Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On the up side, if I installed a privacy fence, I could finally get that trampoline I want*

I just spent twenty minutes outside talking to my neighbor, a lovely and pleasant elderly lady whom I chat with only about three times a year, when she happens to stroll through her yard while I'm outside raking leaves or pulling weeds or reattaching the drain pipes that I toss aside and out of the way while I'm mowing my lawn (the latter being what I was doing when I ran into her tonight). And after twenty minutes face to face with her, I came inside and looked in the mirror and shook my head in shame that anyone had seen me in that state up close and personal. Having just worked up a sweat mowing my lawn, my ponytailed hair was plastered tight against my head. The remains of today's eyeliner had settled itself into speckled, round gray shadows beneath my eyes. And my outfit? I was wearing the paint-stained t-shirt and mid-90s cargo pants that have been my official painting clothes since I bought this house. The spatters of color on my legs and torso serve as sort of a bare-bones tour of my home's palette. "This is my living room," I could say, pointing to my left boob. "And over here's my kitchen," my right leg says. "Down here you can see my bedroom, my computer room, oh, and over here, the brand-new avocado green of my basement." In short, I looked a mess.

One Saturday last summer, I walked past my neighbor to the other side (you know, the guy I've code-named "Reed") on my way off to a date. He was crouched down feeding the fish in his backyard pond, and when he saw me, he did a quick "Whoot-whoo" whistle and said, "Lookin' good!"

At the time, I was entirely caught off guard, wondering, "Do I really look any different from usual??" I mean, yes, I was off to a date, so I maybe tried at least a little harder, but I've accepted by now that the only visible difference between the Me that takes an hour to put together and the Me that takes 10 minutes is the difference between mascara and no mascara. It doesn't matter what I pretend to do to my hair; to the untrained (i.e., not mine) eyes, it looks the same. Yep, mascara is the only real difference between Date Me and Workday Me. So what the hell was Reed whistling for?

And then I remembered. Reed sees me only when I'm doing yard work. I can probably count on three fingers the number of times he's seen me at close range when I've showered, or when I'm wearing anything I might consider proper clothes. Given what I look like after a couple hours of yard work, I had nowhere to go but up in his eyes.

I was thinking about this as I showered and changed tonight, wondering if, were my neighbors to see me properly "done up" more often, there might suddenly be offers of nice single friends or cute grandsons I should meet. And then I went outside to turn off my lawn sprinkler, hair up, no makeup, black ballet flats that happened to be right by my door ever-so-sportily paired with my striped pajama pants and a t-shirt. And not just any t-shirt, but the most comfortable but also most ridiculous t-shirt I own--an impossibly soft blue shirt that an ex-boyfriend brought me back from a business trip in Georgia. It features a picture of a pig with the slogan "Put some pork on your fork." Klassy. Oh, and did I mention no bra? Extra klassy, obviously. But I was just running outside for a second. No one would see me, right? Yeah. No one except Reed AND my elderly neighbor AND my elderly neighbor's visiting son. Sigh.

I may be one incident away from being deemed the devil-may-care crazy spinster lady on the block. Maybe it's time to invest in a privacy fence.

* (Trampoline reference is here, if you're not the type to memorize every little thing I ever write.)


bleeding espresso said...


I vote for privacy fence because who can't use more trampoline stories (and photos! I know there would be photos!) in her life?!

You have to promise to use it *after* you do yardwork and the like though. That will really get them wondering ;)

Anonymous said...

My name is also Stefanie! I have just stumbled upon "Stefanie Says" for the first time (after usefully utilizing my time by doing a Google search of my own name)and am delightfully surprised at this gem of a blog! The quality of the writing, the attention to grammar and the witty retelling of Stefanie's life events (and even non-events, perhaps?) makes me proud to share the marvelous name Stefanie.
In fact, as I spent the past half hour (of the time I usually devote to sleeping) reading several of your blog posts, I found we have more in common than just our first names! I'll list our commonalities in bullet form as best I can (unfortunately, computer savvy-ness is not something I share in common with you.):
- Both of our immediate families include two sisters and a mother (at the least; I also have a father, two cats and a dog ;-)).
- We share an interest in proper grammar and spelling (you've won awards; I use my red pen quite liberally when editing my younger sister's school papers. {Oh, and that "Hullo" at the beginning of this steadily lengthening comment is not a typo, but rather the way I would say "Hello!" if I had a coquette-ish British accent.}).
- We both enjoy "bond(ing) with (the) couch" and "sle(eping) until double digit hours" (I woke up at 11:22 am today:-))
- We both have neighbours who would be impressed at seeing our "dressed up" selves (even though we can barely tell the difference ourselves) because they usually see us in our less-than-classy yard clothes (I frequently go out and get the mail in my blindingly bright yellow t-shirt that is four sizes too large).
Well, all that interesting comparison (which may seem creepy, but hopefully it doesn't) is just to say that I think your blog is brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed reading what little of it I did
(500 posts?! well, i have been looking for new ways to procrastinate by using the internet, now that I've exhausted watching the most recent seasons of several TV shows on CTV's website).
I look forward to reading more "Stefanie Says" in the future.

