As if it weren't enough to have three boys pulling on my hand and saying "Mommmee?" at me all day (okay, one of them doesn't actually say that--but he definitely cries at me in a meaningful manner)---not to mention being the resident authority on all kinds of household-ly details ("How much soap do I put in the washing machine?" "Where does the pie pan go?" "Does this cup need washing?" "Do we have any more toilet paper?")---there are now some other boys here (really boys, they look about 17--one still has braces and the other one has his poor scrawny chest on display and is hugging his unlit cigarette to him fiercely, like a security blanket) moving the pile of dirt off of the street and into our yard.* Which is good.** But they keep ringing the doorbell. The cigarette one stands there awkwardly while the braces one mumbles, "Hey, sorry to bother you . . . "
"Yes?" I say.
Braces: Um . . . do you know, do you have any of that um, brown hose stuff?
Me: You mean the drip line?
Braces: Yeah, that stuff there [gestures feebly]
Me: No. Don't you have any?
Braces: Um yeah, we would have to go to the store and just get some, so, I was wondering if you had some.
Me: No, sorry.
Braces: Oh, okay.
20 minutes later.
Me: Hi! What's going on?
Cigarette: [averts eyes]
Braces: Um hi, we were just wondering, do you have any more of that brown bark stuff?
Me: The mulch?
Braces: Yeah, that mulch stuff on top there [gestures feebly].
Me: Well, no. Our builder is the one that put in the front landscape, so we don't really have any of those supplies.
Braces: Oh, okay.
20 minutes later.

*I promise I am not making this up!!*
Me: Oh, hey guys!
Cigarette: [gazes across street]
Braces: Hey, sorry to keep bothering you.
Me: No, that's okay. What do you need?
Braces: I was just wondering, um, do you need the dirt on, like, both sides of your house?
Me: Yes, that's right.
Braces: So, like, that side, and then that side too? [gestures feebly]
Me: Yeah, we need it everywhere that the drip line goes. Just basically in our whole yard. Both sides.
Braces: Okay, I was just, uh, trying to make sure I got everything, 'cause I keep forgetting stuff, so . . . I just wanted to make sure.

They reminded me of two little kids trying to get out of going to bed or something [now how would I know about that?]. "I need onnnne more drink!" "I just need to go to the bathroom!" etc. In fact I tried to go outside and bring them a drink, but now they seem to have disappeared. Hmmm.

Anyway, it's nice to be needed. Right?

*That must be the longest sentence ever.
**"To break up lengthy sections of prose, vary your sentence lengths." English minor to the rescue!!


  1. hah. I totally know what you mean with the needed thing. What is it about us girls that makes all the boys think they need to ask dumb questions. Like "Do we have scissors?" or like "Does Max have pants to wear?"
    Am I the only one that lives in the house!?!

    That's funny about those kids. How annoying!

  2. Wow. The company you're paying for is probably billing you like $30 an hour per worker and you get these schmucks out to your place. Lucky.
    Is it okay to use the word schmuck? I know what the term means, I think, so it's kind of a bad thing, but even if it meant nothing it would still be a great way to describe any idiot.
    Do enough people know what the term means that they'd be offended if I say it casually in all conversations?

  3. You are so funny, and a really good writer. I found your blog today and enjoyed reading it. I love your "why light and leaves" post. I feel the same way. Thanks for expressing it!

  4. I just started teaching school yesterday (hence my obnoxious neglect of our running). Judging from their behavior, I'm pretty sure these guys are probably my former students.


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