Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Death in the Family

I hate our neighbors. When we bought our house, the builder told us no one would ever build on the lot next to us, because the whole subdivision drains into it. SO of course, a couple years after we were there, another builder bought the land and put a house on it. Then a huge family moves in; mom, dad, group of kids, animals. And they have a school bus. Ordinarily, that would not be a big deal, but you have to realize that this driveway is so steep, I do not see how that bus is ever going to come up out of there, and daily? I guess they managed it, but I don't know how many times they had to replace the transmission in it during that time.

Right after they moved in, the dad planted a whole bunch of little pine tree seedlings along our property line. And then he began this huge garden structure along the length of his driveway - you know, the timbers and raised planting beds and all that type of stuff. The shovel lived in it for almost a year, and he only got about 15'long and 5' high when he quit the first time. A couple years later he finished it, but to this day, there is like one lone lily living in all of it. And the pine trees are all grown up to where the power line comes off the pole at the street and runs to their house - he planted directly below that line, and I'm sure he will be quite indignant when the power company comes and hacks all of his stupid trees down.

The dad knows almost as much about mowing and lawn mowers as he does about flower gardening; there is a spot of grass out by the street, where the storm drain is, that is the only flat spot in either of our yards. 85% of that spot is on our side. He has his mower set to the lowest possible setting, so basically leaves just the dirt when he's done - you know, so he only has to mow 2-3 times a summer - and he butchers that spot down to the dirt. We leave ours pretty tall, so it stays thick (if you can get grass to grow on a hill made of GA clay, you better not mess with it more than necessary), so Grass Slayer next door leaves this huge bald spot in our yard every time he bothers to mow. And he has two dead riding mowers in his yard - I guess he can't push them to the garage.

They also have a mini van that they use for storage. It hasn't been tagged for years, and he'll park it up on the street, in that flat spot which is mostly ours, until Hall County Sheriff stops to remind him you can't have unlicensed vehicles parked there. Then he'll get it back down in the kudzu, until the next time he tries to sneak it back up to the street. And they have a huge white 1970's Cadillac in various states of disrepair; it is now home, after spending a few days on the side of the interstate - it parks where the bus used to be. I don't know why they just don't put a big-ass sign out in their yard that says "Hey, we're BLACK!!!!"

Their oldest child was selling drugs out of Wal Mart - he always seemed to volunteer to go out and get the carts and bring them in - usually after receiving a call or page. Don't know where he is now. Their other son is a member of a gang, became a teenage father, and may or may not be selling drugs when he is over there (I assume he lives with his gang/mother of his child?). I thought the daughters were okay; they were very involved in their church and school (they are Jehovah's Witness, BTW), and they were always pretty friendly towards us. I have no idea where they are now - I assume at least one still lives there, but we never see anyone over there, so who knows? A grey Mazda is sometimes parked on the flat spot when the van isn't being stored there, and I did see her try to get out of there without rolling it down the hill once, but that was a while ago.

When they moved in, they had a huge black dog, all hair; looked like a black Irish Setter - Gordon Setter? Something like that. That dog lived in the crawl space under the house for a while, and then they put it on 2' of rope and tied it to a tree in the woods (no water, that I could see). Then I didn't see that dog any more. Then they got one of those stupid ankle biters, a Pomeranian? One of those fru-fru dogs. She always ran lose, and always went in our garage and ate the trash if we left the door up. Then something happened to that dog, and they got another one. That dog ran lose almost all of the time, unless they tied her up to a tree in the woods. Then they got what was supposed to be a Golden Retriever; she might've been, but not totally. Her name was Maggie, and she became very good friends with our dog, Otto. Over the past few years, she probably spent 80% of her free time in our yard; Little Kid was always playing with her, and she would wait with him every morning to get on the bus. She barked at the cats, she ate all of Otto's food and drank all of his water. We are pretty sure she had a litter of his puppies, too - she had somebody's, anyway (there was a strange black dog hanging around for 2-3 days, and got in a couple of really bad fights with Otto, then we never saw him again, so I assume she was in heat then). We don't know what happened to the pups - we never saw them, just her with her teats hanging down to the ground and looking a little worse for wear. She was probably more our dog than theirs, since we paid attention to her, and she to us. She played with all of us, but I couldn't actually pet her unless I was sitting on the deck and she would come up there; if I was out in the yard, she would bark and pounce at me, but I couldn't actually touch her - Little Kid could, and think DH could, but not me. Anyway, I just started calling her our "other dog" or our surrogate dog. I even thought several times of either asking them if we could just keep her, or sending them a bill for dog food.

