Howdy, neighbor!


I met the neighbor today. She's tall!

I went over to look at the Larson's house. Turns out, it has a for sale sign on the door that isn't really just a for sale sign: it's also a notice of foreclosure. I called the realtor (after taking one of those little tags off the sign with the phone numbers to call), made the showing appointment for today and went over with Dad.

I should have taken my camera with me. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking.

I'm trying to convince Kris that we should put an offer on the house. I may do so over his objections (likening the action of his ignoring my passenger driving directions by listening, evaluating what I have to say, and rejecting it to my listening to his objections, evaluating it, and making an offer anyway).

If real estate is all about location, location, location, in my mind, this one wins.

Besides, according to Dad and Linda, I'd have a GREAT neighbor. Come on, what's not to love about that.

P.S. Mom later commented when I talked to her about making an offer on the house that the Swets (sp?) house next door and the Larson house were both owned by the same people at one point (the original owners), who moved from the big house to the Larson house when their kids moved out and the house was too big. The two properties may have a shared well, which is why Dad and friends couldn't find the well on the Larson's property.

The usefulness of vans


I'm on my way over to Ohio today. When I arrived at Dad's house, I promptly complained (Imagine that. Me. Complaining. Strange thought, eh?) about the fact the car rental company had run out of compact sized cars, a size I had specifically requested so that I could sleep in the back seat at Poultry Days.

I opened up the van and showed Dad the small back back seat, the only bench seat I could actually sleep on, given the bucket seats in front and in the middle. Dad took one look at inside of the van, and turned to look at me with an expression of, "Are you insane, child?"

An expression which I've noticed heading my way more frequently as of late.

"Looks like a good place to sleep," he commented, as he turned to open the back of the van. Three pulls, two pushes, one grunt and an old heave-ho later, and the back-back seat was folded down into the floor, the two middle seats were folded up, and I had a large flat surface to sleep on, no tent required.

Well, well, well, what do you know? These vans are good for something, eh?

Funny how...


... everything's the same, yet everything's different.

I went for a walk with the dog today. We went around the neighborhood, walking down Dad's street and around the bend, back along the parallel street. I didn't leave enough time for a complete walk, and had to decide whether or not to run along the road, dragging the dog behind me the whole way, or cut across the yards as I used to do when I was 10.

Given the time crunch, I decided to cut across the yards.

Up the driveway I walked, looking up the hill in an attempt to decide which yard to trespass on. When I actually started walking through the neighborhood backyards, I couldn't help but think there are a large number of activities 10 year old girls can get away with that, well, women in their 30s really can't do so easily.

Trespassing through unfamiliar backyards is one of them.

Fortunately, the neighborhood is much (much, much) smaller than I remembered it being, and I was across the yards in no time, back home in time for my phone call.

So much of the neighborhood is the same, though. Sure, it's smaller because I'm bigger. And, hey, there's a really cool playground in the back of one neighbor's yard complete with a really cool merri-go-round and swingset and awesome tree house (oh, to be 10 again!). But the houses are as I remember them. The hills are as I recall them being. The yards are still way green, the road still rough and interesting.

Bharat and I often talked about how cool it would be to have all of our friends living together in one neighborhood. As I walked with the dog I couldn't help but think that this is the neighborhood I'd like all my friends to be in. This is where I'd really enjoy being able to walk to my neighbors, my friends, to see if they wanted to come out to play a game of ultimate, or for communal dinner, or bridge, or Carcasonne.

Not gonna happen, though.



I went to dinner with Dad and Linda tonight. It's funny to watch the two of them are together. Dad is completely ornery and I can say that, Dad, because that's a Hodsden trait as much as being late or being distracted are.

We also drove to 1406, which Linda walks by on some morning walks. The house is looking way run down, which is a shame, really, because it's a lovely house: the original farm house for the area way, way, way back when.

More importantly, the first house i lived in, so it has to be important.

At one point, Linda casually mentioned that a neighbor of hers reads this site, and sometimes updates Linda on my whereabouts and events.

I think the dumb look on my face must have registered to the people I'll be visiting in Ohio tomorrow. I know my jaw took a few moments gathering dust from the restaurant floor.

The only thing I could thing of to say was something along the order of, "Uh....."

So, uh, hi, neighbor who lives next to the house where the Larsons used to live (the Larsons whose son died when I was in junior high school and Chris inherited his motorcycle, not that I can remember the Larson boy's name. Oh, and the trees have grown up a LOT in front of their old house - you can't really see the house for the trees any longer).

