Well, almost all the stuff is in Ann Arbor. Ben and I have taken time to swim in the neighborhood pool, walk around the neighborhood and ride the bike exploring the small, tree lined winding roads. He likes his new school, although he has a dampened enthusiasm at drop offs that has made me weep twice as I left him. Miss Kelly, his teacher, says some bounce from the move is to be expected, and he’s doing quite well, considering all the changes he’s weathered in the past week.
And we have met some people.
One person we met before we even moved here: Siri, an attorney mediator who heard through the family law grapevine in Ann Arbor that I was coming, and through a strange twist, one of her best friends is my new landlord. Now we’ve actually met her, she lives less than a block away.
Sandy and her Jack Russell terrier, Russell, wandered up the first night after the movers left, when I was panting over a beer on the patio and Ben was playing in the sand and water table—each of us with our favorite form of relaxation. Sandy’s the single mom of a 15 year old and she’s a nurse. She wandered by because her good friend Paul lives beside us, and she was going to cajole him into cooking chicken breasts she'd been marinating.
Paul works at ACE hardware about three blocks away and he’s a good man to know for faucet aerators and grilling chicken. We share a wall, he lives next door. When I apologized about Ben’s meltdown in the wee hours of the morning Saturday, he said, “I don’t mind, it’s just nice to hear life over there.” I believe him.
Bridget is the single mom of an 8 year old who she describes as “you’ve seen him, the kid with the big afro.” I hadn’t seen him but I’m sure I will. Bridget walks with Sandy at night, with Russell and Bridget’s little Yorky-something named Cory.
Alice is an older woman with a wonderful garden and a horrible story about a mud wasp infestation in her bee balm last year. She walked down the long yard we share to meet Ben and me Sunday morning, and we talked perennials. She said I must meet Rose and Dahlia, two women who live across the street and have an even more wonderful garden. I am not kidding about the names.
Ben and I did meet Rose Monday as she stood watering her wonderful garden. She gave me some suggestions for soil amendments before the perennial planting begins.
I am glad to be here, and meeting neighbors helps lessen the pain of leaving our old neighbors. Last night Nunu called to see how we were both doing and I realized how much I missed her greeting Ben, a booming “There’s my Ben” : as he ran to her open arms with a kiss for her I always felt good about leaving him.
Still, with the proper amendments, this seems to be a place where children and plants can thrive.