We have new neighbors.
They are small, with chubby butts. They wear red pointy hats and are maddeningly optimistic.
None of them work. In fact, most of the time, they spend all day just standing around with stupid grins. Some of them don’t even stand. They slouch. Or lay on their bellies. Or hang in the trees.
The squirrels hate them. I watched one particularly large grey squirrel belly crawl, panther-like, up to the one that goes by the name of Gordon yesterday and give him the stink eye. Not sure what that was about. Grinning in that demented way that he does, Gordy just stared the squirrel down like he knew, just knew….that the squirrel was all tail and no teeth.
Before our two birds flew the coop, I worried about our soon to be empty nest for months. My partner of 30 (!) years and I are used to having two kids in the house. We have started discussing another dog to add to the geriatric one we have now..just to round things after both kids leave for college again in the fall. I’m hoping that we find things to talk about and do for fun again when that happens. It’s easy to lose that when you are in the middle of raising kids. We will have to discover what we still have in common besides parenthood.
Last year, on Mother’s Day, I received Yard Gnomes. Two of them. They are the newest residents here on our five acres. I started collecting them two years ago. Small ones. Tasteful ones. The type you really have to look for in a flower garden. It was a nod to my Scandinavian roots, I guess. Or maybe it was just subliminal consumer pressure from too many Travelocity commercials. My Mother’s Day Gnomes are a bit larger. One has his own swing. How cool is that?
My kids hate the Gnomes. They think they are creepy. My husband and I find this endlessly amusing. We have a plan to populate the woods with Gnomes….one at a time. They will sit in unexpected places and when small children visit, we will take them by the hand and go “Gnome Watching” through the woods. With binoculars and everything. It will be great fun to play make-believe with little ones we aren’t responsible for turning into healthy adults.
Until then, we are playing with our own grown kids’ heads.
The Gnomes move. Well, not really. We move them.
This makes both kids crazy. Just when they get used to seeing one peering from a hilltop at them, the little sucker relocates. My daughter is still trying to find the one on the swing and it’s been a week since he was placed in the tree. She keeps looking for him, but I’m not giving anything up. She was asking again today, and when I wouldn’t give her any hints, her words to me were,
“MOM!!!!!!!! TELL ME!!!! Is he in the front of the house? The back? I don’t like surprises! Those things creep me out!”
They want to know why their father and I find this all so amusing. I tried to explain that he and I are trying to find things to do together. Ways to reconnect. I didn’t tell her that the real reason was because we find the whole gnome-phobia thing pretty funny.
“Well, whatever floats your boats. Nice that you’ve found something in common. If collecting yard ornaments keeps the two of you together in your old age, then whatever. Knock yourselves out. But I hate those dang gnomes.”
I told her father. We laughed and then plotted our next ambush.
Might not be much, but it’s a start.