Carol & Chip’s Neighborhood Block Party

The Teegardens of Hoover talk about the importance of community, pig roasts and living an energy smart life.

The golf cart screeches to a halt in front of me.  "Hop in," says Carol Teegarden, a sprightly woman who looks much younger than her driver’s license would indicate.

"I’m like the grandmother of the neighborhood," she says proudly, shooting a look at me from behind a pair of big-rimmed sunglasses. “I’ve got about ten young mothers that call on me to babysit, but I don’t tell Chip they pay me,” another glance as she leans toward me, veering the golf cart off the trail, and then a loud whisper, "That’s my mad money."

Despite this income, Carol and Chip are conscious about saving money. "We pay attention to conserving power and energy where we can. We’re comfortable, yet conscientious."

“We pay attention to conserving power and energy where we can. We’re comfortable, yet conscientious.” 

Once upon a time, the only things they called ‘smart’ were their phones. "That was before we got our thermostat." She pulls out her phone to show me the app connected to her Schneider Wiser Air Smart Thermostat. "When I’m out babysitting I can raise it and then lower it on my way home. And it changes based on the weather outside. Every little bit helps."

Except for a brief stint running a Bed & Breakfast in Vermont, they’ve lived in Alabama all of their lives. They’ve been married for 38½ years ("It feels like 39," says Carol with a wry smile). They're retired with two grown children, but they show no signs of slowing down. "We go to the gym, I stay active. I say our kids got Chip's good looks because I still have mine."

Behind her swagger is a more altruistic motive. "Growing up, community was a very important part of our lives. We've always loved cooking for other people as a way of getting to know them."

So every Fall, Carol and Chip invite the neighborhood over to their house for a pig roast.

"We've got a great big Yeti cooler, I'm not sure the size, but it's big enough to hold a 49lb. pig with a head on it," she says with a laugh, "Chip does all the work but I get all the credit."

When I ask her if the Yeti does the job, she lowers her head slightly to shoot me another look from behind her sunglasses, "Next Fall, you come over and see for yourself." Comfortable yet conscientious, indeed.

Hanging with the Coolest Mom in the Neighborhood

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