Posts tagged neighbors

Tribute to a neighbor

Yesterday, you saw a wave of snow on my neighbor-to-the-north’s home: snOMG.

She is no longer living there. The home is vacant.

Pam was a great neighbor, not only in that she was quiet, clean and kept to herself. She took great care of her yard.

Her backyard was a haven for honey bees and bumblebees. Her flowers brought all the bees to the yard.

She had inherited her home from her mother, who set up the beautiful landscaping. Pam was quick to point out that she was just taking care of what her mother had started.

She had tiered layers of gorgeous perennials. She had a wonderful flowering tree, in which I saw my first — and only, so far — blue bird. She had so many knick-knacks and gnomes and doo-dads, I think she moved them around her yard every day.

One day a couple months ago, as she and her daughter were selling Girl Scout cookies, my neighbor-across-the-street asked if I had seen Pam lately. I hadn’t. I had been on a week-long trip, and since home, had been sick. She pointed out that Pam’s car had been sitting in the driveway for a few days.

The next night, we found out Pam had died, when Pam’s friends stopped by to check on her and called the police.

Her family started visiting the house a couple days later, and for many weekends after that, to clean things out and get the house ready for sale.

Just this last week, the listing went up. And though I was only home for a few hours, I saw at least five groups of people come to check it out. One of them, I know, which is pretty cool. As long as everything goes through, they will be my new neighbors.

My only wish was that the new owner would take care of Pam’s flowers, and I believe my new neighbors will. Pam and her mother left a legacy that will live with this house for years to come.

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Curb appeal in progress

As I was looking through the folders of pictures on my desktop, the pictures of the front of my house struck me.

First off, my house looks a lot different from what it used to. Here, in the spring after I moved in.

Front of house - May 2011

Here is my house in May 2011. I took this picture to plug into a website that would help me find a new color scheme.

One of the first things I needed to do in the spring was get the peeling paint scraped and repainted. That’s required with a first time homebuyer’s loan. Well, technically, the previous owners needed to get it done before an inspection at the end of May, but I worked out a deal with them so they paid me for supplies, and I did the work. Since the inspector wouldn’t care whether the work was done well, I knew the previous owners didn’t need to care, either.

The siding on my house is vinyl. This is not ideal because vinyl doesn’t hold up well to anything. Its only saving grace is that you don’t have to paint it. But, I did need to paint the trim around all my windows, and the back deck. Since I was going to be going to the work anyway, I thought a new color scheme would be fun. I plugged the above picture into a Sherwin-Williams web app, and went to town, playing around with different ideas.

I decided the bricks (which are really fake vinyl bricks installed over real bricks) and concrete would be a dark gray, and the trim a rich blue.

Front of house - October 2011

This is my house in October 2011. Still not finished.

You’ll note there is slight improvement, but it’s not quite there yet. After hours and hours of labor, it wasn’t quite right. A neighbor told me, “I see what you’re trying to do.” But everyone agreed it wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I decided to gather some estimates for new windows. Three potential candidates dropped by to give me their estimates. But one also gave me advice on what to do to make the front of my house look “done.”

At this late hour, I do not have a photo to show you what he suggested. I’m sorry. But I will post a picture soon.

For now, note the photo below.

Front of house - October 2011

Not quite there in terms of looking quite right. But see how the world's ugliest carpet has been removed from the front steps? Oh yes, there are better things to come.

Can you believe these photos were taken in October in North Dakota? Note the living flowers, the garden hose still hooked up to the house, and the Halloween decorations. Very odd and very welcome.

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Only in your dreams

Yesterday morning, I was woken up by noise. In my pre-consciousness, I was back in my apartment. I heard a bunch of young women screaming and yelling, and a guy or two yelling loudly, probably having a fist fight.

Then I realized I was in my house, but the noise was still there. “Don’t tell me one of the neighbors had an all-night rager, and there’s a fight in the street,” I thought.

That would be very annoying, now that I’m living in a house.

Finally, as I became more awake, I knew what the sound was: geese flying overhead, honking noisily, and the neighborhood dogs were barking at them.

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The snowman and the message

Here’s a story from what must be September or so. When does the football season begin?

It was opening night of the 2010 NFL season. The Vikings vs. The Saints. There is a lot of history behind why this game was going to be huge.

This video shows what was basically the end to the Vikings 2009 season. It was horrible. They coulda been, woulda been Superbowl champs.

So, the Vikings were meeting up with the Saints again, on a Monday night, no less. We were on the couch, game was on, window was open letting in the beautiful late summer air.

The neighborhood’s loudest motorcycle starts up. I get up to look outside. Nobody’s there, just the bike, rumbling.

