A Letter to My Neighbors

winniefirstdayDear Neighbors,

I don’t see many of you very often even though we’ve lived here for three years. You leave for work or stay in your climate controlled homes, and except for those occasional conversations we have while getting our mail, dragging our trash cans up the driveway, or shoveling snow, our interactions tend to be limited to the occasional hand wave. My guess is that you know me as the woman who blasts music out of the front bedroom over the garage and occasionally stands too close to the window while having strange conversations about something called tweeting. I often have a phone in my hand. And I have two kids who leave about 8:45 and return about 4:00 every day.

Well, get ready. Because things are changing.

You see, neighbors, we got a puppy over the weekend. Yes, she’s HOA compliant. Yes, we’re registering her and getting her vaccinated and making sure she’s trained to walk on a leash. Unlike many of you, our backyard is fenced (I’m looking at you, Jack Russells), so she shouldn’t be visiting any of you. But our backyard is also muddy from snow and down a flight of stairs from the deck, so you’re about to see a lot more of me. Here’s a little heads up:

1. I’m not a morning person. I enjoyed a sunrise one time in my life. It was at the end of an overnight cast party in high school and arrived just as an amazing conversation with a boy was ending. A couple weeks later that boy started dating my friend, and they’re now married with a couple beautiful children. I still think the boy and my friend are great, but have no need for sunrises. Puppies get up early and they need to go out. If you see me before dawn, assume that I’m feeling homicidal and look the other way.

2. I prefer to wear very little to sleep. Before we had kids, I enjoyed sleeping au natural. Once I had to get up and do strange things during the night like mix formula and pump milk and warm bottles, I learned that it’s easier to be wearing clothing when you wake up than it is to find clothing while fumbling around the room in a stupor. Still, I much prefer to just throw on the comfiest t-shirt I can find and crawl in bed. The problem with that is that when puppy needs to go out, she needs to go out now. I’m trying my best to remember pants, but I’m apologizing up front. You know, just in case. Sleep deprivation does strange things to people.

3. My pajamas are a bit ridiculous. Hey neighbor across the street who enjoys a cigarette on the stoop before starting the day, I see your matching jammies and masculine slippers and I raise my Diet Dr. Pepper to you. Well done, sir. In my experience, matching pajamas are far less comfortable than mismatched, random pieces of clothing. This morning I’m wearing red flannel pants with jolly snowmen and women on them. They say Joe Boxer and I have no idea how they ended up in my house. My t-shirt says 100% Bulldog Cheerleader, which I was 20 years ago when I wore it to cheer. And no, it’s not dirty. That’s just paint from several different rooms in a few different homes. This is as good as it gets, folks.

4. I talk to my puppy. A lot. I fill awkward silences by talking or writing blog posts like this in my head. When I’m hanging out in the front yard or walking with puppy, I talk to her to let her know that I’m there, she’s safe, and that her neurotic mother is unable to sit in silence for long periods of time without tweeting or texting. And in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that the “potty phrase” we’ve chosen for our girl is “to the lu.” We didn’t want to use a word or phrase that we might use in the house like potty, pee pee, or bathroom – yes, these words come up often in our day-to-day lives – so I went with the phrase I used when I lived in London. The problem with this is that I immediately realized how ridiculous it feels to tell a dog to go to the lu. In public. Where neighbors can hear me. Still, we’re sticking with it. This morning I caught myself slipping into song because it turns out that “go to the lu” isn’t so incredibly different than skip to my lou. I’ve got no good excuses for that one…

See you out front,

Your Neighbor

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1 Comment

  • A.Smith

    LOL!!! My Mom used to tell her dog to ‘get busy’ so you can imagine the confusion when a Sean Paul song comes on the radio.