Day 76


Just wanted to give you that update.

Now, here’s a random shoutout. To whom? To the renovation project itself! I realized today that I love living here. I’ve always loved living in Bristol, but today I felt the love of living on Otter Street specifically which, before the renovation, was definitely not the case. Here’s why…


Before the renovation started, we always parked in back of our house. It was just practical; we have two parking spaces in the back of our property, which means no vying for street parking and no worrying about the street sweeper. There’s also less traffic back there, so it’s safer for the kids.

But, because we parked in the back, it became the household habit to always come in the back door instead of the front, which meant that we never walked Otter Street and we never ran into the people who did. We were absent from the community out front, which made us assume that there WAS NO community and made us feel isolated.

Neighbor Interactions

On one side there is a family with 3 small children. We had never met the parents, but the kids were always in their back yard, seemingly unwatched. They would often ask to come over to our yard and play, and, if we said yes, they were over for hours sometimes.  This always made me feel uncomfortable. Their parents never came over to introduce themselves, to check on their kids, to see if it was okay that they were in our yard, or to see if we were axe murderers. Nothing. And, if I’m honest, I really didn’t want to watch a bunch of extra kids all afternoon most of the time. So eventually we started avoiding our back yard if we saw that the neighbor kids were out there. Lame, I know.

On the other side is a house full of young guys. Young, loud, crass, pot-smoking guys. On most nice afternoons, all these guys would sit out on their back porch smoking pot, cursing up a storm, and arguing about different topics (my least favorite of which was the physical characteristics of women). So we spent many lovely sunny afternoons indoors doing puzzles because our quiet, kid-friendly back yard was no longer so quiet or so kid-friendly.

Since the renovation started…

Since the renovation started we’ve been parking on the street in front of our house to make room for our contractors’ vehicles in the back. As such, a lot has changed. First of all, the vying for parking thing hasn’t been an issue. Second, now we always come in the front door and we always walk Otter Street, so we’re running into people that we didn’t have a chance to run into before. There are some sweet college girls nearby that we see more often now. We’ve finally met the parents of the kids next door and had some unhurried conversations with them. My husband met one of the young neighbor guys and had a fun conversation about college and football. And over all, we feel more urban than suburban, more connected, and more present.

This is how we wanted things to be when we moved in here. Sure, nothing has changed in terms of the issues that impact our back yard, but a lot has changed in terms of our hearts and how we see the people who are a part of those issues. I guess all it takes is a little renovation.


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