Warm Fuzzies Tuesday: My Awesome Neighbors

Ever since we moved into our condo way back in July of 2006, we’ve had these awesome neighbors that live across our sidewalk and upstairs. They are a family of five: what I presume to be a mom, dad and three kids (teenage son, younger teenage daughter, and elementary-school-aged daughter). They work in the athletic industry; perhaps they own a gym? I’m not sure, but I know the mom is a personal trainer.

We’ve never formally introduced ourselves, so while I think they know our names because we’ve mentioned them, I only know about half of their names. Isn’t that sad? But now I’d feel like an idiot asking them what their names are.

Like I said, we’ve never had any kind of “formal” introduction, nor have we ever gotten together to hang out. But they always say “Hi” when they see us, and we like to chat when we see each other. The mom is especially personable. The kids never seem to argue or fight with each other. As it turns out, they homeschool, which makes the peace more understandable.

I’ve hired the teenage son on several occasions to pet-sit for us while we were out of state. He’s always really serious and professional about it, and I don’t know what I would have done without his help. The mom always goes ga-ga over Munchkin–after all, she’s seen Munchkin grow up (albeit from an observer’s perspective). When we had a big snow last winter, she lent us one of her sleds so we could go sledding. That family is always happy to help out.

Which is why, upon learning that my car battery was dead this morning, I went to them. Because while I HATE asking for help because I feel like I’m such an inconvenience and bother, I knew I needed it (the van is in the shop, so I couldn’t use it to jump the battery, plus I have errands to run today), and I knew that they wouldn’t turn me away.

I rang their bell and was horrified to learn that they just woke up (not horrified that they aren’t morning people, but horrified that I possibly woke them from their slumber). But after learning my request, they happily obliged by getting dressed and coming down to help. It turns out that their vehicle wasn’t working either, but they had a car battery charger to lend me. They even plugged it in to their own electrical outlet because the cord wouldn’t reach my condo (my car is parked right in front of their porch).

Neighbors as friendly and helpful as these are more valuable than anything one could ever buy.

Now my car is working again and I’m wracking my brain to figure out how to show them my appreciation. Not just for this latest round of kindness, but for nearly three years of it. How do I give these warm fuzzies back? My first inclination is to bake something yummy. Home-baked goods are warm, tasty, full of love, useful, and not gaudy. But I’m scared that one of them has some kind of allergy and won’t be able to eat (or worse, share a room with) something I make. How can I nonchalantly ask them about any potential food allergies without sounding suspicious? Heh, I don’t think it’s possible. I suppose I can just take a chance and gift them some banana bread.

They still don’t know we are moving soon (a combo of it not coming up in conversation and me not wanting to jinx it). I kind of feel bad, too, because it’s always a little upsetting for a community to go through change, and while I’m sure we weren’t “model” neighbors, we weren’t bad ones either, and I hope, for their sake, nobody crazy moves into our old place. But there’s nothing we can do to affect that. I just hope they are blessed with happiness, because they’ve given out a lot of it themselves.

Weekly Menu and a First for Munchkin

This Week’s Menu:
Monday: Leftover Spicy Chicken Soup
Tuesday: Calzones (Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe) and Salad (that TL and Randy brought over last Saturday…there’s a lot left!)
Wednesday: Braised Herb Chicken Thighs with Potatoes
Thursday: Husband’s Burritos (which are more like enchiladas but I’m not gonna argue)
Friday: Tortellini with marinara sauce and Salad
Saturday: Chicken Soup (made from the stock I made last week) and Salad (if it’s still good)
Sunday: leftovers
Extras: Lemon Curd (organic lemons are on sale!) and Banana Bread

We had a great visit with Grandma (a.k.a. my Mother-in-Law). More later. For now, a happy first from Munchkin: SHE PEED IN THE POTTY! Yipee! She was so very happy that she finally got to use some toilet paper. It was more than enough of a reward for her efforts. Hopefully this will lead to big girl underwear, but I’m not holding my breath!

Scullery Maid

Well, I finally found my motivation and cleaned the daylights out of our home. Not that I’m aiming to knock my MIL’s socks off, so to speak, with my awesomely sparkly home (okay, maybe a little), but it needed the cleaning anyway in preparation of us moving out next month. Just a little less to scrub, know what I mean? I gave it my all, and now I’m pooped.

Now, after a long, hard day’s work, it is late, and I’m going to bed. In the morning I’m getting up, showering (with Munchkin, as always, because although my bathroom is sparkly, I still don’t want her playing in the toilet), baking banana bread (for the ambiance, right?) and heading over to the airport to pick her up. Don’t know if I’ll be able to update much while she’s here. But if I’m not back by Tuesday, send a search party, okay?

The Eight-Legged Monster of Terror

I’ve been cleaning. Or, should I say, meaning to clean. Haha.

I was just minding my own business when the biggest house spider I’ve ever seen practically galloped across my living room floor. I grabbed my ever-ready Dyson and sucked it up. (I was holding the hose with my hand and that sucker was so big it STUNG my hand as it hit the hose where I was holding it!) Now, I’d like to believe it’s dead, but I’ve sucked up ants before and found them later making themselves at home in the dust inside the canister. :S I can’t find its carcass. And I’m not opening that thing up without backup. So…do you think it lived and it’s going to come crawling out of my vacuum cleaner to get revenge? Maybe I should put my Dyson outside and hope that it doesn’t get stolen.

Now I’m eyeing my vacuum with suspicion. I…don’t…trust…you…

Why do arthropods make us act so bizarrely?

Weekly Menu and a Panic Attack

This Week’s Menu:
Monday: Scallops Mascarpone
Tuesday: Southwest Chicken and Mexican Rice (since we didn’t get to it last week)
Wednesday: Roast Chicken with mashed potatoes, canned corn, and (commercially-prepared, prepackaged but oh-so-yummy) stuffing
Thursday: Meatball Sandwiches, plus Chicken Stock from yesterday’s chicken carcass
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: One of these days we’ll have Spicy Chicken Soup (made with the fresh stock) with homemade bread (perhaps a 6 Braid Challah Loaf? CAN I GET A (C)HOLLA?) and we’ll more than likely eat out on the other two days.

Why would we eat out TWO DAYS in a row? Well, I’ll have you know that my Mother-in-Law is coming to town on Friday. I love her, I really do, but I can’t keep my wits about myself around her. If I try to accomplish too much in the kitchen, I just may very well burn the whole building down. To further complicate matters, it is MY task to pick her up from the airport, and drop her off there on Monday. To get to the proper destination at the airport, I have to follow the signs from the highway. And I’m always missing the signs or misinterpreting the signs or overthinking the signs (What does short-term parking even mean? Two days, or two hours? I don’t know if that’s…oh, I missed the turn anyway). And while I’m all discombobulated, I have to wield a minivan and not kill anyone with it. Did I mention I’m 4’11” (well, almost, if I wear shoes) and checking my blind spot is darn near impossible without standing up? My point is, driving in busy traffic to places I don’t frequent is one of my most dreaded and stressful tasks. Another reason I shouldn’t have to worry about cooking for my MIL.

Oh, now I’m all bothered. Let me show some pictures of a walk Munchkin and I went on this weekend. I’ll feel better.

Taking a Spring Walk

Taking a Spring Walk

Taking a Spring Walk

Taking a Spring Walk

Taking a Spring Walk