Spent the weekend moving from the old to the new; one car-load at a time. I moved my kitchen first. More than anything; I own cooking equipment. I still have the harvest gold, Le Crueset cookware I got in 1977. I cradled random objects and discarded others. Moving is an opportunity to refresh and refine.

I’ve been over to the duplex at least a few times a month during the past year, but rarely on the weekend. I tried to respect my tenant’s rights to privacy. The neighbors weren’t normally around. This weekend, the January weather was brisk but clear and plainly, people were outside and about.

Delivering a car-load on Saturday, from the alley entrance, the neighbor to the West rode up on his bicycle. He asked if I was the owner. I introduced myself. He half smiled. Casually, we shook hands. Quickly, he informed me that the previous owner had built the fence too close to his property line and that they would need to take part of it down to move furniture upstairs into the garage apartment.

If you’ve driven down this alley and seen the dead, dried, sand- trout carcasses nailed to the power pole; you’ve arrived! This garage apartment was badly Iked and has yet to be repaired. Windows are missing parts; mangled, vinyl siding waves in the wind. No human has legally lived there in the seven years since the Hurricane Ike. Pre- storm, it was surely neglected; routine maintenance has been deferred for decades.

I told him he could take the fence down as long as he puts it back up correctly. We shall see what develops.

Sunday, the neighbor to the East called me over. Same question; was I the owner. She was pleased to meet me and glad to see the downstairs tenants go. She reported the law had been over there during the holidays. She said there was something fishy about them. I listened; hoping there wasn’t another issue. From across the street, a curious couple waved weakly; openly armored in honest reluctance.

Warriors were out in force; defining property lines and defending their imaginary boundaries.  This new owner has been property-welcomed; properly.  Perhaps some day we can have a good old fashioned neighborhood fish-fry.