Tonight’s happy hour comes to you alcohol free, thanks to the fact that we have to pick up the boy child at 10 p.m. at a high school 30 minutes away.

Damn kids.

We are celebrating something tonight, though: The sale of our house in Brandon, near Tampa.

That yellow house on a cul-de-sac is the only other home we’ve ever owned. We lived in it for right at two years, from Oct. 1, 2006, until Thanksgiving of 2008. Mark was gone for 15 months of that time – three months training in Kansas, and 12 months in Iraq.

Those were some long, dark days for both of us.

We moved into the house a month before Mark left, and I only knew one person in the neighborhood. But over the next 15 months, the neighbors and friends I made there embraced the kids and me. We had cookouts and days at the beach and bonfires in the backyard. And, whenever I needed them, someone was there to pick up my kids at daycare or feed them dinner or put a band-aid on a skinned knee.

The huge screened-in porch on the back of the house became party central on weekends, with moms and kids hanging out until all hours, and sometimes the dads, too

When Mark came home on leave after 10 ½ months in Iraq, we pulled onto our street and saw much of the neighborhood, some who had never even met him, sitting in lawn chairs on our driveway.

They might have been anxious to welcome him home. Or they might have been there because it was Friday after work, and that’s where we always gathered on Friday after work.

TGIF, people. TGIF.

In celebration of that house and those days being gone forever, and in eternal gratitude to my Woodmarker Ct. crew, here’s this week’s playlist:

“Don’t You Forget About Me,” by Simple Minds

“Don’t you, forget about me.
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, forget about me.”

“Subdivisions,” by Rush

“Any escape might help to smooth
the unattractive truth.
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
the restless dreams of youth.”

“With a Little Help From My Friends,” by Joe Cocker

“Oh, baby I get by with a little help from my friends.
All I need is my buddies, with a little help from my friends.”

“Friends in Low Places,” by Garth Brooks

“‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places where the whiskey drowns
And the beer chases my blues away, and I’ll be okay.”

“Little Boxes,” by Malvina Reynolds

“Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.”

“Get the F— Out,” by Skid Row”  

“No need to whimper, no need to shout.

This party’s over, so get the f— out.”












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