Friday, November 11, 2005

In da 'hood (current)

For your information, I will present a glimpse, yet again, into my life as it exists today.

But first, some background, because I'm all about setting the scene, it appears.

I think it's fair to say that I used to live on a large piece of property. For those of y'all in the Western reaches of this great country of ours, you will likely laugh and scoff and feel superior to me when I mention that the "large piece of property" in question is some 13 acres in New England. However, you scoffing, better-than-me, western ranchers, hold your tongues for a moment, because this 13 acres came with COMPLETE and TOTAL privacy. Like, the kids could stand in the yard and whizz with nobody around for hundreds of feet on any side to peep them, there were things called TREES surrounding us (foreign concept to lots of people from west of the Mississippi, I know), our driveway was something like 800 feet long, and the hillside that sprung up on the other side of the creek on one side of the property cemented our status as visibility hermits. I'd like to see THAT happen in the wild west, I would!

Anyhow, and to get to the point, that piece of land and the one we owned before it (4.5 acres with only 2 houses visible and a hill out back that blocked any "rear view" of our house) had given rise to offspring who have no real clue how to behave in a neighborhood. Their mother often feels the same way, to tell the truth. To wit:

Exhibit A - In the house in which we now live, there is a big' ol tulip tree in the backyard that sports its very own tire swing. This was a big selling point for me, because I could imagine long summer evenings watching my adorable children swing high in the tree, kicking the low branches with their feet and getting dizzy by tipping backwards on the upswing. In my mind that scene always took place close to sunset and the kids were slightly tanned and quietly reverent in the golden glow of a perfect afternoon. So imagine my shock when I realized that the actual-factual method of play for these 2 fine young men, lights of my life, fruits of my womb, would be to 1) fight over who gets to swing first, 2) fight LOUDER over who gets to swing first and maybe do a little shoving, and 3) begin screaming at one another in throat-ripping shrieks generally heard only on a battlefield in the midst of a mortar attack about how I GET TO SWING FIRST, YOU BIG STUPID! I HATE YOU! YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!!!!! which causes me to shoot out of the chair/bathroom/wherever and race to the kitchen window to yell at them to pipe down because do they want the neighbors to think they're a bunch of ill-raised heathens who have NO FREAKING MANNERS AT ALL?!?!? at which point it occurs to me that I'm perhaps a little short on the decorum and gentility and respect for others when it comes to tightening up on my kids. I can just imagine what the folks next door, who I've never seen, must think about me and the two wild children that live here. I hope I never have to meet them face-to-face.

Exhibit B) I'm not sure about how visiting is supposed to be done in a place where kids can just run over to another kid's house to hang out. Fer instance, this morning. Kinda early this morning, truth be told, which for us is anytime before 11 a.m. on a weekend morning (today included), because we need time to wake up, adjust to being awake, think about what to do today, eat, and process the fact that we are awake. It takes a while. We're an afternoon-type activity family, not an early morning hockey-type family, the type who I understand get up at godless hours to make it to the ice rink at the crack of dawn to race around with sticks in their hands and sharp metal blades on their feet. Afternoons are good for us; mornings are our "let it all hang out" times, and based on our history of hermeticism (see above) we don't expect people to come a'knockin on our door at ANY time of day without considerable advance warning.

Welllllllll, today I may just have learned a lesson about life in the suburbs. A hard lesson. A lesson that will teach me but good to pick up my house on a regular basis and not wait until the weekend or until somebody's EXPECTED to come over. A lesson that will teach me to wash the pots and pans every day rather than letting them do a soak-in-the-sink-for-a-day-or-two thing. A lesson that will teach me to take a shower first thing on arising so that my almost-ponytail won't have slightly greasy sidewalls and an overall frazzled "look." A lesson that will teach me to ensure my children are FULLY DRESSED at all times of day so that they don't have to make a MAD DASH to their room to get dressed when the knock on the door turns out to be a kid up the street and his Mom and younger sister who want to know if they can come over to hang out because the son had talked to my older child about getting together over the weekend and apparently today, this morning, was the time to git 'er done. See, right then I had not yet LEARNED the lessons mentioned above, which caused me no end of Wisteria Lane-type consternation at the condition of my apparent life. My inner Martha died a little when she realized that there was a jigsaw puzzle and dog hair all over the floor, that one of the kids didn't have pants on, that there were pots in the sink and breakfast makins still on the counter, that the floor hadn't been vacuumed for several days, and that I hadn't really looked all that carefully at my appearance that morning, if indeed I had looked at all. I felt like all I needed to complete my red-neckiness was a cigarette and a 'vette on blocks in the front yard.

(deep sigh)

There is indeed a lot to learn about this strange place called suburbia. Fortunately, I'm a quick study. Now, y'all have to excuse me, because it's time to go shut all the blinds and lock all the doors, and lesson 1 will be complete!

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