Archive for the ‘neighborhood’ Category

Holiday Cheer

I drove by the rich guys’ mansion on my way home last night. I snapped a pic of their holiday lights. It’s a mix of holiday spirit and gay pride.

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Another Break Up

My neighbor, Mrs. P., was walking her dog by my house on Sunday while I was working in the yard. Mrs. P. stopped to chat. After the standard greetings, Mrs. P. told me things were not well. I sensed she needed to chat so I put down my pruners before asking if she was okay. Mrs. P. is a successful real estate agent in her late forties while her husband is a 51-year-old investment banker. Mrs. P. told me her husband moved out of the house last month. Mr. P. is now living with his 27-year-old girlfriend. He refused to go to counseling to work on their issues. Mr. P. has filed for divorce. Mrs. P. called it a midlife crisis. I’m not sure what I would call it, but in the last year, Mr. P. has bought and sold a series of high end SUVs. He finally settled on a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

Mr. P. is a hot man who rarely misses a day at the gym. He has a physique worthy of a fitness magazine cover. He’s very handsome with piercing blue eyes. In recent history, I noticed that Mr. P. would grab his crotch when I would have conversations with him. I thought it was odd behavior but decided he had jock itch as a result of working out too much. I suspect he would play on both sides of the fence, but, I would never go down that path with a married neighbor.

I commiserated with Mrs. P. for a while. Mrs. P. told me she is devastated. She thought she would grow old with her husband. I told her I felt the same way about K. I shared some details of my break up with Mrs. P. I told her it would get better, but, it may get worse before it gets better. Mrs. P. seemed to be in better spirits when our conversation ended. I gave her hug. Mrs. P. suggested having a drink sometime. I’m not sure if she really wanted to get together for a drink, or if she was simply using one of the standard statements that is often tendered in conversations in my neighborhood. Perhaps I’ll see if she wants to join the art tour on Friday night

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A New Neighborhood Trend

My neighbors to the north finished a gut to the studs renovation on their house in late fall 2017. The renovation left the lawn and most of the landscape destroyed. The couple re-landscaped the yard in the spring of 2018. I was pleased with the new landscape. This year, the couple hired a new landscaping company to rip out the previous firm’s work and plant a new design. Only a few medium-sized evergreens were kept. The wife of the couple told me her husband didn’t like the previous design so it had to go. Even though I liked the first design, I like the new one even better.

This summer, four other neighbors have completely scrapped off their yards (both front and back) to make way for new landscaping. Walkways were replaced, new landscape lighting was installed, water features were added along with new lawns and heavily planted gardens. All of these projects were done by professional landscape companies. Not one was a DYI project. It seems odd that re-landscaping is suddenly the new trend in the neighborhood. I can’t ever remember a time when this many new landscape project took place in such a short time. Is this happening in your neighborhood too?

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Saved From Demolition

When this house sold, I was sure it was destined to be torn down. It had not been kept up and sits on a prime lot across from a park in a highly-desired neighborhood. Instead, the new owners decided to take it down to the studs and start over. I’m thankful the owners decided to preserve this local gem.

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Building Projects

A developer bought a house on my street a few months ago. The house, built in the early 1950’s, will be scrapped to make room for a new six-bedroom house. A meeting will be held for the residents to review and comment on the plan. In preparation for meeting, I surveyed the existing construction projects. Here’s what’s currently underway.

The owners of this house decided to scrape their house as it was less expensive than remodeling their old house.

This is considered a remodel since part of one wall was left in place. The property tax on remodel is less than new construction.

This house was a red-brick colonial. Now it’s clad in white stone. Architectural restrictions prohibit manufactured stone so stone masons have been working on this house for months.

Another new construction project.

This remodel, which includes a small addition, will start any day.

Work on the rich guys’ estate goes on. The main house is finished but landscaping and a new wrought iron fence surrounding the six-acre property are still in progress. Change is constant in my neighborhood.

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Friday night was cold and misty with low temperatures and a promise of snow. The few gallery opening didn’t seem promising. I stayed home and cleaned my living room and dining room. I was tempted to text the detective but I chose not seek temptation. Another chapter in the life of an urban gay man. Doesn’t that sound like a fun time for a single guy on Friday night?

Saturday was cold again. I managed to clean the kitchen and family room, put up a few holiday decorations, hit the gym and fix a nice dinner. After dinner, I was once again thinking about the detective but managed to avoid texting him. It was best he stay on his side of town. It was to be another Saturday night of Netflix. At least I had a clean house with some holiday cheer even if I was to only one to enjoy it.

This morning, my neighbor, Sheila, dropped off an extra copy of the New York Times that had been delivered to her house. Sheila told me she decided to splurge on a housekeeper in the coming year. She was disappointed to find out the cheapest service was $500 a week, which covered the cost of four maids for two hours. When did housekeepers’ salaried rise to over $60 per hour? Sheila has a three bedroom house with three bathrooms just at 3,000 square feet. It seems to be another case of price gouging. People assume if you live in a neighborhood where all the new homes come with seven figure price tags, you have the same income as those building expensive homes. Granted most of the existing residents are sitting on a pile of equity as a result of a relentless rise in house prices in the central city neighborhoods. I’m guessing few can afford to pay $2,000 a month to have a house cleaned.

Sheila decided not to hire the housekeeper. She will continue to clean her house as I do. Instead, she’ll splurge at Nordstrom.

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VF Corporation, the parent company of The North Face, JanSport and Smartwool, announced this week the company is moving its headquarters to Denver along with 800 jobs. The jobs have an average salary of $185,721. Read that last sentence again. Who knew jobs in the outdoor brand industry paid so well?

Those moving to Denver will need a high salary. A study published by Lending Tree ranked Denver 10th on the list of cities with the highest percentage of homes that exceed a million dollars in the U.S. According to the study, owning a $1million home in most cities gives one bragging rights. This is no longer true for the cities on the list. Most of the $1 million homes in these cities look nothing more than ordinary. This is true for Denver too.

An example is shown below. This charming 1950’s ranch home has two bedrooms and 2.5 baths in its 2,200 sq.ft. The house sold for $1.2m in 2017. After sitting empty for six months it was sold a second time for $1.5m. The house has since been torn down to make way for the new owner’s dream house.

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