Friday, February 11, 2011

There's toolery afoot.

We live on a rather picturesque street in a quiet little enclave.  Thanks to old oak trees that line our street and grow throughout our neighborhood, we're nestled away from the loud, obnoxious traffic of DC.

To walk down our street and look into the homes of my neighbors, you'd never know you're in a metropolitan area and you'd never know the city's crime rate is high.

We have a street of hard workers - they briskly walk down to catch the metro each morning and trudge home after dusk.

In a day and age when necessity precludes such antiquities, three families on our street have only one car.

Each week, the aged need not worry about their trash cans or snow or grass - They're all taken care of by the able-bodied.

Looks can be deceiving.

I hear tales of fellow stay-at-home moms making cookies and treats and valentines and Christmas presents for their neighbors and sometimes I wonder what that might be like. . . but I squelch the fire as soon as it begins to smolder.

I live on a street of tools.

To my right lives a family whose patriarch banged on our door like an officer of the law 6 months after we moved in because our friend was parked roughly 6 inches into their driveway. 

On my best day, I could not do justice to the altercation that took place between a 6'5 twentysomething former college athlete and that 5'6 bald, pale, angry little man.

All I remember was my neighbor's last line, "I'm not asking your ass nicely!"  he said over his shoulder as he darted across our yard, at a quick clip that gave away his nervousness.

To our left lives a very nice nurse who works the night shift at a local hospital. Unfortunately, her brother just moved in with her, who smokes cigarettes in the back yard all day with no pants on. ALL DAY.

..but, I've persevered. Not by actually acknowledging the no-pants guy, because he is dead to me - but I talk with the others.  I wave when a car passes, I shovel walkways when necessary, I make our home look inviting and we have the very best Halloween candy on the street.

So, after a week of watching our across-the-street neighbors' front yard get torn up with a backhoe and watching them become the owners of a brand new sewer line, my heart hurt for them.

Unfortunately, we're all too familiar with how much it costs and in this area, it's no less than $10,000.

While Harper was enjoying the construction from our couch every day, I could only think of how sick they must feel.

So yesterday, when the coast was clear of No Pants, we ventured outside to do a little chalk drawing on our driveway and saw them outside, admiring the progress of the construction.  Since a backhoe in a front yard is pretty hard to ignore with a simple "Hi! How are y'all?," I thought it might be a good time to acknowledge the recent events.

Here's what I said:

"We've been watching every day from the window ((gesture to enormous hole/huge hunks of concrete)) and I know it must be so awful for y'all ((sincerely touches heart..sad look)), but Harper is really loving all of the action!"

Without emotion, without flinching, without hesitation, the man looked me right in the eye and said, "Well, that just makes it all worth it, now doesn't it?"

If someone writes obscenities in the new walkway being poured today, wasn't me.


  1. perhaps you should let H accidentally ride her tricycle through the driveway and "accidentally" get hand prints and footprints everywhere...

  2. Sheesh, no midwestern hospitality there!

  3. a guy i used to work with had neighbors like that... he decided to go get a garage door opener and try each.and.every.combination of programming code until he found the one that matched their house... then he'd randomly hit it to either lock them out of their house or leave them wondering if they'd left the door open while they were on vacation... should work some kind of magic on 'em like that!! :-D

  4. I am speechless! Got to love the city life. I have some horrible neighbors too. I hate living in a neighborhood.

  5. Wow! Ok that explains why the concierges at my apt building are so shocked (and appreciative) when I say "Hi, how are you?" or wish them a good day/night as I'm passing by to take the dog out. Our usual late-night concierge eventually asked my name b/c he was so shocked, his words "how nice [I] am." Wow! Your neighbor's comment would have triggered some tourette-like responses from me (once I was safely out of ear shot). Is there an age cut-off for lighting sacks of poo on people's porches?

  6. RIGHT! People are crazy. ..When he said it, I just stood there like a dummy. Just.. stood there. It wasn't until Brandon got home and I started telling him about it that I got worked up - enter extremely bad words. Poor Brandon.