No solicitation.

We have a problem in Suburbia.

Yesterday, my door bell rang three times. I did what I always do – I hid, peeked out the window, and let my two dogs bark at the door. It was two different solicitors selling two different products. One came back within 30 minutes which is totally weird, dude.

Adding a “No solicitation” sign has always been on my to-do list. It shot right up to the top of the list after I saw my neighbor’s version of “No solicitation.”

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Melissa is one hell of a woman. A woman after my own heart. Not only do I crave deep-dish pizza but I also love a good writing project to keep the solicitors in check.

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How to find the Holy Grail of Neighbors.

You may have read it.

10 Signs You Have Found the Holy Grail of Neighbors.

I didn’t write it but I agree with the writer, Lauren Lodder, on every point. Good neighbors are your in-case-of-emergency people, therapists, babysitters, and they make vacations possible because they’re willing to kick the ass out of the wet bandits and take selfies to prove it.

Well, at least my neighbors would be willing.

When you find the Holy Grail of Neighbors, you’ll know. The roots you dig will find a way down into the earth and intertwine with your neighbor’s roots. The roots will strangle you and hold you captive so you will never move again. That’s when you know you found your people.

The article didn’t explain how to find the Holy Grail of Neighbors. I got this, you guys. Follow me. Let’s fly!

 

I say Beetlejuice three times and he shows up on my blog. I don’t know. I live next to the guy.

Define your Holy Grail of Neighbors. Do you even want neighbors? Maybe your Holy Grail of Neighbors is a couple of birds. I know several people that don’t like living close to others. They like privacy and freedom to walk around naked. If this is you, take everything I say and do the opposite. There’s no privacy where I live but I like it like that way. My front door is a turnstile of kids and the eye in the sky is always watching neighborhood parties. If you want to walk around naked, this is not the place to do it because I’ll throw you out on my blog.

The real estate city search. To the beach! I would love nothing more than to live by the beach but I don’t. I live in Kansas. Suburbia, actually – a place where we need to get creative on the weekends to cure boredom.

Sure, white picket fences and kids chasing an ice cream truck paints the ideal place to call home. But here, in Suburbia, the Holy Grail of Neighbors are trying not to spill their margarita while chasing a street taco truck. Kansas can be a beautiful place. All it needs is a little tequila, salt, and lime.

We are not alcoholics. We just like margaritas and tacos at our front door step.

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Location, location, location.  Cul-de-sacs are prime real estate if you have kids. Cul-de-sacs allow kids to run freely. There’s no need to worry about a car hitting a child straight into the next news story. The Internet doesn’t need to scream at parents on the cul-de-sac for being neglectful. We’re not neglectful.

Calm down, it was a photo opp.

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Look for children on the neighborhood search. I have no clue where my kids are right now. Good. That’s called responsible cul-de-sac parenting. It takes a village. Just don’t hit our village with your car.

Don’t expect perfection in any neighborhood. Street taco truck and margaritas aside, perfect neighborhoods don’t exist. Perfect people don’t exist. I mean even Jesus left mouth germs on the Holy Grail. Probably. Our neighborhood pool got pegged as weak by teenagers. They destroy property. They are loud. They don’t listen to us when they’re asked to leave. I’m guessing there will be an increase of video submissions to MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. 

I’m also guessing one of those teenagers has a police chief dad that won’t listen to our complaints either. Time to get out my dad’s gorilla suit and call in the fake SWAT team because my kids swim in that conception water, dammit.

The Holy Grail of Neighbors will always show you signs they’re there. I’m talking about out-of-the-ordinary signs. Our sign was a sign from above, if you will. It was a beer sign hanging from someone’s back deck. A large, canvas, beer sign with the week’s bar specials. It was there for weeks. I later found out that was the football pot loser’s sign.

Other possible signs: A drone flying, golf carts for the sole purpose of neighborhood driving, college kids sitting on roofs, houses with indoor lights that change colors according to their mood, and hot air balloons landing on rooftops.

