Bringing Up Neighborhood Morale

It was just another too early morning after going to bed earlier that same morning. I would have rather slept in and leisurely enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee.

However, it was admittedly another beautiful morning with the sun peeking between the various shades of autumn colored leaves in the trees. I paused on my short walk to the remodel project. The paper was already delivered to Mrs. Casey’s driveway. I picked it up and walked up the driveway to her doorstep and dropped the paper off where she would not have to walk all the way to the street.

Mrs. Casey was my eighty-plus year old neighbor. The few conversations I had with her were delightful. From time to time I became saddened at the lack of traffic in her driveway and looked forward to longer visits after the remodel was over.

For months during the remodel we created noise at all hours of the day. We tried to be quiet at night. We even compromised on allowing sawdust in the house by bringing the saws inside. I remember cringing while pulling the trigger making that one last cut in the middle of the night even though we had moved inside.

Despite all of our noise we were the enjoyable local entertainment. We busily went in and out of the house with various tools and building materials. Obviously we were not dealing drugs despite the daily trip to Home Depot–or a maddening half dozen trips. Mrs. Casey proved this by bringing us brownies even after a few months of the crazy noise and traffic.*

The neighbor on the other side of the house is just as kind and interested in our doings. She knows everyone in the neighborhood from her daily walks. It is nice to know there is an extra pair of eyes and ears on the property.

Two of our friendly neighbors on their daily walk. This is not a staged photo! I was totally shocked and absolutely thrilled she happened to wave at the same instant I took a photo. How can you not have great neighborhood morale with wonderful people like this?

Two of our friendly neighbors on their daily walk. This is not a staged photo! I was totally shocked and absolutely thrilled she happened to wave at the same instant I took a photo. How can you not have great neighborhood morale with wonderful people like this?

Another gentleman up the street, a tinkerer of all projects, thoroughly enjoyed our updates. We thoroughly enjoyed** (and continue enjoying) his eclectic set of tools even after his passing.

It was so much fun to see their faces light up during their tours of the home at various stages of the remodel. We very much appreciated the encouragement and interest, and they thoroughly loved seeing the progress for themselves.

Dear Rodney: I still say you did not have to take off your boots for the last house tour after refinishing the floors! We obviously lost this argument with him.

Dear Rodney: I still say you did not have to take off your boots for the last house tour after refinishing the floors! We obviously lost this argument with him.

Building relationships with the neighbors was one of those side benefits that did not even remotely cross my mind when I decided to buy a house. The entire neighborhood morale went up with the crazy young people taking interest and investing in their neighborhood.

After the initial remodel, I stumbled across a not so great story about a house flipper. A NIMBY (“not-in-my-back-yard”)  neighbor chewed out this particular gentleman. They expected an increase of their property taxes because he was improving his newly acquired property.

If anything, I’ve experienced the opposite. The closest NIMBY experience occurred when my neighbor complained to the city about our cargo trailer parked alongside the driveway. While we addressed the issue and installed an RV gate, pushing the trailer back into the side yard with only inches to spare, another unfortunate series of events ended up forcing a remodel of the exterior of the house. Our house went from another house in the brown-sea-of-sameness-tract-home-USA to the exterior of a more pricey upscale house a few neighborhoods away. I did not hear another complaint from that particular neighbor… and she started waving on her way to the mailbox. That is, until she called the city on every last neighbor on the street and then put her house on the market a week after the city deadline.

Thankfully, I have lucked out with almost all of my neighbors on both of my homes. Even the grumpy ones laugh at my daughter’s antics and are polite to me. We trade off pet sitting, watering plants, and dinner. Various home improvement, yard and car fixing tools pass back and forth between neighbors.

Getting to know your neighbors and becoming involved really is a reason to make you want stay. Not only does it make you happier as a person, but it increases the entire neighborhood morale.

 

*There is no photo proof these brownies ever existed. They disappeared too quickly before you could utter the word “camera”. Camera…because back in 2008 I had a camera. At least it was digital. 😉 Not a smart phone.
**Enjoyed is perhaps not the right word–we thoroughly appreciated them though!

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