Linda asked if that was okay, that her neighbor reads this. I said, sure! because it is. (Did I mention? Hi, Neighbor!) I'll just pretend it's just me here. I hope you don't mind.

Hi, Megan! Hi, Mom! Hi, Roshan! Hi, Cads! Hi, Chookie! Hi, Kris! Hi, Liz!

Oh, and there's a tornado watch on right now for Northwest Indiana. Note to self: when you run downstairs after noticing the sudden drop in air pressure, run to the side with the furnace. That's the southwest side of the house, and the most likely safest spot if the house comes tumblin' down, crumblin' tumblin' dowwwwwwn.

Time zone adjustment


So, I arrived at Dad's house last night and promptly passed out. I'm sure Dad was a large bit confused at the fact I passed out at 10:30 at night his time, as it was only 7:30 my time. This is more or less par for the course with me these days, and passing out at 7:30 works just fine for me.

Easy enough to adjust to this timezone this way.

Simply insane


When I was in college, I came back to Indiana for a visit. At one point, out with one of my best childhood friends and her parents, her mother commented that Hoosiers are some of the worst drivers. Ha ha ha, I thought, clearly you haven't driven in L.A.

Ah, to know everything like I used to. That would be great. Great. Just great. It'd be great. (Hi, Kyle!)

I actually haven't driven much in the area. Eh, not quite true, but close. I rode my brother's motorcycle when I was 12 because he told me girls couldn't ride motorcycles. Of course, that was when I didn't know the difference between the brake and the gas and couldn't understand why I kept going faster and faster the harder I turned the brake.

Uh, yeah.

Driving in Valparaiso, sure. I've driven in the town. But not really to the town. Dad or Jenny or Jessica would pick me up from the airport or the bus station closer to home, so I haven't driven to town.

Today, however, I rented a car that I'll drive to Poultry Days, for my first chicken tournament. It seemed to make sense, even though I'm sure had I asked, Dad would have picked me up from the airport, no questions asked.

Using Kris' GPS unit, I plugged in Dad's address and started driving.

And started understanding just what Mary was saying about Hoosier drivers, though I suspect she was talking more about Illinois drivers.

I can honestly say, I've never seen a fully-loaded semitruck with trailer lay on the horn from the second lane, right next to me, nearly ram the car in front of it (admittedly doing only 45 on a 65 mpg speed limit road), swerve around it and accelerate away from us. I can't say I've ever seen a big-rig truck driver exhibit such road rage before.

This, after it nearly swerved left into me.

Did I mention they gave me a minivan? I reserved a compact car, figuring I needed a car big enough to sleep in the back seat, since I surely was NOT bringing a tent to the tournament. Too much to carry, and I prefer showers in the morning. Or so I thought. With all the hotels fully booked for 40 miles in all directions, that backseat is looking mighty comfy.

A few miles later, in my light grey minivan, I watched in train-wreck fascination as a trailerless tractor (Dad tells me that's what they call the front of a semi when it has no trailer attached) zipped in and out of traffic easily driving over 80 in moderate traffic on a construction filled 94.

I'm convinced Illinois is annoyed at people moving to Indiana, and has decided to thwart such commuters by having the entire stretch of road between the two of them under construction at all times.

This, with crazy drivers on the road.

I passed a frighted girl driving 40 in the first lane as traffic whizzed by going over 70 to her right (except me, of course, I was clearly driving ONLY the speeding limit, Dad. Clearly).

I drove behind a man who would drive a quarter mile between the lines painted on the road, then a quarter mile to the left or to the right of them, yet still on the road. I tried flashing my brights at him when he started to swerve off the road. Didn't help much.

I drove in front of a car that reminded me of the summer I worked for my dad, when he handed me a gun to put under the front seat. "I'd rather you be in jail than raped or murdered," he told me, after telling me of the van drivers who were running cars with single women drivers off the road, then raping them. I agreed with him, then showed him how to remove the safety, and how to put it back on.

I flinched as crazy drivers in Escalades came flying up behind my van as I drove with traffic, and watched as they slotted between cars to edge one, two, maybe three cars in front of us in traffic, wondering if I weren't really back in L.A. after all. Did I board the wrong plane?

And I reminded myself that I wasn't in any hurry when cars were flying by me, as I drove the speed limit in the slow lane. I'm on vacation, and didn't need to hurry home. I was in an unfamiliar car, on unfamiliar roads. Just because everyone else is crazy, doesn't mean I need to be, too.

I mean, there are crazies on the road tonight. One of them might even be driving and trying to take pictures at the same time. I mean, come on, that would be nuts.