Tuesday, August 19, 2008

good fences make good neighbours

We are in the midst of a garden landscaping project here at geekyhouse. Neither geekydaddy or I are in the least bit handy, so we have called in the professionals.

Our house is built into a steep hill, and the small yard is in two levels. From the top yard we can see over the top of our house. This means that the yard has very high fences. Rotting, swaying fences, painted with a dubious flaking red paint. Parts of fence have fallen down in every storm over the past 10 years. It was the sorry state of the fences that prompted the garden remodel, and today is the day the much anticipated new fences are being put up.

This meant that yesterday the old fences came down, so last night we could trespass into our neighbours yards! The site of the yards next door, one beautifully tended; the envy and inspiration for our own remodel, one urban jungle furnished with rotting kitchen chairs and rusty barbeques, reminded me of newsreel pictures of apartment buildings torn apart by disasters. The view seemed an intrusion into something personal. The fence just creates an illusion of private space, creates little pocket worlds seperated by boards.

It also prevents geekydog from pooping in the neighbours yards, so I didn't let her out when I got home.

Now, keeping everyone fed, cleaned and contented in our house, in the 2 hours between getting home time and bedtime, is a very fine balancing act, and it doesn't take much to tip the equilibrium from harmonic to horrific. Somehow that lack of fenced yard made last night one of the less succesful ones.

I tried taking geekydog out on her leash, at the same time attempting to keep geekygirl away from nails and heavy machinery strewn around the yard, but apparently the novel contents of the yard needed to be sniffed, and the dog would not pee. The neighbours dog was out having a good sniff too, so I relented and let geekydog roam free with him in the new territory. Now geekydog is quite a well trained and obedient dog, but she suffers from a selective deafness when exploring exciting new things. And the neighbours dog suffers from actual deafness. The dogs romped off and would not come in.

By the time the dogs were returned to their respective residences, the kids were starving. For some reason I had decided to make chicken stew from scratch for Geekygirl, (every now an again my guilt at too many fish stick and tater tot meals kicks in and I become toddler gourmet for a day, but this was definitely not the night to do it).

Geekybaby is a recent recruit to the world of solid foods, but he demands them with menaces. He had already been sitting in his high chair, dribbling with longing, for far too long. When I took a break from shoveling pureed carrots into his mouth in order to fetch an equally hungry and impatient geekygirl her much delayed dinner, the shriek of protest he let out caused her to burst into sympathetic and even louder howls. As I sat the table surrounding by tearful, bellowing children, I felt like bawling myself. Then as Geekygirl spooned up her chicken stew with gusto, and I resumed the carrot shoveling, the din turned to blissful silence for a few moments. I caught my breath, looked at the clock and counted the minutes until bedtime.

1 comment:

followthatdog said...

hungry children raise the stakes on any transaction. I swear a half sandwich makes the difference between little dog being an angel or the antichrist.

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