Over the years I’ve grown fonder and fonder of this ramshackle old garage in the alley behind our house that belongs to somebody on the other side of the block. It’s only a garden shed, but it has old craftsman windows and classic wide clapboard. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s long for this world. Thorns and vines have been tugging at it probably since before I was born. In a few years the rats, raccoons and alley cats in our neighborhood may have to find a new place to hunker down during the rare Seattle snowstorm. There’s a hole at one corner of the garage and I can always tell when something has bedded down recently. A lot of Seattle old house owners tend to be rather laissez faire when it comes to their old garages. That’s English Ivy inside, in case you’re wondering. Every couple years I leave a safety plan with Diana, arm myself with a machete and spend several hours hacking away English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry in the alley. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was ground zero for every weed in a two block radius.
Pretty soon the alley won’t be the same anymore. Our next-door neighbors have started laying crushed rock down so they can use the space behind their house for parking. It’s turning disappointingly respectable back there. Maybe a few years ago I looked at the old garage as an eyesore. Now I see it as a link to what the neighborhood used to be. Diana cringes when I tell her I wish we’d never painted our house blue and just left it black (with a red roof) like it was when we found it. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how the neighborhood has changed. It’s intriguing to think about how each successive wave of new neighbors has the potential to trigger certain changes in the feel of the block. It wasn’t long ago we were a couple whippersnappers moving in on a quiet, out-of-the-way hillside on the hinterland east slope of Capitol Hill. We weren’t that familiar with our own neighborhood, it was an adventure moving into the middle of the city. It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our house for more than a decade. And that we’re raising our family here.
The sun came out today. I brought tulips home from Pike Place Market. Adam and I read Maze of Doom, again.