Sunday, November 26, 2006

Meeting the Neighbors

We've only been here a couple of months, so there was much to do upon arrival. Unpacking, for one thing. Realizing that a 2000-some square foot home doesn't fit into one half its size, for another. Tending to the yard - ack. Lovely home, just several oak, sycamore, and maple trees either in my own yard or those of my neighbors. Can we say LEAVES TO RAKE?

I've had the most amazing experiences raking leaves. One neighbor who spied me and struck up a conversation suggested that so-and-so to the east of me, a single mother who works 3 jobs, needed to clean up her yard, wanted MY input, and I'm the 'new kid on the block'. So instead of telling her what he'd said, I told her that he'd volunteered to remove the offending objects for her. He, of course, about crapped, but before the day was over, he found himself wielding a chain saw and hacking away dead limbs, undergrowth, etc not only for her but for me and the neighbor to my west. --hehehe

Of course, now I feel like a shit for manipulating someone who tried to use me to manipulate others.

The things one finds out while meeting new neighbors. Think I've already mentioned Daisy and husband - he was on Omaha Beach as a wet-behind-the-ears infantryman, and Daisy is like an elderly Energizer Bunny, always working on her house or yard. Well, today I met Dave.

Some of you may have heard the names Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane.? I'm like some human repository for gossip, for some reason. It's gotta be the face - I look like I can lend an ear or offer advice or something. Anyway...

A different neighbor (as in not the guy who'd complained about the single mother) complained that the house to my west (Dave) also needed to tend to their yard, that nobody ever mowed or did anything, that they were rarely even home. I discovered why...the man has had a stroke and is in rehab, and his wife works 24/7. So I volunteered one of the guys who'd complained to help with THEIR yard as well. I'd already met the wife during leaf-raking, and she'd invited me over to meet her husband anyway when she brought him home for a few hours respite from rehab, so I marched over today and told them to keep the pets inside, because the Good Samaritans were coming over to trim her hedges, trees, and shrubs.

Since I'm a jazz fan and former musician, I walk in and immediately recognize him - he's one of the few white musicians to play on a regular basis with the jazz greats I mentioned earlier. Plus his portrait is painted with Holiday and Coltrane and hanging on a living room wall, and despite his stroke, Dave still looks just like the man in the portrait. I could barely speak. I thought, those men who'd complained have NO CLUE who they're bitching about. So...I felt better for having volunteered the one to clean up the yards of the folks who offended his sensibilities. Long story short, the neighbors who didn't have the tools or capabilities of 'tending to their yards' were grateful, and the man who'd complained was either #1 thankful he'd helped or #2 will keep his mouth shut around me next time. In either case, several dead tree limbs and untended shrubs got removed, and those who wanted a nicer view helped clean up their neighborhood one house at a time.

Don't we as writers manipulate our imaginary people in much the same way? I've had characters who refused to do as I wanted, failed to perform as needed, dug in their heels when I wanted them to broaden their horizons and expand their usefulness. My recourse is to either kill them or revamp them.

Maybe I'm just trying to justify manipulating the nosey neighbors into serving the others. It all worked out, IMO. I'm not spending time worrying about it, just thought it was a nice, warm fuzzy to meet some of the other neighbors and get a block party clean-up going. Now...back to my own yard.

The leaves are winning this one, I suspect. Thirty bags later, and the ground is still covered.



At 7:01 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I am your single mom neighbor =) I'm sure the neighbors hate me LOL

At 8:18 PM, Blogger April said...

Oh, Lyn! That's terrific! And wow, what an amazing person to meet! Sounds like you'll have all the neighborhood busy bodies straightened out in very short order! The leaves are winning on our end too. There's one single tree waiting to drop its leaves and I KNOW it's gonna happen the minute I rake. Evil leaves...

At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want you for a neighbor! Not so that you'll get someone to rake my leaves but because having you around would make raking leaves a hell of a lot more fun.

And what a coup to meet Dave. Good deeds are rewarded...

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Merry said...

I have 3.8 acres of leaves. Yesterday, I fought the good fight...I cleared right around the well house and the Airstream.

BTW, "charity begins at home" - I'd d say you weren't a manipulator, but a catalyst for the Lord's work. LOL and any neighbor who says differnetly...well. They're just going to hell, okay?

Love that you met Dave. I had the pleasure of listening to some of the original Preservation Hall jazz musicians some 30 years ago...

Keep up the good work on the yard...and wait till Spring. Every raked leaf will be worth it.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is SO cool about Dave - and good for you for organizing a leaf patrol, lol.
I live in Mordor, and all around me are hobbit gardens, all neatly tended, while my lawn looks like the Wreck of the Hesperus, lol. My two dogs dig holes under the fence that I stuff with whatever is at hand, and the fence itself is all rusting and falling down. But I'm renting, and I just can't see putting in a thousand bucks for a new fence.
IN our favor, we do keep it mowed and hedges trimmed and leaves raked - but the fence is a huge mess - and I'm not changing it, lol.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Liz Wolfe said...

LMAO @ your manipulation of the gossipy neighbors. Although I don't really think of it as manipulation. More like "just desserts". Fabulous about meeting Dave.
And, sweetie,some of us just referto those fallen leaves as 'mulch'. I'm all about the natural landscaping thing...LOL.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Michele said...

Oh Wow, what a classy solution, Lyn. You are so savvy!
Not manipulative at all! You know how to delagate and you did it in such a way, I bet everyone won.

Do NOT feel guilty. You are Woman, we hear you roar! then purr later when all works out to your satisfaction. LOL

We don't ever rake and we have oak and maple too. My DH uses the lawn mower, it sucks up everything, and he dumps it in the "composting" section. Then he goes back around and mulches the rest to feed the lawn. It always looks good.

But then again, our closest neighbor is hundreds of feet away, and we are surrounded by woods.
Heck, rotten apples and stuff gets thrown to feed the squirrels and chipmunks, which, I think feed the snakes. One big happy family.
All outside, where they belong.

congrats on your solutions, Lyn.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Mechele Armstrong said...

That is so neat on Dave. And you are doing good. Yep yep yep.

LOL the leaves ALWAYS Win.

Mechele aka Lany of Melany Logen

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Trace said...

Hahahahaah! That's good shit! He'll think twice next time he tries to pull shit like that.


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