My Neighbours Are Dropping Like Flies

I feel abandoned by my neighbours; it seems like we are the only ones remaining strong.

… What I’m referring to is the number of neighbours who are leaving our street … not in a permanent way, just for a vacation.

We live on a small street of only ten houses – it’s actually a cul-de-sac – but three of our neighbours are going to warmer climates just as the cold and snow have hit us.

Christmas Day saw the most snowfall I can remember in this area. Though we were not going anywhere, I knew it was going to mean me having to leave lounging with my family to go and shovel the driveway and the back deck.

We had company coming for dinner and there was no way they could plow through all the snow that got dumped on us during the night.

… I’m even surprised Santa came through with the gifts. It must have been a tough night even with Rudolph leading the team.

Just before I got to stirring myself from my one-day hibernation, I heard a noise outside our door.

It was my neighbour with his snowblower. He plowed the driveway and our walk.

What a Christmas gift!

I shot him a thank you email a little later and his response was, “You’re welcome and we are leaving for southern climates for a couple of months.”

I went out to shovel our deck and clear more drifts from the driveway, and saw another neighbour doing the same. He yelled over Christmas greetings and promptly told me he was going to leave us with the cold and snow for some tropical weather the next day.

We’d already said goodbye to one family who are visiting their native land, where they don’t know what a fall jacket looks like, let alone a full-blown winter coat.

And I’m pretty sure there is yet one more snowbird who is flexing her wings to leave our white winter wonderland.

It’s not usually that bad when people go south. But when they gang up on you and leave when the temperature drops and the snow piles are as tall as your wife, it can be a little discouraging.

It’s not that I interact with my neighbours a lot during the dark part of the year, but even seeing those tail lights going into their garage, or giving a wave while we wipe the snow from our cars, is comforting, like we’re in this together.

I don’t feel that way right now. I feel a little abandoned, like I’ve been left to hold down the fort while others get to enjoy all the perks that come with sun, warmth and beach.

I know they will be back, and I know the present conditions will ease up a little. Some of this snow will melt and we will have some warmish days (that’s Canadian speak right there).

But for right now, looking out my window at all that snow, and the bags being loaded into vehicles, I think it would be nice to trade in a couple of presents for a temporary relocation.

Here’s the thing: There are times in life that we can feel abandoned, alone, like everyone else has taken off and we are by ourselves. At times like that, we need to connect with the Lord because He never leaves us. He is with us, strengthens us and upholds us. There is no need to fear or be dismayed (Isaiah 41:10).

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: Where would you like to be right now and with whom? Leave your comments below.

We All Need Great Neighbours 

It’s really nice to live on a street with great neighbours; it’s not something you should take for granted.

We’ve lived on the same street for 21 years. It’s a small cul de sac with only 10 houses on it, so basically all the homes face each other.

Most of our neighbours have lived on the street for many years – three of the families longer than we have, so we have gotten to know each other a little bit.

We talk more in the summer time, and we keep tabs on each other’s homes when someone’s away.

We even have a street BBQ once a year, and I don’t think we’ve missed a year in all the time we’ve lived here.

Sunday was a particularly busy day for Lily and I. We had church and then a seminar afterwards that kept us hopping right up until we left for the Junior hockey game.

By the time we were driving home from all the activities, we had been going for 11 hours and we were both kind of tired.

Oh, and by the way, it had been snowing all that time. … We haven’t had much snow this winter – I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had to shovel – but we got a pretty good dump yesterday.

It was probably the biggest snowfall of the year.

So when we pulled into our driveway after being away all day, I said to Lily, “Let’s tackle this snow in the morning.”

We pulled into the garage, shut the door and didn’t look back outside.

Instead we changed into sweats, ate some comfort food and watched a movie.

Well, Lil watched a movie … it was a romantic flick and I slept through most of it.

And that was all we did.

You could picture it like a movie scene where the snow outside is flying and the wind is howling, but you, the characters, are all warm under blankets, sitting next to a blazing fire in the fireplace. And there is a soft, warm glow of light that breaks through the curtains and casts a pattern on the snowbanks outside.

… Just take away the fireplace, the warm glow hitting the snow, and the howling wind and you pretty much have a good idea of our evening.

That was Sunday. The next morning when I got up and looked outside, the snow had stopped, and the plow had come by our street and cleared the road.

As I looked closely, I could see that someone had used a snowblower on our driveway – probably the previous night because there was a thin layer of snow covering the pavement.

Wow, that made my day!

My biggest problem with it is, I’m not sure which neighbour did it. It could have been any of three neighbours, or the son of a neighbour who is out of town.

Having great neighbours is never something to take for granted. … Thanks guys, whoever it was.

Here’s the thing: In life and on your street, it’s great to have neighbours you can count on. In your Christian walk, it’s also important to have people you can count on. They can help you through difficult times, and celebrate with you when you’re full of joy. They’ll be there when you need another set of hand, ideas, or support. Don’t take for granted Christian friends; they are there when you need them.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: When has a friend come to your rescue? Leave your comments below.

