We had a really great first house.  I mean, if you said to me, “Suzanne, pick out your dream house,” that wouldn’t be the house I would choose.  But for newlyweds, for a rental, it was great.  Large kitchen, 3 bedrooms, (technically) 2 bathrooms (although one didn’t see much usage) – definitely superior to the “We lived in a 100 square foot apartment for the first year and drove each other jack batty” stories you hear.  It also had a huge backyard, which would have been GREAT if we had kids or a dog.  We have a lot of great memories in that house, and my only complaints would be the tiny and few-and-far-between closets which didn’t help my clutter issues any, and also the dryer which was TERRIBLE.  The lint trap just didn’t work so our clothes always had a thin layer of fuzz on them.  Other than that, an ideal first house.

Our neighbor on one side was Jerry.  “Just take care of your yard,” he told us as we were moving in.  “The last people didn’t do that and we didn’t like them.”  He has had a really interesting life that includes living in several different countries and also being a courier for the CIA.  He built his house back in the 50s, when the neighborhood was being built, and had it paid off in 8 years.  He is probably loaded by now.  He has 2 sports cars all to himself but never fixed his roof – just had tarp over part of it the entire 2 years we lived there.  Our neighbor on the other side is Winnie.  She also built that house in the 50s (our neighbors were very established).  She is nearing retirement and her hobby is yardwork.  “If you just take care of your yard, you’ll do fine here,” she told us as we were moving in.  She likes yardwork so much that sometimes we would find her edging ours.

Our neighbors across the street had roosters.  Lots of roosters.  Like, a flock of roosters.  But they were always different roosters, and very scrappy looking.  I don’t know much about cockfighting, seeing as it’s illegal and all, but I’m pretty sure these were fighting roosters.  Also they were VERY confused about the proper time to crow.

The house was good but the neighborhood was…weird.  There is only one grocery store, and things LIVED in there.  A bird swooped down and almost hit me once near the bakery.  When I informed an employee, she said, “Oh yeah, we’ve had several up there for a few months.  We don’t know how to get rid of them.”  Umm…Animal Control, perhaps?  Birds POOP, lady.  Into your supposedly freshly-baked bread.  I never shopped there again if I could help it and only went in extreme emergencies.  And one of the few times I did one of the employees was holding up some sort of creature they had captured in the store.  I say “creature” because I have no idea what it was.  I have never seen any creature like it, except that it looked like something you might find on the bottom of the ocean, the part where no light ever goes.

No one knows how to drive over there; you take your life in your hands just driving down the street 2 miles.  I am not exaggerating.  The Wal-Mart is always packed, even in the middle of the night, with people and their ill-behaved children.  I am not kidding.  Whole families will be there – TWO parents present – at midnight with their school-age children in tow, glaring at you if their kid Heelies into you like they own the place.  Can one parent not stay at home so the kids can get a good night’s sleep while the other handles Wal-Mart solo?  Good question.

Also, there is a sign over a business nearby that says “Beauty Salon Unisex.”  I have two issues with this.  First, what do you mean by “unisex”?  Is there only one haircut available – a chili bowl, perhaps?  Or a nice mullet?  And the other is that the business in question is decidedly NOT a beauty salon.  I know this because the neon Open sign is on 24 hours a day, and the windows are blacked.  Whatever is going on in there is not typical salon happenings, I know that much.

But I will miss the library system.  Irving has a great, great library system.  Goodbye, Irving.