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The Neighbors (1)

The Neighbors (1)

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Published by: stumbleupon on Aug 21, 2012
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The Neighbors
September 17Dear Martha,Sorry I’ve taken so long t to respond to your last letter. I admit I’m a chronic procrastinator. I’ll try tobring you up to speed with us. I’m sure you got the news we moved from Darla, didn’t you?We dithered for a long time, but in the end we agreed the sensible thing to do was to move into acondo. Once we decided, luck was with us. We found the perfect place in the same town not too far fromwhere we lived for years. After the market crashed and most of our other ready cash went up in Iraqismoke, our big house took too big a bite out of the budget. Too big and too expensive for us to keep. Likeyou, we do a lot traveling, with our businesses, and we can’t work in the yard during the day even whenwe are home. Rafe, our old gardener went with the new owners after the sale which made not having tokeep up the grounds made a condo seem a reasonable compromise for us, more than reasonable.We needed to make the usual modifications before we moved in. The contractor resisted making thealterations I wanted, but with some special
I convinced him, “Yes, what I told you is
what I want you to do. “ And “Yes, I want the work done to the specifications I gave you and I don’t careif it doesn’t meet code.” A few extra bucks to fake the building permit, a special smile, the usual way youmust deal with the trades. I’m sure you’ve done the same.All in all, we were able to make the change pretty much turnkey. Put on your garage sale, pack upwhat you want, and put what’s left at the new place. Our residence is more compact than the old one, lessthan half at 3000 square feet. We were lucky to get such a lucrative deal for the villa. With the economyin the tank, not too many want so large a home because of the servant issue. We don’t even need full timehelp now, what a relief!
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Some of the pieces at the estate we’d had forever, perhaps generations. We turned a dandy profit onthem, ironically most came from the ugly ones and good riddance, too. What we didn’t sell, we sent to oldfriends or the children. Several of our offspring we sired are still around, but I think I mentioned wherethey lived in an earlier letter. Oh, by the way, I sent the Elizabethan armoire to you. Heavy bloody thing.I hope the delivery service didn’t damage anything.The condo is an interior unit and fortunately quite dark anyway, which made buying drapes andshutters to meet our needs a little easier. The problem room I found a challenge was our bedroom. Thefirst floor with the kitchen and living room, we didn’t much touch. We don’t need to cook after all. Theenclosed courtyard outside the building couldn’t be better. Picture a heavy wooden lattice thingcompletely overgrown with wisteria covers the whole area. Totally shaded. When I think of how muchwe had to do to darken the old house, well, you can imagine.We shut off our bedroom when we have the help in providing we remember to chain the lock on thedoor at the bottom of the stairs. All the third floor windows are small. All we needed to insure oursleeping area stayed light tight and tidy was to cover them up with wallboard. I
a localtalented artist to paint over the space. Marvelous, you’d think the drapery was real. What a shame westill need to take such care just to keep up appearances. This old girl is not about to clean, so we made theextra effort. Can’t be too careful with outsiders, can we?We’re not worrying about a basement yet; summer is almost over so days are getting shorter. We’llneed to do it with no permits so no record exists which might alert the wrong people. Once the basementis done, the cleaning lady can clean all the rooms and we won’t have to worry about someone disturbingus during the day.We’ve met most of the neighbors, and they seem to be used to our odd hours by now. When we firstmoved in, someone they called the hospitality chair threw a party for the newbies, and we met a coupleguys who worked graveyard shift at the mental hospital. I still find myself chuckling when I hear them
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use that term! Anyway - now that we’ve been here a few months, we’ve been able to tell some of ourfriends about the complex. I think you met Monica and Gomez when you visited a couple years ago.She’s the skinny one with long hair and he looks Puerto Rican. Long and short, I guess we talked up thecondo lifestyle so much we convinced quite a few how nice living carefree can be- we’ve got six unitsowned by night people now. We’ve having a wonderful time and enjoying ourselves immensely with somany neighbors on the same schedule. Every night, parties and all that constantly.As it turns out, more night people moving works out fabulously. The friendly folks who live nextdoor keep us up to date with what happens during the day. We’ve always been good neighbors. I’vetaken to stocking coffee and some of those sweet cookies for when they stop by. Would you believe Ilearned how to operate a coffee pot?One of the things they constantly complained about was the homeowner’s association board. To behonest, until we moved here I didn’t even know such a thing existed. In case you haven’t any experiencewith them either, a homeowner association is another way of saying everyone who lives here. A few inthe neighborhood called the board make decisions for everybody. Wait, it gets worse. What they aresupposed to do is decide things like who we hire as gardener, who picks up the trash etc. Not the caseaccording to what our neighbors the Markleys told me. These folks are as bad as the council of nobles wedealt with back in the old country or Congress in this country. Once they get a little bit of what they seeas power, they try to push some kind of personal agenda. Ben Markley said some of them were ok, but acouple were so old, they had trouble remembering their own names and a couple he described as being“on the power trip from hell.”Once a month they meet in what’s called a ‘Board Session’. I decided to go once to see if what Benwas stretching the truth. Reggie wasn’t too keen on me going out so early, but I bundled up and put a bighat on so I was ok. Bottom line - no exaggeration, let me tell you. After I listened a while, I finallyrealized who had been pasting nastygrams on our front door. The woman Ben mentioned. She seems to

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