Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Crazy Lady Seal of Approval

We have a Neighborhood Post Consumer Waste Management Technician. She’s in her late sixties, pushes a shopping cart around the neighborhood going through trashcans, and while she doesn’t appear to be on drugs or drunk I’m willing to bet she wasn’t at the top of her class in high school. When I first moved in to this house I thought she was homeless, but she didn’t quite look disheveled enough. It turns out she lives 6 or 7 blocks away at the end of my street in a well kept little cottage that looks like it dates from the 40s. She must be on social security and uses the bottles and cans to supplement her income.

The first time I met her was only a few weeks after I moved in. I was in the front yard doing something and Mortimer, my cat, was hanging out as usual. She was pushing her cart up the sidewalk and she stopped and stared at Mort for a minute and then asked, “Is that my cat? I used to have a cat just like that but he ran away.” I assured her he was my cat in away that would limit the conversation as much as a possible. “No, he’s my cat. I’ve had him for years. Absolutely positive he’s mine. No doubt in my mind.” She moved on, mumbling to herself how he look just like her old cat. A few months later as I was walking through the neighborhood and I over heard her asking some people if their dog was her long lost pet that ran away a while ago. It was an almost identical conversation to the one I had had with her about Mort.

At first I wasn’t too thrilled with her coming in my yard and getting cans and bottles out of my trash. It’s not that I thought she was going to steal anything, it’s just, you know, so inner-city-ish. There was something a little depressing about seeing an old woman pawing through my garbage. When I first moved in here things were so chaotic sorting my garbage was way down on the list of priorities. Eventually I built the Trash-O-Matic 5000©A Waste Management System®. After a while the tenants and I were all sorting the garbage with it and it made it much easier for her to collect her bounty. I didn’t mind it so much anymore.

Trash-O-Matic 5000©A Waste Management System®


As time went by I got more accustomed to her coming around and I kind of liked it. We have curb side recycling and garbage pick-up from the city but I don’t pay for the services. Because of all the work I’m doing I seem to be going to the dump on a regular basis so I just take the garbage myself. Now, with the Neighborhood Post Consumer Waste Management Technician coming by on a regular basis I only have to deal with garbage and recycling about once every other month sometimes. She’s really very handy.

Also, she always has a kind word about the house and the work I’m doing on it, and I no longer fear she’s going to try and drag off one of my cats while I’m at work. I think aside from myself and my immediate neighbors she has been watching the restoration more closely than just about anyone and today she gave me her official approval on the new paint scheme. I don’t remember her exact words but it was something like, “Yes! Yes! Those are very nice colors. You do very nice work. I could see how good it was from the end of the block and I really don’t see to good anymore.” It was as if the colors had just been blessed by a Priest from the local church.



9 comments:

kris said...

Great story! The paint job looks fantastic--nice work.

kk said...

I have been in trim painting hell recently and as a result have developed a deep appreciation of the job your have undertaken (and the speed at which you are progressing!)with the outside of the Petch place.

The porch looks wonderful!

Kim said...

Just beautiful! Excellent color choices!

Lol about the crazy old lady...at least she has great taste, eh?!

Gary said...

Have you ever asked her why her pets run away? Wonder what her answer would be...

jm@houseinprogress said...

Good looking paint job...she knows quality when she spots it.

merideth said...

awww...what a sweet neighborhood character...the people who rifle our trash are none so entertaining...though some have fashioned custom contraptions for fishing out bottles and cans from the bottoms of the trash bins

and the new paint looks FANtastic!!

Greg said...

I think maybe her pets may have died rather than ran away. You can out live a lot of pets in 60 or 70 years.

deb said...

i still say you shoul paint your doors black.

otherwise it looks really, really good!

Kristin said...

Wow, that's the best thing I've seen all day! I bet it's fun being your neighbor and seeing the progress first hand.