Tag Archives: property line dispute

Happy Anniversary To Me

26 Sep

“Dear husband,” I said, “it’s been a year.”

“No!” he answered. “Really?”

“Yes. A whole year at the end of this month,” I said.

“But what about that time our daughter had a sleep over and our son didn’t come out of his cave for hours?”

“Oh. My. God,” I said. “It hasn’t been a year for THAT! And don’t tell me it feels like it!”

“Well, then I’m at a loss,” he said.

Normally, I’m the one who forgets anniversaries, particularly my wedding anniversary. I got married on either the 16th or 17th of October. Never can remember which. So, whenever anyone asks me when I got married, I say, “Saturday. It was a Saturday.” My husband has the PhD in History. He remembers the date and rolls his eyes when I don’t.

It has been a year since I started writing and publishing Snide Reply. At the risk of sounding like a Holiday Letter, I thought I’d go through some of my old posts and update you on some of the more popular. For those who jumped on the Snide wagon later in its run, I’m including links to the original posts.

I started running just a couple of months before I started blogging. At that time, I could run about 3 miles. I am writing this having run 9 miles this afternoon. Of course, I can barely get out of my chair to hobble to the kitchen and refill my teacup.

I still don’t have an attractive website. I have a really cool domain name and I have a website. The two shall not meet in my lifetime. See, the website is totally lame. I built it myself when I had no idea where my life was going. That happens when you make plans and life does that mice and men thing with them.

I have a better idea where my life is going these days so maybe it’s time to re-tackle the website. To my endless stupefaction and glee, I am now a parent columnist. Me! The self-admitted queen of parental immaturity. Ok, so it’s only been a couple of weeks, but a girl has to start somewhere. Look at Jenny McCarthy! Her parenting qualifications are . . .what?  Oh, yeah, she posed naked and had a baby. Do you think T. Berry Brazelton ever posed naked?

The worst I’ve done is go commando thought the pharmacist who knows has moved on to Wal-Mart. Actually, I may be going commando again soon. And my husband had to skip the briefs at least once. Laundry used to be his responsibility and lawn mowing was mine. We tried to get our son to do the lawn-mowing thing because he hated doing the litter box thing. He wanted nothing to do with the lawn because it was, as he said, “outside.”

“Look,” I said. “you either mow the lawn or you do the laundry.” Ha! I thought, now I have him.

“Cool!” he said. “I love laundry! Laundry smells awesome!”

So, now my husband mows the lawn and my son does the laundry. We have realized, though, that having a teenage boy with ADHD responsible for keeping us in clean undies was probably not our best parenting move. Many is the time a load made it into the washer and stayed there . . .and stayed there . . .and stayed there. Our son has learned that laundry only smells awesome if it makes it from the washer to the dryer in fewer than 24 hours.

The portal to hell is still outside our front door. The dog is still insane. The cat is on a diet. So far, so good. He hasn’t broken anything out of spite. He may have taken a nibble or two out of the fish, though, which is looking rather ragged of late. The end is likely near, as evidenced by his tendency to swim sideways. I predict he’ll go to the great toilet bowl in the sky before the end of the year.

I’m still a pretty bad Buddhist, according to my kids. My son pointed out to me just a few days ago that a good Buddhist probably wouldn’t call the driver who cut her off a “freaking idiot.” I’m better about the cyclists who fly past me on the prairie trail. I no longer mumble obscenities at them. I am saving my obscenities for the people who are treating the prairie as their personal cutting garden these days. My daughter suggested I try out a nearby trail that runs through an equestrian center. I’m pretty sure even Buddha couldn’t keep his cool running behind horses, but then again, it would definitely keep me mindful and aware.

As my episodes on the prairie illustrate, I still have anger issues. I still hate liver, read crap and get jealous, too. But, I haven’t taken a serious trip to Funky Town in a while. My son is ok with “Spithead” and no one has puked around here lately. My kids are still pikers when it comes to sibling rivalry.

I am overjoyed to report that the shed never went up. The cosmos aligned in a gigantic “I told you so,” when my neighbor hired someone to survey the property line. I left the hot pink flagging tape which proved the line did, indeed, fall exactly where I said it did as long as possible. We found, in fact, that we have a lot more property than we thought we did. My neighbor and I have entered a sort of cold war, though. He no longer speaks to me and his children run like rabbits whenever I come out of the house. I’m thinking it just needs a little more time and a lot more of me being the nicest, most cheerful person I know how to be. Stop laughing; I can be very cheerful.

I’ve made lots of people laugh in the past year. I think I’ve made some cry. I know I’ve hurt feelings, unintentionally of course. Still, I’m more careful about what I write and how I phrase things. There are certain things I’ll never write, at least not here and not as non-fiction. But I’ll keep writing and I hope you’ll keep reading.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for a truly wonderful year.

