Right Neighbourly

This past weekend we attended a party for some of the new families in the neighbourhood. By way of comparison, we lived in our old neighbourhood for three years and never once attended a party, barbecue, or shindig put on by a neighbour. I guess some neighbourhoods are harder to crack than others. But, being that this is a “family” neighbourhood (not a commuter short-cut), and the empty nesters are beginning to move along and give up their houses to the young, fertile, and insane (hi!), having connections on your block is a good thing.

And so it was that we were out walking with the kids earlier this month and a car with two parents and two kids drove past, slowed, stopped, and backed up. A hand reached out from a rolled-down window, and Mr. J introduced himself to us. His wife, Mrs. J and their two sons were summarily introduced, and we were welcomed to the neighbourhood. Not two days later, I opened the door to another neighbourhood boy bearing gifts of cookies and muffins.

Flooding basement be damned, I’m once again at home in the suburbs.

Last week, The Lovely Wife received a verbal invite to a party at The J’s house, which we attended on Saturday night. Also in attendance were our across-neighbours and their 3 year old girl, a couple from a few blocks away (but close to a playground, which must have been the connection), the J’s neighbours, a single-mom and her son, and a family from a little farther up the road. I mention them last because TLW made fast friends with the husband while discussing NFL, flat panel televisions, and the NFL Channel on digital cable. They also seemed very interesting in their own right, having travelled the globe teaching at international schools (something TLW has expressed interest in) while in the beginning stages of growing their family. We were regaled with a story wherein Football Dad had to settle for watching NFL games at the "only American bar" in Paris which would show the games. Because of timezones, the first game didn't start until 9PM, and the second game didn't end until after 3AM, and having missed the last Metro he was forced to rollerblade home, skirting through Luxembourg park in the wee hours of the morning. Must have made for sleepy Monday mornings at school.

The barbecue was good, the drinks were flowing, and the conversation got better as the evening progressed. TLW's chocolate chip oatmeal cookies were a hit, if hearing the phrase "I've already had three and I'm not done yet" is any indication. On the topic of drinks, you never know what image to portray when meeting the neighbours, and so while I was glad to hear “beer” offered among the choices of juice, pop, and other refreshments, I was happier when Football Dad enthusiastically chose the Margarita option that I didn’t really take seriously. It turns out that all the families were reasonably cool (it frightens me that I might be using myself as the benchmark here) and the children had a pretty good time playing the backyard. We also may have sourced a babysitter (she’s 12 now, has finished her course, and is apparently eager to get her hands uh…dirty) so that fact alone may have made attendance worthwhile.

We left the party at a reasonable hour (Good Lord, when did 7:30 PM become a reasonable hour?) and passed our phone number along to Football Dad in case he wanted some company on Sunday afternoons. Before we parted company, TLW threatened that if the season got underway and she hadn’t received a telephone call, he might find her lurking in his bushes or peeping in his window with a forlorn look on her face.

Hopefully this little gathering will create something more than an ability to smile and wave when people walk past our houses. It was such a thoughtful thing for Mr and Mrs J to do; I hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did.

And we’ll see what happens on Opening Day. Luckily, Football Dad’s wife likes to hike, so maybe she and I won’t both be NFL widows this year.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:28 AM  

7 stepped up to the mike:

Megan said... 3:56 PM, August 28, 2006  

How nice. My mom was a teacher at international schools- Poland, Germany, Thailand, and Ecuador. When my parents wanted to watch the super bowl in Ecuador, they had a party to watch it on the one channel that was showing it. Just as kickoff was about to happen, somebody at the TV station must have chuckled to themself and said "Let's really piss off all the Americans" because the plug was pulled and the game wasn't shown. Oh the horror!

Jessica said... 7:43 PM, August 28, 2006  

This is very nice....my husband and I live among a lot of retired people and I wish we lived in a neighborhood that did more of this sort of thing.

I have a colleague whose neighbors do a progressive dinner once every other month or so - are you familiar with these?

canadian sadie said... 9:56 PM, August 28, 2006  

Sounds lovely!

I really miss living in a friendly neighbourhood, and can't wait to 'settle down' in one again soon. :)

Congratulations on the new house and new friends!

Sassy said... 2:02 AM, August 29, 2006  

That's really fun. Most of my neighbors (in the lovely home-shit-home apt. that is my current dwelling) don't even speak my language (literally and figuratively speaking), so i'm not all that psyched about getting together. However, it is part of the "when we have a house..." dream.

Christine said... 7:45 AM, August 29, 2006  

the neighbourhood we just moved OUT of did progressive dinners and neighbourly things. i miss it. we're *firmly* in the 'burbs now, and it sucks. everyone here, except us, are commuters with a desire to have the best lawn.

themikestand said... 3:22 PM, August 29, 2006  

jessica: i had to look it up, but the concept is familiar to me. Never done it. But can you imagine toting 8-10 kids around all night? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Christine: Please post pictures of your lawn. ;)

sadie: I'll still need some help in the d├ęcor department. Send your coordinates my way?

sassyk said... 9:45 PM, September 04, 2006  

I love this entry! Isn't it amazing how we grow and change? I love hearing about the everyday thing with family and other parents.

And I have to laugh at the 7:30 reasonable hour thing!

Funnily enough we were at this hip party the other evening, with a celeb DJ or such like (I am so uncool I have no idea who these people are) and we were laughing as we all stood there discussing mortgages. I mean really, when did that happen???

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