Category Archives: Neighbourhood

Grass Cutting Challenge 2019

So last night as I was sitting in my office contemplating how I could rearrange it, and wondering if I even wanted to tackle the task, because it means emptying out filing cabinets and an overfull closet, I heard a familiar noise outside…and my first thought was….Oh no, you don’t!!! Neighbour Carl. And then I remembered, I don’t live next to Neighbour Carl anymore and it made me sad.

Now here’s the thing, year one we put in a fence and I picked weeds, year two we got grass in but for most of the summer I wasn’t allowed to even walk on it, so it wasn’t until late summer that I even got to cut it. I’ve had 2 years to observe the neighbourhood to decide if there is a worthy grass cutting competition opponent, or if I even want to compete anymore. It’s just not going to be the same without Neighbour Carl….here is what I observed: Mr. Parr takes lawn maintenance very serious and he also has 2 pint sized helpers that come with their own pint sized lawn mowers and wheel barrows. The house on the other side has no back lawn so they’re out. Mr & Mrs Smith, if that is their real name, are off on some grand adventure so not contending this year. I really thought Mr Blue might be the one, but it turns out that it isn’t him that is the carer of the yard, it’s Mrs. Blue. Apparently, he gets the sneezes around grass. Now you might think a women competition would be cool, and I agree but the thing is Mrs. Blue’s job is in the home, and that is way more of an advantage than I want to give. And lastly the house on the corner, Mr. Ground Control and Mrs Carpenter, I had hopes for them, we’re similar ages and stuff, but them I found out they’re hired the oldest Blues Brother for the summer….

After watching Mr. Parr for a while I nonchalantly went outside. I walked to the shed and dug around until I found a couple of rakes, and I surmised that it’s going to take more than just me to get to the back of the shed where my lawnmower is. There are 8 winter tires, a large tote full of tools, as well as 2 milk crates and a couple of tool pouches (all The Boy’s), 2 sets of golfing clubs, misc gardening ornaments and a pair of size 13 rubber boots all stacked in my way. I guess even if I want to start the competition tonight, it is not going to happen. I hung around the side of the house until Mr. Parr appeared and we had a chit-chat. I call it doing recognizance. He told me he wasn’t cutting his lawn he was dethatching. He had borrowed one from a buddy. Ha! I have my very own, somewhere in the shed. I think. I hope. Good to know. And then he sees my rakes in hand and says, “You’re welcome to borrow it if you want.” Ahhh Jeepers, he’s being so nice. Now I worry if I can be a ruthless competitor. I politely decline.

I don’t know what to do. It seems quite obvious that if I want to compete it will have to be against Mr. Parr. But is it fair for me, a mere mortal to compete against a super hero? What if he loses? Will he be humiliated? Or worse yet, lose his super hero status? I don’t know if I want that burden on my shoulders….I don’t need to make a decision right away, since it snowed off and on all morning, so I will take my time on making my decision….stay tuned…. 

Why Can’t Every Day Be Like This….

