The House of Stuart – Part 2, New Kid on the Block

New Celebrity Neighbor On the Block

When I signed for Stuart, one of the first items that needed to be upgraded were the water lines. As I have learned from HGTV’s Property Brothers, galvanized pipes are frowned upon because of their deteriorating nature (the iron pipes rust, clog the lines). Most contractors and plumbers will say that “it is not a matter of if, but when” they need to be replaced with copper lines or new standard material of PEX pipes.

Athina Morehouse standing next to the water heater.

Me and the water heater that is just my size. 🙂

So with the help of Facebook, I found a plumber to fix Stuart’s water lines. Because Mr. Plumber had some extensive work to do, I delayed moving in until after the plumbing renovation was completed. But because of this, for a short time, I had to travel back and forth from my work/apartment to Stuart to meet up with Mr. Plumber.

One of those quick trips ended up being my humorous introduction to the new neighborhood. Now before I go any further, I have to give you some quick background information about myself. For those that don’t know me personally, I am an achondroplasia dwarf. I currently stand exactly 4 foot tall. I have an older sister, Melissa and a younger brother, Anthony who are also dwarves. For the most part, our lives are very normal. We work, drive, and shop for our groceries when need be.

But there is one quality I and my siblings share with celebrities, including some of my favorites:  Celine Dion (my wannabe BFF) and Lauren Graham (hi Lorelai!), whenever I am in a public setting, I draw attention. I have been stopped countless times at the grocery store and at gas stations by strangers. Mostly because people are curious and/or presume that I am one of the stars of the TV series, Little Women of LA (for the record, I am not). Because of all the attention we garner, my siblings and I have a running joke that we are, “celebrities, but without the fortune.”

~A few years back, someone took a picture of me in my car. While we were both driving. 70 MPH down a busy highway.

So keep this in mind for reference while this story unfolds…

I was at work when Mr. Plumber informed me that he was going to stop by the house. As the previous article highlights, I live on the west side of the state of Michigan. It was still early February when I purchased Stuart, so we were smack dab in the middle of winter. Grand Rapids had received about 3-5 inches of snow the night before. So knowing this, I left work a couple of minutes early to make sure Mr. Plumber and I could get into my driveway. Unfortunately, the city plow had pushed all the dense snow to the end of the driveway.  I needed to shovel the driveway before we could make it into the drive.

Now as odd as this sounds, I was excited to clean my driveway. I just purchased a new push shovel and was ready to do “home ownership” duties. But I remember thinking as I retrieved my shovel from the garage, “Are there people watching me right now?” I’m not even sure why I asked that, because I knew the answer: Yes, I was being watched.

I had almost finished the end of my driveway when Mr. Plumber arrived. After getting him situated inside Stuart, I walked outside, through the front door – I needed to get back to work. The moment I turned around, I hear a loud greeting, “Hi neighbor!” With all the snow we had gotten, the sun that day was making it hard to see. Complete whiteout. So, after squinting long enough, I finally saw my neighbor directly in front of me, across the road waving her hands emphatically.

Long story short, I introduced myself to Paula as she welcomed me to the neighborhood. But what made my introduction humorous was the conversation we had. After our initial greetings, Paula commented on how she had seen me shoveling the driveway. I explained my situation and how I hadn’t had a chance to clean it until now.

New PEX tubing replacing old, yucky stuff.

“Oh, well, I have a snow blower and I can have my son clean your driveway,” she said. “I was watching you try to shovel the end of the driveway and was thinking how we could help. We love to snow blow; it would be no hassle on our end!”

I smiled, knowing that my internal thoughts were true: I was being watched. I thanked Paula for her kind offer and told her she didn’t have to feel obligated to clean my driveway. She nodded and we continued our conversation. Our greeting finished shortly thereafter and I headed back to work.

After my work day ended, I returned to Stuart, for I wanted to finish my morning project. Much to my surprise, my driveway was completely cleared of snow. Yes, Paula did not heed to my comment and had used her snow blower to clean every inch of snow from my driveway. I smiled, thankful for the lovely gesture bestowed by my new neighbor. A wonderful “Welcome to the Neighborhood” act indeed.

About a week later, I moved into Stuart. Stuart had new plumbing (including a new water heater) and my driveway was clear of all snow. I guess being the new celebrity neighbor on the block does have its perks after all.