One day last week, as I left for work, and got up to the main road, there she was, and she just about got smashed by a bus. I rolled the window down and told her to go home, and she headed off that way. That night when I got home, she was out in the yard waiting for us, and as soon as rolled the window down and said her name, she trotted after us down the drive to the garage, which she just kinda started to do one day. She was all over the neighborhood all weekend - she supervised us packing up for games, carrying in the groceries, etc. The cats didn't even make a big deal about her anymore; she'd become a fixture. Yesterday morning, the phone was ringing just as I was starting to get dressed; DH called to tell me Maggie had finally gotten hit, up on the main road, and was dead. I hate those people. All they had to do was take a little bit of care with her, or any of their animals, for that matter, and they didn't, and now our other dog is gone. I'm not even mad at whoever hit her; she was totally stupid the way she would just run out in any road, though our street is not quite as bad as the main road. She chased cars, just ran for the heck of it, whatever; her time was coming to get hit, but I fully expected her to get hurt on our street, not killed outright up there on the main road where people fly at 50 or better. I hate those people that live next us.

She had been moved by the time we got home from work yesterday, but I really can't believe it was our lovely neighbors. DH thinks it was one of the guys at the shop on the corner - she was laying right by their parking area. I just can't see our neighbors taking the responsibility of moving her, although, I have no idea what happened with all of the other dogs, either. I was looking for a dirt patch in their yard, but since it is pretty much all dirt, I didn't see anything fresh-looking. I really hate those people. They are unofficially known as the "Black Jehovah's Witness Redneck Gang-members", BTW; now I need to figure out how to work in Animal Neglectors and still have it roll off the tongue nicely. I really hate those people; if they hadn't already done it once, and I could get away with it, I'd burn their house down, and maybe they wouldn't come back this time (the last time, they caught their house on fire because the builder failed to actually connect the fireplace to the chimney all the way up, so the fireplace/chimney went up - the second time they had ever used it, and they got a whole new top level on their house. They were gone for a year, waiting for that mess to get completed. It was nice then). I really want to know who took care of my other dog, and where she is, and I really want to go over there and tell them "No more animals". I would've called someone on them several times before, except that our dog isn't exactly "up to code", either; he's never been to a vet, for anything, and is probably the healthiest animal in the county. We haven't done the required shot(s); if he was an indoor dog, he would be "maintained", but as he's a smelly old outdoor dog who never leaves the yard (he's gotten lose 10-12 times in 12 years, maybe), we just have never bothered. You know, like in the old days, before Animal Rights people started dictating everyone's daily lives.

I hate those people next door, and I miss seeing that old yellow dog running around the yard. Now, if Big Kid won't go out in the woods with Little Kid, who will? She looked out for him, and Otto would probably just take off (he likes the school up the street when he's lose - lotsa kids there to play with). He's too old to train now, and we really don't have that kind of time. I want my other dog back.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

When Seasons Collide

Surprise, another soccer post. It's just that soccer seems to be all-consuming right now, even though it has really just started. Big Kid has not yet finished his indoor soccer league, is in his 3rd week of Middle School ball, and has completed the season-opening tournament and Week 1 of club. Little Kid has completed Week 1 of Academy.

Big Kid is sick, as am I, but I am getting over it, slowly; I don't know if he is, or not. He whines every morning about everything hurting, but he seems to be okay to play and to be on the phone and the computer. HHHMMMM. It's a cold - suck it up - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Of course, if the person across the hall from me at work would have the courtesy to 1) stay home when sick as a dog, instead of coming in here hacking all over the place, and 2) wash your hands, frequently, especially when sick (she tells people she doesn't believe in it - you know, like other 15-16th century peoples). If she hadn't contaminated the whole damn place, I wouldn't have been sick twice in 3 weeks, and I wouldn't have taken it home with me. I was really hoping, being in a new building with new air, we'd all stay well this season; apparently, I was expecting too much of my co-workers.

