good fences make good neighbors, especially during football season

fall leavesWe’ve been busy, busy bees here at iowasthinking over the past five days — indeed so busy that we almost didn’t notice Real Fall sneaking up under the cover of rain last week and setting up permanent camp. Trees have been changing color for at least a month in these parts, but this is Real Fall for a couple key reasons: it smells like it, and I’m wearing boots. We’ll be talking about the best lentil soup (caramelized onions and white wine, are you convinced yet?) and revisiting caramel apples in good order, but the important talk of the day is that Billy’s parents were here this weekend for their First Iowa Football Game.

Oh, how well do I remember my First Iowa Football Game . . . and you all probably do too, because it was only a month ago. Unfortunately, this was the coldest and wettest game day of the season, so the tailgaters weren’t out to impress. The entire court was much more subdued than usual, which worked out just fine, because our duplex-neighbors decided to go from unobtrusive (if slightly odd) to belligerently rude in a single morning.

This will take some stretch of the imagination, Reader, but imagine you are the sort of person who tries to take what is not lawfully yours, and then to retrospectively, belatedly search the law books for justification. Then you would be rather like our neighbors who, when asked to please not sell parking on our side of the lawn to pay for their utility bills, came at us with Iowa Common Law. Now, that’s certainly unneighborly, but (much to our glee) also incorrect. Because if, dear Reader, you were going to pirate your neighbor’s lawn space, wouldn’t you (a) Clear it with the landlord first, (b) Double check that your lease doesn’t prohibit parking on the lawn in the first place, and (c) Find out the police department’s guidelines on car removal? Surely, Reader, you would. You would therefore make a much better pirate than our neighbors who, besides having proven themselves exceptionally unthorough law students, will be quite surprised when we tow away their customers’ cars next game day.

grill smokebrats & sausages

Besides (because?) discovering our neighbors’ incompetence, we had a delightful tailgate with both Billy’s parents and Rob’s family. Ten people in all, which I consider quite a feat for any outdoor activity on a dreary, barely-50 degree Saturday morning. Especially one that obligates beer-drinking and football-watching. Under this cloud cover, are you serious?


By the third, drippy quarter, Billy and I had to concede: our guests are of much hardier stock than we. They stuck it out until the final, embarrassingly close second. We stuck around long enough to bring some yellow sunshine to the bleachers, and then headed home early. Was it really ever warm enough to wear shorts to the game? We judiciously finished out the game in Hi-Def, indoors.

sunshine cleaning

The rest of the weekend was filled with beautiful, crisp weather, extremely generous purchases, and a trip to Lowe’s for a bevy of “No Parking” signs. We also ate exceedingly well, so for those foodies out there wondering why this comrade has been hanging with meat heads rather than talking pork belly — patience. Restaurant talk to follow. If you’re good, maybe even a layout surprise.

red tree


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