The fun people will always let you know where they are. It’s just their nature. They like a good show.

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I realize how this sounds. Before you write us off as rich snobs, we live in Kansas. Home of cheap real estate. Join us!

Stalk before you buy. You don’t buy a car without test driving it. You don’t marry a virgin. And you don’t buy a house without stalking first. I’m the expert, trust me. Slow-drive the street behind the street in question – search for fire pits. Slow-drive past their house during a nice day. The Holy Grail of Neighbors will always have adults on the front porch. Stop and say hello. Ask to use their bathroom. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the Holy Grail itself – the neighborhood’s Best Costume award.

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Next year, the trophy will be in my house. Come use my bathroom. Snoop around. My roots run deep, grounded into the earth.

Well, at least until the next drone ride.

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Home Sweet Home.

There are 7 billion people on earth.

There are 319 million people living in the United States.

And there are 2 million people living in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

God, fate, karma, hell I don’t know – maybe even this blog itself has a mind of its own and made the world shrivel up to the size of a pea and next thing you know I’m living across the street from the brother of a guy I used to date.

We bought a house this weekend.

I say that sentence like it was a quick, drive-by decision. It was not.

Oh, I drove by. I drove by the house and cul-de-sac in question for months – night time, day time, weekends, middle of the week, 3 am. Stalking. Watching. Counting fire pits. Begging our realtor to stalk and send pictures while I was out of town. Drooling at the chicken parmesan one of the families made for the visiting in-laws.

I’m kidding, Scott. I have no idea if someone made chicken parmesan for the in-laws.

But I did chase down a woman walking her dog. I asked her opinion on the house and cul-de-sac in question.

Who lives on that street? How many kids? Perfect. Oh, really? The “fun” cul-de-sac? But define fun. People really wish they lived in that cul-de-sac? YOU wish you lived on that cul-de-sac? A Sporting KC player, huh. And tell me about that beer sign hanging from the deck of that one house, what’s that story? They lost a fantasy football bet with the cul-de-sac! Excellent! And how many K-Staters live on the cul-de-sac? Ok. Sold.

They say you can’t choose your neighbors. I sure tried. Without ever meeting them, I found my people. Scott found his dream home. Our kids found freedom to kick a soccer ball around with a professional soccer player. The weight was lifted. We found our happy.

We signed the papers. We are the new owners of the house on the cul-de-sac.

We admired the house we would soon be hauling our prized taxidermy into. I noticed the neighbors sitting outside. Of course my people would be outside, it was the first warm night of the year.

Me: Hi, my name is Julie! This is Emma and Kate. We just bought that house.

Man: Awww! NOOO! That was our party house!

Me: Ha! Party house, huh? …. Oh my God. Is your name Andy?

Man: Yeah.

Me: Oh my God, I dated your brother. I met you when you were in high school.  You probably don’t remember me. And actually, I met you too but you were Andy’s girlfriend at the time.

Andy: WHAT?!

(laughter)

Man: I don’t know what’s going on but things just got really interesting on our street.

Me: Do you remember Scott Burton?

Andy: YES!

Me: I married him after your brother introduced us! Oh, he’s walking up the street now!

Man: WHOA!

Andy: WHAT? SCOTT!

Scott: WHATTT! ANDY! What’s goin’ on, man?

Me: My stalking skills failed.

The group of men surrounded Scott. I chatted with the women. The kids jumped all over my kids. We said our goodbyes and told them we would be back soon. We took the kids out to eat in our new part of town.

Scott: What are you doing?

Me: Asking Lacey to be my Facebook friend.

Scott: Don’t be creepy.

Me: Well, you got Andy’s phone number. Am I being creepy?

Scott: Yes.

Me: Oh. Friend request accepted! Yay!

Scott: Are you serious? That fast?

Me: Yeah, she’s my person now.

Out of 7 billion people on earth, I found my people.

They have no idea the blog just arrived at their doorstep.

