Mayhem in the Burbs!

Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement. It was a Saturday morning. We were happy to have the day ahead of us, and Herm was happy not to go to work. We decided to take a walk, and then plant some azaleas and pot some ferns that we got a few days ago. Sounds like the makings of a good Saturday in the cul-de-sac, doesn’t it?

We walked out the front door to find this.This is what happens in the burbs on spring break and warm summer nights. It’s our version of big crime. This is the third time we’ve replaced our mailbox since we returned home from Dad’s a little over a year and a half ago. We had to replace it once while we were living with Dad, and once when our neighbor ran into it before we moved in with Dad. That’s five times – four due to vandalism. I know you can add, but I just wanted to write it out – five times.

When I called my neighbor to tell her about the mailbox, she sounded distracted and I could swear she was hyperventilating. She said she’d had a very strange Friday evening and Saturday morning. Someone took their jeep Friday night (same night our mailbox was smashed). It was found a couple of blocks away with a boombox in the front seat that didn’t belong to them. As if that wasn’t enough, she had a houseful of out-of-town guests for the weekend, and on top of all that, their dog died Friday night. Her day was far worse than mine. I made a cake for her. Cake makes most things better.

Herman ran up to Home Depot for a new mailbox post, and I primed and painted it for him. I touched up a shutter, painted the door going into the garage and the front door, too. I figured the paint was out, and I may as well make use of it.

Herm planted azaleas along the fence because last summer’s drought pretty much wasted the ones we planted last spring.  We didn’t get enough. We decided to run up to the nursery to get one more. When I turned the key in the ignition, my car was DEAD. I popped the hood, and Herman had a look-see. He noticed a cable was loose. He started to tighten it and the battery terminal fell off in his hand. Dead, dead, dead, poor John is dead. As Patsy would later point out, it’s a good thing it didn’t happen while we were driving down the road…. in another state or something.

We got in his truck. I hate to ride in his truck. He loves it. I hate it. We had a load of mulch because he’d gotten it earlier. I looked like … crap. Oh, I really did. I hadn’t showered or washed my hair, and I was wearing my favorite paint shirt that boasts ripped armpits. It could have been worse. At least I was wearing a bra. You know how I hate bras, and the twins are almost 61 years old.

I sat in the truck with the mulch while Herm ran in to get one more azalea. I called my best bud to force her to listen to the details of my miserable day. When she answered, I blurted out that I’d had a crappy day just as I caught the vision of a beautiful young man getting out of his truck and and coming towards me. I knew he had heard me.

He looked a lot like this as he climbed down off his mighty steed.

I turned away, as not to inflict my simultaneously flattened and stand-up hair, paint-spattered and armpit-less shirt, and splotched rosacea-faced self upon his scrumptious countenance. I realized he had heard my “crappy day” comment to my friend.

I could feel him as he walked over to the truck. Alas, he wanted to talk to me, and worse, he wanted eye contact. I stayed turned away from him, hunching my shoulders and making it clear that I was in the midst of a very important phone conversation. All the negative body language in the world would not dissuade him. He was going to talk to me and he wanted eye contact. Why do people always want eye contact when you only want the earth to open up, and allow you to die a simple and dignified death? When I wouldn’t turn to face him, he said, “Pardon me.”

No, he was not just another pretty face, his mama had raised him right. Oh, and he was gorgeous. I know, I already wrote that, but it bears repeating.

As I turned my un-showered, rosacea-faced, bed-headed self toward him, he  smiled a toothy grin that made his face light up. I swear, I saw a tiny glint of light reflect off his pearly white teeth. He opened his mouth to speak and asked, “Where did you get your mulch.”

The man wanted to know where I got my mulch. Simple question. I couldn’t think. He realized immediately that he was talking to an idiot.

Gorgeous Young Man ~ (in a sympathetic tone) You don’t know, do you?

Me ~ Um. No. Um. Yes. Yes, I do. Um, no. My husband got it. He’s in there  (pointing to the nursery).

Gorgeous Young Man ~ Smiles again and gives me time to collect myself. He must be accustomed to this reaction.

Me ~ Um. He got it somewhere on 301. Um, no, that’s not right.

Best Friend on Phone ~ Clears throat.

Me ~ Um. No, not 301. No. He got it on Route 1. Yes, right out there on Route 1… halfway to Ashland on the left.

Gorgeous Young Man ~ *Looking at me as if he doubts my information* (I can’t imagine why.)

Best Friend ~ ….

Gorgeous Young Man ~ Thank you. I’m sorry I disturbed you.

I’m sure he meant, I’m sorry you’re disturbed.

Herm returned with the azalea in hand, and we picked up a battery on the way home. We never got the mailbox post in the ground. Herman happened to be outside when the mail carrier came by, so we got our mail.

Oh, yeah, and remember those starlings that made a nest in our dryer vent? Well, they’re baaack, and they’ve taken up residence again…. and this time they broke the flap that’s supposed to keep such creatures out of there. I swear.

Have you ever had a day that just refused to end?

And I just realized I forgot to call Dad. $%*#


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