figure out what we’re supposed to do, that I pull out my knitting.

Undomiel, pictured here with some unsuspecting neighbors tasteful shrubbery.
Undomiel, pictured here with some unsuspecting neighbor's tasteful shrubbery.

It is okay that I have no idea what I’m doing. I do not need to know all of it now, and there are a whole lot of people lots more experienced and intelligent than me who will help us out. Failing that, there is the internet. If that works to figure out a piece of knitting as complicated as the Evenstar shawl, there is at least some hope that, as part of a team with my husband (who is very calm and really good at using Wikipedia), we will manage home ownership okay. We’ll probably screw up lots of things, and I might scare some people with Jell-O molds. But knitting has also taught me that being intimidated by a project does not tell you anything about how it’s going to go, and that in life you really only learn by doing. So really, you have to just risk trying new things, and have enough perspective to get over it and keep working when things go wrong.

Clue 6 finished – 5 and 6 shown. Clue 7 – final clue – received. Waiting on beads to come in the mail, and still waffling on whether or not to use them.

2 thoughts on “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

  1. Hey that Evenstar looks good! I will let you know when the beads get here and get them to you asap! Did you look on the Rav group? The beaded edgeing is beautiful! I just started clue 6 last night so I am hoping if I do at least 3 to 4 rows a day I can have this clue done and ready by this time next week. I tell everyone that the first evenstar I am doing now is the practice one. Have had several offers to take it off my hands. UHHH no. Let me savor it and take it out before I decide on a giftee for it!


  2. Ahh so pretty. It (almost) makes me want to do a mystery KAL! Just FYI- I gave our new neighbors plates of Christmas cookies, and only two (of 4 recipients) thought it was weird. And one invited me in, and he and his wife told me about their 53 years of living in the same house! Definitely worth 2 awkward encounters.


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