Thursday, June 20, 2013

Towanda Meets the Neighbors

Tonight I thought I'd be a good wife and offer to bring Big Dave a hamburger from Hardees for dinner (because I had a buy one get one free coupon, naturally) since he had spent some time late this afternoon struggling to move the appliances and a high-top table and chairs to Casa Jill.  By "appliances" I mean a washing machine, dryer, and our old refrigerator - which I'd almost gotten used to being in my dining room.

Almost.  I actually miss it being there.  I won't, however, miss banging my left elbow on the china cabinet while I sit here writing because Big Dave moved the table down a foot so that it could reside there.  (And has it been moved back yet?  Negative.)

Anyway, it was a nice break from separating receipts into necessities (two receipts for Publix this past month...TWO along with unfortunate documentation of a whole host of poor eating decisions in the form of every fast food place with a coupon including the mother of all bad food choices - Popeye's fried chicken) and "Jill is totally paying for this" (paint...and a few items that were budgeted.)  It was exhausting, but I plowed through it.  By "plowed through it"...I mean I have it divided into piles because the American Express bill is due tomorrow.

I hear the theme from "Jaws" in my head...

Yeah, I know.  An excellent ending to a typical week of vacation in 2013 for me.  I am SO American Express'  I mean, listening to Dave Ramsey every night is helpful only if you actually DO some of the things he says, right?  I have a wallet that I bought from his company that would be an excellent way to keep up with the cash in the various categories.  Except then I wouldn't have anywhere to put the credit cards.

See the problem?  Of course you do.  And so do I.  So, so wrong.

ANYWAY, so I was over there minding my own business and watching the love of my life and my 23 year old baby girl try to wrestle a refrigerator through a 32" doorway to the kitchen  (So. Not. Happening.), I just picked up a few things and swept up some dirt and really didn't have anything more to do.  The good news is that the refrigerator is currently plugged in and living in her dining room instead of mine.  So, he kept his promise about getting the refrigerator in her house tonight.  I suppose it was to his credit that he didn't promise to actually get it into the kitchen.

He left a few minutes later and I hung around a little longer to chat with the girls.  Jill hopped out to deliver a rug to the car (to be returned...because the people at T.J. Maxx need to see me for a sixth time this week fo' sure...and just wasn't "the one.")  She noticed that on my windshield was a note from one of her neighbors (two doors down).  She asked that I not park in front of her house and that I move my car around back.

Um.  Okay.  Except I don't live there.  Just dropping in for a few minutes.

So, I told Jill to write back on the note that we weren't aware that there was an issue where one parks on the street, but that she is in the process of moving, and it ended with the word "sorry."

Except she really wasn't.

She delivered it to the lady's door, and then came home.  I wasn't going to stay but a few more minutes, so I didn't bother moving my car.

Five minutes later...the doorbell rang.  Then there were two knocks.  We decided to let sleeping dogs lie.  No point in riling up your neighbors, right?  Except she rang the doorbell again.  And then knocked again twice.  (We got weally, weally, kwiet...but that didn't help.)  And then there was a third time when she rang the doorbell and knocked twice on the door.

Oh. Heck. No. She. Didn't.  Except she had.  Most emphatically.

Towanda greeted her at the door.  Yes.  Yes, she did.  I mean, the fact that we didn't answer the door the first two times she knocked should have been a dead give-away to a normal person that we weren't really up for a confrontation.  But apparently, we weren't dealing with normal.  Far from it.

She was a thin, blonde, very put together lady that is probably ten years older than me with apparently nothing better to do than monitor the area in front of her house so that her son can park in front of the house and it is rumored...walk her dog.  Has she come over and introduced herself to Jill over the past four weeks we have been in and out of here?  Nope.  Jill's introduction to her was when she was doing that knock-knock-knocking on the door business and ringing the bell.


She mentioned that she would like us not to park in front of her house because that's where her son parks...and that is "her space" dontchaknow.  Frankly, no I didn't know that because the last time I checked...the street is for public usage.  I can park in front of her house if I want to...whenever I want to. If her son can park his car on the street, then Jill can park her car on the street...wherever she can find a place. I mean, my child lived in Tuscaloosa for four years and knows the value of good parking places and being considerate.  But walking an extra eight steps because someone is parked in front of your house is no reason to go all batwing crazy over it.

Except she didn't see it that way.

It could have been the fact that I wasn't smiling.  Maybe it was the fact that we didn't invite her in.  Perhaps it was the fact that she said her piece and I told her that walking down to the house and introducing herself might have been a lot more effective - and respectful - than leaving a note on my car when I parked in front of her house less than an hour before.

She, of course, thought I was disrespecting HER by not apologizing all over myself and immediately moving to get my car keys so I could move my car.  So, she said that she was with the Homeowners' Association and would escalate it if need be.

Towanda told her to "Escalate away."

I also told her that Jill and her roommate were parking in the front because her Dad was parking in the back.  With a trailer.  With appliances on it.  Big "won't fit through the door without removing the refrigerator door" appliances.  I even showed her the refrigerator sitting there in the dining room.

