Saturday, April 23, 2005

Good neighbors make good fences

When I first moved into my current house, I decided that I pretty much hated all of my neighbors. The people on one side, the Sorensens, are an old couple--basically ok--except for the fact that they have a freaking herd of cats. Filthy cats. Mangy cats. Cats that are neither spayed nor neutered and multiply exponentially every few months. Cats that live outside, have no litter box, and shit all over my yard and flower beds.

The people on the other side don't have pets--they have kids. Kids I don't generally mind--in small batches--but these people have like a half dozen. Boys and one little girl. The parents let them ride dirt bikes and four wheelers IN THE BACK YARD. Right next to my bedroom window. They put a trampoline right on the other side of the fence from my lovely covered patio, and jump on it, while shrieking, and bickering at all hours of the day and night. In the summer, they set up an above ground swimming pool and every rug rat in the neighborhood comes to their house to scream "Marco Polo" for hours and hours.

Basically, I would sit in my house, silently seething about the cat shit and noise pollution, plotting ways to get even.

But recently, something has changed. The Sorensens have this great tire swing in their front yard. Sophie has been very curious about it, and has been nagging me to swing on it. So we knocked on the door and I asked Mr. Sorensen if Sophie could swing. He was so nice. He said, "Sure. You Bet. Any time. There's also a swing set in the back for the grand kids. She can use that whenever she wants, too." I stammered my thanks, and Sophie and I set off to swing. She loved the tire, but it was just a bit to high for her to get into by herself. I guess Mr. Sorensen noticed, because he lowered the tire, just for Sophie, without even being asked--like I'd ask that of him anyway. !!?? A couple of days later, Sophie wanted to watch her Hello Kitty DVD. Now, because on the front of the DVD Hello Kitty is eating popcorn, Sophie feels like when one watches Hello Kitty, eating popcorn is a requirement. We were out. She was MAD. The side door was open, and Mrs. Sorensen, who was sitting outside, heard the whole exchange. So she brought over this giant canister of popcorn--the kind you buy for like $2.50 at Christmas time, and asked if Sophie would like some. Obviously, as I am ungrateful and psycho, I was a bit hesitant to accept food from the cat lady, but I sucked it up, and said thanks, and Soph got her popcorn to eat with Hello Kitty, and a new friend, and was completely thrilled.

Guess what? I love the Sorensens now. I think they're super great! We've even named a couple of their cats, and really, what's a little cat shit here and there? In fact, as neighbors, I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather have.

As for the trampoline people, last week, their little girl, a 4 year old, asked Sophie if she'd like to come jump on the tramp. God was she thrilled. She went walking off with this little Christiana absolutely beaming. She had so much fun, you would have thought she'd been to Disney Land!

Now, honestly, the trampoline doesn't seem quite as annoying. I hear the kids playing on it and kind of smile, thinking how much fun they're probably having. Of course, I still think that letting your kids ride freaking dirt bikes in the back yard is insanely inconsiderate.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Something about having a kid makes you feel more like you're part of the community and the neighborhood. I'm glad that I am getting to know my neighbors (after 5 years).

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Last night some old friends came into town, and we stayed up WAY to late and had WAY to much to drink. Sophie, on the other hand, did not, and was up at the ass crack of dawn. Mothering on 3 hours of sleep with a hangover definitely sucks.


Katy said...

And that my love, is when you call the "sista" and have her come get the little early bird. Great blog! I'm glad you're loving the neighbors, and dealing better with the herd of children. Maybe we can sabotoge the dirt bikes so they won't start.

patrice said...

I love that she will only watch her hello kitty dvd with popcorn. adorable. she sounds like such a cutie!

I am inspired by this post. perhaps my neighbors' drinking, smoking, and making racist comments will someday become kindly offers of popcorn and tire swings. whenever my neighbor calls someone their "fag name" (like Browneye), I will just pretend he asked us to come and sit on his patio and sip lemonade with him instead.

patrice said...

you know, I just reread that and realize how crass it sounds. just like my neighbors. but just because I live next to them doesn't mean you have to hear about them. feel free to delete that comment. (but your daughter is still adorable.)

Missuz J said...

Maybe that last one did sound a little Pollyanna. Would it make things better if I add that yesterday, Sophie stepped in the cat shit and tracked it all over my house? Your neighbor sounds like he could do with a good fatal beating.

NME said...

Please leave the Pollyanna to me. I really LOVE the idea of getting along great with the neighbors. I want to feel all Mayberry about every single one of my neighbors. Even Al the WT drunk who comes to our house ever Thursday to borrow $2 and on whom we have already called the police because he was screaming like a lunatic in the middle of the street at 3 am. I really want to love him. I hope he has popcorn.

CRAZY!! said...

Well I am now battleing noise from a trampoline that is driving me CRAZY!! I have one child and have her friends over but I would not allow the neighbors to be disrupted like this. It is hell and last night I actually started screaming for about one hour and feel like an idiot today. No one played on it today. Ha. There absolutely should be a LAW!!