“Hi. We’re new here.” Part I

So, Chris and I were sitting in our backyard the other day when our neighbors (who are wonderful, luckily) came over and started chatting. They have a little baby boy, and I was so embarrassed when he picked up a pretty big chunk of poop from our yard and almost ate it. Greg, his dad, intervened thankfully, but I had to add, “I’m so sorry. We keep finding that in our yard, but aren’t on the look for it because we don’t even have a dog!” Then Chris added, “Yeah and we’re not sure who keeps letting their dog go on our yard.” Greg laughed and countered with, “Oh that’s not dog poop. That’s deer poop.” Um, what?

That charming and not at all teenage boy anecdote serves to illustrate just how clueless Chris and I are about home ownership. Greg laughed and told us that pretty much everyone who moves out there is that clueless, but suggested that we write this stuff down so we can laugh about it later. I liked his idea, so here goes the first installation of “things that don’t make sense to us in the suburbs.”

1) Let’s start with those deer. Now, I’ve seen my share of deer in Cranford, so I realized they existed, but our house isn’t in the woods or anything. In fact, we’re several blocks from the “woods.” We live on an artery to a main road. Deer live in the woods! Right?! Evidently, those little buggers are braver (hungrier?) than I thought. Is it weird that I find it so unsettling that there are deer literally feet from my head while I’m sleeping? I mean I used to share a bedroom wall with actual humans, but deer is just too much.

2) Oh and they ate all our plants. When we moved in, we inherited some dead bushes in the front yard. Fortunately, there was hope for the side of the house. Early in the summer, we noticed some small plants starting to grow, and once they began to sprout cute purple flowers, we thought, “Oh how nice! We have plants!” Well, one day as I came home from the grocery store (every story in the burbs starts or ends (sometimes both) with a trip to the supermarket or Home Depot) Chris called me over to the side yard in a rage about “the neighborhood punks” who “chopped down” our newly flowered plants.

Now, the first hole in this story is that we don’t have any “neighborhood punks.” Our street is almost entirely girls between 9 and 14 and they sell lemonade, act out plays and ride bikes all day. Upon closer inspection, it looked like rather than “chopped” our plants had been “chomped.” I figured if google it to see if that was a common complaint, but of course I had no idea what this plant was.

We debated calling my grandparents to ask them what the plant was but figured that was a little top embarrassing, so we googled “broad shiny green leaves with tall purple flowers.” In case you’re wondering, they’re “hostas” and their nickname is “deer candy.” Mystery solved. I still like those deer.


3) Last one in the animal kingdom: I mistook a woodpecker for someone knocking on our door in the wee hours of the morning, and checked the back door twice.

4) I was waiting at a crossing and a cop actually stopped and let me cross rather than turning on his lights and siren just to blaze through a red light then immediately turn them off. Not that that ever happened in JC. Nah.

5) When people talk to you on the street, it’s to tell you something kind or useful rather than to yell at you for walking on their sidewalk or rant about Obama. It’s strange. I have to learn to take my headphones off and respond rather than putting my head down and walking faster.

So yeah. Things are different here. I don’t mean to be cliche or disparaging to JC. We loved it there so much. Plus, I’ve learned delivery isn’t really a thing in the burbs, and thats a pain. It’s just that in general people are a little friendlier here and the animals are a little too friendly.


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