Another Stefanie :-)

Anonymous said...

Oooo, sorry for the lack of space between paragraphs (or "bullets", at least)in that massive monolith of words up there.
- Another Stefanie :-)

3carnations said...

Oh come, on. None of us look our best in our yard...Unless of course we're throwing a party back there.

I am a huge fan of privacy fences, though.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

LOL, perfect timing. I used to feel this way about just running to the store quick. No one will see me as I grab a bag of chips and a frozen pizza. Until that is I ran into my arch nemesis from middle school, you know the one that I can pin point all of my high school self-esteem problems to. I learned my lesson.

Anonymous said...

I sort of feel like that whenever I go to the mall or Target. I'm positive no one that works there really spends a second thinking about me but sometimes I think they might be thinking, "I see that girl in here buying cute clothes, what does she do with them when she leaves?" Because I always seem to look like crap when I go to the mall or Target!

lizgwiz said...

Yeah, my neighbors definitely see me at my worst. (And usually bra-free, since that's one of the first things that comes off when I walk in the door.) Maybe if I had any cute, single neighbors I would change my ways, but I don't, so...who cares? ;)

Noelle said...

There is another Stefanie in the world, and she uses many words just like you! Must be bizzaro time.

I bet that Posh Spice does all of her gardening in heels, and has never, ever worn a comfortable shirt.

Mickey said...

Funny stuff.

Your klassy with a "k" reminded me of a salon called Karlene's Karribean Kuts, in Georgia, no less. Yup, KKK.

L Sass said...

That shirt just may be the key to attracting the perfect pork- (and fork-) lovin' man! Make it work for you!!

Poppy Cede said...

You sure do collect a lot of Stefanies on this blog. Can I join the club? (Just kidding, I'm in it to win it.)

Remember that time you drew a picture of your soulmate? Does Reed look like him? Maybe you're supposed to date Reed.

Jess said...

This is exactly why I try to avoid getting too close to my neighbors. In apartment buildings, you hear and smell what your neighbors are doing, and you see them in the laundry room wearing the dregs of their wardrobes, and finishing their walks of shame in the morning, and it's just... so excessively intimate that I would rather give them the illusion of privacy by not knowing anything about them.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Hilarious. Your reasoning for wanting to look better in your yard, so that you can get date offers? Well, once the offers start rolling in you better have the trampoline ready as a conversation starter and ready-made entertainment!

Stefanie said...

Sognatrice--I think that might REALLY solidify my reputation as crazy spinster lady on the block. (For the amusement of the blog world, though, it would be worth it.)

Stefanie--Wow; another one? The Internet has taught me lots of things, only one of which is that Stefs-with-an-f are not as uncommon as I thought. I should have a delurk day just for Stefanies to see how many of you are out there!

3Cs--I know, I know. It just bugs me that these people seem to ONLY see me at my worst!

Dutchess--You'd think I would have learned the same lesson after seeing past meMarmony dates at Target THREE TIMES. Alas, I still went there unshowered just last week.

Stacey--See above.

Liz--You make a good point, of course. Apparently I shouldn't care. (I wouldn't say I actually do; it just makes me shake my head at the ridiculousness is all.)

Noelle--Wait. You think Posh Spice does her own gardening?? (Don't you think she has PEOPLE for that?)

Mickey--Oh, that's bad. That's really, really bad.

L Sass--Are you saying I should wear it on my next date? I suppose that might be the one thing I haven't tried yet... ;-)

Poppy--I know, right? And no, Reed doesn't look like that picture. Also, he's married. You know who DOES look a little like that picture, though (minus the tattoos and the cape)? My date last week. Sigh. (I still don't think he's my soul mate.)

Jess--My second favorite thing about owning my own house is not smelling my neighbors' dinner through the walls. (My favorite thing is my very own washer and dryer, neither of which require quarters.)

NPW--Hey, I'm just saying that when you're single, you're supposed to be always looking, right?

Erikka said...

well, if someone's gonna love you, they are gonna love the crazy spinster lady on the block that is you! ballet flats and pork on the fork shirt and all. :) how refreshing is that thought? (besides, looking pretty is easy and pretty lame to convey to single friends or grandsons. think how much more entertaining it is to talk about your crazy spinster neighbor to people. and then when these hot, single dudes finally see you, they all be like, wait, she's not old...or spinster like. score!)