Friday, June 20, 2008

Don't Fence Me In

I am taking a few stolen moments here to peck out a quick blog. Port is taking his morning nap in the swing [EARLY] because he woke up EARLY instead of doing his usual eat and fall back asleep routine. Kiddo is still sleeping. The cat is howling outside the front door. I would let her in, but it is a cool 72 degrees out right now and she can deal with it for a few more minutes. If I let her in she would just eat a bit then go down the hall to Kiddo's door and howl there till he got up anyway, and I am so not ready for the whole house to be awake yet.

I am sorry I haven't been posting much. I have been lost in the land of editing; computer strapped to my hip. I've been slaying drool and snot and playing with light. I've cured rashes, cuts and bruises, swapped heads and even performed a mouth transplant. It has been one heck of an adventure. And it's not over yet, I still have two more shoots to edit before rest will come.

But it's all good. I love being busy like this.

Though my house is really suffering the consequences.

Have you ever met someone that no matter how much you tried or how much you didn't, you just never could seem to get on their good side - and every time you encountered this person something strange would happen to make you look like an idiot or at the very least rude when in reality you are not a rude person?? (I know that was a terribly long run-on sentence)

A few days ago I was sitting in the living room pumping when the doorbell rang. I don't typically answer the door during the day anyway, so I just ignored it. Besides, I was uh, well, topless and couldn't exactly stop what I was doing to get the door anyway. It had been a long afternoon of trying to get Port down for a nap. He had finally crashed and Kiddo was quietly playing with a puzzle. I didn't want to mess with the delicate balance I had going.

Anyway, a few minutes later I was almost finished pumping and the doorbell rang again. Frustrated, I shut down the pump, unhooked and threw my shirt on haphazardly. I looked out the window at the top of our front door and could only see the poodle curls of quintessential old lady. She was right up at the door, unlike most people who would stand back, and it appeared she wasn't going anywhere until I answered my door. I hastily buttoned up my shirt and after checking to make sure the dog was out in the back yard I opened the door.

She was quite old, a bit shaky and frail, and she clutched her handbag in front of her. With a half smile she introduced herself as one of my back yard neighbors. (I'm sure I've mentioned on here before that we have a ginormous back yard that backs up to about 5 or 6 different houses - so I had no clue which one she lived in. ) She told me that she was about to replace her fence, and that she was wondering about the condition of ours. The last time her fence was replaced they brought the fence line in a few inches and built a new fence next to the old, instead of replacing the shared fence that was in our yard.

We have since replaced several sections of our fence, so I told her that I thought her section was in pretty good shape, but I couldn't be sure because I didn't know which house was hers.

And this is where it all went down hill.

She took a step forward.

And motioned as if she was going to come into my house.

She wanted to go in the back yard and point out her section of fence.

Now, you may be thinking, she's just a little old lady Dawn, what's the big deal??

I know. But here is the deal. Here are the rapid fire thoughts that scorched my brain in about 2 seconds...

While my shirt *is* buttoned, my bra is not fastened.

The house is an absolute disaster. I am seriously afraid she might trip over something and break a hip.

Port has JUST fallen asleep. Sleep people! You know how precious that is!

The dog is out in the back yard. I do not want to be responsible for an excited pit bull jumping up on a frail old lady.

Who the heck invites themselves into a total stranger's house?

Who the heck was this total stranger anyway? And why did she have her purse?

[hanging head in shame]

As she motioned toward the opening of the door, I pushed it toward her, shrinking the opening.

I know, RUDE!

I could not let her in. It didn't matter if she replaced the fence or not. I told her that I had two small children and a dog and the baby was napping. It wasn't a good time, but if she wanted to replace the fence that was fine and if it was in decent shape she could just attach her new section to ours.

The look on her face was well, indescribable.

I could tell she was shocked to be denied entrance to my home. I saw a flash of anger, and confusion; she was insulted.

She shuffled away, muttering something I couldn't decipher, and she encountered Hubby in the driveway on her way out.

I think she only waved.

