Would u be open 2 P coming over from 7 to 8:30 pm 2ni so Jim & I can hav an anniv dinner out? If doesn't work, NP, thxs.
I thought, no, I don't have a problem with it, if 8:30 really means 8:30. But unlike FN's daughter, my child is not homeschooled, and has to go to bed by 9 in order to get up at 6:30 to catch the bus. And the previous time that we had P here for her parents to go do something at night, they did not return on time. And last week Normal Neighbor watched P in the evening with the same result. But since we were home, and L loves to play with P, and there was no real obstacle to our having her, I said, "Sure, bring her down. Happy Anniversary!" I could not think of a possible way to tell another adult that she needed to be back by 8:30. I just did not want to go there. If it had been me, I would have killed myself getting back here when I said I would. I might have resented being reminded I had a curfew.
So P got dropped off at 7:15. She and L played happily. Everything was fine. At 8:30 I started making noises to Laura about how she needed to go ahead and be ready for bed. She naturally resisted, because her friend was here. I told her to go ahead and brush her teeth, and I let them be. At 9:00 I got another text from FN.
We r on the way back, should be 10 min or less, sorry to go over time. Thxs
I didn't respond to that one. I knew that their next move would be to either call P's cellphone when they pulled up, or to text me or call me and ask me to send P outside. I put my phone on silent. I didn't want to play fast-food drive thru person anymore and just pass their order through the window. I marched into Matt's office and told him, "I'm going to make them get out of their car. It is my silent protest. It is little, but it is mine."
So they did. At 9:15 Frenemy Neighbor came to the door. She saw Laura and Hank in the sunroom and said, "Oh, well we didn't mean to keep everybody up." I just smiled. Then I told her she looked pretty. Then they left, and the kids went straight to bed. So why am I so annoyed?
The heretofore unblogged context for this event is that the Frenemy family has had a rough time lately. I haven't been telling this story, but a month ago, late one night, Laura had another friend sleeping over. Matt was gone up to D.C. to fetch the dog from her summer camp at my brother's house. About one in the morning, I was going to bed, and Frenemy called me. She sounded upset. She said, "I need to take Jim to the ER, can you come up here and sit with P?" Her husband was having an irregular heartbeat and was really uncomfortable. I said that Matt was out of town and I couldn't leave, but to bring P down here. So she did. P came in and I put her to bed in my room, on a spare mattress. I felt that I needed to stay up, plus I wasn't exactly sleepy anymore. At 4:30 she texted me again and said that Jim was having atrial fibrillation, but was being medicated and would be okay. P's grandma would come fetch her in the morning, she said, so I went to bed. Frenemy's mother came at 8. I told her to call me if she needed anything.
The next day, FN called me at 9 to ask if I would go up the hill and show her mother how to light her gas stove, which made me chuckle. I went, of course. After another day, Jim got better and came home from the hospital.
Then two weeks ago, a phone call at 7 am. Jim was having a kidney stone attack, and could she bring P over? Of course. Geez, that poor guy!
This story is already too long, but all this is to say that, I feel genuinely glad when I can help someone out. And even more glad, in these cases, because I have realized that FN doesn't have many (any?) close friends. Nobody she can call upon. And they have all been shaken up by their run of bad luck. I was glad to help and would have taken P in as much as needed. It's not any trouble, and neighbors need to help each other, right?
I was glad to help in those cases, but somehow this simple request to have P over to play with Laura this evening rubbed me the wrong way. On their anniversary, for Pete's sake. Maybe it also has to do with her communication style? I don't know, I am a mystery even to myself.
Now you're up to date on what's going on with the Frenemizer.