Trick or Treat Confessions: I Spy on my NeighborsCiaran Blumenfeld
That’s right. I said it. I’m a lookie lou.
We live in one of those idyllic suburban tracts. A totally uber planned community that was meant to feel like Mayberry. Upscale and well appointed houses, for the most part, packed with enough decor to fill at least a couple of issues of those home decorating mags you see in the checkout aisle. The ones I always drool over. Somehow, the neighbors houses always seem nicer to me than my own.
On the outside, all the houses look different. But there’s really only three floor plans. Toss in a few builder options and modifications and flip them back and forth and you’ve got variety – but not a ton. Basically we all live in the same three houses.
Walking through model homes used to be my passion. When my house was being built I would visit the model regularly, shopping for ideas. I’d meet the other future home owners there too – snapping pictures of fixtures and making notes about tiles. When we all moved in, the party went traveling. We’d go house to house, comparing counters and cabinets. A new set of plantation shutters was a great excuse for company.
It was fun to check out each other’s houses – in the same way that I imagine it’s fun for identical twins to go shopping together and try on outfits for each other.
Most of the homes have turned over since then, and those of us that have remained haven’t had enough new work done to want to show it off anymore. Our homes are aging and we’re just trying to keep up with maintenance. Show off our new bathroom sink? That would mean cleaning up or disrupting the teens that our little kids have grown into. Too much bother.
But I still have Halloween.
Halloween is that one time of the year where I get to peek inside everyone’s house. I get to see what paint colors they’ve tried and what works (and what doesn’t) in “my” house. I can see who’s turned the formal living room in front into an office or dining room (not so hot as a dining room btw) and who has finally figured out what the heck to stash in that awkward nook opposite the powder room.
I miss the old days, when we were regular visitors in each other’s homes and all our young kids were friends. My neighborhood has grown up and so many of the kids are now teens. So many friends are long gone too. We’re not as open as we once were. We’re a mature community that enters and exits our homes through the garage.
On Halloween, the rules get broken. The kids get their sweets and I get my eye candy. I get to spy on the neighbor’s latest decor.
I’ll confess: love that.
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