Have you ever had a day where you just can’t help but thinking, ‘Why can’t everyday be like this’….I went into work, counted a few things, filed a few papers, and when that was done, I ran some errands, made a couple check marks on the never ending To-Do List and then I went home….I get all the glamorous jobs at home, like for instance, cleaning the Oscar’s bathroom, truth be told, I clean all the bathrooms, there are some jobs that I just don’t trust to He Who Thinks Bathrooms Are Self Cleaning….anyways, I digress, while I was bending over cleaning Oscar’s bathroom, I got the creepy feeling that someone was watching me, since I was home alone I ignored it, until…..I looked up and, ‘Jeepers! Holy Moley! You’re quiet! Hi!’ (cause I tend to talk fast when I’m surprised)… standing in the doorway was Dash, “Hi! My Mom says we can go on a bike ride! Violet is upstairs looking for you.” ….and before Mrs. Parr has a chat about boundaries, I left the garage door open so Dash could park his bike next to mine, and I’m 99.9% sure they did knock, because the always do. When I didn’t answer, I will bet the farm that they went into super hero mode and were coming in to rescue me from whatever Evil Being had me tied to a chair, threatening to destroy me with an “Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator” (Love Bugs Bunny) unless I told him everything I know about the Parr’s….but since that didn’t happen, I finished my chore, left Oscar with a clean bathroom, and Dash, Violet and I, helmets and flip-flops on, headed out for a bike ride….aka I think they were actually on a Neighbourhood and Area Reconnaissance Mission, because we looked at everything. Dash checked out all the big puddles in the ditch, to make sure no one was hiding using a reed for a breathing tube, there wasn’t. We went past the bear poop full of berries, had a big discussion on that, Violet read every sign so she kept us informed as to where we were on the Solar System, and when we got to the sun, we took a hard left on the new pavement and went straight into, what could have been a very scary situation…. A big truck parked on the road, hoses coming out of it, at least 6 guys manning the hoses, and spraying green stuff all over. Chemical warfare? Dash and Violet were curious but not scared, so I knew it was ok. They were just hydroseeders, seeding the sides of the walking path. The kids went by really slow, never taking their eyes off them, just in case, and then a lot of questions all the way to the water station, where we stopped and shared a drink. Onward past the new school, when asked if they thought they would be going to the new school, one said yes, and the cautious one said, no. I’m sure Helen knows.  All the way to the Tire Shop and a quick visit with Mr. Blue who was just back from saving a client from a tire emergency, checked out ‘All the tires’ and we were on our way back home, after I assured them, ‘It’s all downhill from here’….Past the new school, checked out the seeder guys who were almost done, it may have been mentioned that we could have had lawn way quicker if we would have got them guys. Ya, ya…. Dash decided that we needed to clean up the path so armed with a dog-poop bag, we picked up the bear poop, berries and all, deposited in a garbage can, and then Violet led us on a new way home, despite Dash’s comments that, ‘You don’t know where you’re going!’. She did! We arrived home safe and sound. I’m pretty confident that neighbourhood and area is free of evil and bear poop….but it may have been suggested that we keep an eye out for more bear poop today…Ya, all in a days work, just supervising the super-heroes as they keep our little piece of the world safe…

Mr. Incredible: No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes!

Who Are the People In My Neighbourhood?

We moved to a brand new house in a brand new neighbourhood Dec 2015. It was scary, leaving our other neighbourhood and all the great people that lived there. We had been side by side with most of them for 18 years! A few new ones moved in but they were there for a long time, too. Back in April 2016 I told you about the new neighbours that we knew well, The Incredibles, but that was about it. I can’t write about what I don’t know and I hadn’t had the pleasure of getting to know the rest of the cul-de-sac people….but 2 ½ years later, I know them now….

♪♫•…Say, who are the people in your neighbourhood? The people that you meet each day…•♫♪

The Incredibles are still incredible. They never cease to amaze me. The kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack are continually growing and learning new skills that will serve them in their super hero stuff. Violet is quite the fashionista, and as much as she tries to lead the boys, they have their own ideas. Dash is always looking for ways to go faster, hence his name. He has graduated from pedal bike to dirt bike. Jack-Jack is quickly following in the others footsteps, running, jumping and riding his bike. Mom and Dad, Bob and Helen, go through their days as normal unassuming people, but those of us in the know, know that they are….ummm…well, they are incredible neighbours….

On the other side of us, at the far end is the coloured family. Now don’t anyone freak out and call me racist, by ‘coloured’ family I mean their last name is a colour, you know like Sirius Black from Harry Potter, yes, just like that, meet The Blues. He’s a native of our fair city but she is an import. You know how much I love an accent. In the old hood I had my MI6 Agent with his British accent, so it is only fitting that I move to a place with another import. She’s from a sweet place in Idaho, seriously, she has the cutest accent, I always envision a Prom Queen when I talk to her. Mr. Blue is my winter time hero. He has access to a bobcat and brings it home every time it snows, and he’s so kind that after doing his own driveway, he does the rest of ours and then he does the street.  More than once this past winter I was beyond thankful for Mr. Blue and his amazing bobcat skills. All the snow ends up in an empty lot, which all the neighbourhood kids love. The Incredible kids work on their snow skills, you ni case there is a snow emergency that they need to tend to, and the Blue Brothers (there are 3) get to race the GT’s and practice their snowboarding moves – yes, the snow pile was tall enough for snowboards.  Son #1 – he’s a talker with a great sense of humour, but most of all, he loves all things Harry Potter. So. Do. I.  Son #2 – he’s the shy, quiet type. I think I scare him. Last year when he started kindergarten he made eye contact with me. Now he’s going into grade 1, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a ‘Hi’ Son #3 – The littlest of the 3 but not for long. He’s going to be a strapping lad just like his Dad. Reminds me so much of The Boy when he was younger. He’s pretty quiet until he warms up to you, which he did this spring, and then wow, a mile-a-minute.  Last year on the very same day that He Who Has Birthday, had a birthday, Mrs. Blue had a baby. The Blue Brother’s baby sister, who we will call Azura, which means one who is of sky blue colour, was born.  She’s prom-queen material, just like her Mama.

