On Saturday, December 23rd, my plan was to go see the Grynch concert. Even though I've lived next door to these guys for almost 6 months now, I have YET to see one of their shows. *kicks self* But after I had a late breakfast, and just before I was about to clean the house, my neighbor, Jimmy, showed up, asking to borrow my dustpan. After I handed it to him, he started telling me he was having problems with his marriage and he was trying to get his house cleaned and ready for his Christmas Eve party the next day. His wife and kids were out of town for the weekend. Remembering how I'd thought of asking him if I could come over sometime to help get his house cleaned up (admittedly, it WAS a disaster area), I brought the idea up. Jimmy seemed relieved and I told him I'll be over later to do just that. I had to clean MY house first. Haha.
So I got my cleaning done. Then I went next door to get the cleaning done at Jimmy's house. (I was actually flattered he was up to letting me help him clean. Yay! Maybe he thinks I'm a good cleaner? Well, my daughter certainly thinks so, though there's been many times she'll stop me in action and ask, "Mommy, why are you cleaning the whole house?") I was surprised at how fast I worked, moving from one room to the next to the next. At one point, though, Jimmy stopped me before I could vacuum the dining room and said, "You're coming with me."
I froze, wondering what kind of infraction I had committed. I only moved the globe so I could vacuum! Honest! (Haha, it's been TOOOOO long since I've cleaned a person's house. Last person I cleaned for was my mom when she lived across from me in Rancho Mirage!) But actually, he had some shopping to do. At first, I was confused why he needed me to come along, but then I found out why when one pushcart became two and the back of his car got filled up. We went from one store to another and another, getting everything he needed for the food he'd have to make for the party. He kept telling me "you're going to help me cook all of this" and I could only dumbly look down at everything then back at him and ask, "How?" (His party has a Puerto Rican theme.) He only smiled and said, "You'll see."
When we finally got back, I ran over to my place to let my dog out, give him fresh water and feed him. Then I ran back to Jimmy's to help him cook the food. He said "now the real work begins" but, to me, it wasn't work. It was FUN! I love to cook so I thought it was fun to be in the kitchen cooking with him, chopping, cutting, sorting, frying and breaking things up. He gave me the job to break up the bulbs of garlic. I had NO IDEA how to do that and when he showed me, I thought, 'That looks like it requires some muscle.' But, actually, it turned out to be easy. I apologized that I wasn't moving as fast with all the food prep and cooking and he just waved it off.
At one point, he started blasting music and we had some tequilas. I...actually had three tequilas. LOL It was GOOD! Later, though, I was using the bathroom and I almost shrieked when I saw that my face was all red!! I told Jimmy I hadn't realized my face was red and he laughed and said it's probably from too many drinks. Well, I was a TINY bit tipsy, but not stumbling or messing up the cooking, or anything. :P
I did some extra cleaning in between cooking jobs. When there wasn't anything left for me to do, Jimmy encouraged me to just have a seat and enjoy a drink. We talked A LOT through all that time, about marriage and kids and just life in general. (Well, I'm not married. LOL But he did ask about my divorce, saying my ex-husband "seemed nice" so he was curious about what happened. I mumbled something about "emotional abuse" then warned him against throwing any pity parties for me. Nuh-uh, don't want that stuff! I'm charging full steam ahead through the here and now!) There was a movie playing on his TV. I looked at it from where I sat and saw this mother tucking in her little boy. It immediately reminded me of the many nights I've tucked my little girl into bed. That was enough to tug at my heartstrings and I almost started bawling like a baby, crying, "I miss my daughter!!" (I'm STILL not used to her spending the weekends with her dad...) But I swallowed that down, just like I have to every weekend. Instead, I turned to look at Jimmy and ask, "Are you used to your kids being away so much?"
He mutely nodded and continued working. Though now I noticed he was working a little faster. (His wife and kids go out of town a lot.) I had previously asked him if he'll be seeing his kids on Christmas Day and he said no. 'That does it!' I thought. I invited him to have Christmas dinner with me and my daughter. (I had planned to bake my usual ham but Jimmy had an extra turkey so he gave that to us for our Christmas dinner. Yay!!)
Another thing that tugged at me was the fact that I wasn't at home so much. I'm SO USED to being at home so much. But this whole "new life" I'm living means stepping outside of my comfort zones, so I told myself, "SO WHAT if I'm not at home so much today! What would I be doing?? There's NOBODY there! What, am I gonna sit on the computer for HOURS, chatting? This stuff is TOO FUN!! And I need to be with people, not by myself." Part of me thought maybe Jimmy needed to be around people, too. He's so sociable! There were people we were talking to on our shopping trip and we'd be hugging people and talking with them.
So, I was glad for the company. And I was glad that I could offer someone else a little company, too.
He kept reminding me to bring my digital camera with me to his party tonight. Even though it's a crappy camera, it DOES take satisfactory pictures.
It was after midnight when I got back home. Jimmy came over to store some food in my refrigerator. We talked some more for a bit before he headed on back home. I gave him a hug and said I'll see him tomorrow.
The party will be a great fun time. And I'm happy I got to have a hand in helping him throw this party.
I'm heading on over there again today to help out some more!
I've been sad my daughter and I won't be spending Christmas with family. But, at least we'll be spending it with our friends.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!! :)
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