Mr. Gossip From Across The Street

, , , | Friendly | January 5, 2020

(I’m on maternity leave with my first child. My husband is going away for a week on a work trip. I decide to stay with my mom during that time, so I can get some proper rest in between caring for the baby. My mom lives a 40-minute drive from us. I arrive at my mother’s house with my newborn daughter and a ton of stuff. You know, staying somewhere with a newborn requires a lot of logistics — much because of my inexperience, as well. We unload the car in the driveway. Earlier today, I bought a secondhand baby bed online from someone in my mother’s region. I reasoned that it will be handy for sleepovers, as it can be used until my daughter is about four. So, we drive off to collect it and drag it into my mom’s house, too. Fast forward to later that week. My mom comes back from grocery shopping, looking a bit puzzled.)

Mom: “I ran into [Friend from the other side of the neighborhood] when shopping.”

Me: “Oh, that’s nice.”

Mom: “Yeah, he asked about you.”

Me: “Really?”

Mom: “Yeah, he asked if you were ‘staying with me again.’ I told him, ‘Well, yes, she is,’ but found his phrasing a bit funny. Then, he continued, ‘Yeah, things don’t always work out so well.’”

Me: “Oh, my God!*facepalm*

Mom: “Yes, our neighbor apparently saw us unloading everything and made up a story about how you two broke up. He’s telling everybody who wants to hear.”

(I made sure to make out at length with my husband in the middle of the driveway when he “came back to me.” My mom had a firm talk with the neighbor about jumping to conclusions. We’re still happily married. It is now a running joke in our family that I broke up AGAIN when sleeping over at my mom’s.)

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It’s A Sick Ice Slick

, , , , , | Friendly | January 3, 2020

I live in a condo community with shared entryways — front and back doors — and the front door is at the top of a porch. My poor senior dog has been sick all week, and after her morning walk, she decides to drop a bit of vomit on the front porch — not a lot, smaller than a child’s hand. After unlocking the front door, going upstairs to my unit, and getting her settled, I came back down with a paper towel and cleaned up the mess as best I could. As it was currently 17 degrees F, I decided against washing the residue away with water, as the spot was so small — and not even three-dimensional — that most folks could avoid it easily if they even noticed it. 

However, one of my neighbors obviously thought differently. I went back inside to finish getting ready for work. When I exited the front door again, not even ten minutes later, I found that the front porch was covered in a thick sheet of ice — not just the spot where my dog was sick, the whole blessed porch. Someone else had the smarts to cover the ice with building-supplied ice-melt. 

Now, had the weather been above freezing, I most certainly would have followed up the paper towel with a bucket of warm, soapy water, but I didn’t want to turn our community front porch into an ice skating rink. I’m still waiting for one of my neighbors to berate me for not cleaning up after my dog’s puke. Did I screw up?

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Should Have Kept The Cat

, , , , , | Friendly | December 13, 2019

Back when I was a uni student, I went home to my parents each summer and worked in my hometown. 

On the morning of Midsummer Eve, one of the biggest holidays here in Sweden, our neighbour rang the doorbell and asked me if I could look after her cat over the weekend as she was going away. 

As soon as I had agreed, she dropped her key in my hand and ran off to her car. This was before cell phones and I had no way of contacting her. Oh, well, it was just over the weekend.

When I went over to feed the cat, I found one can of cat food on the counter. I checked the fridge and cupboards for more food but that was it. Well, it should last over the weekend, at least.

Monday came and no neighbour. 

Nor Tuesday and Wednesday. 

She came back three weeks later and we ended up in a huge argument as she refused to reimburse me for the cat food I had bought. She had left food, she insisted. Somehow one can should have lasted three weeks.

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The Only Thing Blaring Is The Neighbor

, , , , , | Learning | December 8, 2019

(It is my first semester of freshman year. I live in a first-year dorm, but it is apartment-style, meaning the door from the hallway opens to a living room and kitchen and there is another door leading to my bedroom. During finals week, “24-hour quiet hours” are enforced, basically meaning that you’re not allowed to blast music or TV loud enough to be heard in the hallway or other rooms. I don’t have any finals, so I am laying in my bedroom with both doors shut watching TV when someone starts pounding on my door.)

Neighbor: “Open up!”

(I look through the peephole and recognize her as my neighbor from across the hall, so I open the door.)

Me: “What’s up?”

Neighbor: “I can’t focus with your music blaring like that!”

Me: “Um, I’m not playing music.”

Neighbor: “Don’t lie! I hear it right now!”

(Standing at the hallway door with my bedroom door open, I can just barely hear my TV playing.)

Me: “Oh, my TV? Sorry, I didn’t think it was that loud. I can turn it down some.” 

Neighbor: “You’d better!”

(She stomps off and I think that is the end of it. Fifteen minutes later:)

Resident Authority: “Campus housing!”

(I open the door, and my neighbor has brought our RA to my apartment.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Resident Authority: “Do you know about the 24-hour quiet hours going on right now?”

Me: “Yes, that’s why I’m watching TV with my bedroom door shut. Could you hear it from the hall?”

Resident Authority: “Was it playing?”

Me: “Um, yes. It’s still playing right now.”

(He pauses and listens.)

Resident Authority: “I can barely hear that.” *turns to neighbor* “Is this really what you bothered me about?”

Neighbor: “I’m trying to study for finals! I can’t focus with her TV blaring!”

Resident Authority: “I have finals, too! And I can’t focus with people knocking on my door making fake complaints! If it really bothers you that bad, campus housing gave you earplugs at the beginning of the year. Dig those out.”

Me: “So, am I good?”

Resident Authority: “Yep, have a good week, and watch TV all you want.”

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Divorced From Reality, Married To Gossip

, , , , | Related | November 27, 2019

(One of my sons is divorced, another one married. Whilst shopping, I run into a neighbour. After some small talk, I get this gem:)

Elderly Neighbour: “I’m so sorry that [Married Son] got divorced, too.”

Me: “Excuse me? I saw both [Married Son] and [Daughter-In-Law] yesterday and they are still happily married, devoted to their daughter.”

Elderly Neighbour: But, but he is seen with this blonde woman all over the neighbourhood.”

(It was then that I realized that my daughter-in-law had recently lost a lot of weight — as my son put it: she’s only half the woman he married — and had her hairstyle changed — badly, I might add — and had changed from dark to blonde. We had a good laugh about it when I told my son he should me tell me when something important happens in his life.)

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