Tuesday, July 10

V is for Victor... and for Vino

Disclaimer: I do not live in a trashy neighborhood.  Keep that in mind.

I love where I live.  Sol and I have been in our new place for three months now, and we're getting settled in quite well.  I've been working on making this new place my own (our flowers are looking just gawwgeous), and it finally feels like home. 

The people here are pretty cool too.  It's a cozy little neighborhood, and the neighbors are awesome. 

On one side of us, we have Terri and her daughters.  Terri is super quiet and keeps to herself for the most part, but she's friendly nonetheless.  We talked for the first time the other day, actually.  She told me she thinks it's great that I'm a single mom, and she offered to watch Sol anytime I just want to go somewhere by myself, even if it's just a trip to the grocery store (a nonexistent treat these days).

On the other side, there is a young family - Daniel from England, his Oregonian wife Jamie, and their one-year-old son Finn.  (they met while doing volunteer mission work in Hawaii, by the way - what a boring life story they must have!)  They're incredibly nice.  I occasionally get some of their mail, so I walk it over to them.  They're always apologizing, but I don't mind.  It's hardly out of my way, and any excuse to listen to Daniel's fabulous accent is fine by me.

Glenn lives nearby as well - he's a handy guy to have around, and fixes anything I need fixed at a moment's notice.  He's also a retired cop, so he knows all the right people in town and is always playing "neighborhood watch."

...and then there's Victor.  I met Victor for the first time this past weekend.

I was taking the trash out when a shirtless man walked up to me and asking me if it was "hot enough for me" (and for the record, it was 105 degrees... yes, it was hot enough).  Victor sauntered up to me, bald with a white goatee, wearing some long plaid shorts and Top-Siders.  Between slurps of red wine from the stemmed glass in his hand, he told me he felt like he had fallen asleep and woke up in Phoenix.  It's been 105 degrees all week long, I thought.  How long have you been sleeping, Wine-o?  He proceeded to show me his flower gardens (which I've admired for as long as I've lived there - lush green gardens illuminated by sparkling white lights hanging from the trees).  I stayed and talked with him.  Victor couldn't be happier to stand there and chat, swaying with his glass of Merlot, telling stories in between loud bursts of laughter.

He invited me to share a bottle of wine with him (but I think he may have actually wanted the whole bottle for himself, so I politely declined).  He told me about the chives and anise root in his gardens, his job installing blades in airplane motors, his divorce, his passion for art (he's an impressionist painter... he's "just like Van Gogh," apparently), the lakeside condo his company puts him up in when he's traveling, the Leelanau Peninsula and Traverse City wine country (shocking), and Cleveland.  Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland.  OMG, he loves Cleveland.  Everything about Cleveland.  And the outskirts of Cleveland (specifically Mentor, which happens to be where some of my family lives).  He told me about Cleveland's "fabulous clubs and bars" (with his arms-in-the-air interpretation of the dancing at said venues).  He told me I should visit Cleveland, and I would have a place to stay (riiight - I'm sure I would have a place to stay, dude).  He also made sure to mention that Cleveland has a "rockin' hall thing" (he was referring to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame).

Amidst his rave reviews of suburban Ohio and impressionist paintings, his rapidly disappearing wine, and an attempted hug (I think it was a hug... though it could have just been him losing his balance), Victor charmed the hell out of me as he swayed in the warm Kalamazoo breeze.  Sure, he enjoys a nice glass case of wine, and he's much louder than any human should rightfully be (he shouted at me across the lawn the next day, complimenting the chair I was refurbishing and asking when I was going to have another baby), but I think that's just Victor.  My sister thinks maybe Sol will grow up loving "crazy uncle Victor."  I'd say that's a definite possibility.

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