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Archive for the ‘Home Sweet Home’ Category

Dear Neighbors,

Y’all be out here WILDIN’ (as the kids say). That is, if the Next Door app is any indication.

I live a quiet life. I mind my own business. I’m not out trying to be the stereotype of Angry White Woman (i.e., Karen or BBQ Becky).

Some of you are LIVING for the drama. And bringing it.

For example, Laurie and Claralyn woke up and chose violence.

And then there are posts like the following that have me shaking my head, for a variety of reasons.

My guilty pleasure is following the Best of Next Door on Twitter.

I mean, LOOK:

How could I resist?

But in the words of the late, great Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?”

Despite the inauspicious start, I get along with both my next-door neighbors, and I’m close with about a dozen of you in our neighborhood. And some of you must like me a little as you voted me into a leadership role. I also took on the task of editing the neighborhood newspaper. Because of course I did.

As I have free rein with the paper, I want to start an advice column to help resolve minor conflicts. Like alley clippings. Neighbor friends Kathy and Marlane have agreed to help.

I think it could be fun. Also, it may raise everyone’s self awareness and tolerance.

But probably not. 😬😉

Anyway, I’m just trying to help. No need to get knickers in a twist over Christmas lights and weeds, when there is the VERY REAL problem of holiday creep.

My friend Jude sent me evidence of Valentine’s Day merch in a store on Dec. 27.

THAT’S a problem.

Your neighbor,
Beth

*RIP Bob McGrath.

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Dear Halloween,

I love you so much. Still. As I’ve said. And this year, I feel like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities you provide.

Decorating the house? Check.

Haunted Mine? Check.

Costumed cat? Check.

Six Flags Fright Fest? Check. With the boys, even, who had a bit they did for the occasion.

Carving pumpkins? Check.

The Darkness haunted house? Check. Although that wasn’t without risk.

I wasn’t moving fast enough, so Dominic moved me into a doorframe. On accident. So he says. 😉

Scary movies and fire pit? Check.

I’ve even seen “Halloween Ends.” (I would not say it was worth the time and money. Maybe I’m just a hipster when it comes to franchises.)

I’m looking forward to seeing if I get trick or treaters this year — my first year in my house.

Anyway, thanks for being you. I’m a fan.

Love,
Beth

*Alice, of course.

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Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for the vote of confidence last night. I’m looking forward to serving as member-at-large for the next two years.

I ran for the position because I want to give back to the neighborhood I love so much. And get to know more of you.

Here’s a snippet of my neighborhood activities Tuesday:

• Took a jacket to the drycleaner.

• Changed a haircut appointment.

• Greeted wine bar owner Jessica, who has a fantastic new hairdo.

• Enjoyed wine tasting at the wine bar.

• Saw new friends Crystal and Ty. Met Ty’s girlfriend Jen.

My “gamer girls” and I didn’t get together for board games as usual after the wine tasting, but that was OK. I still had a good time. And all this happened within two blocks of my house.

Now, the neighborhood is not without issues. The Kia Boyz love this place too.

And my next-door neighbor sent this email yesterday:

Nothing in the body of the email. (This is typical Kate. Also, Kate doesn’t have a cell phone.)

Of course, my response was:

As it turns out, a deceased person was found in a car on a street that borders the park.

What’s funny is that Kate is out of town, yet knew more about what was happening nearby than I did.

That’s why she’s Block Captain. I will have to step up my game in my new role.

Soon, I’ll be in the know also.

As I’m always curious (read: a bit nosy), I’m excited.

Thanks again!

Your neighbor and board rep,
Beth

*Thanks, Mr. Rogers.

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Dear Kate and Kathy,

We appear to have a symbiotic relationship. I force you to get out and “people” occasionally. You tell me about all the good stuff going on in the neighborhood.

I had no idea when I moved in that our neighborhood is such a happening place!

Naked bike rides, concerts in the park, Friday evening socials, garden tours, antiques fairs, the Moonlight Ramble, and now the Tour de Lafayette.

