Being a Good Neighbor

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

When my eye surgeon said I'd have good days and bad days, the motherfucker wasn't kidding. I woke up this morning and couldn't see out of the right eye. It was so blurry, I felt disoriented. I was also disgusted that I had eye surgery for acute glaucoma and still encounter times when I can't see out of that eye. It took two hours this morning until my eye stabilized.

Then my vertigo kicked in. 

That's when I realized that today was the PERFECT day to clean the moss from the low-hanging part of the roof. The main part of the roof is 20' higher, steeply pitched and doesn't have mold.

The moment I moved the broken ladder from under the house, I had my next door neighbor's undivided attention. Rog has been a hawk lately when it concerns me. That's because I've been a thorn in his side; he never knows what I may do next and whether it may require his involvement. 

Rog doesn't like that at all. He doesn't like the fact that I'm his buzz kill. He can never take a day off without me up to no good. I don't think he cares that much about me, it's just that he may be traumatized permanently from whatever I might do to myself.

Under his scrutiny, I carefully propped my broken ladder against the edge of the roof. Except I forgot about the detritus caught in between the rungs which promptly fell in my hair. I let my hair grow to my waist. It's gnarly, kinky and curly. Like the roach motel, whatever gets caught rarely comes out, sometimes scaring my hair stylist.

"That's one ungodly hot mess of hair you got," she states before she pries out live beetles, twigs, pine needles and sundry items. 

"I live in the country," I say in my defense.

"We ALL live in the country," she points out.

Undeterred by what fell into my hair, I set up for today's adventure.

 It was also the perfect day to perform such an arduous task because Rog and his family were hanging out on their deck instead of running around and on their boat.

I wanted to have witnesses, just in case I fall, a likelihood considering: (1) I use a broken ladder; and (2) I've imbalance issues. I do need someone to dial 9-1-1. Just in case.

To prepare, 

I poured bleach into a bucket filled with water and then dumped a mop into the mess. I climbed the ladder with the sopping wet mop in one hand and a rake in the other. This was no mean feat. I can thank the 15 years of pilates that gave me balance even though my internal sonar is as dependable as radar over the Bermuda triangle. 

Clutching the rungs with my prehensile toes, summoning grace and finesse I never possessed in order not to topple off the broken ladder, I plopped the mop onto the roof and rubbed against the mold to separate it from the tiles. From there, I raked it off in two seconds.

Meanwhile, my neighbor, Rog, was on his deck arguing with his adult son. For some strange reason, despite my rare deafness, HIS voice I can hear clear as a bell. Every word. That has been a bone of contention for me. 

At one point, I looked over and saw him staring right at me. 

I knew that look. I've had many other encounters with this neighbor. Several of you dear Readers may recall this is the neighbor I pestered about a bird who flew into my window, Requiem for Chirpie. This time, he glared at me for he resented being placed into a new dilemma. 

It was the look of, "Great, crazy lady with imbalance issues on broken ladder. What should I do if she falls? Dial 9-1-1 or ignore her shrieks of help?"

To date, I've already traumatized his Guatamalan help as well as his landscapers. Besides falling off the ladder two years ago, I also set my lawn mower on fire. Accidentally. After I took the engine apart and back together again. Luckily, that time it didn't blow up.

Still, while I was on that ladder, mopping and raking the moss off the roof tiles, Rog argued with his back to his son, standing at the deck railing. He looked like he was going to jump off any second, come over here, pull me off the ladder and beat me to death with it. 

It took me half an hour, but without incident. I did as best as I could. I debated that entire half hour whether to forgo common sense and climb onto the roof to do a better job. Yet, I remembered the last time I did that, around twenty years ago and how vertigo struck. This round I had vertigo from the get go and still managed to climb a broken ladder and mop and rake a roof clinging from the last rungs with my toes.

Sneaking a glance over at Rog, I realized he would NEVER help me if I pulled that stunt. So, I finished the job, climbed down the ladder and put things away. He still hovered over on the deck, clutching the rail, no doubt imaging it was my neck.

In retrospect, I did succeed once more in bringing up his blood pressure and ruining his stress-free day off. One of these days he'll break and put up a tall fence. That's when I'll be a very good neighbor.

Let's be real: if I were crazy, I'd do something like this when no one was around. 

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andi said...

I have dreamed about putting up a 14 foot brick wall along the boundary that faces our neighbor with the kids. Brick walls are really expensive…

maura stone said...

I dream of a 20' high wooden fence. But my neighbor said as long as I live there, he doesn't see the need for a fence. I'm providing many reasons!

PS: I really like him & his family. Imagine if I didn't!!!