The hood…

I’ve been so busy talking about the house and the move that I feel that I’ve neglected talking about the neighborhood. The new place, as much as I might want it to, does not exist in a vacuum. That being said, this is about as decent a subdivision as I’ve really ever come across. Acre lots are the minimum, with most being a little closer to two. No more than 40% of any lot can be cleared. Translation: Even in areas where the neighbors are closer than you’d like them to be, there are still plenty of trees between you and the next guy so if nothing else you have the illusion of space.

It’s the kind of neighborhood where everyone (except me) is out jogging on Saturday morning. It’s the kind of subdivision where everyone’s trash cans hit the curb at 6AM on the dot. Except mine, of course. I’m the redneck neighbor who throws it all in the back of the truck and hauls it away myself. Everyone has a fire pit instead of a burn barrel. I wonder if I cut a 55 gallon drum in half if it’ll look enough like a “fire pit” to get away with it.

Since the weather was nice and I wanted a chance to eyeball the people living on my left and right, I took a bit of a walkabout this afternoon. In order proceeding from my left it’s mom, dad, and two kids; ditto; mom, dad, three kids; mom, dad, two kids; mom, dad, four kids. That’s where I stopped. I know this because house-for-house ever single homeowner was out doing yard work this afternoon and I tamped down my inner hermit enough to make introductions. It’s almost a company town, with at least one half of most of those couples working for the government in some capacity. The rest are commuting to Baltimore, Philly, or Wilmington. I’m apparently a rare an exotic species in my hood – single without dependent children. Other than that, I’m living the stereotype of exurban bliss.

My friends living in DC or Baltimore would probably find this place as deeply unnerving as I find those cities… but now that I’ve had a weekend of “living” here rather than just spending time taking things out of boxes it feels more and more like the only right choice. I’m over the natural uncertainty of transition and find that I really do like it here.

And I’m not just saying that because the HOA Architectural Control Committee approved my plan to put up a fence in 36 hours. Over a weekend. Clearly these are my kind of people.

Damned free market…

OK, so I am usually a dyed-in-the-wool champion of the free market… unless, of course, it’s doing something bad to me. In this case, the national slump in new home sales has driven the builder of my subdivision to take a different approach. Instead of selling their new construction outright, they are coaxing people into “lease-options”… effectively turning all the unsold houses the subdivision into very large stand-alone apartments. I don’t have any particular problems with apartments, per se as I lived in them for a long time and enjoyed it, but the approach he decided to take does all sorts of weird shit to the value of the existing stock of houses, particularly to those of us who bought into the subdivision early. The builder is in it to make a profit and I can’t fault him for that, but still, it creates a giant pain in the ass for me… and we all know what I think of things that do that.

Going down hill…

I’m not going to lie… My little apartment here in the EC use to be a pretty nice place to live. Nice enough people, good maintenance, and that tell-tale sign of how decent an apartment complex is, nice cars in the parking lot. I guess I hadn’t really noticed it while it was happening, sort of like how you never actually remember when your puppy actually turned into a full-grown dog, but this place has gone down hill.

It’s the little things I notice, like trash in the common areas, patios and balconies jammed with unidentifiable “stuff,” a significant decrease in the quality of vehicles being parked outside. I guess it took a few weeks away to re-sensitize me. Now that I have a fresh look at the place, one way or another, it’s time for me to go. I realized yesterday that the two neighbors who were actually decent had pulled up stakes while I was gone. Guess it’s time to move along myself.