My next-door neighbor (no, not the Clampets) is an enigma wrapped in a mystery smothered in cranky. She is the Queen of the Kingdom of Passive Aggressive, because all her aggressiveness is done either under the cover of darkness, or when normal people (like us) are at work. GramTuna and I are onto her and her diabolical plots, but neither one of us feel like coming to blows with this woman. It's just not worth it.
It felt a little better to find out it wasn't just us though, as once I was talking to the neighbor who lived on the west side of Crankytown, and found out that like us, she was weeding and throwing crap into their yard too. I took a little comfort in knowing we weren't the only targets of her unwanted yard waste, but instead of retaliating by throwing our weeds over the fence into her yard, I chose to recreate my childlike joy of blowing fully matured dandelions into the western wind.
Last year we made a concerted effort to be nice. Openly neighborly and nice. Kill 'em with kindness nice. We actually thought it worked too, because once or twice she actually said hello. Progress! And then one day, she approached me, grocery bag in hand, after I had finished mowing the front yard. She told me had had just gone to the store and saw that whole already-roasted chickens were on sale. She said, "You've been outside working so hard today I picked one up for you." Wow! Gifts? Kindness? Chicken? I didn't know what to say, but I took the bag and said, "How nice of you. Thank you so much!" And as she handed over the gift chicken, she said, "It's $3.56."
And then she looked at me, expectantly.
If I didn't know what to say before, I sure didn't know what to say now. I'm no etiquette expert, but I didn't recall the proper procedure for being handed a gift which was followed immediately by an empty palm that expected payment for said gift. But somehow it seemed to late to turn back. I already had the gift chicken in my hand, so I mumbled, "Um....just a minute...I'll have to run inside."
I went inside the house, trying to make sure I didn't shake my head clear off my shoulders, or lose both sets of eyeballs as they rolled out of their sockets and down the street. I explained to GramTuna that Crankypants had given us a roasted chicken. Gram was in mid, "Wow, really?" and then I added, "and now she wants $3.56 for it." We ponied up the money and made TeenTuna go next store and give it to her. Not only did I have a chicken. I was a chicken. And that's why God made children. To do things you don't want to do, like pay your neighbor for gifted poultry.
So much for niceness. The two households have returned to normal relations. We're back to not working outside when she is there, and picking up the weeds she has heaved over our fence. At least this behavior we understand. We don't like it, but it's predictable.
This morning I was at the computer and the blinds were up a bit so the cats could look outside and enjoy cat TV. I can see the driveway and side door of my nemesis through my window. The car was there, so I knew she was home. And then I noticed a new little decoration on her door. It was too far away for me to see clearly what it was, but it did have traditional autumn colors. I squinted to try to see more clearly, but no go. I finally decided it was one of two things: either a very cute autumn leaves sort of decoration that one might find in a craft store, or some sort of VooDoo doll with an enormous stake through it's heart. Either way I wouldn't be surprised.
But no way am I going to get any closer to take a look.
I'll send TeenTuna.