Friday, September 29, 2006

Not surprised

But I am surprised that even though I gave some very different answers on the quiz than my friend over at 36 did, we both had the same results (and I know the answers were different because she was taking the quiz while we talked on the phone as I was shopping at "Hoochi"mart).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Next Day

"Irate man beats neighbor into unconsciousness as woman sits in puddle of her own urine and watches. Paramedics were not able to revive neighbor, who until then was recovering from very recent heart surgery. In addition to the woman who wet herself, witnesses included ten to twelve neighborhood children."

That could have been the headline in today's newspaper had I acquiesced to the urge to pee as I witnessed the fight break out between - you guessed it - Mr. Swell and my other neighbor, "Ben" yesterday afternoon....

And that is what I began to write the next day after "The Fight," but only two paragraphs into it, ANOTHER fight broke out between Mr. Swell and a DIFFERENT neighbor.

I'll spare you all of the details of this tussle. Just know that the police came, and no one was arrested. Of course the police parked their cars in front of MY house. Good times.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Fight

I forgot completely to tell you all about one of the highlights of my summer! I broke up a neighborhood fight. Between two adults. Two grown men twice my size in every capacity.

Of course you know that good ole' Mr. Swell was involved (you remember - the tree pruning neighbor that dislikes my daughters and thinks that Poetroad and I are terrible parents). The other dueling dad? Our friend and neighbor across the street, "Ben."

Here's how it happened... It was a warm August afternoon, and I was doing my laundry. All of the doors to my house were open, including the garage door, and ten to fifteen kids were running around the neighborhood in front of (and through) my house (as they usually do). As I was getting ready to put another load into the washer, I noticed through the open garage doors that there was some kind of commotion going on at the end of my drive way. Two kids were going at it (my neighbor Ben's son, "Tony," and "Boston" a guest of Mr. Swell's son).

Automatically, I was drawn to the scene in order to mediate the scuffle, but before I could even get through my garage, Ben ran across the street and intervened. Because his son was the one who took a nose full of fist - and because Boston was not standing down even when Tony was crying and holding his nose - Ben grabbed Boston by the shoulders and said firmly, "What do you think you are doing?"

That's when Mr. Swell tore over there and was all over Ben like a yellow jacket to a barbecue.

I nearly wet myself right then and there. Instinctively, my 10 year old got the phone and put it in my hand as I walked semi-cross-legged toward the scene. I don't even remember telling her to get the phone, but I do remember telling myself, "You cannot pee now. You have to keep it in. Don't do this."

Oh, and you should know that at the time, Ben was recovering from...MAJOR HEART SURGERY! Ten days out of the hospital, he was. So Ben really wasn't fighting at all. He was holding his arms out to protect himself from getting PUMMELED IN THE CHEST.

Unbelievable, I know, but I am not making this stuff up.

After Mr. Bell pushed Ben on his ass, and then shoved him around a couple more times, I was able to get them to stand down. At this moment, I can't recall how....but it may have been my threat to call the police or my admonition to Mr. Swell that Ben just had MAJOR HEART SURGERY 10 days prior.

There we stood on the sidewalk in front of my house - Mr. Swell, red-faced protruding-neck-veins yelling in our faces that the neighborhood kids are frightened of Ben and I because we, "Yell at the kids." Ben and I were "Bad examples" to the neighborhood kids.

And we did yell at some of the kids in the neighborhood. I yelled at a kid who was about to smash another kid in the head with a skateboard. I yelled that I would call the police if they didn't stop. Guilty as charged.

Ben yelled at his own son - who was in a group of kids - to stop throwing tennis balls at passing cars. Also guilty as charged.

But Mr. Swell didn't take to kindly to the fact that I called him a hypocrite for yelling in our faces and admonishing us for yelling simultaneously. Said he'd start bringing his lawyers in on all of the neighborhood business if any of our kids as much as sneezed at his son.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to say before the fight broke out between Tony and Boston, Mr. Swell yelled at Boston something to the effect of, "Go ahead, Boston. I'll take care of Tony's father." And Mr. Swell's own son pulled Tony over to Boston in order for the pummeling to take place.

But I would not stand down. I was tired of being bullied by that ass. Calmly, yet firmly, I said to Mr. Swell, "This is exactly why I don't talk to you any more. You are a bully. The only time we have contact is when you are attempting to berate my children, my husband, or me in an effort to intimidate us. So if there is any bully in this neighborhood, it's not Boston and it's not your son - it's you."

He was floored. Never did he think of himself as being the bully. It was always "us vs. him" in his mind. But when faced with the scenarios of our last four or five interactions, he felt the weight of the truth. And then he surprisingly admitted, "Wow, I was really an ass today, wasn't I." We agreed.

Over the next ten minutes, we actually were able to iron out our differences. I sealed our peace with a handshake and a man hug. Ben and Mr. Swell did the same.

Later on that evening, Poetroad verified what I had been thinking as I witnessed the events unfold that day: Mr. Swell was a loose cannon just waiting to go off. Who knows what will trigger the next outburst. We also concurred that things would (hopefully) be good with Mr. Swell for at least three or four months - or whenever Mr. Swell could manage to forget about the events of that day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm still here

You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You're totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

Wow - that's weird. I said that I love the West Coast, but Austin is still my city. That's totally cool because - get ready for the big news - we are moving to Austin. That's right: WE ARE MOVING TO AUSTIN, TEXAS! Yee haw! I can't hardly believe it myself.

So, as you can guess, I've been a bit busy, and this is why I haven't been blogging. And I miss you all! Here is a re-cap of my summer through September:
1. Grandpa got sick
2. Grandpa died
3. Memorial service/camping trip/Fourth of July
4. Best camping trip ever to the little known Triangle Lake
5. Funtabulous trip to Bend to visit best friend and family
6. School started (three at the same school this year)
7. Started teaching jobs (that's right - both of them)
8. Visited Austin
9. Accepted job
10. Drinking Sangria and Blogging (which is a great way to ride out on the coat tails of summer)

So we move some time in November. Well, Poetroad begins his new job on November 1, and the kids and I will stay a bit to wrap things up...such as my College Writing class (the semester ends in early Dec.). I've totally been having fun teaching my that class this semester, btw - and I'm glad that I'll end that job on a high note (this is my most fun class to teach ever).

I am, however, going to miss my friends and family here. This is a scary, scary thing I am doing - starting over in a new place. But, I am seriously excited about starting a new chapter in my life too.