One of the reasons that I haven't been bitching and complaining about our remodeling efforts to add a new room to the house is because it hasn't impacted my life very much yet (ignoring the dramatic effect on our savings). This is because we have the world's best neighbors.
The main logistical issue with doing any sort of work on our house or backyard is that there is no side access to the back of our house. If you want to get to the back, you have to march past our front door, down our white-painted hallway, through our semi-remodeled kitchen, and across our family room.
Carrying 10 foot long beams of wood? Careful! CAREFUUUUL!!
Dragging a cement hose to the back? Ummm, would you mind taking off your shoes first?
Not a recipe for household bliss. However, our neighbors DO have convenient access to their backyard. Although they recently installed a fence between our yards, they made sure to have one section of it installed with screws instead of nails so that it could be removed for when we started our remodel. Granted, we did split the cost of the fence with them, but the idea of making part of it removable was theirs.
So, every day the construction workers traipse through our neighbor's garage and yard instead of my kitchen. It's almost unobtrusive. Remarkable. (Actually it's been 100% unobtrusive for the last two weeks since construction has come to a mysterious halt, but, whatever.)
This isn't the first time that our neighbors have been very helpful to us. We owe them big time. Hank and I contemplated how we could thank them. What nice thing could we do for them? After much quality thought the best idea we came up with was: booze.
So, earlier this week we knocked on their door with a couple bottles of wine and they invited us in for a few minutes. Although we get along very well with these guys, we don't socialize with them much, so this was the first time we had seen the inside of their house in a long time.
They gave us the grand tour, and I walked around slack-jawed.
I don't know if this happens in every city, but here in San Francisco if you go see a house that's for sale, it's often "staged" with nice furniture and art for the open house. They move out tons of the owner's crap and fill it with Pottery Barn's latest designs. There's never any clutter, and every room makes you say, "Hey, I'd like to live here!".
That's what our neighbor's house was like. At the end of the tour, I stammered, "Where's all your... stuff?" They laughed graciously.
I was serious! Where were the piles of crap? Where were the moving boxes and spare computer parts? I understand that since they don't have kids, they won't have carefully spread out piles of legos or toppling stacks of hastily painted artwork, but where were all the things that don't have a place to go? You know, ALL THE STUFF!
Even the kitchen was immaculate. They were clearly in the middle of making dinner, and sure enough, on the kitchen island there was a bowl of precisely cut green beans. I'd be surprised if the length of any one green bean segment differed by more than 10% from the average length.
Just. Un. Believable. I instantly felt subhuman.
They sure are nice though.