My neighbors are strange. And I don’t mean hide-your-teenage-daughter strange, but weird strange. They’ve lived across the street from us for about four years and I don’t know their real names, I just call them the Klopeks.
That’s the name of the deranged family that was in the Tom Hanks movie The ‘Burbs. (I often give people private nicknames.) A few months after the Klopeks moved to our quiet little community, they created a stir by the massive amounts of trash they piled at the end of their drive. Every week for an entire year they’d throw out so much stuff it was about the size of a Mini Cooper. At first I thought nothing of it, but after six months I wondered what was going on in this family of four. Are they eating off of paper plates and cups and using copious amounts of paper towels? Are they disposing of dismembered bodies? Dead cats?
One night, I got my answer. Around midnight Hubby and I heard a THWACK! THWACK! Something strange was going on at the Klopeks. We turned off our lights and peeked out the window. The father was attacking a sofa with a hammer. He wasn’t in a blind rage, it was a precise, methodic mutilation. We watched through the blinds as he disassembled the entire thing and then one of his two sons began helping him bag up the innards. Over the next month we witnessed the dissection of two arm chairs and at least one more sofa.
When I was on maternity leave with Logan, I got to observe more about the Klopeks. Like how no matter which of the three cars they drive, no one sits in the passenger front seat. It will be dad driving and mom in the back or dad driving with two adult sons in the back.
But they are unfailingly polite, awkward and eccentric, yes, but nice people.
We have a door that opens into the garage and is tricky in that it locks at the most inconvenient times. Once when Logan was 4 months old, I was loading up the car and the door slammed shut. He was inside, strapped in his car seat, while I was locked out. The Klopeks pulled up into their drive. I ran across the street biting down the panic and explained how I was locked out of my house and my baby was inside. I suggested their youngest son use our ladder to climb in through our balcony. I knew that door was open.
We were getting the ladder out when the dad, sporting his usual fishing jacket and comb-over like swirl, walks into the garage with two steak knives. I stop futzing with the ladder and watch him. He slips the knives into the door and five seconds later it flings open. I’m stunned. I thank them profusely though part of me is concerned that he can break into my home with two steak knives and lightning fast speed.
They may be strange, but they’re my neighbors.
This past weekend Hubby and I rented a U-Haul to pick up the new crib and dresser for the nursery and once we got it home, it was clear Hubby needed help getting it into the house.
We were on a tight schedule that day and didn’t want to bother some of our friends who live nearby to come over right *now,* so we thought we’d try the neighbors first. I call the area that we live a retirement community because many of our neighbors are 70+, except for… the Klopeks.
Hubby asks the oldest son for help and turns out he’s got two furniture dollies (!!?!) and with some sweating, grunting and input from the dad at the very end, the dresser and crib made it into their rightful spot. They seemed very eager to help and we were very grateful for the help. Later that night, Hubby brought them a six pack of beer as a thank you.
I plan on making them some Christmas cookies, besides, isn’t that the neighborly thing to do?