For the last several years I’ve been struggling with “age.” I despised turning 40. For some reason 40 meant something more than 30 — like at 30 you still had a chance for brilliant things to happen in your life but 40 meant you were on the downhill slide to the Shady Pines Rest Home. I know it’s all a mind game, “you’re only as old as you feel” blah blah blah. Even though I don’t really see myself as old the aches and pains in my hips and knees sure serve as a reminder that I’m not 20 anymore. Add to that a teenager who sees you as ancient and tells you at every given opportunity how old you are and it’s hard not to feel like you might be checking in to Shady Pines sooner rather than later.
But I recently had that moment where I actually couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth.
It was 2 am. And I was startled awake by a the loud and completely vicious and ferocious sounding bark of a 99 pound bulldog hell-bent to eat and destroy the person or persons he heard talking in what sounded like in our backyard. In all reality when confronted with real danger he would have hidden behind Princess the 40 pound street mutt who could probably kick some serious ass if she wanted to. But he sounds really mean and dangerous. And looks mean and dangerous too. ANYWAY….. once the barking stopped for a few seconds I heard some distinct voices chattering and laughing and rational thought finally took over when I realized that someone was in our neighbors hot tub and not two masked robbers coming to break in our house. The neighbors hot tub sits at an odd angle which is only about 15 feet from our house and despite a hastily constructed privacy fence you can still hear the people in the hot tub as if they were sitting on our back deck.
After some convincing we calmed the dogs down, and the kids who were also frightened awake by ferocious barking. Well .. to be honest I’m pretty sure the teenager was still awake but he feigned being woken up. Back to bed we went. Luckily for the party neighbors I didn’t have to get up for work at 445 but Dave did have to get up at 6. The chatter and laughter from the hot tub continued. The dog was now a complete nervous wreck. So with Princess in tow for protection he begged Dave to let him go outside. Dave decided to let them go out. Not the course of action I would have taken but….. anyway. The dogs bolted out the door at the speed of light — well Princess did, it takes a lot to get that 99 lbs. rolling. They were a barking, snarling tangle of dogs headed for the neighbors fence. I heard a male voice say something to the effect of “Is there a fence?” Ah-ha…. my husband is a genius. Scare the crap out of the neighbors and they will take their party inside. That plan seemed to work. Until it didn’t.
Now at 230 and everyone tucked back inside their beds I thought we had resolved the issue for the evening. My mind was still racing though as to who was in the hot tub at 230 and why were my neighbors letting them. Our neighbors are a few years ahead of us in that race to Shady Pines and they have 3 daughters one married with a toddler, one just graduated UIndy and the third getting ready to start her junior year at University of Southern Indiana. None of them big partiers. WHO was in their hot tub?!?! Then I remembered that they were away visiting a relative and one of the girls friends was house sitting. Ok mystery solved. Goodnight.
Nope. Fifteen minutes and one obviously hilarious joke later the laughter from the hot tub continued. The bulldog was now officially at his wit’s end. I was right there with him. He got up and raced to the back door again. Then he remembered he needed Princess for protection in case it really was bad guys so he came back to our bedroom and drug her out of bed. Barking and growling the entire time. That’s when it happened. I uttered the words of an old lady.
Who in their right mind is up at this time of night giggling and chattering in a hot tub!?!?
I shuddered after the words came out of my mouth. Oh my God, I’m that old! This from someone who used to stay out until the bars shut down if a good band was playing. This from someone who when she worked afternoon shift and left work at 10pm would go out to a bar or a movie with a friend. On a regular basis I used to not go to bed until after midnight or 1am. That was then – when work ended at 10pm. Now that work begins at 6am I am a different person.
Now if I was roughly half of the population in the United States I would have called 911 to report a loud party at my neighbor’s house. It crossed my mind but the inevitable teasing from co-workers wouldn’t have been worth it. So I took lead from my husband. I got up and let the 99 lbs. of snarling bulldog out – dragging his 40 lb. protector with him. But first I flipped on the outside lights. Whomever was in the company of the house sitter took one look at the dog charging the fence and decided it was time to go inside. I was sitting calmly on my picnic table listening to the conversation.
Her: (irritated) “Who lets their dogs out at this time of night?”
Him: (frightened) I’m not sure but that one looks like it can eat me in one bite, let’s go in.”
The answers to their questions are:
For Her: The pissed off neighbor who is not asleep at 245am because of your loud chattering and giggling.
For Him: I wouldn’t be so worried about the mean looking one, but the little shredder next to him will tear you limb from limb – don’t let the title “Princess” fool you she was named by a 9 year old little girl.
I laughed on the picnic table until the hot tub shut down and the outside lights flipped off. Then I calmly called the dogs in. Gave them each a cookie and went to sleep.
Not quite on my way to Shady Pines just yet. But I feel really sorry for the staff when I get there.