I do so try to be good. Really.
Alas and alack, there are two rather invincible forces working against any hopes of angel promotion: I am a lawyer and I am a Culbreth. We take no prisoners and we are damned cunning about it.
First with the cunning: We were doing just fine until they started to actually enforce that stupid-assed tardy policy at Baby Belle 1’s school. For kindergarten and first grade, a parent had prayers, the Pledge and a grace period in between to drop their kid off without penalty. Actually, no penalty of any sort was ever addressed.
So imagine a parent’s dismay when, lo and behold in their child’s second grade year, they started getting all uptight about getting your kid to school before lunchtime. Once a period was put to the “liberty and justice for all” in the Pledge, your ass was grass in the tardy department. What was the penalty? Three tardies in a quarter warranted a silent lunch.
I vaguely recall silent lunches from my elementary school days and I don’t remember them as being particularly horrible, but I’m an introvert so a silent lunch wouldn’t be all that daunting. Of course, for a straight arrow and social butterfly such as my daughter, it presented hell on earth.
Then came the inevitable day when the alarm clock was accidentally set for PM instead of AM, Baby Belle 2 was being particularly uncooperative, the damn Chihuahua decided to make a break for the border, [insert crisis here] and it seemed that the Devil himself was just doing what he could to keep us away from that little Catholic school downtown. Baby Belle 1 started to seriously freak out about being late and I was suddenly struck with some less than divine inspiration.
I looked at my firstborn and told her that she should never, ever do what her mama was about to do and that it wouldn’t do her any favors to tell others about it either. I got on the phone, called the school office and told them that I forgot about Baby Belle 1’s dentist appointment and that she was going to be a little late to school. Excused tardy.
On a couple of occasions throughout the year, Baby Belle 1 had various “appointments” when the need arose and I even bought some of those stickers that they hand out at the doctor and the dentist. When things started to go south as we rushed around in the mornings, Baby Belle would look over at me and say, “Mama, am I going to have a doctor appointment this morning?”
Now for the evil: Neighbors. Oy vey. When you get good neighbors, it is something more precious than gold. When you get crap neighbors...well...you start to get that whole thing between the Hatfields and the McKoys. We’ve had good luck and we’ve had really, really shitty luck.
The thing is, as the years go on, I am less and less willing to let things go with my crappy neighbors. We’ve had neighbors whose kids hid their pot stash under the hedges of our bedroom window, we’ve had “clothing challenged” individuals who gave their boats X-rated names and parked them prominently in the driveway that we shared, we’ve had cheapskates, we’ve had Grizzly Adams survivalists...I could go on for days.
When I was pregnant with Baby Belle 2, a new family moved in behind us. They were a couple about our age with two young children and another on the way who was due at about the same time as I was. Scott and I saw them walking on the street one day and we stopped to introduce ourselves.
Granted, I don’t do the whole “meeting new people” thing well, but I thought, “Here’s a remarkable opportunity! I can bond with this woman! We are pregnant at the same time for God’s sake!”
I put myself out there, “So, when are you due?”
Eye roll and very put upon tone of voice, “Can’t be soon enough.”
Conspiratorial laugh, “I know exactly what you mean. Well, your son and daughter are adorable.”
Okaaaaay, “Well, I only have one kid and I can’t imagine having two at this point. You look wonderful.”
“Yes, yes. Honey, the kids are getting restless because we've stopped.”
Fuck you, bitch. “Bye now!”
That was about three years ago and I haven’t laid eyes on the cow or her progeny since. I would like to say that I haven’t laid eyes on her mate either, but alas and alack (again).
I get migraines and there are several triggers: Stress, light and smell. I will flat vomit in the Yankee Candle Company. When we did our stint beside Grizzly Adams, he was nice enough, but I swear that he was a total pyro. He burned everything and he burned it right up next to the property line he shared with us. Total migraine city for Ashley.
One of the many reasons for Ashley’s Happy Dance when we moved into the city limits was that I was no longer subjected to burning yard trash. Nope, everybody had to pay unfair amounts of tax money to get their crap hauled off to God knew where.
Now take a moment to imagine Ashley’s deep dismay when I was sitting in my breakfast room (well inside the city limits) and the unmistakable smell of burning yard crapola wafted by my nostrils.
Oh hell no.
The smell was coming from a burning pile in the yard of our back yard neighbors.
Oh hellllllllllll no.
Scott paid a friendly public service call to said neighbor’s back yard and gently reminded said neighbor that it was illegal to burn trash in the city. Scott mentioned that the only reason he was saying anything was because his wife got migraines and his daughter had asthma problems. The neighbor replied (in fluent Asshole) that he was just having a little fire with his son and that Scott could just go home and mind his own business.
Guess what? The next weekend, Neighbor Extraordinaire had a bigger and badder illegal fire and I decided that it was time to fight fire with bitch.
I called 911.
“Oh my God!!! My neighbor’s back yard IS ON FIRE!!!!!”
Those nice firemen sprayed that nifty foam all over his back yard. I think there's a fine for doing that sort of thing, too. Ouch.
Maybe it’s not me. Maybe I could be a better person but for all of the rules and the assholes. I guess we’ll never find out.