MEETING THE NEIGHBORS

We just moved to a new neighborhood a few months ago. My husband walks the dogs every morning and evening so he has had a chance to meet many of the neighbors. Zelma, who lives around the corner with a very gentle German shepherd, Greta, invited us to her New Year’s Eve party. We changed our plans to have our annual dinner at the Tarpon Lodge so we could attend Zelma’s party and meet some of our neighbors. This decision was NOT a mistake.

This crowd was mostly retirees that have wonderful stories about their travels, cruises and adventures which I always love to hear since I’m not a big traveler myself – and they loved telling them.

Zelma was a gracious host with enough food laid out to feed an army battalion. She made it a point to make us feel welcome and spend time talking with us and introduced us to her other guests. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her latest cruise to the Mediterranean before she excused herself to check on her pulled pork.

One of the guests we met was Katherine, a snow bird from Montana. A snow bird is one of those delicate creatures that have a house here in Florida, but keeps one up north because for some strange reason, they can tolerate the ice, snow and freezing rain, but can’t seem to take the hot summers here. Katherine has long, LONG hair, kind of a left-over hippy hair and she used to live in California, but now lives in Montana. I’m not sure what happened in California to transform her from a “groovy, love and peace” California girl to a rather Annie Oakley kind of gal, but she took great pride and was kind of preachy in telling us about shooting animals to eat. I was told by another guest at the party that she even has stuffed animal heads mounted on her walls. Not something I like to think about, but Katherine seemed very proud of them and went on in great detail about each one of them.

My eyes were going blurry listening to her rattle on about her shooting sprees, and in the nick of time – in walks Dot, Ed, their 60 year old daughter Donna and her husband Mike. I loved them immediately. After introductions, first thing out of Donna’s mouth was: “So, Katherine, have you killed anything lately?”

I thought I would pee on the floor right there. I laughed so hard tears were running down my face. It got to be embarrassing, but it was New Year’s Eve and a good belly laugh was just what I needed so I didn’t really care that my semi-hysterics might have been rude. If Donna could get away with her bull’s eye comment, then certainly my laughter couldn’t be that offensive.

Katherine didn’t miss a beat and went on to tell Donna her about her latest victim. Some poor elk she slaughtered and then ate. Point blank Donna asked if she hung that head on her wall too. I had to leave the room.

I took the opportunity to use the restroom. A very large cat was lying on the floor and I noticed that the bathroom had a bidet. I had never used a bidet and since this was New Year’s Eve I figured I may as well start off with a new experience.

I wasn’t quite sure how those things worked, so after using the regular toilet, I thought I would turn one of the handles on the bidet just a smidge to check the water pressure. I was standing over it at the time staring down at it. A geyser of water shot up like something out of Yellowstone and went clear up to the ceiling. Water was dripping from the ceiling and the cat ran for cover. Fortunately I jerked my head back before I got it in the kisser. I quickly turned the handle off, assessed the situation and knew I had to get that water off the ceiling. I pulled out about half the toilet paper from the roll, took my shoes off and stood on the toilet seat to try and wipe off the water from the ceiling. I couldn’t quite reach it so I got the toilet brush and wrapped it in toilet paper and was able to get most of the water dried off the ceiling.

I wasn’t giving up. I had still never used a bidet and it was New Year’s Eve after all. This time I sat down on the bidet and gingerly turned on the water again. It seemed to work because everything from the waist down seemed to be lemon fresh. Success!

I finished drying off and went back to the party. It seemed to be in full swing and so was I.

c 2014 Nancy Buffington

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