As many of you know, in many ways I lament my move from a medium sized city to a sleepy little beach town that goes from about 200 residents in the winter to something silly like 10,000 temporary visitors per week in the summer time. By this time of year the residents are pulling their hair out and just want everyone to LEAVE. Myself included. I spent a week in July and a week in August vacationing “elsewhere” to maintain some semblance of sanity this year.
That said, I am finally starting to get more comfortable living here – heck it has been only 2(!!!!) years now. Well, it will be tomorrow – happy anniversary to me. For good or bad, once you are here for a while, you get to know people. There aren’t that many of us you know. Last week I crashed a party with some friends that was in their neighborhood. Strangely enough I ended up knowing people who were there. That was a first for me down here.
I have found that it’s really nice to walk into my bank and have the customer service representative that has handled all of my account changes call me by name and ask me how I am doing – and REALLY mean it! It’s a strange feeling to be able to bank without always needing to produce an ID. They know me. I know them. Simple. At every other bank I’ve had a different person help me every time I needed something. You don’t develop relationships like that.
I’m also lucky to have found the best appliance store in the world. I know this isn’t something that you need to worry about often, but something seems to go every few years. When we moved in we put in a new stove and dishwasher. This week I bought a new refrigerator. When I go into the store Michael, Mindy and Ed know who I am even though it has been a few years. They also go out of their way for their good customers. Instead of charging me for my new fridge right away when I picked it out, they actually waited to make sure that it would fit up my staircase first. If it didn’t, they would take it back and we’d try another one. Try that trick with Lowes or Home Depot. Ain’t gonna happen and you’ll be hit with a huge restocking fee. I’ve also never seen anyone as careful and precise when it comes to moving 300lb fridges in tight quarters. Not a ding or a dent in the house or the appliance. Amazing.
As you can see here, it was a really tight fit even without a handcart. They had to hand carry it up the last landing. I will never ever buy another appliance from a big box store again. Doesn’t matter how good the “deal” is.
My builder and his crew are the same way. This year I’ve had to do some maintenance on the house – some of the doors needed to be replaced since they were rusting.
CB and his guys came in, did an amazing job and cleaned up every little bit of dust and smudges. When they left it was as though they had never been here at all, except the work was done and everything looked great. We talk about where I’ve been traveling and share pictures of our pets. I tell them to help themselves to the water and gatorade in my fridge. Definitely not the stereotypical construction worker in my house experience. My prior experiences have been all bad. The next time I go out of town I am actually planning to give them my keys so that they can put in some hardwood stairs and reconfigure my laundry room while I am gone. I trust them with my stuff, plain and simple.
The firemen and policemen down here are also great. They wave when they drive past my place and I am outside. If you have an issue in the evening and you call the main police line (not 911) you actually get the officer that is on patrol and you can talk to them about your situation. One officer that is a friend of mine says that they occasionally get calls from some of the more elderly widows asking for help changing a lightbulb or rolling out a garbage can. Yes, the police down here will actually do that because they really look out for the community. I can’t imagine that in a larger city. Completely unheard of.
I’ve always lived places where I was generally anonymous. The only time I wasn’t was when I was visiting my grandparents in a small town in Germany on vacation. It was the kind of place where you’d say hello to everyone you passed on the street. It was a little weird as a kid, I always felt like someone was keeping an eye on me. Now as an adult I am beginning to wonder if this isn’t the way to go. Might be nice to live in a community that cares about the people in it. I guess I need to figure out more ways to insert myself into it.