Addendum, Caveat, Etc.
First: Also, when your ex-husband/boyfriend/whatever--whom you threw out last summer after a spectacularly entertaining screaming fight--comes around at 9:00 on a Sunday morning and bangs on your door insistently for 20 minutes...it's not your fault, and clearly you have every right to ignore him, but DAMN it sure does rack up points for the Miss Trashtastic Pageant.
Second: Our neighbor is not that bad. I know this. While this stomping/jumping/shrieking was pretty much a daily thing back before Christmas--for two months...almost every day--we recently had weeks and weeks of relative decency. She doesn't threaten us, she doesn't deal drugs (as far as we know), and most of the time her children don't throw trash in our yard. Most of the time. So, while I do occasionally feel the need to vent and complain about her, I fully admit that it could be so much worse.
I am, however, COMPLETELY FUCKING OVER the assholes who sit in the parking lot blasting their car stereo bass. OVER IT.
Third: I've been browsing local real estate websites lately, ogling houses for sale in the city and outlying counties. A good friend of mine appropriately calls this "the grownup version of playing dress-up." I have a general guess of what we'll be able to afford when we finally are ready to really start shopping, and I've been snooping around to see what's available in our price range. Right now, it looks like it's:
>>small, soul-less, 80s-built, one-levels in niceish neighborhoods
>>larger--but still smaller than we want--slightly bland houses in those questionable transitional neighborhoods that can swing either cute and young-family or shady and lock-your-doors-24-hours-a-day in a few years' time
>>huge, roomy, beautiful historic houses in scary-ass neighborhoods where people get shot or engage in standoffs with the police. (I am not making this up. The neighborhood where one of my best friends grew up had this happen just a few weeks ago. Luckily, her parents moved to an area of town that's pretty much at the top of the dreamy list when we were in college.)
There's also the mystery houses, the ones that are too good to be true. I drive by one of them every day on my way home from work. It's this big old place on a corner lot. It has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a fireplace, built-in bookcases on one wall of the living room, wood floors, high ceilings, and a big bay window off the front room. It's a block away from a library, and faces a huge park that is ringed on all sides by big, nice-looking houses. The yards look neat, the houses look pretty well-maintained, the cars parked out front aren't total clunkers, and the park seems well-tended. It looks every bit like an area on its way to being gentrified. But no matter how nice the weather has been--even on days when the riverfront near work is packed with people--from January until now, I have never once seen children playing at the park. Never once, even though there is a nice playground in the middle. No kids playing, no dog walkers, nothing. Ever. So there's more to it than the fact that the house is listed at $65K and has been sitting on the market since about Christmas.
But then...oh, then...there are the dream houses. Like the one I found last night. The huge 3 bedroom, 1 full/2 half bath, 1899 farmhouse with a huge wraparound porch and a full basement for $99,900. The commute would suck, and the utilities run about $250 a month. But oh...that house. That house...how I covet it.
One more thing, and then it's time to watch Lost on DVD
Is this not the most glorious piece of carrot cake you've ever seen?
And because I'm a nerd, I measured it:
Since carrots are vegetables, I'm not going to feel bad for eating this while I watch TV.
Reading: Lirael, sequel to Sabriel.
Just Finished: Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett
Playing: a new mellow mix CD