Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Neighbors, or...?

The people in the next-door house were apparently only gone for a month or so, because tonight, for the first time since I moved in, there are lights on. I went out onto the balcony this evening for my nightly look at the lights reflected in the water and sparkling over the black surface. And turning my head, I gasped to look right into a bedroom. Across their yard, of course, but being brightly lit, it felt as though it were right beside me.

The owners no doubt also felt themselves very private in their bedroom, as it was well lit and also completely uncurtained. Large fat pillows piled on the head of a large bed, must be king-sized or even a California king. Hard to tell at this distance. But still a private oasis, since one couldn't see into it from any of my windows. And my privacy is still undiminished, since the wall facing my bedroom window is still completely blank, with nary a window in it. I suppose I will see a person eventually, but I'll burn that cross on a bridge.

Next morning: And today, there is smoke rising from their furnace pipe! I mean, I suppose that thing is a chimney, but to me, chimney means fire, as in fireplace, woodstove, built-with-your-own-hands type of thing. Funny to see the smoke coming out of the pipe and heading straight for the ground. It's pretty cold this morning -- isn't heat supposed to rise? What is going on over there? What gravity-defying stuff are they burning in that furnace? And still no signs of people. This could turn into an interesting story!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good mom, bad mom.

Well, hell.

I'm just very confused. I'm confused about who I am and who I should be in this current situation. Am I being too rigid and unyielding? Am I jealously guarding my privacy in this new, sweet, wonderful little apartment? Or am I being too soft and enabling, in allowing Joe to live with me in comfort, or at least, relative comfort, when I should have kicked his scrawny little butt to the curb long ago?

See, so Joe moved in with me last night. I knew he was going to, and I was prepared for that, but I wasn't prepared for how weird it would feel. How much I would be clenching my teeth, in bed at eleven at night, at hearing the loud movie he was watching on the computer, as he texted his friends -- he isn't even actually watching the movie, it's just that he needs the sound and the brightly shifting colors, I believe. How much I would resent it -- and him! -- for having to be quiet as I left for work this morning. How very awkward and guilty and angry this would make me feel!

And yet, how very much I care about him, and for him and worry about him and want to help him. And how easily I forgive him over and over and over again.

The kicking him to the curb part -- that is in relation to this past week. You know how I have told Joe repeatedly, that as long as he is driving an illegal car (long story) that he may not call on me for help, if he gets pulled over, it gets impounded or he gets arrested. That I do not want him to drive this car illegally, and so not to call for help, if anything goes wrong. Well, it did, and he did! He was putting new wheels on his car, "hella cool" ones, BTW, and did not put one of them on properly, apparently. It flew off while he was driving (no doubt too fast) up Thiessen hill. Fortunately Joe is a good driver, and managed to steer the car over to the side of the road without crashing into anyone, but the wheel, bouncing merrily along the road, was hit. The driver was very, very mad at Joe. And Joe promptly called me to come and bring my insurance card so the woman could get (illegal)reimbursement from my insurance company.

Wait, what?

Now, this all happened on an evening that Joe was supposed to be at home, cleaning as hard as he could go, since the house had been inhabited recently by hordes of teenage slobs, all of whom left dishes, food, cigarette butts, cigarette packs and beer ALL OVER my house. And, amazingly enough, we had a possible cash buyer who had been to look at the outside of the house, and who wanted to see inside. So I called Joe and told him, that this guy would be coming by the following morning. Joe said he and his friends would get it clean. In fact, he said that it was already clean, and that he and his friends would just put a shine on the place. So that's what he was supposed to be doing when he called me, at about nine o'clock, to ask for my insurance information.

I saw the house the morning that the man was due to come over, and it was god-awful. Joe insisted that he could get it clean in the hour and a half he had before the man showed up. But I saw it that evening, after Mr. Amazing Cash Buyer had come and gone, and it looked all but identical to the morning. Still the filthy floor in the kitchen incrusted with sticky goo. Still hardened, cracked puddles of egg on the filthy, sticky, multi-colored counters. Still piles of garbage here and there. Still food detritus in the sink. I was very, very angry, so angry at Joe for freely lying to me over the phone about how clean the house was, and how he and his friends had just spiffed it right up.

Wow. I can hardly see straight. Part of this, of course, is guilt. I should never have allowed Joe to live there on his own. I should not have cared about Joe's pleasure or his popularity or his friends in the neighborhood. I should have made him move to the apartment with me, taken his car keys away, and kept him bored and restless and irritated.

I mean, right?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

You know, the privacy I have in this small apartment is almost as good as living in a detached house! I say, ALMOST as good, because there are times when I can hear voices or footsteps, and the light of the interior walkway shines in my front door light at night -- which is actually pretty nice, and saves me the expense of a nightlight.

But I have never, not once, seen anybody out on their balcony or their patio. As I was standing out on my balcony this morning, with my cup of coffee, in my bathrobe, I was looking at the opposite balcony, and wondering why not. The house next door, though very well cared for and tidily kept, seems to be deserted -- no lights, never any lights on in there. I have yet to see the smallest sign of life over there. And no one has ever been out on their balcony, though I have, once or twice, seen someone in the paved area between the patios and the creek. Just the other day I saw someone out there smoking. Must have been a visitor, sez I, since you wouldn't move to a house that did not allow smoking, not if you smoked. Would you? Perhaps you would, though, if it were part of a quitting-smoking-package-deal you had made with yourself.

Well -- after we get through winter and move on into spring and summer, I'm sure I will see more people outside. But so far I have had absolute privacy as I stand and sip and gaze out over the water, speckled as it was this morning with rain, or full of ducks and geese and the occasional heron.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I think this is the first Saturday that I have woken in my new house, and just said, "Ahhhh-hhhhh!" Nothing I am responsible for today! I drank coffee, I made my bed, I tidied the house, I washed the two dishes from the night before... and then I picked up my purse and walked out the door into the cool morning (no rain) and over four or five blocks to Sully's, where I sat, sipping their extra-good dark coffee and waiting for my cousins to arrive. We enjoyed the food -- Billy cleaned his plate of corned beef hash down to the last morsel -- and enjoyed the conversation. We then hurried through the splattering rain under the sky lowering with dark grey clouds to my new apartment! Still only half-moved-into, it is a lovely thing to show people , especially people who are not obsessed with newness or fashion or the latest thing. People who have seen a lot of houses, and know what they are looking at! Another half hour's visit, and they went home. My first actual company!