Our house, which sits on a hill, only has one common room. That room is filled with audio visual equipment, chairs and couches, some cabinets, a wood burning stove, a piano, a crappy table, and a buttload of toys and games. This ain't one of those little butts either. We're talking about a really big butt.
My wife looks at this room and sees a mess. I look at the room and wonder how we'll cram more stuff into it. From these two opposing viewpoints, we have both concluded that we need more space. Thankfully, since our family room juts out from the hillside, there is actually a room-sized space underneath it that opens out onto the backyard. This space, currently filled with gardening equipment, and unfinished finishing projects, is just begging to be turned into another room.
So, months ago, we began the process of expanding our house. We enlisted the help of an architect, reviewed countless blueprints, and are now entering the crucial stage of the project known as Bureaucracy.
The city of San Francisco has a whole host of rules and regulations designed to make you regret owning a house in San Francisco. Currently there are inspectors crawling around in my ass, looking for...I don't know...termites? Polyps? Republicans? Some such hazard. Because we are expanding the footprint of our house, by a whopping 3 feet, everybody and their uncle gets to have a look up my butt.
Last weekend we had to walk around to all our neighbors' houses and deliver them an invitation to a Community Outreach meeting, hosted at our home. This was to be their opportunity to review our plans, give us feedback, conspire against us, etc. This is just one step in the unwieldy city review process.
Tonight was the meeting. It was time to reach out to the community. The wife and I furiously tidied up the house. Many of our neighbors have never been in our home, and it seemed like a bad time to let them know that we're big slobs. I wiped down all sorts of crazy surfaces while my wife put out a dazzling array of fruits and cheeses. Fed neighbors are happy neighbors. And then, once everything was set, we waited.
And we waited some more.
And no one showed! Whoooo! This was actually the best outcome. I really didn't want to deal with nosy neighbors trying to amend our unambitous plans.
Actually that's not true. One couple, that we were not required to invite, did come over to keep us company. They're our Super Impressive Neighbors. The husband is a professor of computer science at a top University, a musical virtuoso, and the director of a local community theater. The wife is an emergency room doctor who cares for orphaned baby birds in her spare time, sometimes while training for triathlons. I think they're also astronauts.
Me? I blog. Go me!
But they're super nice folks, and they had no feedback on our plans. Those are good neighbors.