In the Heart of the City

Based on J's eyesight, we will always live in town. Not that I have ever had any grandiose dreams to live in the country with a whole lot of property to look after and neighbours a long ways away, but it isn't going to happen. We need to be within decent distance of public transportation so that he can get around when I'm working and so on. In one way, being the only possible liscenced driver in the house for a good long time has financial benefits as well as drawbacks. I can't send J to the store when I need something. He can't pick up the dry cleaning on his way home. I can't sleep if I'm tired and we're on our way back from seeing family. But we don't need a 2 car garage, to fuel 2 engines, or pay for insurance for the 2 of us. I'm currently working on finding cheaper car insurance. I had quite the arguement with the girl on the phone the other night about how I could be married and not need to put my husband on the policy. Apparantly, my saying, "He's legally blind. He's not allowed to drive a car," didn't convince her. Whatever. Back to my main point. We need to live in town. The problem with living in town? Neighbours. We have really great people across the street. And the 86 year old on one side of us? A lovely woman we don't see much of from November to April. 2 doors down? Another lovely couple. He teaches guitar and she works at my bank. We wave to each other when we're leaving for work about the same time. But the other side of us? That's another story. When I moved in 4 years ago, I was told that my neighbour really keeps to herself, and that she probably wouldn't talk to me. I'd tried smiling and saying hello once or twice, but was met with a stony stare and a turned back. Yep, living next to the neighbourhood recluse. She keeps her house in good repair, mows her lawn, is fanatical about snow removal (I yearn to be able to clean a driveway with her precision, but don't have the patience) albeit her need to remove snow at 5:45 AM on a workday is a bit extreme. She scrapes the concrete clean of any bit of snow that was ever there. When I broke my wrist the first year I lived here, people dropped me off in her driveway, seeing as mine was full of snow. They did until she started parking her van so that you couldn't pull in to let me out. When I painted the back porch 3 years ago, I had a bit of a run in with her. Stray paint chips fell on her driveway as I scraped. She didn't like the colour I chose, despite the fact that it was a slightly lighter colour of what had previously been there. My trees were killing her lawn. I didn't do anything about the weeds in the patio (I'll give her this one. I hadn't yet that season. It was May) When I phoned my folks after she actually talked to me, my father stopped encouraging any interaction with her "just in case I needed something", and encouraged me to get to know my other neighbours. And so it has been ever since. In other news, we decided to fire the cleaning lady. It's been an ongoing problem thing, with her moving things, wanting to "take care" of us, and J's conviction that she's a little obsessed with me. Plus, we figure that there are lots of other good uses for that money right now. So I was the lucky person that got to phone and tell the cleaning lady that her services were no longer required. When I did, she wanted me to know that I lived next door to a very nasty woman. Apparantly, the cleaning lady was out on the porch beating the kitchen rugs when my neighbour found it necessary to come out and tell the cleaning lady exactly what she thought of me. We're not sure if this woman is even aware that J lives here too. He was never mentioned. According to my neighbour, I'm lazy and rich. She does her own yard work and house work, and I should too. That and I'm made of money, and my cleaning lady should charge me more and "rob me blind" because that's what I deserve. J says she's jealous. I say I can spend money any way I darn well want, and it's easier to spend the money and get the lawn cut and the housework done than it is to feel guilty about not doing those things. I guess I just don't understand how anyone can be so spiteful when I've done nothing to incur that wrath. I think I'd like to be a Pythonesque recluse: close enough to say hello, but be by myself most of the time.

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