She came back to the house a couple of nights ago when I was out running an errand. Hubby was much nicer to her than I was. He gave her our phone number, because she wanted to call us when the fence guys arrived, so we could make sure to keep the dog in the house.

They were supposed to come yesterday, but by 4pm they hadn't arrived and she called me.

I tried my darnedest to be overly nice; I used all my good southern manners. Yes Ma'am!

The brief conversation was great; she just wanted to tell me the fence would not be done this week and the guys would call me themselves when they were ready to open up the yard next week.

Then she said "and I am sorry..."

and it sounded like she was going to say something else so I did not respond. There was a long, awkward silence. She was waiting for me to say something like "oh it's no big deal, don't worry about it" you know; all that nice stuff.

And I didn't.

Because my sleep deprived, Photoshop overloaded, screaming kid distracted brain could not decipher what she had just said, and the way it was said led me to think there was more to the statement; so I said nothing.

After the long, awkward silence (did I mention it was long and awkward?) she hastily said goodbye and hung up.


I had done it again! How boneheaded can one person be?!?

I have a feeling I will never win with this woman.

D :)


C. L. Fry said...

Insert Hubby's experience...

I was changing a disgusting, watery poopy diaper when the doorbell rang... a very pissed-off #2 had just peed all over himself with the diaper off, so my task was extra frustrating to boot.

I ignored the doorbell, but kiddo #1 was in the living room yelling and making it known to anyone within ear-shot that someone was indeed home... the bell rang again a couple of moments later, and knowing that they knew I was hiding, decided I'd better answer the door in case it was a neighbor with something important (4 times out of 5 it's some sort of solicitor).

I scooped #2 off the changing table and made my way to the front door, cursing #1 in my head.

(Side note: I had come home a few nights ago to an elderly woman walking down my driveway. I saw here raise her hand and say hello, but I was bent over in the car getting stuff out, and didn't get a chance to properly respond. I thought to myself, "I'm sure that seemed rude"...)

I answer the door and there stands the elderly lady from a few nights ago... I put on my most pleasant personality (although it was a bit stiff and dusty) and got ready to impress ;-) To my frustration, she was very awkward and her communication was vague and scattered... this is not very compatible with my equally scattered listening skills... I gathered that the fence was to be replaced the following morning and that we should probably keep the dog inside. She had a piece of folded paper in her hand with a phone number written on it, she said something about the number after discussing the workers, so I assumed that this meant she was providing me with their number... she offered it to me, asking for our number in case anything changed. I took the paper and left her standing outside while I searched for a pen... (this could take a while). I wrote down mine and Wifey's names and our number, then tore the paper in 1/2... then I realized that something didn't seem right about the name and number on the paper... Awkwardly I asked, "I'm sorry, is this number for me?" "No", she replied with a confused look, "that's your neighbor's number, for me." "Oh... okay..." I handed her the now 2 pieces of paper, "we'll be sure to keep the dog out of the way tomorrow, thanks for letting us know."

She slowly turned and shuffled away...

TitanKT said...

You know... I think it's really outstanding that you two have been even this accommodating to her and I am a firm believer in being neighborly. I applaud that whole-heartedly.

But I don't think either one of you should feel badly for even one instant here because she is an elderly lady who clearly has little to do but worry over and handle the logistics of her fence all day while the two of you have jobs, kids and pets to juggle pretty much 24/7.

I'm not suggesting that is an excuse for not being neighborly but it sure seems to me like you HAVE been as neighborly as necessary and polite in this case and continuing to beat yourself up over a couple of little details here and there is above and beyond.

It's none of her business what you were *just* doing when she came to your house... I mean, I would assume no matter WHAT time of day that I was disturbing someone who was at home. So if you said it wasn't a good time for her to come in and give you her dissertation about the fence she should've APOLOGIZED for inconveniencing YOU and gotten out of your way as quickly as possible. I would've just left you my number and asked YOU to call ME when it was convenient for YOU, then gotten out of your way as quickly as possible.

Just my opinion, though.

Jen said...

Oh my gosh that is the funniest, most well written story! You clearly live in a sitcom =)

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