This week was bitter-sweet for our family: I sold the house next door to a wonderful couple with two small children, 2 years old and 8 months. I know they are going to love it in that house because that home has brought a lot of joy to so many people, including us. Let me tell you the story about the house next door.
When we moved into our home 13 years ago, I saw the next door neighbors out in the front yard, so I walked over and introduced myself. She was a kind lady who immediately informed me that they would be putting their house up for sale the following week. Little did I know that would be the best news ever.
6 weeks later, the Schulze’s moved in: a couple about our age with two kids, a boy and a girl, exactly the ages of our two little girls. Yay!! Pretty quickly, we started asking each other to watch the kids while we ran errands and the kids loved it. They were the best of friends when they weren’t crying over not getting a swing (or getting the odd swing we added later). Meanwhile, the adults BBQ’d, drank crafted cocktails, and made inappropriate jokes about EVERYTHING. They were our best friends. Even the dogs were besties.
Then, three years later, the Schulze’s announced they would be moving to Ohio. Ohio?! I cried… I mean, I literally broke down in their dining room, and that is so unlike me. We spent the last month they were here trying to soak up as much togetherness as possible. They have been gone 9 years now, currently live in Singapore (Singapore?!! I cried), and are still our best friends. I tried to get them to come back and buy the house last month. Jerks!! Still bitter. 🙂
The family that bought the house, the Lees, came from Italy. Ooo, so exotic. They spoke Italian at home, but they also all spoke perfect English. And guess what? Two kids, a boy and a girl, around the same ages as our kids. Life with the Lees started out rocky, I believe, because the girls were mourning the loss of the Schulzes. I think it was about two weeks after they moved in that my oldest, then around 6 or 7, slapped the daughter across the face. None of us can remember why, and there were consequences of her actions, but soon enough, they developed another close relationship. The kids were at our house all of the time and they all were so much fun. Lots of swimming in the blow up pool, swinging on the swings (no one complaining anymore), and basic kid fun.
Then, three years later, the Lees unfortunately got divorced, and the kids went with their mom back to Italy. Lots of tears again. The kids still come every summer to visit us for a week!
But Mr. Lee decided to keep the house and rent it: enter the Richeys. If you know me, I make inappropriate comments constantly, usually with a sexual innuendo or sarcastic remark encouraging bad behavior, all to crack myself up; so you would think this attitude mixed with a Mormon family of 6 girls wouldn’t go well, but I was so wrong. They got my sense of humor and we were able to find common ground on raising kids and having fun (without alcohol and coffee, of course). With six kids, my girls always had someone to hang out with, and once again, the parents BBQ’d, joked, and played games. Usually, all the kids played board games with us. So much fun!
Then 2 years later, they decided to go on a world trip. Why are all these people moving away internationally? We have tried not to take it personally. While their trip was amazing and wonderful for their family, there were lots of tears when they left and we missed them terribly. They are now back briefly, but just to finish out the school year and off to Idaho they will go. RUDE! Glad to have them nearby for 6 months though.
Lastly, the Kleins moved in, who were so nice and easy going. Another Mormon family (those Mormons are so freaking great), and I always knew if there was an Armageddon that they would let us hunker down with them.
They were only there a year when Mr. Lee decided to sell the house, and now, that is where we are today. What are the chances this family will be super great like the rest? Has our luck run out? I really don’t think so. They have to be great, I don’t think that house would allow negativity in it.
Right before it sold, my oldest, now 16, walked through the house with tears in her eyes remembering all the wonderful times we had there. Maybe there will be more. I sure hope so.
~~When I was searching for the house I live in now, I really wanted a big yard. My hubby wanted a small yard and big house. I barely cared about the house, it was the yard I focused on. We had lived in the Seattle area before and had big yards with all our houses, then we moved back to California where we are from and lived for three years with a very small yard. Hubby loved it! Even though I grew up with a small yard, I missed the space between houses.
We finally found a home we could remodel with a one acre parcel. I will admit that the yard can be a pain in the rear at this size, but it is so fun for the kids in the summer as they run through everyone’s yards and down to the creek to play. But the yard is not why I love this house, it’s the next door neighbors.
Three weeks, or so, after we moved in, a family moved into the house next door. They became our best friends with kids the same age as ours and we all enjoy laughing at stupid things. Three years later they moved to Ohio (?!!) but have continued to be our closest peeps.
The family who moved in afterward also had kids close in age to ours and the girls became very close to them. A divorce caused the kids to move to Italy with their mom but they visit every summer and we love them dearly.
The father kept the house and is now renting to a family with six kids! We have become very close to this family as well and love having all of that energy next door to us. That house has given us so much joy, love, and laughter and it’s not even ours! That house is the reason I have no desire to move and will probably remodel next year instead of looking for a house that fits our current wants.
Good neighbors are so important that I wish we could hang out with the people interested in moving into the neighborhood to see if they are a good fit or not. Obviously that’s not going to happen so I guess we all should hope to have a next door neighbor house like I have next door!