Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Real Housewives of Denver County

I quit my job last week. Initially, I did this to take another job, but after a long discussion with Mike and some serious soul-searching, I turned the other company down. It didn’t feel right, and I am in a position right now to take some time to build on my freelance writing career. I will also be going back to school in the Fall. So, I am suddenly spending a lot of time in my house.

Normally, our house is empty all day. Blue and Fletch (dog and cat respectively) typically rule the roost while Mike and I are at work. When we are home on the weekends, we usually sleep late, and then take the dog hiking, and hang out with friends, and do all the other weekend things that keep us from noticing anything odd.

However, for the past week or so I have been getting up early, making coffee, and then working quietly at the computer in the living room for the better part of the day. What I have noticed is that there is some pretty weird shit that goes down around here while no one is watching.

Monday morning, I was sitting at the computer researching some freelance jobs when I heard two people having sex through the window right next to my desk. They were both engaging in a rhythmic moan reminiscent of bad porn. Immediately, I got up to look out the window, but as soon as I pulled back the curtains the moaning stopped. I started freaking out a little thinking that maybe they were watching me through the window and having sex at the same time. Yuck. I knew I was not that much of a turn-on in my thick glasses, dirty ponytail, and men’s pajamas, so I imagined that these were fetish people who get off on the unshowered, homely look. As I was thinking about this, I also realized that the noise was coming from the house next door which has been a vacant remodeling project for the entire year and half we have been living here. Were the construction people getting it on in the empty house? I do not need to know these things.

I went back to working on the computer and was at it for about ten minutes when the moaning started again. Seriously, people! It is 7:30 in the morning. Have you no shame?!?

I quietly opened the front door and crept out on to the porch. The moaning, seemingly coming from the upstairs window of the vacant house, continued right up until I let the storm door slip out of my hand and close with a bang. The sound stopped abruptly, and that is when I saw them. Two birds sitting on the upstairs windowsill of the house next door. Mourning doves. Their feathers were all puffed out, and they looked completely guilty. I was the only witness to their Bambi-style twitterpation, and they were angry that I had the nerve to interrupt them. I’m sure they weren’t doing anything wrong, but still, how can birds sound like that? I thought they were supposed to sound like they were mourning, not doing it! I felt so dirty. I can’t believe people keep those things as pets.

On Tuesday, I took Blue to the dog park in the morning for an hour or so, and when I got back my neighbor from across the street was outside working in her yard so we chatted for awhile in front of her house. After a few minutes, my tired dog fell asleep in the grass, waiting patiently for me to take him inside and feed him. The mailman came walking up the street, but stopped short when he saw Blue. “Is he under control?” he asked, slowly backing away.

I kind of laughed a little and looked down at my lazy dog who had barely lifted his head. “Uh, yeah,” I said with trace amounts of sarcasm, “he seems to be pretty under control”

The mailman gave me a dirty look and walked up our steps to deposit the mail through the slot in the front door, then wandered down the street to the next house. I laughed with my neighbor, “How cliche’, a mailman afraid of dogs.”

Today, whilst sitting at the computer again, I heard the mailman begin his ascent to the front porch. Blue immediately jumped up on the couch by the window and began barking in the most ferocious manner I have ever heard any dog bark. This is the same dog whom I let my niece and nephew climb all over, the same dog who licks babies, and snuggles up to sleep with my cat. He was barking bloody murder. He was dead serious. He was scaring the crap out of me and probably anyone else within a two-mile radius. Then, as the mailman lifted the little trapdoor to the mail slot, Blue sprung from the sofa, and jumped up to rip the mail out of his hand. I was sitting there at the desk staring at this completely aghast, speechless. The storm door closed. After shaking it back and forth in his jaws a few times, Blue dropped my Glamour magazine on the floor, and then he climbed back on the couch and was asleep within seconds. His work for the day was done. I went back to work, but not before writing myself a reminder to leave the mailman a hefty tip this Christmas.

There is a man who lives on the corner of my block who has a Chow Chow named Killer. I know this because when I was running out to my car to get my gym bag, he was walking up the street with his mangy-looking dog, and he said “Come on, Killer” and sped up.

Suddenly, I realized that the entire block smelled like a Snoop Dogg concert.

Sure enough, I looked at Killer’s master one more time only to see him smoking a joint in broad daylight. I’m sure it was for medicinal purposes only.

