Russian Neighbors

One thing I truly loved about Russia and wished we were more like was the neighborhoods. Everyone in your neighborhood knows everyone. They come for tea or coffee every day. Dinner sometimes. Come to chat after dinner in the evening. Your friends and family drop by without calling. Everyone watches out for everyone. All the neighbors look out for the kids. It really is a lovely thing. At least there. When your MIL is doing the cleaning (and there wasn’t that much to do because it was a small place). When you didn’t have to worry about your kid’s messes because he didn’t really make large messes being outside all day. When you didn’t have to worry about the pieces of chips in the carpet because you ate outside all the time.

Here in the US, I hate it when they drop by. We don’t just drop by here, and there are reasons for that.

1. We have much bigger houses that take longer to clean – in general. I keep my house CLEAN, like toilets, sinks, floors, kitchen – do them all in the morning every day. Keep the dishes out of the sink. Keep the downstairs clean especially. My room – not so much.

2. We have lives – we don’t have time to just clean all day. OK, OK – I do. But not the energy.

3. We don’t like to feel like our privacy/space is being invaded by neighbors just dropping by.

4. I am sure there are more reasons – like having time to put the kettle on or something….

So, I had a ROUGH WEEK. I got home 3 days ago and have been exhausted, fighting a migraine, and just plain tired of life. I sat on my butt all day. I admit it, I did. My MIL was cooking all day, so I didn’t even do my floors and stuff. I let my kid eat corn  chips in the living room. I admit it, I did. There was piles of mail and odds and ends on the counter, there was a pile of craft/homework/school-work-brought-home on the table. There were marbles EVERYWHERE. And when a knock on the door came, I was laying on the couch watching my DVR while my kid was playing a computer game. I admit it. The chips, the piles, the marbles – all still there.

So, when my MIL’s friend came over (and she knew who it was, so I think she knew she was coming) I was a little peeved. I admit it, I was. I picked up a few piles and went upstairs. When I came down to get a snack for the child she asked me if they were bothering me. Which of course they weren’t – her presence was. (and her very annoying voice) And mostly my life was.

If I had known she was coming I would have shoved the stuff upstairs and vacuumed and felt 100% better about it.

Sitting here now, I know it really isn’t that big of a deal. YES, the Russian ladies keep their homes spotless so if someone comes by it’s clean. YES, I feel bad when someone comes by and my house ISN’T spotless. But you know what? It’s not the end of the world.

Dear Hubby – sorry for the strongly worded text I sent you – and thanks for always knowing when I’m blowing up about something that doesn’t really matter and ignoring it. (except, of course, when I don’t WANT you to ignore it – and yes – you have to figure out the difference. how’s that for keeping it spontaneous?)

Oh, and the real  biggest reason I was upset? I have been waiting all afternoon for my PILs to go upstairs so I can eat this terrible frozen pizza I have stashed in the freezer. Stress eating – the best cure for nothing – but still my coping mechanism.


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