There Goes the Neighborhood

By Vicki Todd

There is one thing for sure: I would not want to live next door to me. I don't mean to be a difficult neighbor, it just happens that way.

For the official record, we've made nine moves in sixteen years. My family is convinced that we have to move every two or three years to allow property values to go back up again. I have had many encounters with neighbors; most of them have involved police. Now, now, don't get the wrong idea about me. I'm not violent, just noisy.

There were a few exceptions. In Green Bay, there was the tree hugger. She liked me. She talked to trees and saw my future--now that's my kind of neighbor! Until she started talking to dead people­; that was creepy, but at least she didn't call the cops. In Orlando, there was our neighbor Gene. He saw nothing wrong with my sister mowing the lawn in her thong to the beat of the Rolling Stones.

Unfortunately, the exceptions have been far and few between. Our neighbor relations in other places typically involved the men in blue; a lot of whispering; if-looks-could-kill stares; and neighborhood gossip. We had lived in Milwaukee (I like to say it Mil-E-Walk-EE) only three months when the law enforcement managed to track me down. Not for my usual (decibel levels)--my mother had called, I wasn't home on time and she just figured I was dead and needed help.

In California, America's finest and I became friends. I even had them in for a couple beers one night. Californians are free spirits. They made it to my house six times in one year because of the game Rotation. I must pause a minute and tell you about the world's greatest drinking game, simple and easy to play. It's an addicting game developed by Albie the SAE (a close personal friend who would be upset it I didn't acknowledge that he has the genius mind who invented the game.) Before you can play, you must have the following:

  1. Lots of Alcohol
  2. A good selection of CDs, tapes and albums (even those old 8-tracks come in handy)
  3. Two or more players
  4. Big speakers, indoors and out (it's not fun to play if the music isn't blasting really loud)

The rules are simple:

  1. Must be after midnight
  2. Pick out a tune, play it.
  3. On your turn, you must get your tune on by the count of ten.
  4. If not, you must take a shot or drink (decide this before playing).
  5. You cannot make a mistake or make the CD skip (this is a foul and you have to drink).

If I could market the game Rotation I would make a million dollars, but I'm sure some MADD mother would sue me and I would lose three trillion, so we just play it among our group of friends and never let anyone drive home. It's keeping up the music level that causes the cops to come. (FYI: Neighbors don't like head-banging music when they are trying to sleep.)

The neighbors across from us in California had a lot more going on than Rotation. Their driveway was busier than the drive-thru at Taco Bell after midnight: people were in and out all hours of the night. My brother-in-law counted one night: 26 people in less than two hours. I don't know what they were doing, but I have never been hauled off handcuffed in a paddy wagon!

In Houston, my sister moved in with us. We used to sunbathe nude. (This practice has now been suspended because of gravity.) Houston was a thrill for everyone! Mr. Brady next door loved us--he made any excuse to come over:

"Can I have some sugar please?"

"I need to borrow soap."

The best was: "Can I borrow some boiling water."

The boys across the street have a video on the internet of my sister (we never put blinds up). Okay, I'm kidding. There is no video, it was before the internet age, it's just a few still pictures. But of course, the police had to come--the noise thing again, this time on Christmas Eve. Frank Sinatra was crooning "White Christmas" (whoops, forgot to turn of the outside speaker again).

Tampa...I'm not sure what they thought. My husband was living with two sisters that looked identical and we were always together, the three amigos. (I'm seeing a pattern here. Maybe it's not the noise level, it's my sister who's to blame!) We lived on the golf course and entertained the golfers with our outdoor speakers and nightly spa. We had already stopped nude sunbathing, but continued the tradition of Rotation with our guests. The police only came once, and that time it was because we failed to obey the community rules and had three dogs at our house at once. I hadn't read the bylaws--can you believe I was supposed to notify the community board if I had an extra doggie over to visit?

By Singapore we had two new reasons to hate us as! We lived a stones throw away from our neighbors, and WOW is a one- and a two-year-old noisy. They scream a lot. The Chinese are kind. They would have never called the police, they just bought earplugs.

So that brings us to Atlanta. You ask how am I doing? It was great when we had the 85-year-old deaf neighbor who could care less about all the commotion. He moved on and now there is a nice family next to us. And we are close...too close to go in the spa in our skivvies (unless it's a birthday party), but I still grill in my PJ's. Are you wondering why? So is my mother. On Memorial Day, I went out at 7am after being up all night playing Rotation to clean my smoker and get my BBQ on--nothing stops me from BBQ. I had my new Natori PJ's on (my gift from Mother's Day) and I didn't want to get my robe dirty, so I took it off. My mom comes out:

"Vik, what are you doing?"

"I'm cleaning the grill."

"Vik, you can see through your PJ's."

"I don't care, who's looking?"

"No one, I guess."

I continued cleaning the grill and smoked the best BBQ I have ever made. They have not called the police on us yet, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm going to Destin for the summer, taking both kids and my "teacup" Great Dane to the condo. Watch out neighborhood, here I come!

© 2003 Vicki Todd and The Rebel Housewife, LLC.
All Rights Reserved

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