It appears we may have moved into the wrong neighborhood. According to my calculations we are the only house within a 4 block radius who not only has a garden but does their own yard work and laundry. I think the neighbors are under the impression I work with a maintenance crew because when I stop my yard work to turn and wave, neighbors look at me as if to say, "Shouldn't you be working instead of standing there?" Most of the decor around the yard is the result of salvaged materials from vintage house demolitions going on at an increasing rate to make way for bigger and newer but definitely not better homes in Portland. That's where I come in. I show up at job sites prepared to treasure hunt and come away with some finds that make the neighbors shudder. To each his own. Granted, one person's style is not necessarily another's but I can bet the old chippy door from 1914 I have up on the deck is causing an uproar within the neighborhood association. When the kid's want to have friends over I test them, "OK, do their parents know we don't have a formal dining room?" "Are they aware the house was built in 1900?" "Do your friends realize we have 3 dogs, one of which is a puppy who isn't 'completely' potty trained and likes to lick the dishes in the dishwasher?" "Do they realize the stain on the carpet is not coffee even though we pretend it is?" "Do they understand that the majority of our house decor is from repurposed materials AKA Goodwill and yard sales? Are they aware the fire dept has us on speed dial? Are they OK with the fact our dog will most likely run to the neighbor's beautifully manicured lawn to drop a pile? OK, so perhaps more of a urban setting would have been the better choice. What we are providing the neighbors however is an opportunity. An opportunity to develop communication between themselves by giving them a topic, "What the heck is up with the new neighbors?" It's the stuff that has the potential to turn into urban legends as years pass. In reality, the neighbors have tolerated us surprisingly well. This may change when the chicken coop is finished and our hens arrive.