A normal Friday involves me being at home with just Callum (as Oliver is at daycare), lots of daytime television filling up the quiet in the house (I swear, I don’t watch a lot of it, I just need to have it on for noise), a shower, getting dressed, cleaning up from Thursday (always a messy day), and possibly going out food shopping or general errand running. Today, I didn’t have any plans to leave the house. (Really for the best as I don’t seem to be able to leave the house without spending A LOT of money that I don’t have).
So the day started off not very normal. I was changing Callum’s diaper when the side door doorbell rang. Assuming it was a delivery person or something, I grabbed him, sans diaper and pulled his sleepsuit over his nether regions for modesty. I ran to the door, clutching Callum and clad in very unattractive PJ’s, to find 3 burly firefighters, in full firefighting gear, waiting for me.
They informed me that a house around the corner had a gas leak and they needed to check to see if they could get a reading in our house, particularly near the furnace. So I had to lead them through possibly the most filthy and cluttered house possible, in nasty pajamas, feeling like an ass. Anyway, no reading, and they were on their way with a warning that if it was bad, they’d be back to tell me to leave the house. They never came back.
As I wasn’t planning on going anywhere in the car, I decided around 2pm that I would take Callum and the dog for a walk to get the post. Taking Piper for a walk really isn’t that fun. She never learned not to pull on the lead mostly because we were too lazy/busy to take her to obedience classes. But after a few times of me really yanking her back on her collar, she seemed to be walking the leash pretty well, so I decided after we got the mail that we’d keep walking around the block because definitely both her and I could use the exercise.
All was going well. The sunshine was warm, the breeze was cool. I realized that we aren’t the only house in the neighbourhood overrun with dandelions, thus alleviating some of my domestic shame. We listened to the whir and hum of various machines that different neighbours had in their yards – either their gardeners or other home improvement project workers those damn rich bastards. Callum was quiet and observant. Piper was walking nicely.
Then, merely 2 houses before ours, a jet black lab-type dog started barking and running up and down the fence around its’ property and Piper was going nuts. She and this dog like to bark at each other from their respective properties, but I’d never had the occasion to meet it on a walk before. As it’s Piper, what she really wants is to play with it and sniff its butt, but this dog really just wanted to have a good bark. Which caused Piper to jump and pace. However, the problem was that I had to hang on to the leash and the stroller at the same time, and if I continued, Piper was going to pull Callum over.
So I stood at the side of the road, pushchair brakes on, and wondered what the hell I was going to do, sure that I would be unable to get them both home. At that moment, a car driving by stopped, after the driver smiled at me, and a woman emerged offering help. She wanted to take Piper, but I told her she’d probably pull her over, and I asked if she wouldn’t mind pushing Callum down the street. She looked between 40-50 years old, blonde, in very expensive ‘casual’ designer denim, and looked as if she might have had some good plastic surgery done. This is the kind of messed up neighbourhood we live in – people have plastic surgery and gardeners. And we have a lawn full of dog poop and dandelions, and too many bills to pay.
We don’t get to talk to our neighbours too often because we don’t really live in a proper neighbourhood – properties here are around a couple of acres each, and there are no sidewalks – it’s not like you are going to pass someone on the street normally, or say hello as you take out your garbage. So I was really happy that she stopped and helped me, and even introduced herself as a neighbour from farther up the street.
Community is important (hell, I’ve written papers on that topic in university) and I hope that as we continue to live here, we’ll be able to feel more a part of this town than we do right now. Even if we are the poor (relatively) relations.
Alright, now back to my regularly scheduled glass of ice water and dinner prep and laundry sorting.