My Summer of Bob

After living here for five years, I finally have a somewhat normal, neighborly relationship with Crazy Neighbor Bob across the street. Since Bob got a puppy, he's become more "normal" and thus, not as uncomfortable to be around.

He's still crazy, but now that he has something to take care of, a companion - he seems happier and calmer. He no longer seems like he's on the verge of painting his house with mashed potatoes. And I'm happy to say, he's doing a great job with the dog - she's well-behaved and friendly.

I think he used to be a firefighter & took an extinguisher to the head. Or as he'd tell you, he hurt his back on the job. When he used to catch me on my way to work, all he ever talked about was how the state was trying to screw him out of disability. Then I'd see him out pruning the very tall tree in his yard with a long pole saw, romping on it like hell. Or washing his truck. Or rebuilding his garage. By himself.

Some favorite past moments with Bob:
[doorbell rings, Bob is at the door]
"Hello Bob, what's up?"
"I'm only telling you this because I like you. If you park your car the wrong direction on the street, you'll get a ticket."
"Okay, thanks Bob."

[doorbell rings, Bob is at the door]
"Hi Bob, what's up?"
"I brought you some beef jerky. I make it in my basement."
"Oh hey thanks Bob, but we're vegetarians."
[inside, once Bob is back across the street, question to David]
"Have you seen Bob's mom lately?"

[while parents are visiting, my dad goes outside to see Bob polishing his car's fender]
"Hey Bob, whatcha doin?"
"It's a new wax. Looks good, huh?"
"Sure, but I don't need my car waxed."
"Oh, well, I'll do the whole car for $80."
"No thanks, Bob."

And then there were the days when Bob would wait for us to leave in the morning, then sneak over and mow our lawn. What a crappy thing to do, right? No, not at all, except he was letting himself into the backyard through the gate, which was not OK.

I had to write him a note to let him know that we fear what we don't understand, like magic lawn mowing. It creeped me out that he was prowling all around our house when we weren't here. Seemed less than trustworthy. If we'd been close friends, no big deal, but we were Hey Neighbors. "Hey." "Hey."

But now - now we're pals. Soon after he brought the puppy home I couldn't help myself - I had to meet her.

I call her BooBoo, Puppy, and Girl - Bob calls her Tumbleweed.

I think he was just lonely & now he has a friend who will never tire of hearing about his struggles with his disability claim.