In addition to the strange goings on at home, I have been learning a lot about the things that happen out in the world while everyone else is at the office. Did you know that Home Depot opens at six AM? I took Mike to the airport early one morning only to drive by and see Home Depot packed. I was floored and decided that it was a perfect opportunity to buy some flowers for the yard. You would have thought I was invading some special club. There were no women in sight, and the place was full of contractors and construction workers (not that there aren’t females in this profession, there just weren’t any this time) making large lumber purchases, or buying six toilets at once. They were all kind of giving me a look that said I wasn’t allowed in there until later, when I wouldn’t be in their way. These guys have Home Depot all to themselves every weekday morning, and they didn’t want some civilian lady messing it all up, telling all the other soccer moms that they can go to Home Depot whenever they want to buy their flowers and gardening tools. Who knew?

I was in and out of my normally-packed grocery store in about four minutes flat on Wednesday at 2:30. There was not a soul in there except for a couple of old ladies at the pharmacy.

Post office? Empty.

Dry Cleaners? No line.

PetsMart? Blue and I had it all to ourselves.

I had no idea what I’d been missing out on working the nine-to-five grind shift all these years. In the wise words of Disney’s critically-acclaimed Aladdin, there is truly a whole new world out there. I can’t wait to pick the next place to go.

I can see Mike reading this right now thinking: You’d better be drumming up some more work here, woman. I’m not your sugar-daddy.

I’m on it, honey. I’m on it. As soon as I get back from the mall.


WeightingGame said...

Welcome to freelancing life! I actually write from a Starbucks or Cosi almost all the time b/c when I'm at home, I get caught up in TV, the fridge, the bed (sleeping, not boinking like your construction worker-neughbors), etc. I make sure the place has wifi, bring snacks with me and can get a good 5 hous of work in!

Maggie said...

Congrats on the job change up! It sounds exciting.

It's amazing what you've learned about what goes on while people are at their 9-5s. I wonder what I would learn...:)

Merry said...

Whoa, big changes! Congratulations. I think you're smart to try new options instead of jobs that basically ask you to sell your soul to the company (or at least 70% of your waking hours). What, do I sound bitter? Moi?

When I first moved up to this part of Oregon, I was surprised to learn that dog fighting was quite popular. People would ask me if my German Shepherd was named "fang" or "killer." When I gave them the honest answer, which is that my dog is named after a piece of fruit, they would always give me a very odd look before turning away.

I guess I'll never learn to fit in. Frankly, I rather enjoy not blending in. Freelance writers don't blend in, and they always have plenty to write about!

Cara said...

Wow! i am so excited that Leslie from Weighting Game came by. Thank you! I am really excited to start bulking up my business. And yes, I also find that work away from home tends to be done a tad more efficiently. Thanks so much for coming by! Oh, and when we were in Chicago, it rained the first day (which was the day we decided to FREEZE at Wrigley Field) The second day was gorgeous! I really do love that city!

Hi, Maggie! Thanks! t is a completely different neighborhood around here during the day. It's nuts!

Thanks, Merry! And you're right. I am not really one of those to fit in...EVER, so I hope that is really a prerequisite for being a successful freelancer!

Cara said...

Oh, also Merry...I must know what piece of fruit your dog is named after! :)Kiwi?

Merry said...


(She has an orange tint to her fur, and all the dogs in her litter were given names beginning with 'T')

katieo said...

ok. so I was here FIRST, right after this post went up. I typed out my comment and then had to run to some little kid emergency and accidently closed the browser window. I swear.

So you're going back to school in the fall? Full time?
And I agree with maggie, quite exciting!

(ps, poor poor mailman! that was my favorite part...)

Lucas said...

I found myself between jobs for about 6 weeks late last summer and it was the most glorious, productive time of my life! I adored being home during the day, I got so much done. I cleaned closets, the basement & the garage. I organized photos, bills & my desk. I slept, shopped and started working out. Enjoy this time Middle! All us 9-5ers are pea-green with envy.

Brandi said...

Hi Cara,

I have been so busy working 9 - 5 that I hadn't read your last post. It's like drinking a cold beer - I love it. Anyway, congrats on your new life. I have always wanted to write for a living so if you have any tips for this Canadian girl, please pass them on!


JoAnne said...

Welcome to the daytime world. Everything you said is so true (although I have not encountered the horny mourning doves). I have had the experience of crashing the early morning "man's world" and you were dead on; they must really think we don't belong there, even when we are buying bolts rather than flowers. I got my biggest giggle, however, from your ending. I could just hear Mike saying that - he is sooo his father's son!

Suzanne Leavitt said...

Hi there. I am also a middle child and freelance writer. I have three older and three younger, three brothers and three sisters. I have been freelancing for about six months now after spending 3 years in Insurance and 12 years in Marketing. Although I don't claim to be a well adjusted adult, I am surviving. :) I enjoyed your blog.

MizFit said...

man you make me laugh----and write fantastically.

M., who totally and entirely misses her starbucks days.

Lucas said...

Come back to us Cara! We miss you!!!!!!

carla said...



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Skye said...

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