Despite the photo above, today's post isn't about cake. Well it is, but that's not the point. The fact of the matter is, that Tim and I are really, REALLY, lucky people.
Like anyone who moves to a new place, we were kind of flying blind. After we decided what town we wanted to live in, we had to choose a house. Working within our budget in the place we decided that we wanted to live, there were multiple options. As anyone would, we checked them all out. We had a list of course. Everyone has a list of requirements. Minimum of two bathrooms and three bedrooms was on the list. Two living spaces, that is, a both a living room and a family room or something that could be used as a family room, that was on the list too. And then there were the things that would be nice but not essential, like a pool (or a backyard big enough to eventually have one put in) and a garage (which turned out to be harder than we thought). The rest of it has to do with how it feels. It's very subjective.
Eventually we narrowed our choices down to two houses. As it so happened, one house was on the south end of the island the other on the north end. Both were about the same age. Neither of them had a garage but fulfilled all the rest of the requirements. And the price tag was about the same on each house. The one on the south end was two blocks from the beach. A straight shot right down the road to a private access beach entrance. Pretty enticing. The house on the north end was a few blocks further from the beach, but only one street away from the Intercoastal Waterway. The south end had fewer mature growth trees but it did have sidewalks. The north end had loads of mature trees and shrubs and gardens but no sidewalks. Both would require some remodeling and a lot of paint. It all came down to how the house and the neighborhood felt. We had nothing else to base our decision on.
I was leaning toward the house on the south end. The allure of just walking down the street, two blocks to the beach was pretty enticing. But Tim felt an equally strong draw to the house on the north end. He campaigned hard for his choice and ultimately, I trusted that his siren call was stronger than mine.
Once we got settled in and the reno began and the painting commenced and the slow familiarity with both our new state, town and neighborhood grew we were ever more certain that we made the correct call. And one of the reasons is our neighbors. We lucked out big time.
Ever single person we have met has been friendly, helpful, interesting and respectful of our desire for privacy. Our neighborhood has a long-standing monthly get-together that they refer to as "drinks on the drive". It's hosted by a different family each time and the host family provides drinks, glasses, napkins, plates and a place, usually the driveway, front yard, courtyard for the gathering. Everyone who attends brings food to share. There is no pressure to attend but everyone is invited. Often it is the only occasion that we spend time with each other. Just a few hours of catching up. It's lovely.
One neighbor is also my pilates instructor. She and her husband live just down the street. Whenever it's raining, she comes and picks me up for class. I never asked for a ride, but she just shows up with a smile and a "Hop in!" She could just say, "Don't be an idiot...drive to class when it rains instead of walking, you moron!" But instead, she goes out of her way. After the hurricane last year, for some reason, she got her power back days ahead of us. And one of the first things she did was to invite us to stay with them. We declined, but it was a sincere offer with no strings. Wow!
The first people we met here live two houses down. They have always generously shared information, tips, hints and suggestions with us. If I have a question, they are always the first people I go to whether it's to identify a plant or ask about Hurricane preparedness or which is the best dry cleaner in town.
Just yesterday I happened to see the lady of the house working in her garden so I popped by to say hello. We chatted for a few minutes and she told me about a wonderful recipe she had found for Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake because she knows how much I love to bake. She had recently made this cake with great results and asked if I wanted the specialty ingredient leftovers. Surprised at the offer, I sputtered for a moment and then she decided for me. "Yes" she decided, "You need to have this. Follow me" So suddenly I was in possession of a wonderful new recipe and most of what I required to make this cake AND a pair of reading glasses. I'm not certain how I ended up with the glasses but they are wonderful and perfect for my new vision so I accepted them with a smile.
Another neighbor has put together a walking group. Every Wednesday at 4 we walk a roughly 3 mile loop and chat the whole time. This same lovely lady has encouraged me to look into working at the art center where she volunteers. I am considering it. The fact that she thinks highly enough of me to suggest that I could be a good fit at the place where she is already established speaks volumes to me. There is no pressure, it's just something I didn't know about, that she thinks perhaps I should looks into. I think I probably will.
I love walking around our neighborhood. It's a pretty area with lots of trees, views of the water, squirrels, bunnies and so many birds of different sorts everywhere we look. The houses are pretty, the yards kept up and best of all, we have wonderful neighbors.
I admit we were a little concerned about this because we had the absolute BEST neighbors in Colorado and thought that could never happen again. That whole lightening striking twice thing. But it did happen again. We hit the jackpot once more in the great neighbor sweepstakes. Oh, and the cake turned out to be delicious too!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.