Dennis and I went to our new house today to rake leaves and think about colors for walls and such. We’ve never had a “real” house before, having lived always in an apartment we fashioned in the space above our business (well, 17 years now, and before that in an apartment owned by someone else for 8 years). A colorful neighborhood it is, source of the alley cats who now live with us and of many interesting human characters, including mentally ill veterans and drug addicts, prostitutes, addled teenagers. My personal favorite is the man with the stuffed squirrel hat and the dumbbells. But there are things I will not miss when we no longer live there. Like the man following a woman down the street at 3 AM Sunday morning, bellowing at her. Put me in mind of Marlon Brando in Streetcar named desire – “STELLAaaaaaaaa!!!!” – though this character was nowhere near that handsome or compelling. Raking leaves at the new house was fun, smelled good, felt good, quiet. Like being a girl again, raking them all into a big pile and jumping in them with our dog. Do we need to get a dog if we have a house? I think not.