How To Get Moving On Spring Cleaning

You know it’s spring when you get invited to sweep out your garage. The other day my wife informed me that she was going out to sweep all the dirt and grit from the winter out of our garage.

tips-cleaning-garage-floors-800x800

I knew right away that this information was intel that I was to gather for a secret mission that was coming up – specifically the mission was to come on out and help her sweep.

I pretended that I was still gathering data on the subject to delay my decision, but after a few minutes I decided to at least check up on the operation in the garage.

Just as I thought, she was doing a great job. But the work had halted because she was talking to our neighbour. That’s one of the problems with working outside in the spring – everyone’s outside.

To make it worse, we haven’t seen them or talked to them much because all winter we drive right into our garage and go in the house. Now that the weather is sort of, thinking about turning warmer, people are outside and we have to catch up.

That makes tasks like sweeping out the garage take twice as long. I had joined the conversation but when we were done I grabbed the other broom and started sweeping with Lily.

Of course I wasn’t doing it quite the way she likes it done. Apparently the broom I was using creates a little more dust in the air than her broom. Or was it the technique that she used that kept the dust from forming clouds in the air? I’m not sure.

Once we settled that dust issue, however, we really were working like a machine. I wouldn’t say I would eat off the garage floor but it was looking pretty clean.

That’s not to say that there won’t be other missions out to the garage to clean and put things away. I noticed that we have a mission to the dump coming up soon.

This operation will have to take place in the next few days and it will involve our son who has a large vehicle this week. I’m just concerned that our communications have some outside interference (his friends) and we may miss the target unless we move in quickly.

All these covert operations that are signs that spring is upon us gave me a desire to try an overt operation. I’ve been waiting to do this for a while now.

I took my bike rack that I got for Christmas and mounted it on the roof of my car. There was no camouflaging this from aerial surveillance or from ground recon work.

The rack is in plain view and is a clear signal to all that spring is here, even though we need the temperature to warm up a bit to feel like it’s spring.

Here’s the thing: Having a quiet time with God is so important because though it is more of a covert action – something that no one else really sees – it is something that prepares you for what lies ahead. You will be far more prepared to face the challenges and opportunities that will come if you have prepared your heart with God first, in your private time with Him.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question:  What do you have to clean up that won’t be noticed too much but will make a big difference just the same? I’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below.

We’re Selling Rabbit Fur Coats, Cheap!

For the last 18 years, my wife has organized a street BBQ with our neighbours. I’d like to say that it’s Lily and I who put this on, but I don’t do much more than clean off a few chairs and roll our BBQ out to the street. She does all the organizing.

Rabbits

What happens is at 5 pm, I roll our BBQ out to the middle of the street (we live on a keyhole cul-de-sac) and, magically, the neighbours start to show up with their chairs, food and drinks.

It’s not a big event; there’s just ten houses on our street. But we do invite past neighbours (alumni) to attend.

We’ve had the police drive by a few times, but they’ve always just joked with us. Maybe it’s because we have a retired corrections officer on the street, and maybe they have a secret signal (like the Masons) that tips other officers to their occupation. Maybe not.

This year a conversation started about the rabbits. You know, those cute little fury things some people keep as pets. Not on our street! Everyone hates them – even the women, especially the women!

It seemed to be unanimous that everyone was looking for ways to keep the bunnies from eating the flowers in our gardens. Some have tried human hair, moth balls, soap, and cayenne pepper. One owner said she put Frank’s Hot Sauce in the garden, but I don’t think that’s right, wasting good hot sauce on those varmints.

One neighbour has put chicken wire around all his little gardens. Sure he has his flowers, but it’s harder to see them through the chicken wire. One guy sits on his deck with a garden hose in hand and spays the little hoppers when he sees them.

As we were talking, we looked over at our house and there was a bunny hopping up our front walk to our door, like he was going to call on our turtle, Winston, to come out for a race or something.

These rabbits are not afraid of us, either. They just look at us with those innocent eyes, and remain very still like they are thinking, “I can see them, but if I remain still they won’t even know I’m hear nibbling on their lilies.”

At the BBQ, there was talk of pellet guns, and setting up a camouflage blind in one of our backyards to hunt them down, but we never got too far with that. We talked of rabbit stew and selling rabbit coats but these ideas didn’t get off the ground either.

In the end, it was still every household for themselves against the rabbit population on our street which is rapidly growing among an aging human demographic.

It was fitting that, as my neighbour and I were returning some things to our backyard, a little bunny, no more than a week or two old, appeared in front of us and then scurried under our deck. I really do think they have plans to overrun us.

Here’s the thing: It’s amazing how we can come together over something as silly as a bunny problem. God wants us to come together around Him, which should be easy. Sadly, in the end, we often end up everyone for themselves. It just should not be.

That’s life!

Paul

Question: How would you deal with a bunny problem? Leave your comment below.