Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Neighborly Thing to Do

We have problems with our neighbors.

Nothing major that would call for more than, say, one police car, just a bunch of minor stuff.

For a while I thought it was something we were doing, as if that were possible, model citizens we are, but I reasoned it out and we’re definitely not the problem. For a start, we’re still here and all of our neighbors have moved away. Several times. No family has lived next to us for longer than two years. It can’t be because of anything we’ve said to them because we don’t talk to our neighbors; we just watch them through the windows.

On two occasions I tried to be “nice” to the new neighbors. I even went so far as to read up on How to Be Nice to New Neighbors in old Miss Manners columns and she gave me great tips like “look presentable, not creepy,” “bring a housewarming gift,” and “smile.”

So, I did that.

I showered, blow-dryed my hair and slathered on some Insta-Tan from Wal-Mart. I think that stuff makes me look like Ricardo Mondeblan , put on new Argyle socks and my best, dress sandals, Hawaiian shirt and my aviator’s Blu-Ray shades. Is it hot in here or is it me? I was good to go.

As a housewarming gift I picked up a bag of Fire Ant Bait since that’s a problem in our neighborhood, at least on our side of the street. Actually, sort of confined to our house and the neighbors on either side. Fire ants have been known to devour entire cows; I saw that on the Discovery Channel. I figured I could work that into the conversation so they’d appreciate the magnitude of my housewarming gift. Subtlety is my middle name.

I rang the bell and presently Neighbor Lady and I were peeking at each other through her partially cracked doorway. Judging from her stare she might have been hitting on me, which was highly inappropriate since we had just met. I noted that she was security conscious, though, and kept the safety chain hooked on her door, a wise precaution in this day and age.

In retrospect, I think the conversation went well. I told her in graphic detail about the fate of the cow on the Discovery Channel and when I told her I was her neighbor she exclaimed, “Oh, my!”

She was obviously impressed at having such a well-educated naturalist living right next door. To clear up any confusion I emphasized that I was a naturalist, one who studies nature, rather than a naturist, one who practices nudism and certainly never in the front yard.

I also told her that I thought the theory that rabid possums were responsible for the rash of Bichon Frise deaths in the neighborhood was highly overrated. No, it was definitely the work of raccoons or maybe large snakes, possibly rented.

Finally, I was able to slip the bag of Fire Ant Bait to Neighbor Lady without making her unchain the door. She really appreciated the gift because I heard her say as she closed the door, “Oh. My. God!”

Nothing like a first impression. I always say that.


Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net said...

awesome! you put the "b" in subtle

Anonymous said...

OMG....I LOVE the comment, Judy!

Some guy you don't know,


Leann said...

Sounds as if you made an honorable impression.

Anonymous said...

you may have me beat! i've got the mean "desperate housewives club" on my block....complete with Burberry ponches and matching gardening gloves.


Anonymous said...

You can kill fire ants with aspartame or orange juice and repel them with baby powder - Learn how to kill pests without killing yourself or the earth......
There are about 50 to 60 million insect species on earth - we have named only about 1 million and there are only about 1 thousand pest species - already over 50% of these thousand pests are already resistant to our volatile, dangerous, synthetic pesticide POISONS. We accidentally lose about 25,000 to 100,000 species of insects, plants and animals every year due to "man's footprint". But, after poisoning the entire world and contaminating every living thing for over 60 years with these dangerous and ineffective pesticide POISONS we have not even controlled much less eliminated even one pest species and every year we use/misuse more and more pesticide POISONS to try to "keep up"! Even with all of this expensive and unnecessary pollution - we lose more and more crops and lives to these thousand pests every year.

We are losing the war against these thousand pests mainly because we insist on using only synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers There has been a severe "knowledge drought" - a worldwide decline in agricultural R&D, especially in production research and safe, more effective pest control since the advent of synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers. Today we are like lemmings running to the sea insisting that is the "right way". The greatest challenge facing humanity this century is the necessity for us to double our global food production with less land, less water, less nutrients, less science, frequent droughts, more and more contamination and ever-increasing pest damage.

National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24,2007 was created to highlight the dangers of poisoning and how to prevent it. One study shows that about 70,000 children in the USA were involved in common household pesticide-related (acute) poisonings or exposures in 2004. At least two peer-reviewed studies have described associations between autism rates and pesticides (D'Amelio et al 2005; Roberts EM et al 2007 in EHP). It is estimated that 300,000 farm workers suffer acute pesticide poisoning each year just in the United States - No one is checking chronic contamination.
In order to try to help "stem the tide", I have just finished re-writing my IPM encyclopedia entitled: THE BEST CONTROL II, that contains over 2,800 safe and far more effective alternatives to pesticide POISONS. This latest copyrighted work is about 1,800 pages in length and is now being updated at my new website at .

This new website at has been basically updated; all we have left to update is Chapter 39 and to renumber the pages. All of these copyrighted items are free for you to read and/or download. There is simply no need to POISON yourself or your family or to have any pest problems.

Stephen L. Tvedten
2530 Hayes Street
Marne, Michigan 49435
When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest.

Quasi said...

Great welcoming! Although the fire ants story is really scary. My humans also say "great neighbor" when a car alarm goes off for no reason.

Former Novice Alaskan said...

Squirt is NOT amused at your lack of safety consciousness with regards to neighborhood Bichon Frises! Well done on working rented snake in again! LOL

Di said...

Loved the book. Here's my review: