Back in October Mr PoP and I (okay, mostly me) turned borderline-creeper when the house next door to ours was listed for sale and dozens of cars started showing up immediately to check the place out*. I found myself peeking out the front window every time we heard a car door slam in the driveway next door and as much as I tried to convince myself I wasn’t nosy, I knew I was dying to have a preview of who might move in!
The thing is, the properties right around us are totally open. Without fences, we can see into each other’s pool areas and if we really cared, eavesdrop on any loud conversations on each others’ back patios. It’s not like the houses are on top of one another or anything since we live on quarter-acre lots, but if the person next door wanted to make our lives unpleasant, or make our lanai feel less like one of our sanctuaries, they probably could.
The other part of the issue is that our original neighbor in that house was just beyond fabulous. She was 88 when we moved in, and so friendly, but not in a pushy way. She brought us fresh baked banana bread the day of our move-in, filled us in on most of the gossip we know about the folks that owned our house before we bought it out of foreclosure, was too hard of hearing to care when we made noise by DIY replacing all the siding on our house or when Mr PoP and his brother re-did a whole section of the roof, and always had a smile and some aged wisdom. “My mom told me your body starts to go downhill when you turn 70. She just didn’t tell me how much speed you pick up at 90!”
What more could we want in a neighbor?
Needless to say, the bar for new neighbors was pretty high.
But We May Have Hit The Jackpot
Our new neighbors (two women probably in their mid to late 40s) moved in right at the end of the year and looked promising from the start. The first items we saw them move in were a couple of bicycles and a well-loved kayak. And the kayak made regular journeys in and out of the garage (obviously used quite often!), transported to open water in their older minivan. (Their other car is an older sedan.) Then we stopped over to bring them some fresh baked banana bread (as our old neighbor had taught us was so nice on our move-in day!) and while Mr PoP offered our tools for borrowing anytime they needed it, he took note that most of the tools that he could see already moved into their garage were better than ours.
Then a couple of weeks ago we were finishing up our work on the trusses in the kitchen for the night, so I was cleaning up the sawhorses and the driveway when they were walking back from taking their dog for a walk.
“What on earth are you guys doing in there with all that plywood?” asked neighbor1 (N1).
“Building cabinets?” asked N2.
“Come on in and we’ll show you!” I said.
So they stopped in and we told them our plans for the grand kitchen remodel and they were so excited. They said we’re not bothering them with the noise of nail guns and air compressors and that it’ll be their turn to make a little noise with tools in a year. “We want to do something similar with the low ceiling in our kitchen in 2016, so we’re going to have to pick your brains later.” We talked about DIY-ing and explained to them that permitting everything in our town is actually really easy to do and doesn’t cost much unlike some other nearby municipalities which they were really pleased with, being new to our town. (Mr PoP always likes to slip the fact that our work is fully permitted into conversations with the neighbors. I think he gets nervous!)
Then we got to ask them about one of the rumors we had heard from the family that sold the place. “Is it true that you guys lived on a sailboat? That’s one of our dreams!” And it is totally true! They lived on a boat for seven years, splitting their years in half, working on land for six months and sailing the other six before moving back to land a few years ago. Now they’re focused on building up more retirement savings (“We’re living on one salary and putting the other totally toward retirement for the next few years”), but they want to get back on a boat after that for a while.
Mr PoP and I feel like we hit the neighbor jackpot.
- They’re nice – to others and to each other. I’ve never heard an angry word float our way from their place!
- They’re young (it’s relative – our zipcode’s average age is in the 60’s).
- They’re frugal (inexpensive older cars!), but not cheap (high quality not inexpensive tools!).
- Enjoying the outdoors by bike and on the water is a priority for them.
- They DIY and have an impressive selection of tools.
- They have lived out one of our dreams – living on a sailboat – and want to teach us the ins and outs!
- They have their financial plan in place to make sure their retirement accounts are nice and healthy.
- And their little dog is kindof cute, doesn’t bark excessively, and doesn’t seem to stress out Kitty PoP.
Don’t get me wrong, we loved our old neighbor and were sad to see her have to move into a long term care facility after her stroke, but it’s also really nice to have a new set of great neighbors who are making the neighborhood feel more lively, too!
What are your neighbors like? What kind of neighbors would you consider winning the neighbor jackpot?
* The house sold for above-asking the Monday following a Friday afternoon listing. It was definitely in demand!