Visiting the neighbors

While I can't deny that we are having the time of our lives up here, I also can't deny that there is sort of a severe lack of privacy/state-we're-living-in-issue. I'm not one to complain. Really. Empty beer cans on all the end tables? Cracker boxes lined up on the bookshelves? This sort of thing has become common and accepted. Just as walking into a room to see eight people crowded around the television watching Colbert and settling yourself in between them on the least crowded sofa has become the norm. Or sitting on the floor, if there's no room. Sometimes it's - what can I say? Intense? But I'm living for free in Maine and eating tons of lobster, so it evens out, you know? However, going over to the Grays - our neighbors down the street - yesterday, was close to heaven. I mean, I was about ready to ask them if I could spend a few nights in the spare bedroom when we walked in there.

Spruce Drive - where the Maine house is located - is situated in a little colony of sorts called "Newagen" complete with an inn and homeowners and a hot tub (that is "closed" after dark, but, um, believe me, you can get around those rules) and what have you. The Grays live a few houses down from us and my parents got to know them when they were buying the place earlier this year. Since they hit it off, my parents suggested Vinnie and I head down to their house to say hi. Because we are living in some sort of time warp where even having one commitment a day is kind of pushing it (because how are you going to check your email and finish a row of knitting?) getting around to saying hi to the Grays took Vin and a while. But yesterday, just before an afternoon storm hit, we grabbed a bottle of wine and headed down the road to meet the neighbors.

We were greeted at the door by their black standard poodle, Jack. This was the first good thing. Since the death of beloved poodle, Ziggy, I've retained the opinion that the breed is the best in the world, and when I'm done rescuing mutts, I plan to have one again. Then there were the Grays themselves, a middle-aged couple, dressed immaculately (and I in my flip-flops and mosquito-mauled feet and Vinnie in his pumps and gym shorts) and relaxing in their beautiful home with whiskey drinks. The storm was brewing, the house was quiet with the lack of television noise, a band playing or heated ping pong matches. "This can't be the Rotondaro children, can it?" Mrs. Gray exclaimed. Yes, we said. Yes, it's us.

Moments later we were seated in comfortable chairs in the (clean!) living room drinking wine (me, white, Vinnie, red - they had both available, no problem) and were being served crackers and cheese and Chex Mix that had materialized out of nowhere as though these people were constantly prepared for visitors to drop in. The immediate contrast to our very own Maine-i-ac Mansion was astounding, obviously. Let's say, for instance, someone dropped in for a visit here. Some of us would probably be wearing pajamas.

We stayed at their house for an hour or so, chatting about our families, throwing a toy for Jack, watching the storm rage and subside and then returned home to the grill and rum and 7-Up and all our friends. I was very happy for the brief respite from this insanity, but strangely happy to return, especially now knowing an oasis lies just down the road. And that should I need a moment of clarity or parental unit the solution is only a short walk away.