I've met some of our neighbors already. The house just north of us is home to A and B. A is English and blond and is always carting her toddler around. Her politeness is typically intense. Sometimes I hear the baby laughing and gurgling through our TV room wall, which is much more acceptable than lame techno beats and Busch-drenched frat boys shouting over fussball. B operates an antique store in Hampden, and we'll likely be shopping there soon for a dining room set. The house just south of us is home to E, who is a hoot. He's got dreads down to his ass, and when he saw me Saturday he put his hands in the air and yelled:
"Oh I have WAITED for this day! I have WAITED for a neighbor for 15 years, that old empty house raggedy for years and I have a NEIGHBOR AT LAST!" (vigorously shaking my hand and patting my shouler) "I'm a snowboarding instructor and I'm orginally from West Baltimore--love your hat, man!--and I am LATE FOR WORK but YOU WILL BE LOVED here, just watch out because somebody will probably slash your tires. They don't mean nothing by it, just kids you know--that is one NICE spoon back chair--man I got to go get PAID but thank you Jesus this City needs a HUG you know and it will HUG YOU BACK. I'm already planning a welcoming neighborhood brunch for y'all, ask anyone they'll tell you old E knows his way 'round in the kitchen, someday I'm going to run a hostel or B&B out of this house you know if I can get my shit TOGETHER. BLESSED BE I am so glad TODAY."
I was moving stuff around in the basement and the back patio two nights ago and wafting over from E's yard was a most intriguing smell, redolent of Dutch coffee houses and 1970's Econoline vans. Mental note: E has access to some primo.
Two houses north of us are L and her son G. She's Puerto Rican from Harlem, and he's half-black. They are extremely nice, and we actually met them the first time we viewed the house. Theirs was rehabbed by the same people, and she invited us in and showed us around so we could see if their work was holding up under habitation. It was.
Across the way I've met J, who told me the neighborhood is safe so long as you stay inside after nine pm, but I think (hope) he was joking. There are three more houses being rehabbed on our block, including both enormous turreted end units at the corner of Whitelock and Madison. Those will likely run more than half a mill when done.
I'll have pictures up as soon as I can get Verizon to turn on the damn phone and internet at home.