Just Being Neighborly

One of the things I was looking for when I decided to move to a small town was a sense of community. I knew the town offered several events throughout the year which was certainly attractive. Along with that, I wanted to get to know my neighbors and feel like I was part of something.

Last week, my neighborhood had our annual homeowners’ meeting. I had a vested interest in making sure that we got a quorum since that had always been a struggle at the condo where I had most recently lived. When my friend called to ask if I was planning on attending the meeting, I confirmed that I would be there and offered to knock on doors, if needed, to remind people to attend.

Ten minutes later, the HOA president was at my door with proxy forms in hand. Well, I certainly was committed then. She gave me the run-down regarding some of the neighborhood issues, and we strategized my door-knocking plan since I wouldn’t be able to get to every single resident in one afternoon.

I headed out the next day around 4:00 PM and was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming everyone was. I do believe that every single person who was at home answered the door. Some of them assured me that they would be at the meeting, others had already given proxies to a trusted neighbor, and a few of them even invited me in. Everyone was at least cordial, and most were downright friendly. Such a great way to get acquainted with my neighbors!

The next night it was fun to see so many familiar faces at the meeting, more than I would have if I hadn’t gone knocking. And we barely made the quorum. That little extra effort was more than worth it.

New Territory: Networking

Up until a few months ago, I had dedicated my entire adult life to educating our nation’s youth. To some that makes me a superhero. Think about it. I spent sixteen years teaching middle-schoolers, another decade teaching high school, and some stretches as a substitute, too. If you’ve parented teens, you can empathize. I won’t lie; it’s not an easy job, but it can also be highly rewarding. Unfortunately, my batteries had worn down, and I was absolutely drained when I left last June. I was more than ready for a change and unsure of what exactly was next for me. My comfort zone abruptly disappeared when I decided to branch out as an entrepreneur.

There are actually some super-cool things about being self-employed, like choosing your own hours and turning the kitchen island into your office. The best thing might be spontaneous dance breaks, though. As I write this post, I’m listening to my local radio station which is playing some Halloween themed favorites like the “Monster Mash” and “Werewolves of London.” Moments ago, when the “Time Warp” happily erupted from the speaker, I leaped to the floor to dance.

This Halloween morning also marked new territory for me: networking. Last week, I spotted a Meetup post for the Inspired Working Women Coffee Connect. I definitely had to get in on that. “Inspired” is certainly an appropriate adjective for this group of women. Not only were they inspiring, but also friendly, welcoming, supportive, encouraging, and enthusiastic. I met women of all ages from a wide variety of career fields. It was a female entrepreneur extravaganza! Suddenly, I felt much less alone. In fact, I feel their invisible support as I write this evening. I can’t wait to get better acquainted with some of these wonderful women.

Sometimes You Just Have to Ask

Yesterday I had some good luck with Craigslist. Well actually, mixed luck. I did make a run to go see a table that I thought might serve as an ideal desk/workspace. It wasn’t so great. Now I know why the photo was a bit blurry.

But my other quest was better than expected. First, the house was just a few miles away, which is not always the case around here. I was looking at a queen bed and bed frame. It was in exceptional condition and was a classic style, perfect for the guest room. The owners were friendly, too.  She then showed me a couple of other items: a scrumptious oversized chair with an ottoman and a custom-made steel coffee table with a glass top. I didn’t hesitate. “I’ll take it all.”

One little problem: I just moved here, and I have a small SUV. How was I going to get all of this fabulous stuff transported? Only the coffee table would fit, but I wouldn’t be able to lift it by myself.

Fortunately, this is Montana, where practically every household owns a pick-up, and most people are pretty darn friendly.  And let’s just say I’m not exactly shy.  I first tried my new friend in the neighborhood. Surely she would know someone with a truck who could help me. Oops. She couldn’t think of anyone, but she did offer the services of her son who was coming into town for a visit. My next option was a neighbor. I had only met him once, but he seemed like a good guy. Really, what was the worst thing that could happen? He could say no, or make an excuse. He didn’t. Most people are helpful by nature.

So late this morning the three of us headed out to pick up my not new, but gently used, furniture. I’m so very thankful for the kindness of those who were nearly strangers. No doubt I’ll have an opportunity to repay their kindness sometime soon.