Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Being Stalked

It happened again. I was caught off guard. Bamboozled. Hoodwinked. My neighbor across the street is an ambush playdate planner. And the word “planner” is used extremely loosely in this context. As a matter of fact, there is no planning involved at all. At least not on my part.

The couple who live across the street from me have two little girls. Their oldest is four months younger than my twins and the baby is about two and a half, I believe. The husband and wife work opposite work schedules. Though, frankly, I never see him go to work. He seems to be home alone with the kids most days. I really like him a lot. He seems to be a great father. He's friendly. Fun to joke around with. Kind of a goofy all-around guy's guy. I genuinely like him a lot. But...(there's always a but, isn't there?)

Lately, he has been ambushing me. Stalking me. He will show up at my door with his two girls in tow and ask if they can come over and play. What am I supposed to say with the girls standing right there? I am obviously home, as I unsuspectingly answered the door. And I am not very good at cultivating a lie on the spot. So of course I let them come over and play while he power washes his deck or plants a tree or cleans his house or...maybe he sits on his ass and plays Super Mario Brothers. I don't know.

He will also ambush me as I pull my minivan up in front of my house sometimes. As I am struggling to get three kids and a dog out of the van and into the house, he will suddenly and unexpectedly appear at my shoulder out of breath as if he sprinted across the street. He'll ask what I am doing that very moment. Umm....struggling. Can't he see? Then he will say that his oldest daughter has been begging all day to come to my house and play. Again, I can't think quick enough to come up with an adequate lie. And honestly, I really don't mind his girls coming over most of the time. The older one talks constantly and is a bit bossy, but I don't know a four-year-old girl who isn't. I just happen to already be acclimated to my own little chatty-patty-bossy-boots. The little one simply sits in Sophie's bedroom floor the entire time playing with her dollhouse. Not a word or a request or a demand of anyone. So in actuality, they are perfectly fine playdaters and they entertain my kids for a brief time. But is it too much to ask for a little warning? Is it too much to ask to not be stalked? I imagine him peeking out from behind the curtains waiting for me to drive up. It's a bit creepy.

Part of me is happy that the neighbor kids want to play at my house. And I certainly don't mind Sophie having a little girl right across the street who may very well one day be her BFF for life. But I would like to propose a process for our playdates.

1. He must call before showing up at my door. This will allow me the opportunity to screen my calls and ignore him if I am not in the mood for a playdate.

2. If I do not answer the phone and he feels the need to walk over to make sure I am home, he must forgo his usual stealthy approach. He must make loud noises as he crosses the street. A “Beware! I am coming!” shouted loudly would work. This will allow me ample time to duck behind the couch and pretend I am not home.

3. If, by chance, he is quicker than I am (a good probability) and catches a glimpse of me diving headfirst behind the furniture, he must immediately walk away and talk of it with no one.

4. He must never EVER bring his girls to the door with him to request a playdate. That is unfair and underhanded. Who could look into the face of a little girl and tell her that you do not want her coming over to play? Not me.

5. He must instruct his daughter to stop yelling out the window, “Can I come play at your house?” Did I mention that she sits in her living room window and yells at me every time I pull up in front of the house? I pretend that I cannot hear her most of the time. But it feels rude. And it's quite obvious at the decibel level she yells that I can hear her. The entire neighborhood can hear her.

So...we have a plan in place. No more ambush playdates. Now I must go and do my calisthenics. I need to get in shape for the upcoming couch-diving.


Anonymous said...

Tell them all to use the phone to make the dates. I see you ducking.

Jessica said...

I think you need to try turning the tables on him. Show up at his door and foist your children off on him for an afternoon while you go home to watch trashy TV and eat bonbons. ;)

Seriously though, that guy is being totally rude. You do need to tell him no once in awhile.

P.s. Love the picture.

Shannon said...

Jessica--I would totally turn the tables on him, but my kids are going through this clingy phase (that's pretty much been going on since birth). Neither Sophie nor Nicholas will go play at his house without me going too....which defeats the entire purpose. Grrrr.

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