Just two days ago, I was feeling really sick, fatigued with chills. At 9 months pregnant it could have been anything – all I know is that I needed to eat something with carbs and lie down. As I was resting in the family room, I saw a woman and a small school aged child make their way to the door. If you read yesterday’s post, then you’re aware that we have a front door exposure problem. They already saw me, so there was little I could do. Not answering the door and pretending we weren’t home wasn’t an option and damn it, if there was ever time I needed it to be an option – that was the time! I was shivering, sick as hell. My hair was in a high frizzy bun, makeup smeared around my eyes, and I was wearing a tank top with a saggy nursing bra underneath. I looked tore up, not in the mood for visitors and making eye contact with them through a window all at the same time.
I yelled at my husband to get the door and waited for him to come downstairs, and he did, oddly slowly, and finally opened it. The mom spoke – her daughter was selling cookies. We quit white sugar a couple months ago so her timing was real bad. Now, a good neighbor would just buy the damn cookies. Shell out a few bones, help the child with whatever fundraising activity they’re doing and send them on their way.
But that’s not how this played out. It was awkward. Horribly awkward.
First, let me just say my husband is a terrible liar. He didn’t want the cookies and he sure as hell didn’t want them in the house while he tried to pretend liking steamed broccoli. I would have bought the cookies then stored them away somewhere. Or probably ate them alone in a closet filled with shame. Whatever, the point is – I wouldn’t have turned her down to her hopeful little face.
Turns out, Rob didn’t want to do that either – so he turned back at me so I could be the bad guy. “Uh babe, do we want these cookies?” I saw the woman trying to see me around Rob’s body.
“I don’t know, I don’t feel well. Do they have a pamphlet we can order from later?” I managed to ask, weak and frail.
“What?” he said.
“Do they have a pamphlet?”
“A pamphlet? What are you talking about?”
“I’m sorry,” Rob said to our neighbor as if she didn’t just hear everything, “we don’t have cash.”
“That’s okay, we take checks.” Rob turned around at me again, this time making “big eyes” like that’s supposed to mean something.
“I don’t even know where the checkbook is. Tell her I’m sick and to come back later,” I said. This time the woman is peering around his shoulder and we make eye contact. I look away and debate rolling off the couch out of view.
“Tell her I’m sick and to come back later!”
Rob turned back, again acting as if she couldn’t hear that entire exchange. “I’m sorry, we actually cut out sugar a couple months ago, so we don’t need any. Sorry about that!”
“Oh, we also have candles too,” the mom said.
“Okay, well,” he turned back at me again, but I just looked way and put the blanket over my head. “We just moved in and we’re on a tight budget. We’re going to pass.”
“Oh, I understand,” she said. “We know you’re new to the neighborhood and have a little girl with one on the way. Thanks anyway.”
And finally defeated, they walked away. Judging us, I’m sure.
“We’re on a budget?” I asked when Rob made his way back into the family room. I mean, we were, technically on a budget, but good grief, we can afford $5 cookies!
“It’s all I could think of, it was so stressful!”
“So now the whole neighborhood thinks we bought this beautiful home and we’re too cheap to buy cookies from a little kid. Great.”
“Well, next time, you answer the door.”
No, next time, we’re getting some damn blinds and pretending we’re not home like regular people.