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Put Up Your Dukes

15 Nov

My mother and father were married for a very long time. They didn’t fight much, but when they did, it was memorable. Not for its violence; they were never violent. No, when my mother and father fought, they were eloquent. I can’t remember a particular fight, but I know that it would go something like this. My mother would accuse my father of some transgression. If she called him a name, it wasn’t just any random epithet. Once, for instance, she called him “an arrogant a—hole.” The alliteration just came naturally, flowed right off her tongue and was delivered with panache. My father, a wise man, would respond, but in Latin. “Mea culpa,” he’d say. “Mea maxima culpa.”

Fights are usually about something stupid.

Every couple I know has had a fight about Tupperware, for instance. We have tried every system of plastic container management in our house. Every one has lead to a fight of epic proportions. Early in our marriage, I recall yelling, “If you loved me, you’d put the Tupperware away right,” then running up to our bedroom, slamming the door and crying until I felt like an idiot for crying about Tupperware.

We tried the “as seen on TV” container system with just one lid for every type of container. It brought peace to our house for some time. Then my daughter decided the various sizes made good homes for various sizes of bugs. Grasshoppers fit nicely in the tall ones. The medium ones made good homes for worms and the small ones were ideally suited to Japanese beetles. We had many conversations about how my daughter would feel if I put her in a plastic container with a few twigs and some leaves. Apparently, she would feel just fine because all of my plastic containers disappeared. I hope I never find them.

I stopped buying expensive plastic containers after the bug incidents. I tried the kind with the stacking lids. The lids never got stacked. I realized that part of our problem was that a 14-year-old boy was responsible for unloading the dishwasher. In his mind, that meant that if the dishwasher was empty, he had done his job. Returning the dishes to their assigned location did not enter his mind. So, the measuring spoons were in with the steak knives, the pot lids were with the casserole dishes, the coffee mugs were on the counter and the container lids were nowhere to be found.

One night, my husband snippily asked where he might find a lid for a plastic container. He probably doesn’t think he was snippy, but I heard snip. I sighed, left what I was doing and went to get the poor helpless thing a lid. I knew I could find one, as I had numerous times before.

I couldn’t find one. Nothing matched. We had just two kinds of plastic container, those with red lids and those with blue lids. There were lots of blue lids and lots of red containers. There were even some old Chinese food containers, but no lids that matched bottoms. My head blew up. I began tossing containers around the room, determined that somewhere at the bottom of the container pile there had to be a secret store of container lids. I snapped, “Fine! You organize the darn things.” I’m pretty sure I didn’t say darn, but you get the picture.

So, my husband organized the plastic nightmare. Now, every container has its lid firmly placed atop it and the containers are then stacked neatly in the pantry. It’s working for now.  If my son continues his slovenly habit of just putting the containers and tops on the counter for me to put away, we could avoid a Tupperware fight for years.

Recently, I’ve been fighting with my neighbor. He’s a fine man. He has a beautiful family. His children play with my daughter. His wife is lovely. He is building a storage shed right next to my dining room window.

I tried to get him to stop. I was reasonable. I looked up the ordinances. I checked my plat of survey. I went outside and pointed out where I believed my property line was. His shed was going to be too close. Ah, too bad! No shed on the side of my house.

But he looked up ordinances, too. He found an ordinance that allowed him to put his shed where he wanted it. Bad. Shed on the side of my house.

Again, I tried to be reasonable. I calmly discussed the inappropriateness of placing a storage shed right outside your neighbor’s window. I pointed out that I would be forced to look at his shed every time I looked out my dining room window. He said he has to look at my gazebo every time he looks out his living room window. This made no sense to me but instead of saying “Huh?” I shouted, “Your shed will be ugly!” The conversation devolved. It became a fight.

I appear to have lost the fight. The shed is going up. We have made what is probably a vain attempt at involving the city. But, I’m still mad. As I write, it’s cold and dark. The shed is still going up. The nails are being hammered. My inside-my-head voice is saying, “I hope his hands are cold,” and “I hope he hammers his thumb.”

I don’t really want him to hammer his thumb. That would bring me bad Karma and I don’t need any more bad Karma. I’ve got a shed for a view, for crying out loud.

I try to follow the teachings of Buddha but my son says I am the worst Buddhist who ever lived, because I get mad and let people know it. I remember being in a Buddhist bookstore with a friend. She was telling me about a problem she had with a mutual acquaintance who had done something to really make my friend angry. She said, “What would Buddha do?” I said, “Buddha would key her car.” The little bald nun sitting at the cash register laughed out loud.

Probably, Buddha wouldn’t key the car, but he might well have thought about it. We get angry. We lash out. We push back. But, if we learn, we let go. I let go of the Tupperware and pretty soon, I’ll let go of the shed. Maybe then we’ll have a big windstorm and the tree near it will be blown over and fall on top of it.  A girl can dream.

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