Just a couple doors from us, and next door to the Blue’s are the Smith’s (if that is indeed there real name). I’m having my doubts. Mr. Smith claims he can make metal stick together without duct tape or glue just using electricity. I’ve never seen it, but this is what he claims. Mrs. Smith is a healer by profession, but she is so much more. I’m just guessing here, from what I’ve seen, interior decorator, chef, baker, and Mama to 2 beautiful babies, Gracie and Grady – don’t you just love when people start their kid’s names with the same letter. They are both imports, and the reason I don’t believe that their name is Smith is because I think they are in the Canadian version of WITSEC. I think they’re hiding from someone or something or ….maybe, just maybe, they’re spies! They disappear for months at a time, winter and spring, no rhyme or reason. They just seem to be too perfect, impeccably dressed kids, fancy house, and vehicles, I think 2 for each of them, and he says that he gets the best deals ever, who does that, hahaha….anyways Mr. and Mrs. Smith, if that is their real name, just got word last week that they are able to go “home”, and they have to be packed up and gone by the end of the week. Whaaatttt? Tell me again, who does things like that unless you’re in WITSEC. Are they going spying somewhere else? Or are the bad people that were after them, not after them anymore? Oh, so many questions and I know without a doubt that if I ask them, ‘Hey, what’s the deal, the real story?’ They are just going to tell me how much they love us all and how hard it’s going to be to leave but they really, really just want to get home where their family is and where Mr. Smith can join metal together with electricity (likely story, that one) on a normal shift so he can be home for Mrs. Smith and Gracie and Grady….All I can say to The Smith’s is good luck in your new adventure and your new home. We wish you all the best, but not going to lie to you, the cul-de-sac, our little semi-circle of family, has a huge big hole in it, that is going to be really hard to fill. Hugs and best wishes.

Lawnmower Challenge 2.0

So I come home from work today, I’m downstairs in my home gym doing my pre-golf work out…which is just like a regular workout but today just happens to be golf day, anyway, I shut the music off and what do I hear…..wait for it…..a lawnmower!! Oh, oh, oh who could it be? Not Neighbour Carl, he’s too far away now, it’s my new Lawn Mower Challenge Adversary…..its, wait for it…….Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible (shhh keep that last part to yourself, I can’t let him know that I know)….So this is how it’s going to be: we both have ginormous sized yards, so we’re even there. With my old neighbourhood challenge, I had the advantage of youth over Neighbour Carl, now here I have the advantage of experience over Bob. He has a couple of trees to cut around, whereas I have none, and he also has a yard full of what can only be called Incredible training apparatuses, but that’s for another story, and lastly another huge advantage I have over him, is that the Little Incredibles are incredibly inquisitive and he must stop the lawn mower to converse with them, whereas Oscar is neither inquisitive nor a big conversationalist, unless it’s 4 in the morning and he’s out of food, but that again is another story….I can see right off the get-go I may need to set some ground rules for Bob Parr, such as, I golf on Monday’s so no cutting on Monday’s, and the challenge doesn’t officially start until I get grass in both the front and back. Capiche, Bob? I am so looking forward to getting a lawn, getting my trusty Lawn Boy out of storage and starting up Lawn Mower Challenge 2.0……and be warned Mr. Incredible, ummm I mean Bob, I take this challenge very, very seriously….or I will as soon as I get a lawn…Always remember and never forget: Look for something positive in every day even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges make you stronger.

Old Neighbourhood – Good Friends

Some days I can write and write and write and then some days, nada, zilch, zip, nothing…..and today was one of those days…..So I was perusing Facebook and came across this little blurb from a year ago….and all I can say is, Wow! Sometimes I even amaze myself by where I go When The Mind Wanders…..

