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Thursday, May 11, 2006

They're Creepy & They're Kooky

Just a quick thought about the American Idol results show last night, and then I'll move on to more insane stories from the hood. Really, you haven't heard it all just yet.

Chris Daughtry, who should have been in the final two, received the lowest amount of votes and was sent home. Although he is one of mine and the kids' favorites, we anticipate great things for him. For instance, Creed broke up in June of 2004, do I smell a reunion with a new lead singer?

I'm more inclined to think he will sign with Fuel. After all, they did just hold auditions in LA, looking for a new lead singer. Plus, they are another favorite band of the Lane gang and we would love to hear them on the radio again.

As an Idol contestant, Chris couldn't sign with any band. He was bound to Idol and their plans for him. So if he did audition and it went well, he could have likely encouraged his close friends and family to not vote for him. Regardless of how or why it went down, he is now a free agent. So the Lane prediction for the day is that within the next week, after all of the shock wears off, there will be an announcement that he has signed with Fuel.

In my last post I may have implied that I was the only sane person on my block. However, any of you, who have been reading this blog for more than a day, knows the truth. I'm as nutty as a fruitcake.

There have been a lot of memories in this neighborhood. To get back to Lulu, she was the oddest of all. In her defense, I believe she really had something wrong with her. I tried really hard to be nice to her but she was much too paranoid for friendship.

Sure she accepted food all of the time, every time we barbequed actually. She never returned dishes or glasses and never sat with us to eat. She would run back to her house with a full plate. She never thought twice about asking Mr. Lane or Lane 1 to help her with her trash, lawn or any other maintenance things that came up. Being good guys, they always said yes.

Her paranoia caused her to circle the block for nearly an hour before pulling into her driveway. It was an odd ritual but it must have made sense to her because she did that every time she came home from anywhere.

With all of that, she remained less than friendly. When she called the police and claimed we broke into her house and stole her frozen food, that was like opening a can of worms. One day I had a magic mental flash. She pulled into her driveway and when she finally got out, that flash hit me and I found a way to pay her back. I hit the panic alarm on my car keys.


She jumped clear out of her skin. It was comedy I tell ya. Mean as all hell but one of the funniest things I have seen. After she caught her breath, I ran out of my house, alarm still blaring and said, "What did you do to my car?"

Wide-eyed with her hand raised as if swearing on a stack of bibles, she said, "I didn't touch it. I didn't so anything. Really!"

I turned the alarm off and gave her the hairy eyeball as if to say, "I'm watching you." I walked back into my house containing my laughter. Mr. Lane was rolling on the floor. I knew it was a really mean thing to do but it did keep her from ever bugging us again. In fact, she moved out a couple of months later.

Just so you don't get the wrong impression, I'm not 100% meanie. As a matter of fact, this is the neighborhood kids' safe house. It's a place they feel safe and come when they need a Band-Aid, or are hungry, or thirsty. I can't begin to tell you about all of the booboos I've bandaged, Popsicles I've dispersed, Kool-Aid I've poured, the list goes on and on. When I barbeque with Mr. Lane out of town, I always cook extra hotdogs and burgers for the straggler neighbor kids.

In return the kids are great. In the spring and summer I have weed pulling contests. I pay five dollars to the child who brings me the most root-intact weeds from my front and back yards. You would be amazed at how many suckers, I mean... kids, who come out for a chance to win five big ones.

I don't enforce a lot of rules when the kids are hanging around, which I think also makes this a fun place to be. There is this one family that has eight kids. They are all about a year apart in age, which means all eight of them are friends with my kids and the other neighbor kids. The only rule I have when they are around is, "If you act like siblings, you have to go home and bug your own mom." For the most part, they don't need to be reminded of that rule anymore.

This one little guy who looks up to Lane 1 like he is his own big brother, spends a lot of the summer at his grandparent's house. They live a few houses down from us. Even though he is only five or six, he always comes over. One Saturday morning at 5, he came over bawling his eyes out. He pounded on the door like he was the law, which woke all of us up. He was sobbing so hard I could barely understand what was wrong with him. I got a wash cloth and cleaned his face, gave him a glass of water, calmed him down, and asked him to tell me again.

"My grandpa is lost! And I was alone and scared."

As I looked his grandparent's phone number up, I asked him if his grandpa's truck was in the garage. He said it was but his grandmother's car was gone. He wasn't worried about her because he knew she had an craft show that day.

I asked, "Did you come straight here or did you look around the house for Grandpa?"

"Well, I..." sobbing, he continued, "I looked in all of his favorite places. In the garage and in the bathroom."

Trying not to laugh was nearly impossible. Thankfully, I found their phone number and called. A very nervous and frantic sounding grandpa was on the other end, "Hi. Is this Bill, little Andrew's grandpa?"

"Oh my gosh, yes, yes I am!"

"He is fine. He is over here at the Lane house. He was scared because he couldn't find you."

He rushed over to pick him up. The kids couldn't tell him fast enough about the little dude looking in all of his favorite places. It was much too funny. As it turns out, he was also looking for Andrew but neither were calling out, so they were going in circles in the house looking for each other.

Tomorrow, I'll share more neighbor stories from da hood, including DUI Guy and King of the Road, and I don't mean Mr. Lane.