15. March 2023 · Comments Off on Walking in the Neighborhood – More Daring Colors · Categories: Domestic

We were always able, even at the height of the lock-down covidiocy, to walk the dogs and later Wee Jamie the Wonder Grandson, in our neighborhood. Which is a small and working-to-middle-class homeowners, a great many of whom are military retirees. We were always grateful that our city and state administration didn’t go all “self-isolate at home” safety-Nazi on us and pursue with crushing law-enforcement authority anyone daring to go for a walk in a quite park or a swim in the ocean. In two more years, I will have paid off the mortgage, which should indicate how long I have lived here.

We saw, in the real estate/banking debacle of 2008, a lot of vacant homes in the neighborhood go on the market for months – some interesting foreclosures and abandoned houses as well. There was a house gutted by a fire set by teenagers which went through at least two flippers trying to make bank, and another which was painted dark gray, fitted out with bars on all the windows and an amazing spread of monitoring cameras. Yes, we all knew that the current residents of that place were processing drugs, at the very least. If they were hoping to go unnoticed in a quiet suburb, no, they didn’t. Everyone started calling it “Cellblock C on ‘street name’” and halfway expecting the place to explode one day, sending the roof in several different directions; we all within range hoped that our homeowner’s insurance would cover repairs. Another rental property was a drug and party house. Everyone within the radius of about three blocks knew this – and watched with appreciative interest when half the local SAPD substation busted them in a mass raid which had some of the cops asking for the use of a neighbor’s hose to wash the human feces off of their shoes. I had already researched the name and address of the absentee owner, who lived in Palo Alto, California. I was on the verge of writing a strongly-worded letter to him and his management company, when the police dropped in for a quiet visit and chat with the then-tenant. (The current tenants are nice and responsible people, although I reserve some doubts about the rainbow flag on the back porch.)

Presently, there is one house up the road where a tenant with extreme hoarder tendencies was evicted last month – the mountains of junk that the tenant didn’t take with him was dumped on the lawn, and eventually taken away in several trailer-loads to the dump, but not after there were crowds going through the piles – even a conflict between two men, which resulted in a stabbing and the police being called! That eviction was the talk of the neighborhood for at least a week.

The one thing that I have noticed is that many neighbors have spruced up the exterior – new siding, new paint, replacing windows and roofs. At least three houses have gone for metal, instead of asphalt shingles, even though the metal roof will cost about three times as much. The prospect of not having to replace a shingle roof every ten or twelve years, does have appeal, since Texas weather is very hard on shingle roofing. The sequence of developers who filled out the neighborhood had a repertoire of about twenty basic designs – from single story narrow cottages of about 1,000 square feet, all the way up to two-story units of 2.000+, a kind of generic brick

Later – the house itself, with the new paint job all but complete

and stick-built early 20th century suburban/neo-Palladian/simple Victorian style. There were about thirty different colors of brick, a few the traditional rose or dark red, most of them in shades of beige, brown or grey. This resulted in those houses which weren’t entirely sided with brick, being painted in complimentary colors; colors which explored the whole vibrant palette of pale beige, medium beige, light brown, grey-brown, beige brown and off-white. Lately, some owners have rebelled – and painted over the brick, and explored such colors as leaf-green, Caribbean blue, sage-green, or stark white over all the brick and siding, with black trim and shutters – which, along with a very dark gray roof, gives a kind of Elizabethan look to the place. And just this week, another neighbor, having gone for all new hardiplank siding, took a color scheme from a camo-style Santa hat, that was sent to the husband when he was deployed – they’ve painted over the bricks with sandy-yellow, the siding in dark O.D. green, and the trim – the facia boards and window surrounds – in black. It looks better than it sounds, actually.

Anyway, this is the week that the city comes around with the enormous trash trucks, to collect up bulk trash, like furniture and used fence panels. Sometimes there is good pickings, in what is put out – the metal recyclers usually get to all the clapped out appliances and rusty BBQ sets. In the past, I scored a lot of good-sized garden pots, and a big chiminea, and we have brought home two end tables (of different design and on different occasions) an arm chair and a tuffet – both of which got reupholstered and have done very well for us, ever since. No really good finds this year, though – I think people are holding on to the usable stuff, and posting it for sale on Next Door or Ebay, rather than just putting it out for the trash.

And that was my week – yours?

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