It’s so loud it’s hard to hear the TV. An engine so terribly loud you have to close the window just so you can hear the TV… on the third floor!

This rumbling continues for at least 10 minutes. I think it was longer. I kept getting up to see if the owner was standing there yet. I kept watching.

Finally, there he was. It was the guy who lives here: One woman replaced by another + baby

I went stomping across my apartment. I was livid. I pulled out the first paper I could find. I wrote a scathing note about it being very fricking rude to start up the world’s loudest bike and just let it run when it’s warm outside.

He gets on his bike. Guess what he was warming up the bike to do? To drive it around to the back of the apartment building and park it in his garage! I flew to my front door.

I was ready to stick the snowman to his door.

I thought better of it, thankfully.

I burst into hysterical laughter. Can you imagine getting a scathing note on a cute snowman sticky?

Bringing tidings

Of course, the note above is not the note I wrote that night.

However, I remember that night for another reason. I was right in the middle of a great search. And this note was one of the last I wrote living in my apartment.

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Build balconies while the sun shines

I told you there’d be a sequel to The latest in incompentence. This is it. However, this will be turn into a series quickly.

Some of the apartment-dwellers on the north side of my apartment building must be very frustrated. We are now coming up on a month that these people haven’t been able to use their balcony, while others have had their new balcony for weeks.

Balconies in progress

A job unfinished. New balcony on top, unfinished balcony below.

I don’t know what the deal is. I know there was issues with the weather. There was a blizzard just as the contractors got to work on that bottom balcony. However, you can see that the weather was gorgeous today… as it was yesterday.

Latest note

My side of the building got a new shot of hope. Yes, the project would begin again, meaning our balconies were soon on the way to the dumpster in favor of flashy newness.

Old balconies

The south side of the building. Waiting for new balconies.

But November 1 came and went. As did November 2. What is going on here? Are the apartment managers choosing the cheapest quotes for balcony building contractors — and therefore getting the worst service? What does that say for the quality of work we’ll be receiving?

I believe the apartment managers must’ve gone with the cheapest quote for snow removal, and that service has been horrible. In the aftermath of the blizzard I mentioned above, they never moved an ounce of snow. They simply waited for it to melt.

Current balcony

Sure, there are worse balconies out there. But what kind of standard is that?

I told you at the top of this post that this story would become a series. I plan to post an update when my balcony is new and safe. We’ll see how long it takes.

Close up

An up-close look at the deteriorated balcony.

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About-face after a punch in the face

I understand I used to be young and dumb once. I used to party it up and yell and sometimes fight or cheer for fights.

Now that I am no longer young and dumb, it’s very annoying to witness.

A number of weeks ago, I couldn’t sleep on a Thursday night. As usual, there were people coming and going loudly. Because the temperatures were just right for sleeping with the windows open, I stubbornly refused to close mine.

At about 1:00 a.m., I heard some constant fighting between a male and female. Started out pretty benign, but got more and more heated. It got bad enough that I got up and looked out my living room window, to see if they were indoors or outdoors, and whether or not things looked bad enough to call the cops. It was about that point when the male yelled, “Back off! Back off! I don’t want to hit you!” And the female just kept screaming back. Well, that’s when they went indoors and I didn’t hear anything anymore. I chose not to call the cops, though I have in the past.

Then, about 2:10 a.m., I heard a huge group of people fighting. Guys yelling, and girls screaming. I called the cops. Of course, the cops want to know where the group is, but I can’t see where they are. Honestly, it sounded like they’re in all directions because of the way the sound was echoing. And with the trees growing bigger and more lush, I can’t see around the apartment complex as well.

So, the cops are on their way. Sure enough, once I’m off the phone, things start settling down. Then, I hear them joking. Sounds like at least one guy had punched another guy in the face in the heat of the moment, but now they’re making up! Unbelieveable! Girls are giggling nervously.

I watch the front of the building next door. I see shadows moving, so I realize that’s where this ridiculousness is taking place. I see three guys, all dressed in jeans and black T-shirts, break away from the group and start walking down the sidewalk. At that moment, I see a cop car coming up the street. It turns off its headlights.

The trio see this, and move off the sidewalk and out of sight. I see another cop behind the first one. The group is suddenly completely silent. The cops pull up in front of the correct building, get out and walk around.

My phone rings. “There are officers at the scene, and they’re wondering where they should be looking.” I tell the dispatcher that they’re parked in front of the correct building, but everyone is quiet now. I mention the guys that went walking down the sidewalk.

Duped, again.

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Do you hear what I hear?

I swear I’m hearing the howling of a pack of wolves coming from my next-door neighbors.

Okay, now that I’ve muted my television, I think it might be a racecar game or something.

Good grief.

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