Do you ever get the “It’s a Small World” song stuck in your head? Do you have a story that proves how small the world really is? Do you like a social neighborhood? Or do you like privacy? How are your stalking skills? Lacey is probably reading this. 

The Color Run.

I can’t move out of bed because of my legs.

Oh wait. I should whisper this.

I can’t move out of bed because of my legs.

I had to whisper because I am forbidden to talk about my legs throbbing in pain with Scott in the room. He is still recovering from knee surgery. Knee surgery pain trumps all-over-can’t-move-both-legs pain. Hi Scott.

You want to know what happened? I’ll tell you what happened.

I ran.

And now I’m fairly certain my neighbor is plotting my death. In Lawrence, Kansas. Home of the Jayhawks. (Friendly reminder that I am a K-State Wildcats fan.)

It all started two weekends ago. Heather and I were a good couple glasses of wine into the warm summer night.

Ok. So…I have a question for you. Ok, before you say anything…I know you don’t run. But…

Oh no.

Would you be interested in doing The Color Run if I got a group together? It’s in Lawrence in September. It would be really fun if you went with us!

Yeah, I’ll do it! Those things look fun! But I am not a runner. You guys won’t sprint off will you?

No, we won’t sprint. We’ll take it slow.

Ok. IN.

That was totally the wine speaking.

The next morning, I looked over The Color Run‘s website while sipping my coffee. Hmmm…this does kinda look fun. Maybe I should wear a piece of flare, like a rainbow tutu or a bandana armband. I wonder if I can avoid all colors and just get purple sprayed at me. I should make faces at the cameras and point. Ha!

Scott hobbled into the room.

What are you doing?

Looking at The Color Run’s website. I’m going with Heather.

You’re going to run a 5K?

Yeah. I feel like I can do this.

You realize that you will have to actually train for this. Like get on a treadmill or run outside.

I’ll be fine. They’ll go slow. Maybe we can all walk.

I’m telling you now, they won’t be walking the whole time. It’s 3 miles. That’s a long walk. You’re going to get smoked.

It’s 3 miles. It’s not like a marathon.

Smoked.

A week passed. I continued to lift weights at the gym. Scott reminded me to do cardio. I didn’t listen.

Another week passed. I got a cold. No gym. Scott reminded me while I was on the mend to run outside. I didn’t listen.

Two nights ago, I listened. I went for a run. Oh wait. I went for “a run”. Quote. Unquote.

I decided to take our dog, Bailey, because she could use the exercise. I also wanted to compare myself running with a 63 year old dog, in dog years.

I busted in the door with Bailey and fell to the floor. Scott laughed.

Where did you go?

Stop sign and back. Mile and a half.  Ok, fine – until I saw the stop sign then I turned. Close enough.

Bailey is not even panting. Did you even run?

Yes, I ran! I panted for her. I’ve never sweat so much in my life. You runners…seriously. How does your sides not hurt? It’s like someone turned the oxygen off outside.

I told you, you need to train. Did you run the whole time?

Well, no. Not the whole time. Bailey had to pee a couple times. We stopped, lingered. She pooped. We stopped, lingered. I did run when I heard a car coming though. My legs hurt so bad. I worked out my legs at the gym too.

You’re using muscles you don’t normally use when you run. And you shouldn’t stop. You should have walked or jogged in place while she peed.

Ohhh and my freaking cheeks jiggled! Like my face and my butt. I don’t like that feeling at all.

It’s called running. No one cares what you look like. It’s not a photo shoot.

Oh.

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So this will be my world for the next 7 weeks. Heather has offered to train with me in the evenings. Hey, maybe she’s not trying to kill me. I think she realized I am in desperate need of help when I texted her my pitstop pictures. As of today, I am officially signed up with The Color Run. There’s no going back. Heather knows where I live and she will drag my sore, lifeless legs to Lawrence if she has to.

I mean, there’s really no other way I go to Lawrence.