So, feeling guilty for scowling at my nice neighbors on the Fourth and wanting to sow some good will, I got conversational with my next-door neighbor as he got home this evening. Alas, there's much going on behind their yard inactivity. He tells me that his company went under and that they are behind in house payments. As such, he's got some guy who's going to try to sell the house for them. He seemed to need to talk about it and was pretty candid about what it's been like to go through. Yikes.
It's just so depressing to see these up-close effects on good people of the housing bubble and the recession. This makes two empty houses to the north of me, plus the one to the south of me (and I know the guy in the next house is having problems too). There are more empty houses, more unkempt lawns, more teenagers milling about, and--as he and I were discussing--the recent appearance of gang graffiti on a couple of garages in our alley. And those of us that are left are left with the falling home values and a less family-friendly neighborhood. This is all very sad, and for the first time, I'm kind of regretting having tied myself to real estate. I am, however, grateful to be employed, paid decently, and with good benefits.
On a different, more amusing note, my neighbor told me that he had been surprised to see me in the window the other day, lugging a baby. He brushed it off, he said, assuming I was babysitting for somebody. I think he found the full explanation less reassuring.