The Joneses? Never met ‘em…

You know that family down the street that we’re all theoretically aspiring to keep up with – the Joneses? We’ve never met ‘em.

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This is how Kitty PoP sits in the front window. You’d swear he had no shame. No. Shame. At. All.

Actually, despite the fact that we’ve lived here for more than three years now, we haven’t really been formally introduced to many people in our neighborhood. I’m not BFF’s with the other ladies on the block like Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives, and Mr. PoP doesn’t hang out, drink beer, and watch football with guys down the street.  Maybe someday we’ll have that, but for now, we’re on more of a “wave, smile, and comment on the weather” kind of stage with many of our neighbors.

 

Who Are Our Neighbors?

When we go for our nightly walks (and morning runs!) we see many of the same people, day after day, just living their lives and doing their own thing. So we’ve developed names for some of the characters (and households) in our neighborhood. Here are just a few:

  • Pipe Man – owns a couple of scottie dogs and lives in one of the homes with one of the nicest looking landscaping, which he tends to while gripping Pop-Eye style (you guessed it) an old fashioned pipe between his teeth.
  • The Hippies – live in one of the smallest houses on the biggest lot in the neighborhood. They’ll sit out back in their wide open yard laughing, smoking (smoking what?), and listening to music well into the evenings. They seem incredibly laid back and all the men have long hair and beards.
  • The Fisherman – lives near us and will come over to the lake in our backyard (and the neighbor’s) and stand on the little bank fishing for hours sometimes. Oh yeah, and he wears REALLY short shorts. Seriously, I think some of my running shorts are longer.
  • The Fat Animal Family – are the caretakers of a dog and cat that both look ancient and incredibly fat. The cat will sit in the front yard grass and a rabbit will hop within a couple of feet and the cat just kindof looks at it and I swear its face says, “Not worth the effort.”
  • The Attempted Bad-Asses – are a family that seems to have just a mom and several late teen, early twenties young men who seem to be trying awfully hard to “look tough”. They even bought a pit-bull puppy a couple years ago. Their only problem – their pit bull is one of the most playful loving dogs you’ve ever met. Hence, the “Attempted” in their name.
  • The Germans – might not actually be German! They speak German, but I can never remember if they’re actually from Austria or Switzerland… Either way, you know when they’re in town by the EU flag is flying outside of their front door. It’s super cute.
  • Living the Dream Dude – rides his bike around the neighborhood pretty much every night with plastic cup of what looks to be beer, “walking” his adorable black lab. The lab runs circles around the bike as he lazes around the neighborhood drinking his beer from his bike seat and stopping to pick up after the dog when necessary.

There are others, but this is pretty much how we end up describing those that live around us – who we know of, but don’t really know.

 

And since we’re incredibly self-centered, we’ve wondered that if we have all these names for our neighbors, surely they’ve got to have some for us, right?  So what do they know about us to make a memory association???

We:

  • Bought one of the smallest houses in the neighborhood at a fire sale price in the middle of the great recession.
  • Worked on the house a LOT when we first moved in. People commented on the size of the debris piles that we would form for the garbage men every week for a while.
  • Exercise a lot. Mrs PoP always seems to be in gym clothes and Mr. PoP is pretty often, too!
  • Have a dirty, old car. The car that gets parked outside is Mr. PoP’s. It’s old, dirty, and has over 100K miles on it. He takes pride in NEVER washing it. Need I say more?
  • Aren’t particularly meticulous about sweeping the driveway. With The Tree constantly dropping acorns, leaves, and twigs all over it – it’s always seemed like a sysiphysian (sp?) task. Though the recent leaf blower purchase might change that.
  • Are quiet. When we have people over, it’s usually only a few at a time. No big parties, even though our house is kindof set up for decent parties.
  • Aren’t big drinkers. A quick peek through the recycle bins makes that pretty evident. (Come on, haven’t you ever looked in your neighbor’s recycling bin as you walk past? It’s like the medicine cabinet, but set out on the street for everyone to see!)
  • Don’t have many big toys! No boat, no jet-skis, no motorcycles in the garage.
  • Have an indoor cat. And the cat stares out of his front window on a fairly regular basis.

What Does This Say About Us?

So what kind of names might they give us based on this very superficial knowledge? Here are some of what we’ve come up with:

  • The Young ‘Uns – We are a good deal younger than your average Florida homeowner. Shocking, I know.
  • The Do It Yourself-ers – There are very few things we outsource in the house – the pool care and poisonous snake retrieval are the only things that immediately come to mind. And when we take on particularly big tasks (like replacing all the siding on house) ourselves, we’ve had some gawkers stop by and call out “Another DIY project, huh?”
  • Aerobics Instructor – (well, this one is just me, Mrs. PoP) – But there are neighbors that I swear have never seen me wearing anything nicer than a yoga outfit on the way to the gym. And more often, they see me after my runs and workouts all sweaty when we walk around the neighborhood for a cool-down.
  • Those Poor Kids (aka In Over Their Heads) – Kindof a variation on the DIY-ers, we’re pretty sure some of our neighbors think we’re incredibly poor – otherwise why would we tackle such big projects ourselves.
  • Weedy Lawn Couple – Where I grew up, if it was green, it was grass. ‘Nuff said. The idea of spending thousands on sod (not to mention the water bills!) is insane to us – so our lawn is definitely more weeds than grass in parts. But Mr. PoP does keep it all nicely trimmed every Saturday!
  • Ran Out of Money – Given the pace that we were renovating the house when we first moved in, I think people are surprised we haven’t done more the last couple of years to keep sprucing up the outside. (Don’t worry guys – we were just a little preoccupied with buying a rental duplex!)
  • Nice Kid, Mows Lawns On the Weekends For Extra Cash – For a while, Mr. PoP was putting the lawn mower in the back of his car and driving it over to the duplex every Saturday to mow over there. Now the ultimate luxury is having a lawn mower at each property. A-MAZ-ING.

Is That Us?

We’re pretty sure that we look like a financially struggling young couple. But we’re not – we’re doing pretty well for how old we are! Check out our current net worth if you don’t believe us. Luckily, our neighborhood isn’t one that puts a big priority on “keeping up with the Joneses”, and we don’t really care whether the neighbors think we’re poor or not.

Personally we’d rather be in our situation than the opposite – looking wealthy but drowning in debt. Heck, if thieves ever come through the neighborhood I’d much rather they think our neighbors have a lot more money so they’ll be more apt to hit their houses first!

Is keeping up appearances important in your neighborhood? Do you think you *look* your financial part? Do you want to? Would you rather look “poor” or “rich”?

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