Good Neighbors

Cops are in the news a lot this week.  If your only context for law enforcement officers was what you saw on television, you’d come away with the idea that they’re either power-drunk thugs or, incomprehensibly, targets.

Our next door neighbor Joel is a deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.  He’s a regular guy.  You know, he mows his lawn, walks his dog, has friends over for pool parties and barbecues.  He also puts on that green uniform and badge everyday and heads out into the scary neighborhoods to try to help keep people safe.

One day a few weeks ago, while Mr. R. was at work, a guy showed up at our house.  Understand, we live in the country with an acre and a half of land.  Our property is completely fenced and there’s a gate across our driveway.  Nobody ever comes to the door.  And we like it that way.

Anyway, our 85-lb. land shark, Jack, started losing his mind when this guy, a stranger to me, unchained the gate and proceeded to make his way to our front door.  Between Jack’s ‘I’m not playing with you, bitch’ protestations and the ‘Bad Dog’ sign we’re required by the county to display in the front window (an unfortunate reminder of the time Jack decided to sample a neighbor lady who showed the lack of judgement to stand in our driveway), dude decided to return to his truck parked out front.

From there, he started honking.  Repeatedly.  Again, I did not know this man and there was no way I was going outside to see what he wanted.  Anxious about the situation, I texted Mr. R., who was at work twenty minutes away.  He was very clear about my course of action.  “Do NOT, under any circumstances, go outside to see what he wants.  And let me know when he leaves.”

When nearly half an hour had passed and he hadn’t heard from me, Mr. R. called.  “No,” I assured him, “dude is still out there honking.”

So my love called…Joel, who just happened to be on his way home from work and was only a block away.  He sped to my house and settled the situation calmly and assertively.  The guy was looking for his runaway teenage daughter and someone had given him our address as where she was staying.  Can you imagine if I’d opened the door to him in the beginning?  Would he have believed me when I said no, she’s not here?  He’d have demanded to search my house.

Of course, I thanked Joel profusely, as did Mr. R.  We even sent him a restaurant gift card as thanks.  He reassured us that no thanks was necessary and he was happy to do it, we should call him anytime.

When I see police shootings, I think about Joel.  He has a wife and a baby daughter.  He has hopes and dreams for his future.  And he works hard to do his job to the best of his ability.  There are lots of Joels out there.  I, for one, appreciate them.

Saturday Night Serenade–Boondocks

You could say that Mr. R. and I live in the boondocks.  We bought our little Mediterranean-style house nearly five years ago in a community west of West Palm Beach known as the Acreage.  The community crosses into the city limits of about four different towns and it’s called the Acreage because every property has more than an acre of land.  Sometimes a lot more.

It’s a fresh alternative to living in town in overpriced planned communities with their zero lot lines and their HOAs.  I could never stand for some repressed little preppy committee to tell me what color I can or can’t paint my house and what I can or can’t park in my driveway.  We don’t pay for sewer or water because we have a septic system and our own well.  We’re not worried about lead in our drinking water.

We can keep livestock on our property if we want.  Our neighbors across the street, Tom-Tom, a gay couple (both named Tom) whose business is selling ballroom dance shoes, keep chickens and goats around their own much larger Mediterranean-style house.  The other day, Tom really tried to talk me into buying their new-born pedigreed pygmy goat.  I told him we weren’t quite ready to pull the trigger on the goat thing just yet.

Two doors down from Tom-Tom, the nice quiet family on the corner sold their house to a new family.  These folks enjoy creating a track for racing their ATVs around their giant lot.  Not so quiet.  They also enjoy playing their music LOUD.

It can be annoying.  But I’d still rather have them than an HOA.  Besides, just because their music is loud doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  They played this song yesterday.  I love this song.

Happy Saturday night from the boondocks!

Open Letter to Naked Ironing Guy

ironingDear Naked Ironing Guy,

When Mr. R. first told me about you, I didn’t believe him.

“Hey, check out the naked guy ironing,” were his exact words.

“No way,” I answered.

“Way,” he replied, in that tender way that married couples have of communicating with each other.

I looked out the back window and across our lawn to see you, indeed, standing in your house in front of your window performing this mundane task in flagrante delicto.  Which was perhaps your point.  Naked ironing is less mundane than the regular variety, I suppose.

Butt, (snicker), at what cost?  Imagine your unsuspecting neighbors, girding their loins (snort) for battle as another day dawns, looking outside simply wondering what the day may bring, and what do they see?  Your heinie, shimmying back and forth as you diligently press the wrinkles out of your Van Heusen.  Nobody wants to see that.

Al-ass, (guffaw), lest you think my reasons completely selfish, think of the safety issues.  Should you and Mr. Johnson be that close to potential disaster?  I mean, you wouldn’t cook bacon in the nude, would you?  Maybe you would, but, sheesh!

I never like to point out a problem without offering potential solutions.  That would just make me a whiner.  Here are some ideas:

  • Take your shirts to the dry cleaners.  They almost always work fully clothed.
  • Replace your natural fiber shirts with the permanent press variety.  As promised in the name, they remain permanently pressed.
  • Continue to iron your own shirts, but do so the night before, when you still have clothes on.
  • Put up curtains.

Hopefully I have communicated this issue to you in a respectful manner.  After all, we’re neighbors.  And I’ve always thought that good curtains make good neighbors.

Sincerely,  Mrs. R.