Friday, June 22, 2012

Hoarder Update!!

The shitty Chrysler is GONE!! I'm not sure if they took care of it, or if it got taken care of FOR them, but it's gone. But all its absence has really done has moved focus from it to the front yard, which is still utterly horrible. I'm trying to be patient, but every time I turn the corner on to our street, their junky looking lot and house are all I see.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Neighbors Are Hoarders

There. I said it. After being in a state of semi-denial while we were preparing to move in to our new home and hoping that maybe the mess I saw was due to the fact that they were also getting ready to move, I am now 100% convinced that the people in the house that is 2-down from us are hoarders.

The evidence:

1. The front yard. It's filled with half dead plants in dozens of pots, rusted wagons and other things that I think are supposed to pass for folksy yard art, and--currently (this was just added this week) two godawful looking vinyl recliner type chairs and a couple of rolled up Oriental rugs.
2. The driveway. First there was one trailer parked there from Just sitting there. Never saw anyone adding to or removing anything from it. Just sitting there. And then, last week, a second trailer was added to the driveway (this time, plain white, nondescript). So now, the entire driveway is filled with these storage container/trailer things, and NEXT to the driveway, couches and other furniture and shit that is covered in some sort of plastic tarp.
3. The foosball table. Next to the house near where the trashcans should go.
4. The car. There's an old convertible (Chrylser, I think) parked in front of the house that clearly hasn't moved in ages. It's been unregistered for years and is covered in dirt and sap and other environmental shit.
5. The front windows/front porch. Also filled with loads of junk.
6. The weird people who live there. As far as we can tell, there's an older woman and her two adult sons. The sons appear to be twins--they both have beards, but one of them also sports a long, scraggly ponytail as well. They have one operational vehicle--a red VW bug--between the 3 of them. Whenever it is there, it parks sort of 1/2 way in the street and 1/2 way in the driveway (or what's left of the fucking driveway that isn't covered by trailers presumably filled with crap). We've started calling these dudes The Wonder Twins and occasionally hear them bickering with each other or see them awkwardly riding bikes down the street. One of them came over the other day and rang the doorbell and asked BH if we had any Raid because there was a muffin in their kitchen "covered in bugs." BARF!! I can only imagine.

Still don't believe me? Here are a couple of photos that, I swear, do not do this shitheap justice:

BH works at home, and tells me he's seen contracter type people over there--like workers who repair flood damage, etc.--during the day. Okay, so maybe, maybe some of this crapola is due to some interior flooding that happened. But, like he said, "I still think they're hoarders."


Our new neighborhood has an HOA, which in addition to providing us with access to community parks and pools and keeping the common areas all landscaped and pretty, are supposed to handle shit like this. So I was kind of shocked that this situation has been allowed to continue for at least a month (if not longer). Then, on Tuesday, I turned on our street and saw a big, neon orange "remove this vehicle or get towed" sticker slapped on the windshield of the Chrysler. HOORAY!! And then, yesterday when I got the mail, there was a letter from the HOA gently nudging us about some crap we'd temporarily had in OUR driveway last week (a lawn mower, the trash/recycle bins, a metal washtub), saying that it wasn't in compliance with the HOA rules, etc. Whatever. Our stuff was out for a day or two (We just moved in! Give us a fracking break!), but it was put away before that letter even came off their printer. So if we got that letter, I can only imagine the 20-page manifesto our hoarder neighbors must've received...assuming they actually get their mail on any kind of regular basis. And yesterday, he said he saw some City of Austin code enforcement people in front of Hoarder Manor, taking pictures. Our tax dollars at work, people.

Hopefully this ugly-ass neighborhood eyesore situation will fix itself, and soon. At any rate, it should be interesting seeing how The Wonder Twins and their mama respond to their warnings and citations. It could get, uglier.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


In the spring of 1990, my dad and I drove from Longview to Shreveport to shop for a car. We'd looked at Subarus and Nissans, but what I REALLY wanted was a Mitsubishi Galant. The car I'd been driving since I'd gotten my driver's license had been purchased, barely used. It was a 1984 Buick Skyhawk, and I loved it to death. But I'd put a ton of miles on it driving around endlessly in high school for lack of anything better to do and then, when I'd started college, making the frequent 500+ mile round trip to and from Austin. It was time to trade her in.

My dad, not known for his soft-and-fuzzy qualities nor his love of salesmen, made me cringe throughout the negotiation process with the dealer. I'd never been a part of anything quite like the car buying process, and the whole thing just made me want to crawl under the floor. We got practically nothing for my road-weary coupe with more than 100-thousand miles on it, but when it was all said and done, we drove off the lot in a brand new, badassed 1990 Mitsubishi Galant LS, with cruise control, a sunroof, and--most important to me at the time--a bitchin' stereo system. I was in heaven.

But as we pulled away from the dealership, I saw my little Skyhawk, sitting there looking kind of...I don't know...saddish, and it made me feel like I was leaving an old, fun and reliable friend behind for the exciting new friend who'd just moved to town and had nicer clothes and better hair. I was flooded with memories of all the fun that my friends and me had in that little white coupe, despite its complete absence of any bells and/or whistles. And yes, I started to cry a bit until we got on the highway and my dad urged me to, "Punch it" so we could see what kind of pick up the new car really had.

Tonight will be the last night I spend in this house. My starter home. The place where I've lived while so many things--good, great, and lousy--have happened along the way. The place that I bought all by myself as a single mother, even though the concept of being a homeowner and understanding terms like "escrow" and "homestead exemption" were terrifying to me. The place where I have watch The Geej graduate from a crib to a toddler bed to her current big-girl bed. The place where I threw a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom and hosted Thanksgiving dinners for friends and family. The place where I first got to play Santa and the Tooth Fairy. The place I was living when BH and I reconnected, fell in love and got married. The place where we blended our families and our lives but that always felt more like "my" house than "our" house.

We are moving to a nicer, more family-friendly neighborhood with better schools and neighborhood "amenities." A place where we'll watch our kids grow in to teenagers and eventually leave the nest. A place that is finally and truly ours together. It's something we're all psyched about and have been focused on making happen for some time now. But there's still that weird feeling of leaving behind something that you've loved for years for this newer, sexier opportunity. Although I completely understand that buying our current house when I did and for what I paid for it, and then caring for it like BH and I have for the past (nearly) seven years is what has put us in a position to make this move, it still feels vaguely disloyal to leave this place behind. The (single) guy who is buying this house seemed really nice and genuinely excited about this place when we met him at the closing. He's currently living in a nearby apartment, and so this will be his starter home too. I'm happy for him and hope he takes good care of it and creates a thousand happy memories here.