That’s Entertainment

The contractor came and busted down the Sheetrock above my back door because it had swelled and the door was rubbing against it. So I watched him while eating my own face because I tend to chew my lip when someone knocks part of my house down. It’s not all done yet – the new Sheetrock is up and some of the mudwork is done, but he has to come back tomorrow (allegedly) and finish the mudwork, so I can then repaint. Sigh. Add it to the To Do List.

Two trucks decided to smash into each other at the end of the block yesterday morning. They snapped a utility pole in half. I am now one of those people who lives in the city and comes out of her house to stand on the sidewalk somewhat aimlessly and gawk at things like this. But also I called 911. Partly because of the accident and partly because it knocked out power. And cable. Out entirely for eight hours. Then the internet and phone came back, but the TV is still all scrambly. I called the cable company four times about it. Now they have to come out tomorrow between 10 and noon to tell me there is nothing wrong from my end. Which will be tremendously helpful.

Oh, I hear a siren winding down outside. Standby.

I’m back. It’s a fire engine. Nothing’s on fire, though. They knocked on a door across the street and down a few houses. No one answered. So someone is dead, possibly.

My neighbor down the street, Miss Ella, cracks me up slash terrifies me. I think I’ve mentioned her before. She’s old but I can’t tell how old, and she has absolutely no brain left in her head, God love her. Yesterday after the accident knocked out the power, she came out and started yelling “Hello?” up the street. This is basically how she asks people for help, since she doesn’t remember who anyone is.  I went to see what was up and she said, “There’s ringing! There’s ringing in my house!” I figured it was her alarm system, which it was. I pushed a few buttons while she told me her mother wasn’t home (seeing as how she’s been dead for 40 years, I’m guessing) and I finally just hit CANCEL and the beeping stopped.

“So in other words, I have to hit CANCEL,” she observed.

Sure.

Two hours later: “Hello?” from down the block. She had a mantle-style plastic alarm clock in her hands. Extra-large buttons. The alarm was going off. She was scared to push any buttons to make it stop. So I switched it off and explained to her how to do it.

“So in other words, make sure the alarm is off.”

Oh, Miss Ella. Please don’t turn on the stove.

I wound up held hostage by Mr. Z a few doors down. My gaybor had asked me to knock on the door to see if they want a tree from the city in front of the house. They don’t. Establishing that took about a minute. Getting Mr. Z to stop talking about any and all other things took another 59. Apparently, he stays up all night and goes to bed when his wife goes to work. Then he sleeps all day. So when I knocked at 1:30pm, I woke him. He was in pajama pants and a t-shirt and clearly hadn’t shaved in days. Three hours later he knocked on my door to show me that he had taken a shower, brushed his hair, shaved and gotten dressed.

He reminds me of Fred Willard.

Also he says completely inappropriate things. Such as describing his next door neighbor as (hand flop) and saying my next door neighbors “don’t want the federales coming to get them. They must know I’m the neighborhood gringo watch.”

Dude.

He’s suspicious of my next door neighbors because they’re so nice.

I’m trying to finish a book that I’m not enjoying at all. If you’re ever tempted to read “The Tiger’s Wife,” don’t. It’s this fantastical thing set somewhere in Russia or the Czech Republic (not to be confused with Chechnya… looking at you, idiots on Twitter) or somewhere like that. Something about a deathless man and a tiger/human and The Jungle Book. I don’t understand it at all and I only have like 80 pages left. I feel like I should just finish it so I have a shot at understanding it. Like I think the 270 pages of whatever-the-hell is going to suddenly make all the sense in the world in the last 80.

And the other day I realized while I was peeing that I had my underwear on sideways.

Yup. Crotch at the hip.

I don’t even know.

Say, What’s That Shovel Doing There?

Okay, I’m telling you this story. I’m telling you this story because how many real life people can I tell this story to? Not that many, because they’ll all freak out. And you guys will too, kind of, but still, I’m telling you this story.

