I've been on the neighborhood ladies email list for two weeks and, in that time, a few emails have buzzed around. One even had an attachment, it just took time for me to dig around in my personal email and open it.
I finally had a few spare moments today to sift through the latest sales and Southwest getaways, reply to Evites or delete copious offers for vitamin supplements. For me, it's the electronic equivalent to the Sunday paper inserts. You know ... funmail.
I eagerly opened the flyer attachment from the most recent neighborhood ladies email only to find that Las Toberfest (I have no clue where the name came from) was this past Saturday. Sadly for me, everyone attends this soirre and, according to one of the two neighbors I actually know, I should "never miss Las Toberfest."
Ooops. How was I supposed to know that my neighborhood chickadees would celebrate something that sounds remotely like "Octoberfest" in August?
As the newbie, I was naturally looking forward to meeting the rest of the gals on my block. Being the proverbial new girl is not generally a big deal. However, I am somewhat self-conscious in this particular instance because we bought the house months ago, tore it up, put most of it back together and just recently moved in. Speculation about the new Freemans has been swirling down the street for some time now.
In the context of a suburban neighborhood community curiosity, I am the most highly scrutinized type of new girl. I'm the new girl who decided that this year we'll focus on renovating the interior of the house and next year we'll tackle the exterior and landscaping - the part of the house that everyone sees. Everything we've done for the past several months begs the question ... What the heck are they up to in there?
I'm the new girl who's had a dumpster parked in her driveway for several weeks at a stretch since April. I'm the new girl who had a carpenter set up on her front lawn making a noisy, dusty mess.
I'm the new girl who (even after a month since moving in) still has a hundred pounds of corrugated cardboard bound up on her curb for the recycling truck every monday.
I'm the new girl who hit an all-time, hillbilly low in early July when our Jeep was stuck on our lawn for several hours one suffocatingly hot, friday evening. It was on that very day Ryan I decided that the good folks in our new neighborhood were wagering on whether or not we had full sets of teeth or were related to one another or said things like "git 'er done" or would one day shoot the racoons right off the top of them there garbage cans. Varmints!
We have a one-car garage and thusly, a one-car width driveway. We also live on a no parking street. With contractors and family members coming over to deliver things, haul things away and help us in general, it was occasionally just easier to roll right up on the lawn next to the driveway for a brief spell.
Unfortunately, our model of Jeep Grand Cherokee had a tempermental steering column/ignition pin lock and if you turn the wheel after parking you can apparently break the whole damn thing. This very scenario played out with us looking like complete hilljacks - our Jeep parked (cockeyed, as Ryan will point out) in the middle of the yard long after the help had gone home.
AAA sent a service truck out to have a look. After thirty seconds, the driver said, "The ignition's busted. I can tow it to a shop for you. Should be fixed by monday. Or .... I could call my uncle. He can probably help you tonight." Yep. His uncle.
While we waited for the only, living, willing, repair guy who could install a new ignition on site at nine pm on a friday, we made vain attempts to unlock the steering column ourselves using random suggestions drudged up from the bowels of the internet by the Google-machine.
Please try to picture one of us jumping up and down on the front bumper while the other violently jerks the stiff wheel back and forth. These sad, turf-destroying efforts came in short bursts because it was too damn hot for human beings to carry out this ridiculous exercise for any extended period of time. By the time help arrived, the wheel was in an unusual position. "You never want your steering wheel stuck completely upside down" the helpful master of the obvious told us, as he busied himself in the portable garage that was his utility van.
People who point out the obvious usually make me nuts, but this guy installed a new ignition for us faster than you could say "chop shop" so I just can't bring myself to hate him for it. It barely even weirds me out that this alleged "uncle" didn't seem much older than the AAA driver who had led us to him. Once our precious transport was back in the driveway where she belonged, I was nothing other than entirely grateful and relieved.
Let me just say that if the neighborhood folk somehow overlooked the weeks and months of renovation hoopla at our house, there was little chance they missed the car parked on our lawn during prime time on a friday night. Las Toberfest was a golden opportunity for me redeem the Freemans before the whole hood - a shot at showing them how hilariously, brilliantly normal we are, and I BLEW it.
Damn you, ill-named and inappropriately-timed Las Toberfest. Damn you!