Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ay dios mio

Our neighborhood is what realtors might refer to as "transitional". But what they mean is: you are going to be the only white family, and I want you to know that ahead of time in case you're a bigot, or afraid of minorities, or have some other hang-ups about you know, stuff like that.

Our neighborhood also happens to be in a town where every house we looked at came with price tag that was 4 times more than I ever thought I'd pay for a house, and each of those was in a sketchy neighborhood. Even the ones that were supposedly in better neighborhoods were on the fringey underbelly streets,  or they were 600 sq. ft. and needed a new foundation. Oh and most of those houses were WAY out of our price range. We actually put a bid on a house, previous to seeing this one, that was wall to wall faux wood paneling, and it was in a neighborhood that caused people to shake their heads when mentioned. We didn't get it. 

All in all we love our neighborhood. We love our house. We have great neighbors, minus one who is loud, loud, loud, but I think you get that on every street. One jerk who doesn't care at all about other people. There are a lot of young families with kids Jack's age, and then a lot of old timers who've been here for decades and know everybody's business. 

The weekend we moved in, the OLD man across the street came over on his jazzy power scooter with a pie, and a welcome card. He was under the impression for some reason that my name was Nancy. I didn't care. I was 8 months pregnant, and it made me cry. "We picked a good one" I thought. We picked the one neighborhood in LA, where people still bring their new neighbors pie! We found out a few months later, once the other neighbors thought we weren't a flight risk, that the old man was a dirty old pedophile, oh and also he was insane and tried to break into people's houses if they disagreed with him about his fence line. Uhm, ok, good to know thanks. WHAT? Turns out he wasn't in great shape and he died about year after we moved in. It's weird to say that you are relieved that someone died. Because he did bring us a pie and all. But that's what I felt. Relief. 

Twenty five years ago this neighborhood was overrun with gangs. It was really bad. Like your cliche idea of LA bad. Our nanny grew up on this hill, and when she was 15,  she decided that she would be better off in Mexico than in our neighborhood. That kind of bad. But over the years, lots of different people have moved in. For a long time the whole hill was filled with gay couples, mixed with hispanic families, then came the hipsters, and now it's us. Middle class whiteys with our babies and our hybrid cars. Our neighbors Michael and Jerry have been here for 21 years, and they know everything about everyone. SO the other day when Jerry knocked on the door, I thought he was bringing leftover thanksgiving sweets. (more pie please) But he was knocking to let me know that all four cars parked on the street above his house had their windows smashed the night before. Merde. 

We call Georgia's house "the owl house" because it's the cutest little craftsmen bungalow, that she has restored perfectly, and it looks like a little owl up there. 

The night before that, our neighbor Georgia's wall was tagged. Great. I don't know if it's the same culprits, if it's a gang, or just a group of kids doing the wrong thing. But it's unsettling. And it makes me angry. Georgia is out of town for the holiday, and we didn't want to leave it up there, so we went to Home Depot, got some paint and painted over the graffiti. I guess that's all you can do. 

Jack has the famous Knapp family eyes closed photo pose DOWN. Good boy. Now let's see your polaroid face...

Also, after you read this burn it, and don't tell my mother. I'll never hear the end of it. And I don't need her suspecting all of our neighbors of being thieves and hooligans. 

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