So I come home from work last night, it’s a touch after 11pm, I drive down the alley and I pull into my parking pad. As I get ready to get out of the car, I notice something leaning against the wall of my parking pad that I’ve never seen before. I’m kind of looking at it puzzledly (is that a word? I’m making it a word) for a minute, and then my next-door neighbor, Tyreese, opens his back door and holds up a hand and tells me to wait a minute. He’s making wide eyes at me. “Just wait. Just wait.”

Clearly something’s up. So I wait.

A minute later he comes back out and tells me that there were two guys behind my house just a few minutes before this. His girlfriend saw them, yelled at him, he jumped off the couch, put some clothes on, grabbed his gun and looked out the door. When he looked, they ran. He says they looked like teenagers. As he told me this I realized that the thing I saw propped against the wall of the parking pad is a shovel – one of those heavy iron ones – and there are footprints all over my metal cellar door. I had left the damned kitchen window blinds open by accident. That window is right above the cellar doors. The damned punks were going to break into, or at the very least were casing, my house. Tyreese had told me to wait when I first pulled up so he could look around a little, make sure no one was watching from anywhere. He was worried someone had been watching me come and go, waiting for me.

How awesome is Tyreese, by the way?

I knew when I bought this house that I was taking a chance. I mean, it’s the city, I’m a woman, I live alone, yadda yadda yadda. Frankly, living alone in a house as a woman is always a risk, no matter where you live, but you can’t be afraid your whole life. Still, though… two and a half months and some punks are breaking into my house? Come on. It’s not a bad neighborhood. Plus I’m so freaking careful it’s ridiculous. I bought my TV and had it shipped to the UPS facility so I could go pick it up instead of having it delivered here. I never put the box for it outside. I kept it in the basement. My dad took it to Pennsylvania to throw it out. Swear to God. That’s how careful I am.

So, I call the cops. The officer gets here pretty quick and I tell him the deal, and he says all the exact things one should not say to me at this stage in my life, post-predator/prey episode involving the court system and at least three detention facilities. Things such as: Yeah, they probably know your schedule, they know you’re coming and going, they target women who live alone.

Hey. Buddy. Can we not? With the stalker talk?

That’s not what he meant, of course; he meant that they do that so they know who the easy targets are for robberies. And I get that. Again, this was a risk I knew I was taking. But now I feel like some weak and defenseless damsel in distress all over again, and dammit, this was not supposed to happen. I have faith in this city and I have faith in this street where there has not been a crime report in months. Also, in that typically liberal, feminist, made-for-TV-movie way, I refuse to be a “victim in quotation marks.” But I noticed about 30 minutes after the cop left that the screen to my window was gone. I called him and he changed the report to an attempted breaking & entering. Definitely tried to break in. Tyreese probably stopped them just in time.

Tyreese and his girlfriend are getting some home-cookin’ for this, at the very least.

Also? The cop asked if I was okay, and I totally started crying. Never ask me if I’m okay. The longer he stood there staring at me and not believing I was okay because for some reason a woman ugly-crying in front of him indicates some level of not-okayness, the harder I cried. Poor guy felt bad.

Needless to say, the alarm company is coming tomorrow morning, bright and early, to install sensors on all three doors and all the ground floor windows, plus a motion detector inside and a remote access thingy so I can– well, frankly, so I can probably set off the alarm myself a gazillion times by accident. But mostly so I can get in and out the back door without setting the alarm off, since the keypad will be in the front.

Oh, and I was mid-text conversation with Rick when all this went down, so he got roped into the we’ve-had-exactly-three-dates-what-is-the-protocol-for-this situation. I was trying to keep him from feeling obligated and wound up feeling like an asshole drama queen for even telling him about it. The guy must think I’m a total spazz. First the stalker, which is the oh-so-romantic reason we met, and now this. But he informed me that he has dealt with drama queens before and I am so not that.

Phew.

I suppose I shouldn’t tell him about the creepy state trooper just yet, though.