Monday, April 20, 2015

When Everyone Else Is Nicer Than You

I have a problem. My neighbours are too nice. Specifically, they are too nice to my girls. Why is that an issue? They are making me look bad, that's why. I have enough trouble meeting minimum congeniality standards without having to fend off heavy competition from next door.

Our neighbours have been travelling lately. And when they come home, they bring things for the kids. They bring things for me, for crying out loud. When Erik travels, what does he bring home? Nuffink. If I were to travel on my own (dream the dream)? Double nuffink. We love our ladies dearly, but buying presents just because Daddy has a few days of meetings somewhere else? Dream on. When Erik comes home, any extra carry-on room is reserved for new flip flops and packets of EasiYo. Practical things. Impossible-to-get-here things. Not fun things.

And then Mr and Mrs Santa Claus - who do not share our Scrooge-y philosophy - come home, and look at the result. Look at those faces.

Stickers, a mask, and an ambiguous dog/kangaroo case.
Dragon on an egg.
Let's take a closer than at that.
But we're not done. Check it out:

Oh, for crying in the sink.

At Easter? Huge Freddo Easter eggs. After Christmas? Purses. Purses nicer than anything I had before my twenties, I might add. The worst of it is, the Clauses aren't giving the girls these things to buy their affection or out of a sense of duty. They are just plain ol' kind people. They go out, they see something the girls would like, they bring it back. It's that simple.

To make matters worse, the Clauses, while the most chronic offenders, aren't an isolated case. Erik's team brought the girls a ton of goodies at Easter.
Mmmm, chocolate.
Poor Harry Hopalot suffered in the heat, but was still delicious.
Bunny ears.
One of the ladies in Erik's office gave the girls a beautiful handwoven bag from her region.
These kids are getting spoiled rotten.

So Erik and I pulled ourselves together and retaliated the only way we know how: cruiser-style. Which is to say, cheaply and with elbow grease. I liberated a pair of abandoned swings from friends who just moved away, and Erik hung them off the porch.
I may not be willing to buy your love, but I know a thing or two about competition. And fun. Fun, too. Just look at my smile.
And it was good.

On Saturday, we tested out our new(-to-us) barbecue with sausages and Vanuatu steaks.

And when we were done? The girls were back on the swings.

We may be rotten gift-givers. Our neighbours may be a thousand times nicer than we are. But I'd like to think we still know how to show the kids a good time.


Michael Boyink said...

The swings look great! Sounds like you have some great stand-in grandparents next door..;)

Dena Pawling said...

You really need to send that first swing pic, with the ocean and palm trees in the background, to Janet Reid =)

Your neighbors sound wonderful. If you don't want them, you can ship them over to my house. altho I doubt they would want to live 40 miles south of Los Angeles....

Amy Schaefer said...

Dena, I have to be very choosy about what I pass along. If I push the jealousy-o-meter too high, I might get banished to Carkoon. And I like it here.

Hands off my neighbours! I may grumble, but they really are the best, and I'm keeping them. You'll have to find your own California version. :)

Anonymous said...

Those swings look wonderful & the backdrop is pretty spectacular too.

With such expressions of joy on their faces, Indy & Stylish make giving presents lots of fun.
Love Grannie

LynnRodz said...

Amy, your neighbors AND that view - wow! Is it any wonder that Janet's named your branch office, paradise! I'm sure your girls forgot all about the purses and things once those swings were up.

Here in Paris (where the neighbor's apartment is only 10 feet away) we pray that we get nice ones like yours. (I'm coming late from Janet's blog, but I was traveling on your side of the world.)