The rest of the neighborhood-watch group filed into my yard, milling around my porch before I invited them all inside. I handed out bottles of water and we all made our way to the upstairs living room, far too small to hold twenty people. A few furrowed their brows over the completely empty downstairs, rooms waiting for furniture and conversation.
Leslie, the blustery neighborhood leader, slowly crawled through the twelve items on the agenda, and at one point, I wrote a note to one half of the gay couple. Help me. Call 911. As with every meeting I’ve attended, Leslie detailed the Historic Preservation council politics. Gabrielle is the woman who heads the group, and is apparently vindictive, especially towards Ruth’s husband, Mario. I wondered if she had the same reflexive flinch when around him.
I spent the last hour of the meeting with thoughts of what topping I wanted on my pizza that I’d order as soon as everyone left and I decided on pepperoni. It’s dependable.
With all items on the agenda addressed, the group took a tour of the house, delaying my pizza ordering by another half hour. I pumped a few of them, ones who’ve already restored their homes to former glory, for ideas about what I should do with my oddly configured kitchen, and where to put a powder room downstairs.
The dogs were wild-eyed with all of the activity, as I was from hunger. Once they left, I dialed the number I knew by heart and soon I was watching Big Brother with my mouth stuffed with warm cheese and meat. The dogs settled down on their respective chairs as I chugged some Caffeine Free Diet Coke, and burped.