Monday, May 19, 2008

Looking forward.

Since the thought of the next few lonely weeks (months, years?) is too depressing for me to take "in toto," I'm just trying to break my future into little bits, and trying to find something to look forward to in each little bit. (Hey--this technique got me through a lot of otherwise dreary school weeks, back in the day.)

Last week, I looked forward to the outdoor music/art festivals that were held downtown over the weekend. Check! I went, I ate greasy fried things, I listened to music, the weather was gorgeous (if bordering on a bit too warm) and I bought a delightful little bird pin that looks something like this (only even cuter, because its little legs are wearing black-and-white striped stockings and ruby slippers, a la wicked witches everywhere, and there is no college sports team aspect to it):

Isn't that adorable? Check out JustPlainJane for other little bits of fun.

This week I was planning to look forward to receiving a pair of diamond earrings I purchased on "e to the bay" from a woman named Phyllis in Atlanta for a red-hot bargain price.. (Do you know her, Sauntering Soul? Don't you hate it when people ask questions like that, as if the fact that two people live in the same city, despite the size of the city involved, must mean that they are acquainted? And don't you hate it when someone asks that and you really DO know the person, and you have to get off your high horse with the 'tude and be all "hey--small world"? I digress.) But I can no longer look forward to that because they came in the mail today. (And I only bought them on Thursday!) Here they are--aren't they sparkly?

They are now residing in the bottom pair of my "upper holes." Which means I now have three diamond studs in each ear, with the bottom pair of holes reserved for the fun earrings du jour. (Yes, that's a total of four holes in each ear. What can I say--I like jamming needles through my flesh. Okay, I don't...but I do LOVE earrings.) For anyone reading this, thinking "hey--I'm going to track this chick down and steal all those diamonds right out of her lobes," PLEASE don't bother. They're sparkly, but they're not very big. Totally not worth the risk of possible jail time.

So now I'm going to look forward to getting my "Nensa" membership card in the mail, which should happen in 5-10 business days, if the email I received, confirming the receipt of my test results, is any indication. (That and the fact that they have already debited my bank account for the membership fee.) Then I can carry it around and wave it in the faces of those who dare to challenge me. I wish "Nensa" had enough of a sense of humor to have the card proclaim "Certified Smartypants," but I'm sure that's not the case. (BTW, I think you should all become "Nensa" members as well, and we can call ourselves "smartypants bloggers," instead of "mommy bloggers" or "personal bloggers." Hee.)

I'm also looking forward to the 50th birthday party of one of my guitar-playing friends this weekend. There is going to be an actual stage set up in the backyard, and lots and lots of picking and grinning. And eating. And drinking. Should be mucho fun! (And perhaps an opportunity to play the "smartypants" card? Hmm....hee.)

So...those are my "looking forward to" items for this week.

What else is going on in my little world? Not a whole lot, truthfully. The sciatica continues to improve, but damn--I'm all tight and twisted! I've tried to do yoga a couple of times, and I'm feeling pain in muscles I never felt pain in before. No fun.

You know what else is no fun? My newish next-door neighbors--you know, the ones with the playground in their backyard. Really, I'm all for kids having a good time, but they're out of control. It's like living next door to a carnival. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's what they've got out there:

  • 2, yes TWO full-sized metal swingsets with slides
  • baby-sized covered swing
  • one see-saw
  • one jungle gym
  • one merry-go-round
  • 2 of those cube-shaped castle-y things with different-shaped holes and a slide
  • turtle-shaped sandbox with cover
  • portable basketball hoop
  • child-sized picnic table
  • adult-sized wrought-iron table with umbrella and chairs
  • barbeque grill
  • mini-trampoline
  • about a dozen identical large plastic balls
  • trikes, trucks, wagons and assorted things you push around

All this for two small toddlers who I almost never see outside. Is it just me, or does this seem excessive? Am I just out-of-touch with the entertainment needs of today's kids? When I was a kid, we had a swingset, period. (Well, a swingset, and trees, and a creek, and the whole OUTDOORS.) Was I just deprived as a child, and therefore now a cranky old thing?

You know what really bothers me, though? Not the kids--like I said, they're hardly ever outside, and they're cute, and their mom seems sweet (if horrifyingly young to me). It's their father's seemingly endless supply of late teens/early twenties slacker dude friends. Seriously, EVERY DAY there are at least 2-3 (not necessarily the same ones each time) guys just hanging out on their porch and in the backyard, smoking and drinking, making themselves at home on the playground equipment while the tenants themselves are not home.

