What Will the Neighbors Think?

A lot of worries about my new house flit through my mind with fair regularity. I mean other than the proposed commercial development across the street, or the typical budget concerns that go with any new construction project.

I swear, it isn’t as big as it looks!

I never realized until it actually went up, how visible our house would be from the street–or how big it would look. In the summer, it should be mostly hidden by trees, but not now, with the leaves down. No worries about how it looks, and it is far enough off the street to still afford a decent amount of privacy, but still. Most of the comments from the neighbors we spoke to throughout the last week, when the realized that was ours, were on the lines of “wow!” and “it’s going to be beautiful.” Well, yes, I hope so. The word “castle” also came up several times (thank you, turreted porch roof). Many were under the impression that it was a three-story chalet, rather than a one-story house with cathedral ceilings and a walkout basement.

In some neighborhoods, that wouldn’t be a problem, and this house would fit in well. But this neighborhood is a typical, old rural neighborhood of mostly smaller houses. Many are under 1000 sq. ft.; ours is about 2000 sq. ft., not including the lower level, which will initially be unfinished.

There are few houses that size in the area, and those there are, are even less visible, and on small side streets. Thing is, out in the country down there, it’s not unusual to see a house larger than ours right next door to a battered, rusted-out single wide. So yes, this sort of thing is done in the overall general area.

So what’s my worry? It’s that people will think we’re snooty and pretentious. But anyone who knows us should know that’s the last thing we are.

We’re building that house because it’s beautiful and we love it–and it fits with the spectacular views we have from where it sits. We have zero interest in impressing anyone else. But somehow, putting a little ranch house atop that hill didn’t feel right. The house we chose, and the image of wealth it might convey to some people, doesn’t make us any better than anyone who lives around it. (It might make us stupider, for spending that kind of money LOL.) The only way in which we’re above anyone is in very literal terms, as in, feet above sea level. And only by a little, at that.

If one good thing has come from the proposed business across the street, it’s that we’ve had the opportunity to meet several of our neighbors much sooner than we otherwise might. Or in some cases, at all–after all, the houses are fairly far apart, and one of the reasons people move there (including us) is because they don’t want to be up in their neighbors’ faces all the time. Hopefully enough of them now know that we’re unpretentious, down-to-earth folks just like them, fancy house or no.

Construction Update: They were working on roofing, and had started on the exterior trim last week while we were there. I haven’t received any new photos this week, but got questions from the builder about siding and electrical, so I imagine work has begun in those areas.

Pit of Doom Update: DH has added French drain and connected it to the existing drainage system with help from a rented jackhammer. He then took out a vent and shoveled pea gravel in. We have a neighbor who is a concrete contractor (handy, huh?) and who has offered to help with pouring the floor. We’re expecting that on Tuesday. All told, we should get out from under this fix for less than $1000, which is truly something to celebrate!

What I’ve Been Reading: Still haven’t finished the novel, but I expect to tonight, so I’ll write about it here next week.

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What I’ve Been Writing: My goal was to write at least 750 words/day, for at least five days, which would give me a total of 3750. I met that, with a total of 3900 words! I made a decision to bring more characters into my climactic scene, and the writing is going much better now, so that was clearly the right decision. This week, I’m going to try bumping up to 1000 words/day for five days. That will hopefully finish this WIP. If it does, I want to go right into the next one, which I know very little about other than the characters and some big-picture things that will happen. So that’s kind of scary to a reformed, former outliner like me. We’ll see how that goes!

What about you–any little worries in your life lately? (Or big ones, though I hope not?) Have you ever done something very visible that’s outside the norm for your area? And how are you doing with whatever goals you might have, writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

10 Responses to \

  1. Don’t worry about what the neighbors think. You live your life, let them live theirs. If they’re not going to give you a chance because you live in a house that’s twice the size as theirs, then that’s their problem. And their loss.

    We live if what a lot of folks in town consider “a mansion.” Granted, it is big, but that by no means means we’re rich. In fact, we’re pretty darn poor, we just happen to have our money wrapped up in real estate and antiques that nobody’d want even if we tried to give them away.

    The neighbors are going to love you and the new house. Look at it this way, you’re improving the property values in the neighborhood right?

    Nice work on the writing. Keep it up.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. I agree with Patricia. You’ve already met some of the neighbors, and you’ll eventually meet the rest. Not to worry: the word will get around that you’re good folks. I’ve never met you in person, but I know you’re down to earth from your blog.

    Impressed that you’re making so much progress with your current novel and have even come up with characters and some “big picture” elements. Good on you!

    One of my goals was to restart my blog and get a backlog of posts ready to share. I’m doin’ it!

  3. Patricia, thanks so much! You’re right of course. I’m just a worrier.

    Thanks, Lynette – and glad to see you back to the blog! Good job getting those posts ready – I’ll look forward to reading!

  4. The proposed commercial development issue happened at the perfect time. It will give your neighbors a chance to get to know you and they’ll realize that you and your husband are NICE people! 🙂

  5. One thing I’ve learned with a lot of the house hunting we’ve been doing lately… the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” was really about real estate. The porch looks lovely, imho.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about what your neighbors will think. Save that you’re super awesome people and that maybe you’ll have them over for more barbecues than you’d like.

    I looked at the plans for that development your neighbor wants to build. What… blarney! And all those fireflies! (all of which will pretty much die out with that level of development since they need undisturbed earth for most of their growth cycle)

    Great news on the Pit of Doom. 🙂

  6. I met my writing goals this week–yay! And I think I know how my story is ending. I expect to get lots of writing done this week. I’m looking forward to it, too!!

    Good job on getting the Pit of Doom fixed without spending a fortune. Hopefully it’ll end up being a neat little storage area for the future owners.

  7. I freaked out when I found out a doctor bought the lot next to ours years ago. His house is massive, as you might imagine. But he and his wife turned out to be the most down-to-earth people ever. We couldn’t have better neighbors. Your new neighbors will be saying the same thing one day!

  8. Congratulations on the progress. I wouldn’t worry so much about what the neighbours might think… as long as you work to be a good neighbour to them after you move in, any pre-conceived prejudices they might form will quickly evaporate. The house is looking great, btw.

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