We're not the new neighbours on our street anymore. The house next door to ours has been empty since shortly before we moved in, abandoned by a young man who found himself without a job and, apparently, without much hope. We've watched this sad little house move through the stages from abandonment to being re-inhabited. We answered our door the day after we moved in to a banker looking for the owner of the house. We watched workers fill a dumpster in the yard with all the belongings left behind by the previous owner. I saw the realtor put up the "For Sale" sign. I heard the lawn mowed weekly by a lawn company sent to keep the place in shape. I looked up the listing on MLS, and even peeked in the windows once to see what this sad little house looked like inside.
Three weeks ago a "Sold" sign appeared. Was it my imagination, or did the house look a little happier? I noticed a number of times in the evening a car would drive down our street and slow way down, the driver looking longingly at the little house next door. A few days ago the "For Sale" sign came down, and the kids speculated about when the new people would move in, and would they (please please please) have "kids our age". I warned them it was finally time to stop playing in the empty driveway next door. Yesterday morning I exchanged pleasantries with the meter-reader from London Hydro who came for a final reading before the new owners moved in. And finally, last night, Connor announced happily "There are people moving in next door! Mom, you have to go meet them!"
I'm really pretty shy about introducing myself to people. But my neighbour across the street is just about the friendliest woman you'd ever meet, and she was already out making friends with the young couple unloading the half ton in the yard, so I decided I might as well join her.
It's funny the things we notice on a first impression. The first thing that struck me about this young couple is how VERY young they are! If I had to guess, I would say early twenties. They made me feel so old! No wedding rings, but she is wearing a very large diamond, so I expect that wedding plans are underway. No kids to play with, but maybe there will be babysitting opportunities for my kids in a few years. Both were very friendly, and seemed happy to meet a few of their neighbours so quickly. The young woman seemed absolutely giddy about moving into her own house for the first time.
The sad little house looks downright content today. And Connor wants me to make cupcakes to take next door.