Sunday, April 24, 2005

Use a mower, go to jail...

The place next door to us is an old single level turn of the century home with four semi-connected units. The unit directly next to our house is occupied by two nice young ladies. My husband mows their lawn when he mows ours, since they have no mower and the lawn is connected to ours. He mowed it for the previous tenants, too, a young newlywed couple. We are neighborly. Next to them is Weird Larry. We stay away from Weird Larry because he is, well, weird. A strange round man, probably in his 60s, who spends most of his time tucked into his tiny apartment, shopping at Food4Less, and occasionally repairing mobile homes for a living. He also claims to be a writer.

The other day we had a message on the answering machine from the police. They had a complaint from "the property owner" (he wishes) next door, saying we had illegally mowed his lawn and we are ordered to stay off his property. Uh, hmmm, maybe, we thought, hubby didn't know exactly where to stop when he mowed the girls' lawn. So I walked over to talk to Weird Larry about it. I was all nice, inquired if there was a problem, and asked if maybe for future problems we could talk about it instead of involving the police. Weird Larry was a jerk.

I explained that hubby hadn't done anything wrong intentionally, but if he had mowed too far, wouldn't it have been easy to just step outside and say, "Oh, ya know, you can stop right here, I'll take care of my own part?" WL said he wasn't home at the time, he was in a nearby town. I asked why he thought hubby did it, then. He started insisting "I know he did it and he did it because he's an asshole." Then he claimed he had photos of hubby doing it. Umm, yeah, right. The photos he took from the little town 13 miles away?

He also insinuated that the only reason my hubby mows the lawn for the girls is because they are young females. Whatever. On my way home I noticed that Weird Larry's whole lawn was indeed mowed, not just a little encroachment over the line between the two neighbors. I confirmed with my hubby that he hadn't done it.

So I asked J, WL's neighbor on the other side, if he was the nice neighborly guy who had mowed WL's lawn. Indeed he was. He was doing his own, so to be nice he did WL's, too. Unfortunately, WL considers such neighborly acts vandalism worthy of police intervention.

Yesterday I saw WL on the sidewalk. I told him it was J who mowed his lawn. He yelled at me some more. I'd finally had enough. I said, "Well, Larry, I hope you feel as foolish as you are." Love thy neighbor be damned. Asshole.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


When the goob's goldfish died more than a year ago, he wasn't ready to say goodbye to it. So into a little water-filled container it went, and into the freezer. A little fishsicle, deep in a back corner. I almost tossed it a few times, thinking he'd forgotten about it, but just didn't want to take the chance.

Yesterday we heard that Tarzan, the dog of our neighbors and dear friends, died Monday. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and went much more quickly than they thought he would. He wasn't just their dog. He was their everything for many years. As my neighbor said, "We don't have any other...children or anything. He was it for us."

I heard the news by e-mail yesterday. I asked the goob if he wanted to draw them a card. He said, "No, I'd rather talk to them in person." He asked me some questions, like what would they do with the body. He asked if they had buried him. He asked if Tarzan was too big to fit in a freezer. We talked about cremation and burials.

In the evening, when we saw they were home from work, we got ready to go over to visit. Goobie asked me to get his fish from the freezer. I asked if we could do it later, after we got back. He said he wanted to bring it with him. He said, "I want to show them that it's a normal process." My little scientist. I said, "Honey, they are adults, I think they understand that." He said, "I just want them to know that I understand how they feel." So we put Ish the Fish's tupperware

into a plastic bag and went next door.

It was a touching visit. The neighbors had red-rimmed eyes. Goobie told them he was sorry and showed them his dead fish. They showed us photos of Tarzan from puppyhood until recently, a long and happy 9 years or so.

Everybody smiled and sniffled and hugged. And then I brought Goobie and Ish the Fish back home. Ish went back in the freezer. Goobie went to bed. We chatted about life, nature, life cycles. He fell asleep on my arm. I stayed awake marveling about it all. Life, loss, and the love that weaves through it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Good morning, Honey!

How my hubby woke up this morning:
Me, yelling from the other room. "Oh my God, Goobie, I can't believe you would do this! What were you thinking? Dang it, Goobie, when Dad and I are asleep you're supposed to be sleeping! It's everywhere! Aaaargh. I can't believe you would do this!"

Goobie scurried into the bedroom where hubby was stirring. Hubby was all sleepy-eyed and confused. He immediately went into MadDad mode. "Goobie, what is Mom so mad about? GOOBIE! What did you do? Tell me NOW! Goobie, look at me!" Goobie replied, "While you and Mom were sleeping I painted my room. It looks really good!" I continued to rant in the background. I heard MadDad saying "WHAT? YOU WHAT?" and then "Hey, wait a second. It's April Fools Day, isn't it?"

Oh, baby, we got him good. We really had him going for a minute there. Classic. Now wait 'til Grandma sees the plastic spider we slipped into my purse before heading out to breakfast with her. It's her own fault. She already called to "cancel" saying Goob's favorite restaurant had closed. Never fool with the foolers.