Friday, April 24, 2009


I called Grumpy George, a neighbor, to see if I could borrow his rototiller. I want to plant some native grass seed vs. our bare, hard packed dirt yard. I'm tired of my hillbilly ways.

It was such an interesting conversation. George is funny because he is all about extremes and making sure nothing screws with him.

For example, if he notices you have dogs, he'll tell you about the time some dogs came onto his property and he had to shoot one with a shotgun so you better make sure your dogs don't get out and run into his property. Dogs will become pack animals and they are dangerous. A pack of dogs'll turn on you. (see? neither you nor your dogs will screw with George by God!)

He's in his 80s and if you get his answering machine, it's George singing a lovely rendition of Danny Boy. He seems pretty grumpy.... he wears thick, dark framed glasses, blinks rapidly and never, ever changes his facial expression - which looks pretty pissed off to me. I have never seen him smile. We've lived in our little country neighborhood for 8 years. We've been at neighborhood picnics with George and his expression doesn't change for nobody - not no how. God bless his heart.

G: Hello.
Me: George?
G: Yeah.
Me: Hi, it's Shanster, I'm married to Furry Husband and we live down the road?
G: Yeah.
Me: I hear you have a rototiller?
G: Yeah.
Me: Um... I was wondering if you might be willing to lend it to me and I'd give you some goat cheese or goat milk, whichever you'd like. Of course if you don't feel comfortable lending it to me, that is fine too!
G: Well.... I don't have a problem lending it out but I lent it to a guy once and I had to get a lawyer involved to get it back. I had to sue him. You know you have to give the things you borrow back. I don't want to get lawyers involved and I don't want to have to sue anyone.
Me: Oh, of course! I'd return it right away. That's awful that he kept it like that!
G: Do you have your space prepared?
Me: (thinking what is there to prepare???) Yes.
G: Well how you gonna get it there?
Me: Oh. Well. Would it fit in a pick up truck?
G: You can't lift it, it's too heavy. It's not one of those small ones like they have at..... what's the place I'm thinking of?
Me: Home Depot?
G: No. Not Home Dept..... well, anyway, it's too big and you can't lift it.
Me: Could I wheel it down to my house? (my house is 3 houses from George's house)
G: Yeah, I guess you could wheel it down there. When do you want it?
Me: I was hoping Saturday after ditch day? But if that doesn't work I could do it on Sunday?
G: We go to church on Sunday.
Me: O.k. Well does Saturday work?
G: I was going to use it Saturday because my raised beds are looking sloppy. But if you come RIGHT AFTER ditch day... you know, ditch day isn't like it used to be when we'd all meet and burn the ditches. Y'know, you can't do that these days.
Me: O.k., I'll come by right after ditch day. Would you like goat cheese?
G: You don't have to pay me for anything.
Me: Well, I'd like to bring you some cheese. Would you and Laverne eat it?
G: Yes. (long pause) I suppose we would. Y'know we used to have goats. We'd milk them before we went to work and we'd milk them when we came home. We never had a buck around because they are too dangerous. Even if you raise them up from a tiny thing, once they get big, they turn on you. That is the nature of animals.
Me: O.k. - well, thank-you very much! I'll come right after ditch day. Thank-you George!
G: Be sure you bring it RIGHT back when your done with it now.
Me: I will, I don't think it will take very long. Thank-you!
G: You know how to run it?
Me: No. I've never rototilled anything in my life.
G: Well, you can't just turn it on! Someone is gonna have to show you.
Me: Oh, of course! I don't want to break it! I was hoping you could tell me how when I come to get it.
G: Oh I suppose I'll have to come home with you when you get it to tell you.
Me: O.k. Thank-you George! I'll come by after ditch day. Thank-you.
G: You'll need to bring it back right after you are done with it.
Me: Yes, I think it will only take an hour. I'll bring it right back. Thank-you George. I'll see you Saturday right after ditch day.

I am so scared for Saturday and the rototiller.


Heather said...

It might have been easier to rent one from Home Depot, though much less entertaining for your readers!

Good luck!

Shanster said...

I know! It took me all week to work up the courage to call him.

Furry Husband was teasing me every day asking if I called yet and asking me if I was scared to call. When I told him how the conversation went, he was rolling on the floor because he won't be home all day Saturday.

I will be at the mercy of Grumpy George and the rototiller! Oy.

DebH said...

just loved it! You are a good artist of people! You paint an excellent picture ..what a hoot :D

Shanster said...

Yeah - he is a pretty funny guy. I'm sure he thinks the same about ME! :)