The Babytime people are delivering the crib tomorrow morning and an electrician is coming to repair some outlets so I can move all this stuff into the back bedroom, which needs to be the new office. I’ve got yardsale stuff stacked everywhere and it’s impossible to move stuff when there is no spare room to move other stuff out of the way. I cleaned a spot for the crib and decided I’d had enough, and fell asleep on the couch. I’m completely exhausted — mentally, physically, emotionally. This past week roughed me up in ways I suppose a single afternoon won’t heal.
Ray takes the bar exam this week. The tension around here is palpable. We both need a break but there is no spare money, there is no spare time.
Just kidding. It’s a lamp.
I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood, so I am sort of having to learn what it’s like to have passive-aggressive asshole neighbors. Unless, I guess, you count the year that someone poisoned all my parents’ dogs and most of them died. I guess that would qualify as passive-aggressive assholishness.
I got home tonight and the boyfriend showed me this note that had been stuck in the front door earlier that day.
I will transcribe, for the image impaired:
Just a friendly request asking you to PLEASE PARK YOUR CAR IN YOUR DRIVEWAY, NOT ON THE STREET. Lately, it has been noticed that your car has been parked on the street for an extended period of time. Although it is acceptable for cars to park on the street on a temporary basis, it is frowned upon to have one become a permanent fixture. Not only does it detract from the uniform tidiness of the rest of the block, but by standing out, it is an easy target for eventual vandalism and theft.
It is a well-known fact that “crack” houses, drug dealers, and drug addicts live on the blocks just to the west of us who have been dealt with by police many times over the years regarding theft in our neighborhood. On numerous occasions cars on the street have been broken into, resulting in broken windows, stolen car parts, and even car theft.
We take great pride our neighborhood [sic] and hope you will join us in our effort to uphold the safety and tidiness of our streets. By parking in your driveway, you’ll be doing your part to help keep our neighborhood looking great!
Thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.
Look. I don’t have a refined mouth but the things that came spewing out of my face when I read this letter upon returning home from my full-time, very professinal job at midnight were things that very few people in my life have ever heard come out of me. Because … WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK.
I keep my property up. I love my house, inside and out. I feel stupid even saying that because it’s evident from the way I write about it. I take great pride in having a clean, nice-looking lot and exterior. I don’t get up at stupidly early hours and rev up a truck engine. I keep to myself. I don’t throw loud parties or play loud music at all hours. My boyfriend and I rarely fight. I don’t have annoying dogs that yip outside at all hours. I don’t light fireworks in the yard — front or back. I clean my gutters. I spend a lot of time and sweat in the spring, summer, and fall making my yard look beautiful, with life and color.
And then comes this chickenshit anonymous note, written in hackneyed passive voice with some obvious attempt at trying to sound authoritative and like a collective group that has given this Very Serious Issue some Very Serious Thought.
Dear anonymous neighbor with a printer and a half-cocked idea of how you want to run the neighborhood because you think it is your neighborhood to run: FUCK YOU.
This is a neighborhood. In a city, where there are lots and lots of people. And cars! More than one per household sometimes! We don’t live in quasi-rural McNeighborhood in Germantown, where each homeowner enjoys the spoils of a 300-yard-long driveway on which to park impossibly wide SUVs. I don’t have a garage. I don’t have a carport, even. I have a tiny driveway that I share with my neighbor. It fits one car per house comfortably. Which is why, now that my boyfriend lives here, he often parks on the street in front of the house. You know, so that when I get home from work at midnight and park in my own goddamned driveway, I am not placing my car right behind his car, which is going to need out of that tiny driveway early in the morning when it’s time for him to head to class. At school. Where he is getting a very important and not cheap education so that he can be a constructive member of society.
Otherwise — and we’ve done this, plenty — every morning entails me waking at 7ish (I go to bed between 3 and 4 a.m. usually) to move my car in a stupor so he can get out of the driveway to go to school, at which point I move my car back and stumble inside and try to go back to sleep, which never really works until about noon, at which point it’s time for me to get ready for work. Meaning that my day is completely fucked.
