I have to say I consider myself very fortunate to live in the little neighborhood that I do. It's nothing fancy, everybody's cool, people actually talk to each other, take in each other's mail if you're away, and (*gasp*!) hang out with each other from time to time. I really like where we landed for this being our first house because Lord knows, it can be a total crap-shoot.
Of all the neighbors, Mike I and probably speak most often with the neighbors to our left (henceforth NTOL). They're a fun couple with 3 kids: 1 boy who just turned 13, and twins, a boy and girl, who just turned 11. The daughter of NTOL is a tougher version of me at that age. In fact, I would go so far to say we even look like we could have been related, if I could transport the 1984 version of myself to 2008: very thin, lanky, light brown bobed-hair, quiet in front of adults, not a girly-girl and sports minded. The exception to our eerie similarities is that she is can probably kick the crap out of the boys her age, maybe even older, and I was only capable of hurling a few insults... in my mind. Somehwat due to my perceived Mini-Me of Me, I have tried to make some kind of connection to her, thinking she might like having a sporty lady neighbor who's not too old and kind of cool-type to talk to, or kick a ball around with or perhaps just a "Hey, what's up?" amidst the karate kicks she wielding on her brothers' friends' breadbaskets. For the most part, no luck.
The girl is a soccer player, and was having some new issues crop up this year, namely with being afraid of the ball being kicked at her. Her dad, who's also her coach, asked her if he could get Mrs. F (that would be me, although they now know I go by my long last name and not Mrs. F) to work with her, would she be down with that idea. She nodded feverishly and said, "yeah, yeah!" So I did and despite my best jokes and easy going manner, she didn't say a word to me the entire time.
As weeks went by I would try to engage her in conversation. I would ask her about her games ("I heard you did well today." response: a head nod, I would respond to the nod, "Ya know, you CAN use your words with me.") and I would play basketball with her and talk trash the entire time. See me? Easy breezy.
Then one day came and out of the blue, in front of her pals, without her parents in sight, she SPOKE to me. Really, it was such sweet vindication. She told me about her game that she won, and a few other things I can't recall, but it was like, finally, girl realizes I'm not going to eat her brains.
Fast forward about a month, one of the hottest and humid nights of the summer so far, and the neighbors knocked on our door and asked if we want to come over for a beer and a swim. Seeing as the temperature inside our house was what felt like 85 degrees (with the fans going), the air the consistency of pureed soup, I was all, "UH, WOULD I?"
Immediately I put on my suit, found a sixers-worth of beer for the cooler and walked over. Seriously, if I could have married that pool that night, I would have.
Later, over a beer, Mrs. Neighbor said to me, "You know, when you first got into the pool, T. came running in to the house and over to me, 'Mrs. Lil-uh,...uh..Mrs. Fra.......JEN'S WEARING A BIKINI!!!'"
So, to sum up, an 11 year old girl saw me in a bikini (many! exclamation! points!!!). I really hope this....this atrocity hasn't set back our relationship 10 paces. I really don't want to go back to deciphering the tween's grunts again.