Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shantytown

When Ryan and I bought our house five years ago the neighborhood it is in was high on the list of reasons we wanted it so much. It's in an area that when I was a teen wasn't the best place in the world, but since that time has undergone a revitalization as young couples pushed out drug dealers and college students renting from old ladies. It's easy to walk to parks and stores, Ryan and I are both close to work, and it gives us a feeling of being kind of urban and hip. Oh! And it's safe! Nine times out of ten we can leave our cars unlocked over night and know everything will still be there in the morning. Of course, lately certain events have occurred that have made our neighborhood appear less "urban and hip" and more "the place Loretta Lynn was born."

About 18 months ago the house at the bottom of our street was sold when the woman
living in it died. Her children did the obligatory creepy "estate sale" and then put the house up for sale. It wasn't on the market long, since it is one of the few two stories in the neighborhood. People moved in, and started renovating. For a while it looked like things were going to turn out pretty well, but then strange things began happening. Tibetan flags were strung across the front porch. A front yard garden with a compost pit was planted. And then a cow skull on a stick appeared as "yard art." Suddenly we realized what had happened: hippies had moved in.

This evening I discovered that the house actually belongs to the parents of the main hippie (there is always a main hippie, it's a queen in a hive). I don't know if that makes it better or worse. All I know is I find myself grumbling like Howard Cunningham every time I drive past.

The other eyesore on the street is bigger, but not as permanent. Our neighbors down the street are having major work done to their house, which will almost double their livable space, which makes me very jealous. But while the end result will be lovely, it also means that for the next few months this will be sitting three houses down from us.

Yep, that's a port-a-potty. Luke thinks it's pretty cool that we have an outdoor toilet on on street, but I am less than enthused about it. It's not that it stinks, or that it is oozing, it's just that it's there. I have thought about hanging some decorative towels on a rack outside the door, or maybe putting an archway of flowers over it, but I don't think anything will really help make it appear any less like an outhouse.

Of course, our neighbors are not the only offenders. No, it may not be tarnishing the view of everyone in the neighborhood, but that's just because Ryan and I don't like to share our prizes. Feast your eyes on the little beauty in our back yard...
Some of you may recall when I wrote about our water heater mishap. That was March. Since then we have had the old one sitting just off our porch, waiting to be taken to the dump. We just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe I'll saw it in half and sell it to the hippies a statue. Of course, I'll have to tell them it's an American Indian artifact made out of hemp to get them to buy it.

Oh, and did you notice the unplanted planter next to the heater? I don't know if that adds, or detracts from the picture. I mean, on one hand it is filled with weeds, and untended, so it just kind of underscores the whole "I wash myself with a rag on a stick" vibe. However, it also is a planter, and from Smith and Hawken, so it makes it look like we care about things like gardening, and eating vegetables.

I wonder how hard it would be to put a Chevy up on blocks. That would make an awesome planter, with the exact vibe the neighborhood needs...

10 comments:

Dana's Brain said...

There is a house I go past on my way to work that every year at Christmas puts an outhouse on the front of their property covered in Christmas lights. It goes away after Christmas.

It cracks me up every year. But of course, I don't live next to them.

Rob said...

I'll trade you a skull on a stick for two trampolines on either side of my house.

Emily-Ione said...

There is a house a few blocks from me that has ALL of their windows blocked out with trash bags on the inside. Since that seems like something friends of your sister's and mine post high school would have done I'm dying to know what is going on in there.

Why do I get all the fun anti-spam words?
"vittles"

Princess Consuela Bananahammock said...

Aw, man. There's nothing worse to beat off than an infestation of hippies. I hadn't noticed the planter you were referring to, however I did notice the beautiful rose (it *is* a rose, right) pictured right at the foot of the water heater. Preeeety. :)

erin said...

The thing I hate most about hippy-dwellings is that everytime you walk past you're drenched in patchouli smell wafting from their domain.

MomZombie said...

Sounds like we live in the same kind of neighborhood. Just a nice mix of gentrification and putrification with a few random toilets on the easements to keep it all in balance.

Kelly said...

This post speaks to me. People hired to renovate the house next door parked an RV (called "The Beaver") in front of our house and lived in it until police finally made them leave. I think they even had pizza delivered to it. And, it took only took us 9 months to take our old pool heater to the dump.

Courtney said...

So are you going to post pictures of the port-a-potty after you decorate it?

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wait til you see the traffic that port-a-potty gets. Every hog, dog and frog in town will stop to use it :-(

Just stopped by from Lulu's Sand bar to say hello. Nice to meet you, I'll be back again soon.

Responsible Home Owner said...

The porta-potty is proof that serious renovation work is going on in your neighborhood. That's a good thing for the equity in your property. You can't have one without the other.

Take an hour out of your day and get rid of the rusty water heater. You'll feel better, and your neighbors will stop blogging about you.