It’s such a big deal that it even warranted beer tents.

Not that I could partake. Beer and a 5:44 a.m. flight don’t mix.

Still, it was cool to see the racers whipping around the park.

So thanks for the intel. See you Tuesday for game night!

Your new neighbor/friend,
Beth

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Dear Kate,

Thanks for telling me about the World Naked Bike Ride.

I would never have known about it. That’s what neighbors are for, I guess.

I had no idea that hundreds of naked people would be riding along the street that is perpendicular to mine: tits and bits mere steps from my front door.

Naturally, we pulled out the chairs to watch the procession.

I had a moment of concern as I had Gideon, 16, with me. But I’m not prudish, and he has access to PLENTY through his phone.

Here they come!

I needn’t have been worried at all. It was not, IN ANY WAY, a sexualized, deviant event.

In fact, the ride might have put all of us off sex for a very long time. 😉😂

There they go.

Good for all the riders for promoting body positivity and the reduction of our carbon footprint.

And thanks, neighbor, for making sure I know about crucial local events. This one was (as you well know) right up my alley.

See you Tuesday for game night!
Beth

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Dear Gladys,

I need to report that I got a lemon of a cat.

I love Leo, I do. And that is the only reason I can justify the THOUSANDS of dollars needed to fix him.

First, it was an ingrown dewclaw. The person you hired did not do it correctly.

What the vet removed.

Then he suddenly had a lump on his back end.

Plus another swollen toe.

Seriously, lady: Who did this surgery? He/she should never be able to do it again.

The lump: A sarcoma that needed to be removed immediately.

A day/night in the hospital plus nearly $3K later, and he’s home looking like a football (according to my mom).

But he’s alive. And has all four limbs. (There was some concern from the vet that he’d have to lop off the leg to get all of the mass.)

I’m sure you didn’t realize he would go through any of this. (Except maybe the dewclaw surgery. You knew the antibiotics weren’t working.)

Anyway, he’ll be fine in 10-14 days. Not sure when my bank account will recover if the pet insurance claim is denied.

Send thoughts and prayers*,
Leo Richardson’s new mom

* ‘Cause those ALWAYS work.

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COVID, Day 7 (Maybe? Could be Day 4 depending on when I displayed symptoms from ‘Rona and not the booster.)

Captain’s Log

I’m feeling fine, but still testing positive.

I’ve managed not to drink away my sorrows every day, but isolation is difficult for an extrovert.

I’m not an indoor cat.

And even my indoor cat has gone loopy.

His tongue is stuck.
He went to sleep with his mouth open.

I’m SO BORED.

I’m sick of TV. I’m tired of social media. I’ve had enough of lonely walks around the neighborhood.

I’ve even cleaned out the freezer.

That’s how bad it is.

But I’ve eaten well. That’s positive. Haven’t lost taste or smell.

I’ve been FaceTiming people because I need human contact. (Petra knows. She got a surprise.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll test negative, and I can rejoin society. Carefully, of course.

The good news is that I don’t appear to have infected anyone else.

Small victories.

Sigh.

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Dear Coronavirus:

Why are you still here? I hate you so much. I’ve managed to avoid you for more than two years (safety first!), but you finally got me.

How? I don’t know. You tell me!

Having an incubation period of 2-14 days makes tracking source difficult.

All I know is that I got my second booster Friday. By Sunday, I had a sore throat. I took two tests from two different companies. Both negative.

See? Negative.

On Monday, I felt like crap: headache, body pain. I was already scheduled to go to a new doctor to establish care.

Me: I got the second booster Friday and feel terrible today.
Her: That’s the booster. I wouldn’t have recommended you get the second one so soon.
Me: They recommended after six months.
Her: Yeah, but you don’t have comorbidities.
Me: Right.

The cough started Tuesday.

The runny nose started yesterday.

I decided to take another test.

Uh oh.

And then another from a different brand.

I was furious and mortified.

