Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Jungle Is My Neighbor's Freakin' Playground ... Augh!

Some unknown but insightful individual once declared, "It's a jungle out there!" Even here in our cozy little tree-house perched jauntily on the side of a canyon & sheltered from the world by our staunch troop of leafy, redwood sentinels, I often have those crazy days in which I find myself agreeing vehemently with this statement.

My family & most of the folks I know around here struggle to get by, make ends meet, keep a roof over our heads, & provide adequate care for ourselves, children, &/or elderly parents. Most of the time, we manage to scrape by. But despite our best efforts, some of us -- like all of those working families with kids living out of their cars -- fall through the cracks. Things seemed especially hard for people during the winter of 2005-2006. Aside from all of the flood damage, a spiritual pestilence seemed to hang in the air like a thick black cloud & anything that could go wrong for anyone did. Perhaps Mercury was in retrograde? I know that one of my readers (I believe I now have three or four of them) is into astrology & hope she leaves a comment.

Yep, it's definitely a jungle out there. Unless you happen to be my next door neighbor, for whom my jungle is her playground. She's a perky, impeccably-groomed, hot-shot realtor from Oakland with a teensy little yappy foof dog the size of a large rodent, which she carries around in a special designer purse. Last spring, she flounced in & bought the one-bedroom cabin next door as her little vacation trinket for about $300K. Since an equivalent home in the Bay area sells for over $500K, this place probably seemed like an irresistible bargain for her.

Oh yeah, did I mention that the flight of stairs leading to the house are so high & so steep (I've never actually counted, but our house is at the same level & has 42 stairs) that she had to hire out a freaking CRANE to hoist her JACUZZI onto her back porch! For all of us hicks who happened to be around at the time, this was probably the most exciting thing we had seen all spring!

She came & stayed with her sulky pre-teen daughter, foof dog, & crew-cutted "partner" a couple times & then proceeded to rent the place out for exorbitant rates as a vacation cabin to a nice couple with three cute little kids who happened to own a San Francisco club called the Power Exchange. Since my blog is G-rated, I cannot even mention what happens in this club. Suffice it to say that their clientele like to "swing" & I'm not talking about the retro-dance craze which was popular in the mid-90's (sigh, I sure do miss Lee Press-On & the Nails) whose concerts we attended back in our urban-hipster phase).

My husband, roommate & neighbors couldn't stand them because they argued a lot & drove a car emblazoned with explicit artwork, "S*X MACHINE" in HUGE letters, & the URL, phone number & street address of their ... um ... establishment. Personally, I kind of liked them. They were friendly & chatty, my daughter liked playing with their kids, & the grandmother was hilarious & tons o' fun.

Unfortunately, our summer neighbors broke up & vacated the rental, leaving poor foof-dawg lady in the lurch. But luckily for us, she wound up renting the place out to a really nice young local couple for reasonable local rent. I assume that she was unable to find any more high-paying city slicker tenants at the time. The new neighbors are friendly, interesting, really nice to our daughter, & the guy's a musician with good taste in tunes so we get to enjoy free serenades when he practices on their porch.

Alas, the advent of summer is lighting up the dollar signs in Oaktown foof-dog lady's eyes again & our nice neighbors have to leave. Luckily for them, they've found a really nice, cheaper place nearby. She now has the local property management company, D&G Equities, handling her property. Maybe this'll bring better tenants.

I wonder what new neighbors the summer will bring? Perhaps some hedonist rave-masters attracted by the wild acoustics & heavy party-potential of our little canyon. Or a terrorist hoping to support his clandestine activities with his home-made meth lab. Or maybe a crazy-in-love couple whose cries of passion fill the night. Woo hoo! I can't wait!

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