Yesterday the kids and I were playing out front in the evening before Ryan got home from work. We had finished dinner up out there because it was eighty degrees and no one could stand being inside anymore, so the table on our porch featured dirty plates, a bag of naan, a thing of hummus, and some empty cups. Near the table was a dirty BumGenius I'd flung out of the car in a mad dash to go get Charlie from school. None of this is explicitly prohibited by the HOA, but the lengthy code they provided us with when we moved in does have a general tone of not being a total slob.
So we were running around in the grass having a great time when I noticed someone with a clipboard rounding the culdesac and knocking on all my neighbor's doors. Quickly and with almost no explanation I ushered everyone back into the house.
Kids who were just outside having a lovely time running around the lawn half-dressed are not happy when they are brusquely shoved in the front door and told to stay away from the windows. So when the doorbell rang, quite predictably, ten minutes later (at 6:10, WHYYYYYYY????), the man on the other side was greeted with a window full of curious faces. And also an hours-old poop diaper that was still on the porch along with the remains of our dinner.
Because I did not want to go to jail for running what appeared to be a flophouse for ill-supervised children, I was forced to open the door. I headed through the living room hissing at the kids to get away from the door and side-stepping Rossby, who was barking like someone was breaking in with a tire iron, then opened the door just wide enough to stick my face out. My face, Rossby's face, and James's face. We looked like a totem pole.
The man identified himself as being with an environmental conservation group and I told him that I am very interested in environmental conservation but that this simply was a terrible time to talk. He pressed on. Rossby continued to bark hysterically behind me. James was shrieking. Charlie was complaining about something. I said again, slightly more forcefully and bewildered by this person's total lack of situational awareness, "I really don't have time to talk right now." As soon as I said it Rossby snarled and Wes howled "ROSS BIT ME!"
The man CONTINUED TO TALK ABOUT ELECTRONICS RECYCLING.
I cut him off. Do you have a card or something? I'd love to read more about this when I have more time. I now had a screaming Wes on my hip and was trying to keep Rossby and James in the house with my foot.
"Can I come back in an hour?" he offered. My head exploded. "Do. You. Have. A. Card?" I managed. He handed me one and I shut the door before he had the chance to start up again.
Back inside I inspected Wes for injuries then turned on a video and took James into the kitchen with me. Ryan came home a little while later and I ran upstairs to change for the Tacky Christmas Sweater Party I was going to that evening. I was headed downstairs when my phone rang and someone said "I think your dog is at my house."
Sure enough, Rossby wasn't in the back yard where he'd been exiled after the biting incident. I had no idea how he'd escaped, but I thanked the lady and got her address. I grabbed the harness and leash and ran out the door--literally ran, because my friend was coming to pick me up in about five minutes--the jingle bells I'd painstakingly hot-glued all over my festive holiday vest jingling all the way. Ching ching ching, went the vest as I ran around the corner with the leash. I couldn't see the house numbers in the dark so at every driveway I had to stoop down and look at the number on the curb.
It was when I was doing this ching, ching, ching slow jog, stooping to read the curb, ching ching ching thing that I ran right into Mr. Electronics Recycling, the man who had come to my door before.
I was wearing a festive beaded holiday vest with jingle bells glued all over it. And carrying an empty leash. And running in jeans and moccasins. And squatting down at the end of every driveway. Like a crazy person. Or like Rossby on a walk, appropriately.
"Good evening, ma'am." He said nonchalantly, pointedly not looking up from his clipboard.
"Hello" I breathed as I ran by (jingle jingle jingle jingle jingle all the way), "I can't find my dog."
"Mmmmm hmmmmm" he said into the clipboard as I stooped to read another curb, which was (mercifully) the right house.
Thankfully I looked slightly less silly than this when I rang their doorbell and thanked them for finding Ross.