Suburban Status Report 20230304

For more than 140 days, all the lights have been on in the house behind me. Every single bulb is ablaze 24/7. The house is for sale and has been on the market since last October, with at least one changeover of real estate contract that I am aware of. It is not a bad house at all. Two story, four bedroom, three baths, etc. According to the listing, there’s an EV charging station in the garage, the kitchen and bathrooms have been updated, and inexplicably, there’s a new staircase to the upper level. This house was built in the late 1980s and even my previous 120-year-old house had a perfectly acceptable set of stairs so it is difficult to surmise why this would have been necessary. Maybe it’s because the little old lady who lived there tripped at the top of the steps and fell to her death and they couldn’t get the blood stains out of the hardwood. Or maybe she was pushed? (When you are stuck in suburbia, the only possible way to derive any excitement is solely from your imagination.)

Anyhow, back in prime of the pandemic, the woman who lived there acquired an assortment of roomies who I assume were related to her, including two children below school age. The parents spent a lot of time out on the back deck working remotely, while the kids ran about in their back yard and my cats ran around in ours. They were also keen minders of other people’s business, probably because there wasn’t much else to do at the time. I suspected them of reporting my cats to the cat catcher and I’m guessing they would probably have snitched on me to the clothesline police if I had defied the suburban fatwa against clotheslines. It stands to reason that any municipality that edicts that cats should not be seen in public would also find unmentionables waving in the breeze unacceptable. But I digress. In the summer of 2020 the neighbour’s roomies managed to get their hands on enough wood to build a play structure for the offspring. They proceeded to erect it immediately adjacent to our southeast property line. It commanded a span of roughly sixteen feet square and was about ten feet high, excluding the railing.

A point of context: my lot slopes downhill to the extent there is a full walkout on the lower level. This means when I am on the “main floor” deck at the back of the house it is one story above grade, which made it impossible to avoid the unsightly sight of my neighbour’s impromptu playground. I was tempted to leave an anonymous tip on the bylaw enforcement hotline but thought the better of it because they would surely know who had reported it. Karma and all that.

But time has a way of healing all wounds. The backyard amusement park vanished last spring and when the cat catcher called to remind us our cat licenses needed to be renewed, I reported (with perhaps more glee than the occasion warranted) that we were now down to one cat. So we’re just left with the light pollution, which is maybe not a bad thing. It kindly illuminates the path to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  

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