Haus und Garten

Today is the 56th annual German Village Haus und Garten Tour.  Thousands of visitors will be trekking through German Village for the event, which raises money for the preservation and education programs of the German Village Society.  If you haven’t got your tickets yet, you can buy them today for $25.

IMG_5924The headquarters for the event, the German Village Meeting House, is less than a block from our new place.  The street next to the Meeting House is blocked off, lights have been strung up, and tents have been erected for the guests, and last night there was a kick-off event that sent music wafting over our neighborhood.

This will be the first Tour we’ve experienced since we moved to German Village.  Here’s an admittedly selfish thought:  will the Haus und Garten Tour be as personally disruptive as the various New Albany events, like the New Albany Walking Classic, that used to block off our North of Woods neighborhood and complicate our lives at our old house?  I’m hoping we can at least get in our car and drive away if we need to.  If so, we can live with the Tour.

Last Loop

This morning, for what will almost certainly be the last time, I took my morning walk around the Yantis Loop walking path.

IMG_4250For many years now — I’m not sure exactly how long, really — I’ve started my day with this walk.  I’ve taken it virtually every morning we’ve been home, rain or shine, save only days when we’ve been blitzed by freezing rain or I was laid up after foot surgery.  I’ve walked it with Dusty, Penny, and Kasey, or accompanied only by my trusty iPod, in darkness and in the golden rays of dawn depending on the season and the vagaries of Daylight Savings Time.

And every day, the path is precisely the same — something that Kish finds very amusing.  It’s left out of our house, left on Alpath Road, right on Ogden Woods Boulevard, and then right — always right — on the Yantis Loop itself, so that the familiar white fence is ever on my left.  Then, past the top of the Loop, over the boardwalk around the pond at number 5 North and following the curves of the Loop as it heads back due north, then veering from the Loop to head up Route 62 to join up with Alpath once again.  All told, it’s about a two-mile circuit.

The sameness of this early morning journey is part of its enormous appeal.  My feet know where to go, the walk clears my sleep-addled brain, and the quiet and peaceful surroundings of the stroll make for ideal thinking time.  I get a little exercise out of it, too.

I’m looking forward to our move to German Village, but my walk on the Yantis Loop is one of the things I’ll really miss about New Albany, so this morning’s final effort was a wistful experience.  I’m going to try to replicate the Loop — somewhat — by regularly walking to work from our new place, but moving through the streets of downtown Columbus can’t really fully substitute for the familiar, bucolic path along the white fence.

Leaving New Albany

This afternoon we close on the sale of our home in New Albany, Ohio.  We’ll move out later this week, hand the keys over to the new owners, and just like that our 19-year sojourn in the North of Woods neighborhood of New Albany will be ended.

IMG_6180Yesterday Kish and I were madly packing up clothing, books, dishes, and the contents of our cupboards in preparation for the move.  It’s one of those basic chores that fully occupies your lower brain function — you have to pay enough attention to make sure that the boxes are securely packed, after all — but leaves the upper brain free to roam.  In this instance, my mind naturally turned to the notion of chapters ending, and new chapters beginning.

I tend not to be sentimental about homes; people and experiences are far more meaningful to me than structures.  Even so, I’ll miss this tidy wooden house where we watched the boys grow up, where we have put down deep roots and have such a strong sense of place and belonging.  We’ll miss our neighbors and the annual Halloween celebrations, we’ll miss the white fences, we’ll miss our walks to the library and around the block with Penny and Kasey, and we’ll miss seeing the ‘hood  continue to grow and develop.

But, it’s time to move on.  Today is another step in the process.

Hanging At The Buck

When you have your house up for sale, you may have to exit the premises for a showing upon a moment’s notice.  And, because you never know whether you’ll get a call asking for a quick showing, you can’t really cook lavish meals at home.  And, because you never know whether they’ll need to reach you to set up another appointment, you can’t go to the movies or the workout facility where phones are verboten.

IMG_3520All of which explains why I became a regular at the neighborhood Rusty Bucket this past weekend.

Normally I’m not someone who hangs out in taverns, but the Buck has its advantages if you’re in the house sale scenario.  First, it’s within walking distance.  Second, it has a varied menu, which is a huge plus if you’re going to be there multiple times over a short period.  I had a cheeseburger, a bowl of Texas sirloin chili, and pork pot stickers in my three meals there over the weekend, and all of them were good.  Third, I met a local celebrity of sorts when I was there:  Candice Lee, a weekend anchor at a local TV station and the mother of an OSU football player.  We had a nice conversation about her story and the challenges faced by student athletes, which was a pleasant way to pass the time before it was time to head home after the latest showing ended.

Having your house for sale is somewhat odd.  You’re in, you’re out, and you need to be on call at all times.  It’s nice to have a friendly, clean, well-lighted place to spend your down time when potential buyers are visiting.  Thanks to the New Albany Rusty Bucket!

Mellow Mushroom Moves In

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They’ve just finished a new building project in the Market Street area of New Albany, a short walk from our home. A Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers shop is moving in and will be opening soon.

For years, Eagles Pizza has dominated the New Albany dine-in pizza market, without any real competition for the crown. Now there will be competition. Does anyone know if Mellow Mushroom makes a good pie?

Up For A Sale

Last night, a “Coming Soon” sign went up in our front yard, announcing to the world that we will be listing our house for sale in a few days.  We put it out just in time for the trick-or-treat block party, so we could let all of our neighbors know at the same time.

IMG_3491We’ve had 19 wonderful years on our little cul-de-sac in New Albany.  They began when our kids were both little tow-headed tykes under 10, when most of the lots around us were unsold and undeveloped, and when the newly planted trees around our lot were scrawny little things.  The years rolled by, the boys grew up, the empty lots around us filled with houses, and the houses filled with families.  Now Richard and Russell are adults and our North of Woods development is a mature neighborhood with towering trees and the happy sounds of children playing.  It’s hard to believe, but Kish and I have now spent one-third of our lives here.  That’s longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.

Through it all, this frame house has been the dependable physical center of our family.  We bought it when it was being built and we had the chance to add the features we wanted, and we’ve been the only family to live here.  It’s never given us a single problem.  As empty nesters, though, we don’t need a four-bedroom house any more, and we’ve concluded that it’s time to hand this happy home off to another family with young kids that is looking to become part of a terrific, family-friendly place with great neighbors.

As for Kish and me, we’re intrigued by the thought of returning to the more urban lifestyle we had when we lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. back in the 1980s, to a smaller place that better suits our two-person, two-dog group.  After 19 years, we’re ready for a new adventure.

Our Lone Political Sign

IMG_3490I don’t think we’ve ever — ever — put a political sign in our yard.  Usually, Kish and I agree to disagree about individual candidates in significant races, so we don’t have a strong consensus view that would support a bold move like a yard sign.  (Of course, the fact that we live on a cul-de-sac that doesn’t get through traffic probably means that omission hasn’t made a significant difference in the results of any major political races.)

But when the people supporting the fire department and EMS issue asked if we would put a sign out in support of those essential municipal services, it was a no-brainer.  Kish and I might disagree on some things, but supporting the Fire Department and emergency medical services aren’t on that list.