Back to soccer; Big Kid was out of school for 2 1/2 days last week, missed his Friday school game, but played both club games this weekend. We had no subs Saturday - were almost having to play one short, because we have kids who are hurt/going through the growth spurt knee pains thing. We played our toughest team Saturday, and held them 1-1. Sunday, we should've walked all over that team - they sucked - , and we were up 2-0 at one point, but we fell flat. The boys were all exhausted and couldn't run anymore. That game ended up 3-3, when it should've been 3-0 or more. We all got in trouble for letting the boys all play school ball. The stupid thing is, our coach said way last fall that he was going to call each coach himself and clear it so that they only participated in the club practices on those 2 days - not school and club both. But he didn't call any but his (surprise) and then with 5 schools to deal with, half of the scheduled games are occurring on practice nights, and if they try to make up the practices on other nights, then there are games for others on those nights. So basically, the games are okay at this point (that may change), but the boys are not supposed to be going to any school practices at all. It's way too much. One of the boys played 3 school games last week, after our 3-game tournament weekend, then 2 game weekend; that is entirely too much. But he also enjoys playing school ball more, so maybe he needs to decide if he comes back for tryouts this summer. I'm just curious what other Select teams do with the boys who want to play for school, too - surely they don't all disallow it? I have no idea, though I could see it at some of those bigger clubs. As far as soccer goes, college recruiters look at clubs, not schools, so to disallow school play makes sense; but do they? Maybe some school systems are a little more understanding and tolerant of the "real" soccer, and can accommodate the requirements; several counties don't have soccer in the schools (yet), so maybe that's the difference. I guess we'll think more about it next year, if we survive this year.

On the Hobby Front, I am now official - I got my business license last week. Now if the website was done... I only owe a couple more pieces of data, but they aren't relevant to the business part, so they can wait until what I've already done is up and published. I'm going to be really pissed if I have to renew the paper in December and haven't made enough money from the site to cover it. I had a show at work last Friday, taking orders for Mother's Day gifts, with 15% of the sales going to Relay for Life; it wasn't quite the turnout I was expecting, and I don't know if it was because the outside vendors that were in here a few weeks back turned every body off, or if there just wasn't interest. No idea, but I'm suspecting that it wasn't worth the time/trouble to organize; they'll end up getting $60 out of it for RfL, unless I top it off a little more - it depends on how much it will cost me to get all of the stuff in. Oh well, at least it was a tiny bit of exposure, and a few days later, people are still commenting about it. And I should be able to open the necessary business bank account, so I can get the website PayPal account verified. In case he ever needs to put the PayPal info up there. In case he gets that far.

In the meantime, I really want to be stitching, but I just have not had much time, being at games 4 out of every 7 days. I did join a monthly silk floss club from Stitching Bits and Bobs - I didn't get in on it in time for the last shipment, so I have to wait until the end of this month to get the first one - I cannot wait! Once school soccer is over, I see a lot more time for stitching, if I can ever get a handle on the laundry. I did manage to get my Scarlet Quince Unicorn fabric gridded; I've never done that before, so we'll see if it was worth my time - I don't see how it couldn't be, but with the projects I have done so far, I've managed without it. I would just assume that this being the long project I expect it to be, at least the gridding will help me figure out where I left off if I put it down for periods of time, as I am sure to do. Some of these folks have rotations with tens of projects going; I wish I had the space to do something like that, but just the amount of time taken to switch everything out, even once a week or every couple, is more than I feel I can spare now. I don't have room to keep stuff organized for more than the 1-2 that I have going now. That's a goal for when I am independently wealthy, I guess. I sure hope that's soon.

Little Kid turned 9 a week ago Sunday; we had just us together, after the day's soccer was over, of course, though Big Brother's team got a few Birthday whacks in before he managed to wiggle free. Big Kid's day is coming up - 16 days from now. I haven't gotten him one thing yet. I haven't had time. I don't even know what he wants, besides more games that he doesn't have time to play. I want him to get a haircut, but I don't see it happening. And an attitude adjustment; his teenagerism has been especially bad the past few days that he's been sick; well, I haven't been particularly pleasant, either - that's what happens when everyone around you is deaf and you have to repeat everything you say, when you've only got enough air for the first time. And no sleep.

Enough - I don't have time for this idle chatter! Games to watch, laundry to do!!!