As a blogger (or blog-guh, if you're from Jersey) I'm often times asked for my opinions on various family-related subjects and have even been allowed to share my thoughts on really important stuff (like, helping to make blog comments count) every now and again.
Aaaaand, not because I'm some sort of expert or anything. It's just that raising 3 teens, 1 tween and killer dust bunnies (be careful, they bite!) my husband Garth (not his real name) and I have become quite accustomed to expecting the unexpected.
Sort of like jumping waves at the beach, really.
My husband's first response would mostly likely be "Okay, relax, this too shall pass, let's just move along," right after my obligatory "Holy crap on, a stick!" acknowledgement of just how quickly FUBAR life can get.
In other words: I am just another mom, trying to hold it together, just like everybody else, who's maybe grown a little more accustomed to dealing with crap...on a stick!!!
Which is why, rather than doling out worthless little pieces of advice pellets from my parenting Pez dispenser (sorry, been watching too many late night episodes of Cheers lately), I believe in leading by example.
"Hrmph, I think Unfriendly Neighbor bought the house next door."
Our 104 year-old neighbor moved into an assisted living facility, her house was on the market for only about a month when it went under contract and in the house next hers lives the neighbor who hates my kids.
"How do you know HE bought it?"
I have this TERRIBLE habit of thinking out loud. Which, of course, then opens me up to being challenged by anyone who happens to be around at that particular moment. This time, it was my 13 year-old son.
"Well, the house sold this month."
In the 19 years that we've lived here, I can count on one hand the times Unfriendly Neighbor has helped us with keeping Ms. Grace's lawn manageable.
"Aaaaaand, he's mowing the lawn AGAIN!"
I mean, NOT that he is supposed to or anything, however, Unfriendly Neighbor's got a riding mower and...wait for it...ours has been broken for years.
"Oh, I said hello to him, is that bad?"
"Aaaaand, he actually said hello back."
"So, maybe he doesn't hate us as much as YOU think he does."
Okay, my turn.
"How do you know?"
Brilliant, right? That'll learn my son. Challenge an adult, that's fine, be ready to back your argument up with fact(s).
"Because, I went to cut the hill for you and it was already done."
My husband fixed our self-propelled mower so it actually, you know, self-propels now. So, I tackled the small-ish field behind our pool yesterday, where the kids play softball, soccer and such, ignoring Unfriendly Neighbor as he rode by, not caring whether or not he heard me cursing like a truck driver each time the damned thing stalled in the high grass.
"Maybe he felt bad and saw that it was taking you a real long time."
"It's a good thing I waved and said hello to him then, right?"
Yep. MUCH smarter than me.
[flash-forward to earlier this morning]
"So, it turns out Unfriendly Neighbor did buy the propery next door."
Leave it to Garth (not his real name) to take the intiative to, you know, actually check real estate records.
"Well, he IS cleaning the place up real nice."
Not that I'll be baking him a cake, anytime soon or anything.
"Maybe it will help our property value go up, a little more, too."
Then again, what do I know?
"Maybe I'll bake him a cake or something."
Stupid grass. Dumbass economy.
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