I’m sure, as someone who is most of all concerned with warding off “crack” heads and keeping the tidy uniformity of the neighborhood intact, this niggling detail of my quality of life is something you’d rather do without.
But you know what? I feel like I cannot express this point strongly enough: FUCK YOU. I know you are flying solo on this suburban jihad, I know no one else on this street gives more than a passing fuck about where my boyfriend parks his car from day to day as long as it’s not in their yards or in the middle of the goddamned street, and I wish you would get some help for yourself. Because your neighborhood power play is just sad and silly and belies your own neurotic need for control. Also, your “there are dark-skinned people I will euphemistically refer to as ‘crack’ addicts living west of us, which means you should keep your car in your driveway or else you will be inviting mischief into our pristine neighborhood” thing is just … ridiculous. No neighborhood is ever crime free, but you are creating drama where none needed to occur. Sure, boyfriend’s car has sat two, even three days (!!!) in the same spot on the curb (those times when we go out of town … which happens twice a fucking year), but just you wait until school starts back up! You’ll be so bewildered when you try to spend your day gazing our your venetian blinds, biting your nails and having a hernia/coronary over where our vehicles end up resting in and around my driveway. You will be SO RELIEVED when our cars move more regularly and you will be able to get back to the business of … whatever the fuck it is you do besides compose letters in the royal “we.”
There’s always gotta be one asshole who shits in the punchbowl, you know? I love my neighborhood and my house and this is the kind of thing that can turn a good thing sour.
The only good thing I can think is this: If the person who left this note is the person I think it is, I can at least rest somewhat easy because it’s the person I was warned about the first week I moved in. “She’s a busybody,” I was told. She will try to start shit. Dios mio, ain’t it the truth.
A car parked on the curb is not a fucking crisis. In fact, it happens at several addresses on this street, several times a week. Grow the fuck up and mind your own business until I give you something to fucking worry about.
Oh god, it has begun in earnest. Behold, a tree!
It’s a pre-lit model, something I never ever ever thought I’d ever buy, ever. It always just seemed … blasphemous. But Big Lots was out of their unlit trees when I went, so I just went down in size half a foot and opted for the pre-lit, as it fit my budget. And now that I have seen the foolishness of my ways, I dare say I will never buy an unlit tree ever again. Can someone confirm for me that the inventor of the pre-lit tree got a Nobel prize? Please?
I didn’t put a tree up last year because, for one, I didn’t have one. For another, I was scared of what the cats would do to it. I am happy to report that, aside from a few sniffs and branch bats here and there, they seem to the mostly uninterested. Granted, we are less than 24 hours in, so tomorrow I might be reporting a different story.
Of course, I have added various accouterments, including the front-door wreath, a fancy table runner, some icicle lights in the office, and Granny’s ancient candleholder thingy that was passed on to me. But the big show is the giant wreath mom and dad let me have, which I put outside on the chimney. In the words of the funny lady who plays Miley Cyrus in the SNL skit that Ray and I CANNOT STOP QUOTING OH MY GOD, it’s pretty cool.
I used a concrete nail to secure the big wreath out front. Did you know you can’t buy a singular concrete nail? True story. Relatedly, if anyone needs to borrow a couple hundred concrete nails, hit me up.
I can’t operate a goddamned electric screwdriver without fucking something up.
I really cannot believe anyone let me buy a house.
There is a big honkin’ oak tree in my front yard. Nestled in the branches of that oak tree is a big honkin’ spotlight to illuminate my front and side yards. That big honkin’ spotlight has gone out, as lights sometimes do.
My question is: Who in Memphis can be called upon to replace this light, which can only be accessed by boom truck or perhaps very large ladder? I have considered calling the fire department and telling them my cat has gotten stuck up there and oh by the way can they shimmy up there with this lightbulb in hand?
If you have a reliable (and vertical!) handyman you could recommend, I’d be ever so grateful.