4:45 a.m. Waking up with the birds as usual. I don’t mind at all. I can lay in bed for awhile, maybe even read for a bit, still fall back asleep and have the whole day ahead of me. After I take a pee.
4:50 a.m. I haven’t made it to the bathroom door when I hear a crashing noise. And a scratching noise. Like breaking glass, and claws on screen windows. What the hell? It’s dark, I can’t see, but I’m pretty sure there is an animal of some sort climbing up my front porch window. And not being very graceful about it, I might add, which makes me doubt the likelihood of it being a cat. At least not one of mine. They don’t do that anymore and none of them is really big enough to make this kind of commotion. More breaking noises. Crap, and I’m not dressed, at all. It was a very warm and humid night, so I slept in my birthday suit. Definitely no time to pee. If whatever that is out there manages to make it inside the house, my dogs will go beserk.
I scramble to put on some clothes and as I cautiously approach the front door for a closer look out the window, I spy the offender. It’s the neighbor’s puppy. Geez, Louise! He did this one day last week. At first I thought he was a stray so I took him to the back porch and gave him some kibble. (I know, I’m a sucker and an idiot.) It eventually dawned on me that he belonged to the people next door. This is the fifth or sixth animal issue I’ve had with them, not to mention the tree issue, and the trash issue and the sewer pipe issue. Last week when this happened, I took him home to the neighbor’s, knocked polititely and said to the kid who answered the door, “I think this is your puppy.”
“No, I don’t think so…wait, mom? Is this our dog? Yeah, I guess he’s ours.”
“Well, he’s loose; he’s terrorizing my cats, upsetting my dogs and eating all my animals’ food.”
“Um, okay, sorry.”
So, this morning, out I go and the pup practically knocks me down in his enthusiasm. He IS adorable. I was actually relieved last week to find out he belonged to the neighbors, because I really couldn’t have brought myself to call animal control, and I REALLY couldn’t have brought myself to take him in. But, in love with him or not, I am seriously peeved at his owners. Seriously, it’s 5 a.m. on a Saturday, for crying out loud. Their front door is only steps away from mine, but the puppy nearly knocks me down with every step and I’m currently nursing a bad knee, so by the time I arrive at the door, I’m pretty steaming hot.
“Bang! Bang! Bang!” I’m not knocking, politely or otherwise. I am hammering my fist. And I’m actually beginning to shake from adrenalin. I absolutely hate confrontation of any kind. And I am never the confrontor.
It’s early – damned early – so I don’t expect an immediate answer, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t hear me. And the puppy is all over me. And I still have to pee, even moreso.
“Bang! Bang! Bang!” This is a full-body knock. Still no response, not a sound. I’ve been here before, literally, and I know they don’t lock their door, so I open it. The puppy goes bounding into the house and I start shouting.
“I just let your puppy into your house after he got done tearing up my porch, again!” Just then, the mom comes into sight from around the kitchen doorway. I’m pretty sure she’s not quite awake, but I am, damn it! It’s still dark, so I can’t quite see her face, but I continue to shout. “He practically broke into my house through the screened window, and I heard breaking glass, so I don’t know yet what kind of damage is done. If he’d gotten into the house my dogs would have torn him to shreds.”
That’s all she has to say, but I’m cutting her some slack because she probably isn’t quite awake yet. But I am. Damn it. There’s no way I’m going to fall back to sleep. Might as well have a cup of coffee.
Well, that works for an hour or two. I keep myself busy, cleaning house, taking care of the animals, planning my errands and shopping list, but by 7:00 a.m. I need a nap; better to get it out of the way now, so I can still have a productive day. So I go back to bed and end up sleeping till 9:00 a.m., which for me is like wasting half a day, especially on a weekend.
