A Biproduct of Home Renovation

Our next door neighbor is in his nineties. He was pretty spry when we moved in four years ago, but he seems to have had a setback over the last year and isn't as vital as he was. But the work on our house has him completely invigorated; he dragged out a lawn chair to watch our friend work the other day, and had a scraper out to scrape flaky paint from his own door just to show he was still handy. My friend gave him a brush and some paint, and he cheerfully, if laboriously, spilled it roughly in the direction of the exposed wood. It made him very happy. So we were talking the other day and he asks, "So, you buy this house?" I wondered if he thought we were renting before, and shouted that yes, we had bought the house. He said, "My name is Cornish, but you can call me Bert," and I realized that he didn't recognize me anymore. He thinks we're the new owners (and he can't quite figure out if I'm married to the housepainter or the other guy that keeps coming and going. Maybe he thinks we're swingers).

We postulated that one day Bert might come out of his house to chat with us and say, "We're glad to have you here in the neighborhood. The last people who lived here were awful."