It’s been three months since we bought a house and one of the experiences in moving to a new house and a new neighborhood is getting the lay of the land of the neighbors. It’s a bit of a challenge in the winter when most people stay inside and pop in and out of their houses via cars in garages. But every once in awhile we would get a 50-degree day and I would have a slightly longer walk with the dog that gave an opportunity to meet some neighbors. They have all been delightful (except the ones in the houses behind our steep sloping back yard. Apparently, they are not interested in boys on sleds careening past their trees….). I have been deligently trying to take notes in my “house” notebook of who lives where so I can remember names and some details (because….you know, I’m older now 😊).
It has also taken some time to discover where other kids live. We came from a townhome community filled with kids who were outside no matter what the weather in a little “gang of boys”! When we moved, we knew our friends at the entrance to the neighborhood and we knew of a few more kids by name, but it has been a slow adventure of learning who lives nearby. Just two weeks ago we met a 7th grader who has excitedly been over five times now to play Nerf guns with Mr. Ornery.
For a few days, the 7th grader has been on our lawn waiting for the boys to come home from school. I told him that the younger set had not gotten off the bus yet, but would be doing so on the same bus as his sister. As we sat down to dinner, there he was ringing the doorbell. I said to Mr. Ornery as he jumped up from the table, “Tell him we’re eating and you will play in a little bit.”
The Little Guy ran back from the front door yelling, “Mr. Ornery gave that boy our garage door combination!!” I know what he was thinking. The boy could open the garage and grab some Nerf guns to play while he waited for us to finish dinner. What I was thinking though was – you just gave someone we barely know the key to our house!!!
That would be one issue to deal with, but the guilty look on Mr. Ornery’s face as he returned to the table and started desperately covering himself was the bigger issue.
“I totally did not give him the combination.”
“Wait, let me go check and see if the garage door is open.”
“I didn’t say that to him.”
“So, tell me….which one of you boys is lying to me?” knowing full well what was going down. But really, I was just stalling for time….until….you got it, there goes the garage door. The neighbor had made it around to the back of the house. Busted!
Thus ensued the long and passionate one-sided conversation that often spews from a parent’s mouth about the young’un’s clear lapse in judgment, the violation of trust, the breach of safety, the shock that the kid could possibly lie to his own dear mother.
The Little Guy and my nephew sat quietly through the tirade. Mr. Ornery knew he was trapped. I got up from the table and sent the neighbor boy home with deep apologies for “having a hard time with my boy.” And then I continued the oft-repeated soliloquy of not sharing family passcodes or secrets and the consequences of not obeying one’s mother and of toppling down the black hole of lies.
I haven’t figured out the magic of getting the boys to tell the truth. It’s clear that along with moving into a house that has a great deal of space to spread out, we also managed to purchase a house that came with it’s own House Elf. If I’m ever crazy enough to ask “Who did….?”, I already know it was the House Elf. He’s the one that put a hole in the wall. He’s the one that leaves the door from the basement to the garage open ALL the time (in the winter!!). He’s most likely the one that scratch the newly polished hard wood floors. He usually throws his candy wrappers over the back of the couch (where the blind lays that he broke). And he’s almost always the one that leaves Nerf darts littered all over the neighbor’s yard. He’s a bit of a problem.
I’m going to have to catch that Elf.
But first I need to go change the code to the garage….
And remind Mr. Ornery that black holes have pretty serious consequences!