9:00 a.m. Okay, that’s better. Now, more coffee. Then I have to get the pool set up so it can be filled and ready to use when I get home from running errands. The hoses are ready to go, I have to lay out and arrange foam padding on the ground, arrange the pool, centered and (hopefully) level on top of the foam (that won’t really be determined until the pool is full), and then begin the 2-person (it says so on the box) process of filling. It’s a 6-foot diameter, Snap-Set style, with hard plastic sides, 18” tall, printed all over with cutesy beach and seaside graphics designed to appeal to a 5-year old, but it gets the job done, said job being to keep me cool during my un-air-conditioned summer. The sides have to be held upright until several inches of water begins to take over that job itself, through the magic of physics. Well, I don’t have 2 persons, and this here 1 person is fixin’ to do some mutli-tasking, so…chairs, tables and rocks, strategically placed and balanced, that should do the job. Once I’m certain that everything is secure and won’t be disheveled by a wayward breeze, or cat or, hmm, a stray puppy, I head off to run my errands (banking and my dreaded weekly Walmart rendevous). The pool should take about 2 hours to fill.
2:00 p.m. Bank done. Walmart done, relatively painlessly. I ran into one of my old supervisors and that turned into a 20-minute conversation, as usual, but it was okay. I get a kick out of telling my former co-workers that being fired from Walmart turned out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I particularly enjoy going in on weekends and holidays, since I didn’t have a holiday or weekend off while working there for 10 years. Traffic is a pain due to road construction, and I was a little nervous about the pool, so I jumped on the highway and drove a couple of miles out of my way to make better time getting home. This is where I would expect to be telling you that I got home and found the pool collapsed, or over-filled, or any number of disasters which tend to befall me on a fairly regular basis, but lo-and-behold, as I pass my back yard on the way to my driveway, the pool appears to be exactly level and exactly full. Perfect. That kind of stuff never happens to me. This could turn out to be a good day.
3:00 p.m. Groceries put away. Dogs walked. Now is a good time to pour a glass of wine and consult my to-do list. I’m expecting company, too: an acquaintance who shall be referred to as TC. I will not reveal her real name, but I will tell you it is the same as a common earthenware material and/or color most commonly found in clay flower pots. TC is the sister of the wife of my former next door neighbor who is back in prison after serving time for attempted murder of said wife and then subsequently violating his parole after straying too far (namely into my backyard) from his electronic monitoring device’s base unit.
TC is supposed to come over and sort through all my scrap metal/scrap electronics piles in the barn and around my property. If she cleans it up, hauls it away, she can have whatever money she can make from it. Scrap metal is a common means of income around here. So far, she is a no-show, as is Frank, another self-proclaimed handyman that TC introduced me to last evening when she showed up asking to borrow $10. Frank is supposed to come and take “the tour,” a ritual I have performed countless times over the years, trying to get some help with projects around here. One time a guy actually dropped off roofing materials, and then never came back.
4:00 p.m. I’m on my second glass of wine, and I’m fading fast. The to-do list is overwhelming and my lack of sleep is catching up with me. I really should eat something too.
4:15 p.m. Yogurt and a nectarine. Not nearly substantial enough, so I also eat the strawberry in my wine glass. And refill the wine glass. I really don’t want to call it a day. I trudge out to the barn and decide to tackle a big project: rearranging my workout space again, to accommodate my “new” treadmill ($5.00 at last weekend’s auction). This endeavor involves moving three couches and a desk, as well digging out a dysfunctional home gym apparatus (destined for TC’s scrap pile) stashed in a corner behind one of the couches, and rearranging assorted boxes and whatnot, in addition to re-routing the electrical cords for the TV/VCR combo, the DVD player, the stereo and the treadmill. And did I mention I sprained my knee sometime in the recent past? It’s swollen to the size of a grapefruit and I can’t bend it beyond 25 degrees. But I’ve never let a little thing like an injury stop me.
6:00 p.m. Okay, that’s good. At least I got something done. I can call it a day and not feel too badly about it. I really need food. I’ve got a giant Walmart deli-pizza waiting in the fridge. Yum-oh! I’m going to preheat the oven, kick back in my “new” recliner ($25.00, last weekend’s auction) and ice my knee.
