When Jeremy signed the lease to his loft apartment several months ago, he did so with certain expectations and ideas about what living downtown would be like. The large, open floor plan being ideal for a single guy who appreciates the pleasures of associating with friends, and more windows than any one person could ask for, all offering a view of the city and university campus from its perch on the sixth floor. The floors are all stained concrete and the walls are bare white, which Jeremy took as a sign that when it came time to outfit his new digs it would need to be sleek, modern, and yet a little retro all at the same time.
But his expectations went farther than simple dinner parties and gazing out at the old businesses of downtown Waco, most of which were either vacant or housing completely different companies than what the monikers on the buildings proclaimed. Moving to this bright and spacious place meant a step forward in life, and a step away from his old self that nested in Hardin Apartments. His new apartment was bright and airy, as opposed to the cave-like atmosphere and stagnant, moldy air that plagued Hardin. That place had been like a dungeon: Cold year round, dark even when the windows were open, unfriendly mold in the bathroom that refused to die, and haunted by too many memories and too much time lived in such a place.
Amazingly, it was never the malevolent spiders or the fly infestations or even the varmints that influenced him to move on. Those things, which would render the place creepy and unlivable for most, to him gave it character and gave him stories to tell. No, the thing that influenced him the most was Jason making the first move by looking at buying a house. While there is something to be said for character, there is also something to be said about moving on and growing up a little.
But no place is ever perfect, and he soon realized this. For one, lofts are dusty, and he soon had a powdery grey coat on nearly everything he owned. He discovered that the neighbor above him was in her final year of law school and on the verge of nuclear meltdown at all hours of the day. For the first time he would need to be conscious of how loud his swinging single life was, as to avoid the wrath from above. He also discovered that downtown, urban areas attract a good mix of transients and cooks, some of whom are not afraid to sift through your trash. Just something to think about. On the other hand, there was some character in this as well. Take for instance, the waving man. A local institution, this older gentleman is known for no other reason than meandering around town waving at every car in sight.
Jeremy has noticed that every morning at 10:30, without fail, the waving man stands on the corner of the sidewalk under his window and waves and waves and waves and waves…
Jason is sometimes impulsive, but he had wanted a house for some time. When he found the older townhouse by the lake that had been remodeled to look like an Italian villa, he knew he had found just what he was looking for, and he pounced on it. Bright, lots of windows, spacious, and clean, this place would be perfect for entertaining and accommodating his single lifestyle.
By paying dues to the homeowners association, he would have all the pleasures of home-ownership without half of the hassle. He would have a garage, but it would never see the clutter of lawnmowers and weed whackers because the neighborhood association would take care of the little yard in the back of his property. He would have access to the pool, but never have to clean it.
But no home, no matter how well renovated, is as personal as one would like it, and Jason soon began to make a list of things he would like to change. First off was the stairs. He proceeded to knock out the handrail and rip up the carpet. He then set to the task of sanding down the bare wood, causing a layer of dust to coat everything in the house.
He also discovered that the home was not wired right for his cable television. Enter Jeremy’s dad, home repair expert, with a hammer and a crowbar. Exit some of the bricks from his fireplace and one of the baseboards in his living room. Again, more dust settled and nestled into the nooks and crannies of his new abode. “It looks like a war zone right now… don’t come over,” he would tell us. But the truth of the matter was, he was happy. He had left behind all the troubles of Hardin, the uninvited non-human guests, the troubling memories. Yes, this was a much better situation.
But then one morning, as the sun just began to break over the horizon, the dogs next door began to sing and howl. Their barking pierced his ears and filled his newly painted bedroom. And every morning he has noticed, it’s the same without fail. The sun peaks its head over the fence, and the dogs next door will bark and bark and bark and bark…
During the recording, Mike D needed a place to stay, but only for a month or so. He and his wife had not yet moved back to Waco, and he needed a place to crash during the short hours spent away from the studio. The timing worked out that he could lease the old unit at Hardin for only a month at a minimal price; a deal no one could really pass up. And during the whole time he lived there, it was quiet and comfortable. But then on his last morning in town, as he was gathering up his things, he opened the closet door to find a sizable snake curled up near his shoes. He later said to his wife on the phone “I’m glad to be getting out of there.”
At about the same time, on different sides of town, a man waved and waved and two dogs barked and barked.