Interviewing New Neighbors


Once you live in a neighborhood long enough, the “For Sale” signs are bound to go up.  The person across the street sold over a year ago.  And, this weekend we have another neighbor moving out.  We are jockeying for parking space in front of our house while trying to discourage parking in front of our mailbox until after the little white truck w/ the nice Jamaican postal worker deposits our letters and catalogs.

Fortunately, we are not completely concerned about our new neighbors.  You see, we have interviewed them already.  It was not completely intentional.  When things are very deliberate, they are often not as insightful.  As my son and I came back from a walk (I believe it was a Sunday afternoon), there were 2 or 3 cars in front of the neighbors house.  At the time, I thought I met the husband, wife, grandmother and  the 3 kids that were a part of the family we would soon call neighbors.  The most notable fact I collected was they had a daughter who was an 8th grader.  (My daughters are 8th and 9th)  I went home and spread this fact to my daughters.  They replied with, “I hope she likes playing outdoors and crafts.”

Later that week, we were standing in a line to deal with a small issue in court.  As the line moved slowly and lawyers were able to cut to the front of the line to hasten their passage through the metal detector, the line had a couple of curls in it.  While one of the curls brushed against our part of the line, this conversation followed…

Linewoman:  Haven’t we met you before?
Me:  If you are going to be our new neighbors on Cattle Prod (not its real name) street, we have!
Linewoman:  We are excited to move into the neighborhood!  We like the location, and it was just time to get a larger house!  (the line started to move again)  We can talk more inside.

Once inside, we both had our separate issues to get resolved.  Our attorney quickly worked through our issue.  As we were walking out, I tapped our would-be new neighbor, and said, “We will have something to talk about at our first cookout.”

This morning, the neighbor who is moving out dropped by and dropped off the key we let him have just “in case”.  Our conversation went something like this…..

Neighbor:  Well, today is the day.  I hope the trucks don’t get in your way, but tonight will be our last night in the house.  I hope we have been a good neighbor!
Me:  You sure have!  We have had issues with the neighbor on the other side and the one across the street before they moved out.  You have been nothing but a help whether it was the pool pump or any other issue.  I thank you for that!  Have you met the person who is moving in?
Neighbor:  My wife has.  She thought it was a mother and a couple of kids.  She thought they seemed nice.
Me:  One Sunday afternoon, I met them.  I thought the mother had a husband.  I guess we will find out soon.
Neighbor:  Yes, the close date has been pushed back.  We have sold to the relocation company, but I think the house will sit empty a week or so before they move in.
Me:  Better go supervise their packing.  If things are going into storage before you find a house, you don’t want any problems when you open the cartons in Connecticut.  (He told me the headhunter was so surprised someone would want to leave Texas and move to New England.)  You have been a good neighbor, and I thank you for it!  Best of luck to you and your wife!
Neighbor:  Thanks, Andy!  Have a great Christmas.

As our best neighbor leaves, we are very hopeful the new neighbor does not disappoint the expectations developed through the interviewing process.  As little influence as we had on the final decision of who would move in next door, we are truly hopeful the minimum expectations are met.  We have had enough car dings and bipolar mood swings out of our neighbors.  Just give us a family (any of the definitions of family apply even if somewhere on the LGBT spectrum) with a couple of kids (preferable one within a couple of years of my daughters) who have minimum distinguishing features (this includes tattoos, piercings, and/or clothes or hair styles) but with a desire to try and be a good neighbor, and we will be fine.

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