I spent my weekend living my best life as the infection vector I apparently am: garden tour and antiques fair with neighbors, dinner with a colleague, handyman direction on wall patches, “Stranger Things” with my sister, card games with neighbors.

So I had to issue various and sundry mea culpas.

It’s possible I was exposed to you on my flight home from Savannah: Two hours on the runway (weather delay), an hour at the gate (more fuel), an hour in the air. I was one of only three people wearing a mask (because, of course, you no longer exist 🙄).

I don’t know.

I do know that I had another busy week/weekend planned, including lunch for about 15 family members at my place. But now, thanks to you, I will spend the next 5-10 days on my own with just Leo Richardson to keep me company.

Leo, who also is not feeling well.

Leo, the cat who (likely) got COVID.

Gee, I wonder how he could have caught COVID. (Note: I am not kissing the cat. He was sleeping on my shoulder, and I turned my head for the pic.)

So thanks SO MUCH for your continued presence in all of our lives.

(Sarcasm is my love language.)

Your new BFF,
Typhoid Mary
‘Rona Beth

*Manic Street Preachers’ ninth studio album. Worth a listen.

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Dear Gladys,

I enjoyed meeting you for five minutes outside the Greenville, S.C., airport as I adopted your cat son Leo. Thank you for posting him on a rescue site and choosing me as his new parent.

He’s not happy. At all.

You may have saved my sanity. Seriously.

As I mentioned, I’ve been living alone for a few months — visiting family when I can.

Those after-dinner hours (7-9 p.m.) are really quiet/lonely. I can only watch just so much “Ozark” and “Great British Baking Show.” And my house is VERY clean.

Isolation has breathed life into my workaholic side, for sure. Plus, I took on a freelance project and am taking courses online toward various credentials.

Still.

I found myself talking to — and responding to — myself. Out loud. Uh oh.

And I missed taking care of critters (i.e., Dominic and Gideon).

I haven’t had a pet in 11 years. It’s been 16 since I’ve had a cat. That’s weird in itself, as I had a cat or cats my whole life. At one point, Eddie and I had four dogs and four cats.

We had a temporary cat at the time of this Christmas card photo, and Maggie the Boxer hadn’t joined us yet. The photo gives you an idea of the craziness, though.

I’ve been wanting a Sphynx for more than five years — haunting rescue sites because I wasn’t about to spend more than $2K on a damn cat.

Luckily, you started to travel more and felt guilty about boarding him all the time.

So now he’s mine. Traumatized, but mine.

Things are going great.

He is aggressively cuddly. He gets right in my face. Breathing in my mouth to steal my soul.

And has to be ON ME at all times.

I mean. LOOK AT HIM.

Look at this FOOT!

I don’t know how you were able to give him up, but I’m so glad you did.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Beth, Leo’s new mom

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Dear Neighbor Lady,

We did not start off on the right foot. And then I didn’t actually meet you for weeks after I moved in. When I did, it consisted of you hollering “Hello, I’m your neighbor!” from your car.

That was fine. I had resigned myself to not really having a relationship with you. Plus, Kate on the other side has been PLENTY of neighbor for me.

But then I happened to come in the front door with some groceries, as opposed to the back. And you appeared on your front porch at the same time. You wanted to warn me about porch pirates, and let me know you put a package of mine in the side yard.

Me: Thank you for that. This move has been hard enough without people stealing packages too.

We looked at each other for a few beats. Blinked.

You: For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about that.

And that’s all it took. All I needed for everything to be OK.

As it turns out, we had both asked our real-estate agents if we could have a conversation just ourselves. We were denied. By your agent.

You: I really think we could have worked it out if we could have just talked to each other.

We ended up spending about 30 minutes on our porches chatting. And then set up brunch, where we talked for nearly two hours.

You are a badass bitch, and I’m a fan.

All the trouble is water under the bridge.

Looking forward to getting to know you better!

Your Friend at 1415,
Beth

*I miss Fred Rogers.

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