And then she told me that I was not "providing a good example to my daughter like a good mother would" by being disrespectful to her.

Excuse me?

Let's just say that any mother who has worked for four weeks at night and exhausted herself and her funds to help her kid get in a house only to be greeted by her Mrs. Kravitz-like neighbor whining about the eight foot stretch in front of her house (because there was a Lexus parked in front of the house next door so I parked behind it) a pretty good mother.  That woman can kiss my entire behind.

And folks, that's a whole lot of real estate.

At this point, Jill decided that she would join the conversation and told the lady that she would move the car, but that in the future, to please not talk to her, and that she will return the favor.  She told the heifer that she would not park in front of her house, and that she really didn't want to talk about it anymore.  When the lady said "everyone around here gets along really well but we have to respect the fact that we have limited space" Jill told her that she felt that she understood her and repeated her request that they just not communicate in the future...then she shut the door.

A few minutes later, Jill retrieved my keys from the bowels of my purse and went outside.  She saw Mrs. Kravitz telling the next door neighbor heaven only knows what...but Jill got to the car and was in the process of moving it when Round 2 began.

Not exactly sure what part of "please don't talk to me...and I won't talk to you" was not abundantly clear?

And bless that lady's heart for thinking that Jill was a pushover and that if she could just get her away from that horrible mother...that she'd make her point more clearly.  Jill has worked with the public for seven years.    She has lived in a house with 44 girls in it.  She's had several roommates.  She was raised in my house.  The girl knows how to be respectful...but she knows how to hold her own.

The lady said that the car had been parked there for two days.  Wrong-o!  Jill's roommate also has a white car so she had been assuming that it was one car...when it was in fact two cars in and out.  She'd apparently been seething over this for 48 hours...which, at least, explained the doorbell ringing and beating on the door.

All because her son didn't have a place to park in front of the house.  Aw, poor baby.  He'd been parking at Casa Jill's anyway, we highly suspect, and her purchasing this home apparently messed up this woman's whole parking situation.  That's Big Dave's theory, anyway.

Jill told the woman that she didn't appreciate her throwing off that comment about her mother...because, come on, nobody should be talking about anybody's Mama, right?  Exactly.  I won't go into the rest of the conversation that Jill had with her, but let's just say that Jill is her mother's daughter.  Including agreeing with the woman when she described herself as an "old hag."

Oh. Yes. She. Did.

I am not one of those people that likes to get all up in somebody's bid-ness and I will only confront people when there is a reason like desperately poor service or when someone is being mistreated.  I pretty much thought ringing the doorbell and knocking twice three times within two minutes was enough of a reason.  Not to mention the note on my car.

Jill went up to the next door neighbor and apologized about parking in front of her house...only to be told "Honey, we don't care if you park in front of our house or even in our yard.  I was worried that you thought I was out here agreeing with her...and that was so not the case."

Good...sanity apparently lives next door.  Two doors down?  Not so much.

Of course, now that she knows that this woman played the "Homeowners Association" card on Jill...they will be sure to park in the back and make sure the grass is mowed.  As a visitor, I'll respect her wishes and find an alternate place to park if that's possible.  But that's me.  Big Dave said that he'll be making a point of parking in front of her house every chance he gets. In his big black truck.  Preferably with the trailer attached. Just because.

Bless his passive-aggressive little heart.  And if she thinks she wants to bark up that tree...then she will have her behind handed to her while he stands there smiling.  He's a master at this.

Maybe you are reading this and think that we were too harsh.  A bit too redneck...and borderline Jerry Springer contestants.  But I will tell you this...act like a jackwagon...and you'll get treated like one.  What she didn't know then...and has probably since figured that we were doing her an immense favor by not answering the door.  Maybe the next time another one of the neighbors ventures into her territory, she'll rethink that position and try another approach.  Like asking kindly after introducing herself.  You a normal person would.

I hope that in time Jill will find her to be a delightful - albeit anal-retentive - neighbor and that they look back on this someday and laugh.  But I'm not holding my breath.  Maybe she was right that I am not setting a good example for Jill by speaking out...but honestly...I think that is the best service I can do for her as a mother.  There are enough people in this world who apparently live to make life difficult for others...and the only way to defend yourself against them is to stand your ground.  If I've learned nothing else in the fifty years I've been drawing is that.

What I realized tonight is that I have a Towanda-in-training.  Heaven help us.


  1. I'll be sure to park there as well. Every. Time.

  2. Towanda rocks!! Towanda, Jr. does too! The neighbor must be a sad and lonely woman. I'm glad that all Jill's neighbors are not as rude and crazy as "Two-Doors-Down."

  3. It amazes me how people make up rules that no else had a hand in crafting. Then they count on other people to be nice and honor them even while they get to act the bastich about it. In my younger days, I'd probably just avoid her.

    Today, I'd probably say if you want a reserved parking spot, you really should ask the "Homeowners Association" to designate one, which i would then be more than happy to observe. And leave her with a smile and a turn away. :)

    I'd like to think I'd be continue to be polite as I get older, but I fear it's possible that I would disappoint myself ;)