Monday, September 14, 2015

Be Nice!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with people who come through the short-term rental place next door, and most of the hate part stems from the shared driveway. The drive is narrow, and there's not a lot of room on their side of the road to maneuver once you get up it. Often, the guests will drive on up - and only then realize how little wriggle room there is to get back down, especially when we have our cars parked on our side. And, since many of them are from out of town, they are driving unfamiliar vehicles.

Earlier this summer, when I was not in an especially good space anyways given all that was going on with Kate, one of them managed to ding up my downspout on their way down the drive. I talked to the owners about it, they offered to fix it (they're good about such things), but I turned them down, figuring it's only a matter of time before someone does it again.

I tried to set it aside, but somewhere in my mind, I was still fuming. Not so much over the ding as over the unwillingness of some theoretically responsible adults to own up to the messes they've made. I thought of varying ways to protect my property - one of those concrete columns protecting the gutter came to mind, or perhaps a big railroad tie along the side of the house. I couldn't come up with anything that wouldn't inconvenience me as much as it would my unwitting neighbors, so I went to Minnesota and let it go.


I came home, and sure enough, the dent I'd told them not to try to repair was still there. (duh!) I found myself tarring all the temporary neighbors with the same brush, looking at them with suspicion and distrust. The first group made it easy - a group of self-absorbed twenty-somethings using the house as their wedding prep site. There were a lot of them, and sure enough, they managed to park two cars out back, blocking the drive so we had to get them to move one of the cars so we could get out.

I was working in the yard this weekend when the latest group pulled in.  Still wary, I watched them pull a good-sized SUV into the yard. But then, but then. The father came over to introduce himself and say hello. They are in down for a few days from New Mexico, so their son can see one of the Children's Mercy doctors for continuing treatment of severe scoliosis. The mother came to introduce herself with a big smile and a compliment for the work I was doing in the yard. Even the teenage daughter smiled. And the son, the son who will deal with the same health problems his life long that plagued my good friend Charlie, looked up from his e-toy and flashed me a smile that echoed the one I miss so much on Charlie's face. They proceeded to get into their car - she stood outside to carefully guide it safely down the narrow channel, and since then, have parked on the street.

Makes it hard for a girl to hold a grudge. Just sayin'.

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