Monday, December 10, 2007

Blue Light Special

On a cool fall night, sitting outside listening to the crackling sparks of the fire, waiting for the perfect moment when the soft center of the marshmallow oozes out of the crusted, partially burnt shell to form the ideal s'more, laughing with old-turned-new friends and enjoying a comfortable comraderie, we all thought the evening couldn't get any better... when, suddenly, "splash!" All of us quickly turned and peered through the back property tree line, branches now bare with the fall leaves having abandoned them, their once protective shield now gone. Patrick looked at me with utter disgust paired with disbelief, his low, guttural words muttering, "They got a hot tub."

This pivotal moment in our "neighbors'" (We won't fully acknowledge them as our neighbors because, actually, they live in a different subdivision.) lives has made an overwhelming impact on ours as well. Now, as we gaze out of our back window while sipping our morning coffee and reading the daily paper, it is not uncommon to see two bodies wrapped together in an oversized Dale Earnhardt Junior towel, still dripping from their morning sauna. I come home from work to find my once luminous kitchen and living room now darkened with all of my shades completely lowered--a result of Patrick coming home for lunch and "not being able to take it anymore." Patrick and I will be cooking dinner, engaging in pleasant conversation, when I notice that he is looking past me, shocked by the latest public display of affection (i.e. wild make out sessions) on the back porch.

Our dismay with our surrounding patrons began several weeks after we moved in to what we thought to be "suburban bliss." We thought our biggest obstacles would be the "yard snob" whose perfectly manicured yards and upturned noses at our few weeds would shame us with chagrin, the stereotypical Williamson County moms who hogged the pool with their loud children, surgically enhanced figures, and "desperate housewife-isms," the hoity-toity BMW/Benz drivers who thought the neighborhood streets were theirs alone--we were fully prepared and excited about leaving the "thug life" that our neighborhood in Alabama was quickly becoming to assuage these safer, lesser obstacles.

It all started with a hamburger bun. We take Maggie out the back to do her doggie business. One day she wanted to explore further and further in the backyard, when I noticed an odd shape. I thought to myself, "I've never seen such a big mushroom! Gross!" Only, it wasn't a mushroom, but a hamburger bun. Patrick and I discussed it that evening--how would a hamburger bun wind up in our backyard? For the next week, on several different occasions, we found additional buns--the conundrum continuing to baffle us. A couple of nights later, Patrick ran to the bedroom whispering, "He's grilling! Let's see what he does with those buns." I quietly complied (unusual for me), and sure enough, moments after our spying session began, we witnessed him toss a bun into our yard. We shouted, "What is he doing? Why would he do that?"

During the summer we grill out and eat outside often, so, determined that our passive-aggressive neighbors would not deter our pleasure, we began to eat out there even more often. After our initial fiery anger subsided, we decided the best tactic would be to "kill them with kindness." We started attempting small talk while doing yard work, grilling, and taking Maggie out. The hamburger buns quit appearing in our yard. We though to ourselves, "Well done!"

Then, they got a hot tub.

Now, it's blue Christmas lights. All over. Beaming into our kitchen. Our blinds perpetually closed.

Friday, December 07, 2007

State Bound

The Independence High School Eagles have made it to the state championship in class 5-A football. Tomorrow they travel to MTSU to face reigning champs, Smyrna. One of my favorite students is pictured above, #7, Alex Heckman. A sophomore, he began the season as 3rd-string quarterback, and he has emerged as a team leader and major factor in IHS's success. My favorite thing about Alex is his humilty. In every interview he has been level-headed, realistic, and unassuming. He gives all the credit to the seniors and his teammates, and he is having the time of his life. Alex is also a 4.0 student and one of my best writers in my Honors English class, a bright spot in my day for sure. I love stories like this one, and you can read more in this article. Root for the Indy Eagles tomorrow! And I'll also be cheering for my alma mater in the 3-A championship. Go Mustangs!