♪♫•*Who are the people in your neighborhood/in your neighborhood *•♫♪…It was a nice evening so we decided to have a fire and invite one of the neighbors over….it was very eye opening….you may recall our neighbor, MI6 Secret Agent, just a recap, he has a “wife” and “family” and until last night I wasn’t sure if they were for real, or if they are secret agents, too or just part of his cover, but now I know for sure….. they are for real secret agents, too!! Mrs. MI6 recently got a promotion at work (yea) and when I asked her about the new job, she said, She loved it. There was a huge “learning curve” and that she had a really good “team”. OK right!!! She’s one of MI6’s trainers!!! You see it, too right? I’ve decided that their “kids” are their own, but they are in training also, The Son, a student, is in Cadets and is big into archery, well duh!! Perhaps not the most subtle undercover cover, but he’s making it work. The Daughter, is playing the role of a typical teenager, just got her license, a part time job, loves to shop and hanging out with friends. She has totally nailed her part and is so believable. So here’s what happened as the evening progressed….I noticed a satellite overhead, pointed it out, He Who is Not Subtle, says to MI6, They’re watching you, because of your past! *wink wink* (he didn’t actually wink, but he should have). MI6 answers, Ya that’s right. OH. EM. GEE. So me being me, I asked, Are you a MI6 Agent? He was very coy, and didn’t answer but we all know what that means… Do you know James Bond? Yes, he’s me brother, I’m 006. Again OH. EM. GEE. And in the interest of national security and because MI6 has taken us into his confidence, I won’t tell you everything else that was said, but suffice to say, that I may just be well on my way to becoming a Secret Agent, too…..today’s story was brought to you on what would have been the 93rd birthday of the greatest story-teller of all, my Dad, just confirming that I am, without a doubt, my father’s daughter.

New Neighbourhood – New Neighbours

Well, we’ve been in our new house with new neighbours for 4 months now and it’s really hard to get to know your neighbours in the dead of a northern winter, but that is all changing now that spring is here. Truthfully though, we’ve known our closest neighbours for a number of years, through mutual friends/family, I think it’s been so long that she wasn’t even a Mrs. when we first met her….but you really don’t know someone until you’re next door neighbours with them…..can you keep a secret? And this is a big one? Even bigger than when we lived close to an MI6 Agent…..Ok, here goes…..I think we’re living next door to the Incredibles!!!…..You know who they are right? The cartoon family from the movies? Now, I’m not saying we are living next to cartoons, cause that would just be silly, but I’m 99.99% sure that we’re living next door to the family that the movie was based on!! For those of you not familiar with the movie, The Incredibles were the world’s greatest crime fighters and then they retired with 3 kids to suburbia, to live a “normal” life. Well, you don’t get much more suburbia than where we live and wait there’s more.
Now before you say, Not true, just hear me out. I didn’t come to this conclusion overnight. I have been observing and taking notes for a while now. First off, I have it on very good authority that next door neighbour guy, let’s call him “Bob”, like Mr. Incredible, just to keep it simple, so I heard that Bob used to work with our very own MI6 Agent ex-neighbour. True. Story. A new MI6 Agent in Training or perhaps a superhero in training…..and the little Mrs. whom, we’ll call “Helen”, appears to have settled into suburban life really well and is using her super powers for baking, and I know this because she was our first visitor the morning after we moved in, and she delivered the most amazing cinnamon pull apart, that could only have been made using super powers. Yes, it was that good. And lastly they have 3 children. The Incredibles – 3 children. Neighbours – Girl, Boy, Boy. The Incredibles…..Do I need to spell it out for you anymore??? So to keep things easy and to keep their real identities a secret, we’ll just call the children Violet, she’s a real go-getter, Dash, the strong, silent type and Jack-Jack, is less than a year into the super-hero biz, just like in the movie. I gotta say that moving away from the old neighbourhood and the comfort and security that came with living across from an MI6 Agent was really hard for me, but I’m feeling so much better now knowing that right next door we have…..shhhhhh…… Real Life Incredibles, the world’s greatest crime fighters. Always remember and never forget: A Czech Proverb: A good neighbor increases the value of your property.