6:07 p.m. Are you freakin’ kidding me? Frank (who also happens to conveniently live in my neighborhood) is walking up the driveway. Complete with clipboard and portfolio.
6:27 p.m. We’ve taken the exterior tour. Time for the interior. Oh, crap, I forgot about the pizza, still sitting on the stove. In a previous life, the dogs would have already taken care of it for me, but my luck seems to be changing these days. The oven is definitely preheated and I’m pretty sure the tour with Frank will wrap up soon, so I pop the pizza in the oven, set the timer and we move on. Frank stopped taking notes awhile ago and looks a little overwhelmed, but he’s a trooper, and he appears to be the real deal. We decide that he will begin work on Monday, starting with the front porch fascia, which is hanging from a piece of rotted wood and which the roofers neglected to complete and which really detracts from the otherwise beautiful new roof. Frank will also be attempting to determine why my living room ceiling fan suddenly stopped working 2 or 3 years ago, and he will be venturing into my attic to determine the viability of my attic fan. He promises he can do all of this for $20 or $30, and I am excited to say the least, especially since I don’t have air conditioning and the weather is already more like August than June. (My air conditioner mysteriously disappeared from my barn several years ago, and my current electrical setup would not be able to handle the load anyway.)
The oven timer goes off just as Frank and I are wrapping things up. Perfect. If I don’t eat right now, I am going to die. I pull the pizza from the oven and walk Frank out. Just as we get to the steps of the front porch, TC (remember her?) comes walking up the driveway.
“I’m here to start making scrap piles. Where do I start?”
Are you freakin’ kidding me?
Screw the pizza. I need wine. I’ll put in 2 strawberries.
6:45 p.m. Frank is going to help TC with the scrapping. I show them where to dig, what to take, what to leave, and inform them that I want to inspect the pile before it leaves. It’s a gorgeous night so I kick back in my upholstered rocking chair on the front porch (yard sale last year, $5.00, delivered). My to-do list is still sitting on the table next to me. I can cross off the workout space project – yea, me! – but then I see something I’ve needed to do and been dreading for months: cleaning out the camper (Damien’s former abode, long story). I want to sell this thing, get it out of my way. I’ve even had several inquiries, but I won’t even show it till it gets cleaned out. And it’s bad. Really bad. Damien is a slob, and he had 5 cats living out there with him for 2½ years. (The camper’s only been there for 6 months or so; before that was a van, which was even worse, but never mind all that.) TC owes me $10. I bet she’d be willing to work it off…
9:00 p.m. It’s dark. The workers are gone. They’ll be back tomorrow to pick up the scrap metal. Now I have more space in the barn, the camper is clean and smells like lavender. And I can finally reheat my pizza. I manage to eat 2 pieces, and my strawberries, before I crash.
5:00 a.m. Crashing noises on the front porch. The dogs are going nuts. OMG. Here we go again!
9:00 a.m. I couldn’t get back to sleep, of course, after returning the puppy, threatening police action, and cleaning up the mess. (Miraculously nothing was broken, but he did a fine job of cleaning out the cat food dishes.) I need coffee, some DIY TV, maybe some pool time later. Right now, though, pizza for breakfast.
9:15 a.m. TC is here to pick up her scrap. “Okay, fine,” I tell here. “Do what you gotta do. I’m going back to my breakfast. I can’t leave my food unattended with the dogs.” She assures me she will not bother me again. Five minutes later, she’s at my front door again, asking if she can buy some picture frames she found in the barn. (“For my kids’ pictures.” She plays the kiddie card a lot when asking me for favors.) The frames are “new,” still in their wrappers, probably picked up at a yard sale (ya’ think?). $5.00, I tell her. She tells me she’ll owe me or she’ll work it off. Fine, I tell her. I just want to freakin’ eat!
To be continued…