Thursday, December 7, 2006

Keeping the Peace (When You Can't Be Quiet)

I often think of the right thing to do, yet usually don't find the time to do it. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as I always remind myself. When we started this latest renovation, I thought that it would be a good idea to give our neighbours some flowers or a plant or something, as a token to acknowledge the inconvenience and noise. Sadly, I didn't get around to it.

Last night, my plumbing teacher, Paul, came over to rough in the new sink in the kitchen & move the hose bib. He was supposed to arrive at 6 p.m., so Dan & I started ripping out the old sink & cabinets right after work, at 5 p.m. Lots of banging and sawing, but it was early. We finised right at 6. Paul arrived a bit late, around 7:15. We finally got to work and realized that ofcourse, there were lots of weird things that made the job more difficult and time consuming. To move the hose bib, for the outside garden hose, involved drilling a hole thru the exterior wall of the house. Paul forgot the correct drill bit, so he got part way thru, and then he took an old piece of 1/2" copper, that he banged thru the rest of the wall. It worked, but LOTS of banging. Then he wanted to secure the copper supply lines so that we wouldn't have pipe hammer. He once again took scraps of copper and hammered the end flat, so that he could wedge it between the wall studs. Then he sauldered the two copper pieces together ensuring that they would never move. As he was hammering the copper pipe flat against the floor joist, we heard a bang on the party wall of the house. Paul stopped instantly, thinking that it was an echo. But no, it was our neighbour, banging on the wall. He hammered again, and they started to bang again. Humm. Yes, I really regret not getting that poinsetta over to them. Dan went over to make the peace with them, but all their lights were off -- even their Christmas lights! It was after 10 p.m. and they were trying to sleep. I understand. I felt bad. They are quiet and friendly neighbours. How friendly will they be now?

Paul had to be on the job site at 7 a.m. the next day, but he was in no hurry to leave our house. 11 p.m. and he was still chatting away and tossing his tools around. (Good thing that we'd agreed on a flat rate.) Dan & I were carrying his stuff out the car, trying depserately to make the noise end faster. Paul pulls up his Firebird, the kind that revs really loudly. He doesn't realize that all our neighbours are retired. We load the tools and wave goodbye.

This morning, I rode my bike over to the only store that was open at 7 a.m. and bought their nicest box of chocolates and a pretty gift bag (I never buy gift bags), and wrote a card dripping with sincere apology. I selected a bag with that icon of Christmas: the dove carrying an olive branch in its mouth. I dropped the bag off on their front door on my way to work. When I came home, it was gone. So hopefully they got it before the squirells or racoons did. And I hope even more that they accept my olive branch. Afterall, I plan to be neighbours for long long time.

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