And maybe I am a cranky old thing, but that bothers me. They just come over and hang out in the backyard for hours at a time, letting themselves in through the back gate. They often show up mysteriously without a car. They're just THERE, all the time. It makes me (and Pudge) a little nervous. I mean...I don't know these guys. They don't live there. But every time I go outside, there they are. I like to sit outside and enjoy the nice spring air while Pudge does his business. (I used to also enjoy communing with Dolly occasionally, but she rarely shows up before dark these days.) I don't linger as much as I used to, because...there they are. Mostly during the day, but sometimes in the evenings. Just sitting there. Smoking. Staring. It occurs to me that they know I live alone, and they probably know way more about my daily routine than anyone who doesn't live in my neighborhood needs to know. And maybe (probably) they're completely harmless...just bored (don't they have jobs?), and enjoying the nice tree-shaded backyard of a buddy, and I do appreciate that they're usually pretty quiet, but...I don't like it. I don't like that they're there when I'm not, because they don't live there.

If that makes me cranky and old, so be it. But what do you think? Would that bother any of you?

And stay off my lawn, you damn kids!


3carnations said...

We put up a privacy fence about 5 years ago. There are old ladies on one side of us who love to stare. Now they have to stare out their window. It's creepy. Sometimes I want to wave.

As far as items in backyard...We've got tons. All the trucks get put away in a deck box, but we've got quite a few things back there. It's not hurting anyone, though. :)

Noelle said...

Just reading that list makes me cranky.

Sparkling Cipher said...

All that stuff for two toddlers, but you hardly ever see the kids out there? Kinda weird.

The guys hanging out? Definitely worth being uneasy about. Maybe they are innocently hanging out, but it just takes one creep.... It would be nice if they didn't realize Pudge isn't a vicious attack dog.

Whiskeymarie said...

Those dudes have got to go. I think it's odd that they let random guys just hang out when they're not there.

And, pretty earrings! Yay!

-R- said...

Yeah, the neighbor thing would bother me. Especially the staring, along with the fact that they don't live there. They sound creepy.

That is a lot of junk for a backyard. Whoa.

The earrings look pretty!

Stefanie said...

I agree; that's a lot of stuff for a backyard, and the slacker dudes sound creepy. You're not a cranky old lady for thinking either of those things.

Also, I'm intrigued by the Nensa thing... What do they require to get in, anyway??

lizgwiz said...

3car, you can do anything you want behind a privacy fence. ;)

noelle, I'm glad it's not just me!

spark, the only actual conversation I've had with these guys is when one called out "what kind of dog is that?" and I answered "Doberman and...something." I hope they think the "something" is really, really mean!

whiskeymarie, it IS weird, isn't it? It's like they think life is really like a sitcom where the friends are there constantly and never knock! ;)

-r-, yeah, I'll put up with a lot from actual neighbors, but "neighbor" should mean "people who LIVE in a neighborhood."

stef, I am reassured. As for Nensa, you can take one of their proctored tests, or you can submit certain previous test scores (depending somewhat on when you took them)--there's a list of acceptable scores at And also a practice test. I submitted my ACT scores. You should check it out.

L Sass said...

Neighbors! Creepola!! Especially the random slimy guys hanging around. The mountain of kids toys could get obnoxious, but strange men killing time in the backyard = a no for me.

Sauntering Soul said...

Oh yeah! My next door neighbor is named Phyllis and she just told me sold her diamond earrings online! How freaking weird? (Just kidding. Obviously.) I've known a few women named Phyllis here in Atlanta though so who knows.

You want to hear a weird "small world" story? I was going on some winery tours way far away from Atlanta up on Long Island about 6 or 7 years ago. Through a conversation with one of the employees in charge of the wine tastings at one particular winery, I found out he went to college down here in Atlanta, and he had lived in Snellville (the 'burb of Atlanta I grew up in). Then it got even odder. His college roommate was the son of a lady I had worked with for years and he rented a room in her basement after he graduated from college until he decided to move to NY.

Sauntering Soul said...

P.S. Yes, the guys hanging out next door to you would freak me out. And I live next door to a half-way house for mental patients in downtown Atlanta so that's really saying something.

lizgwiz said...

lsass, it's good to know people who are definitely not old and cranky agree with me!

ss, years ago I got a tattoo in Seattle from a guy who had family in Tahlequah, the tiny little town where I grew up. It IS a small world. :)

gorillabuns said...

The strange people hanging out? IS STRANGE!!! and i have an assortment of playground balls and shit scattered about.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Yeah, that would bother me. Does the young mother know that random dudes are hanging out in her yard, on her childrens' playground(s)?

Good job with the e to the bay steal!

Stinkypaw said...

That would bother me as well, but then again, I'm cranky so... And all those things! it's as of their running a day care or something... maybe it's to amuse the other guys during the day?! Love the earings.

If you're really nervous about those guys, maybe mention it to the police... better safe than sorry.