17 July 2020

home office

So there I was early, very early one morning, long before day break and even earlier than the birds, too exhausted to go back to sleep. The woman from the corner house, the painter who howls at the moon, had just shattered another glass bottle onto her driveway, throwing it out of her upstairs bathroom window with many curse words and threats. She is not boozing, several time that night it was empty water bottles she threw out, an expensive French brand, volcanic source, with a 1 Euro refund per bottle.

I lay there contemplating again if I should do something, go over and ring her door bell and offer my help and risk getting a bottle whacked over my head. Once again, I reprimanded myself for not having done that weeks ago, before she started with the throwing of glass and china and that walking over there in the dark would be tricky what with all the shards on her garden path. And then I started worrying whether I should wear a mask or not and well, I fell asleep again, dreaming of my mother.
The way she would climb onto the upstairs window ledge threatening to jump because we didn't tidy up our room.

In the morning, I wrote an email to the social psychiatric helpline about the scenario, bottles and howling and cursing and please, please, no police, and ended it with asking for a call back. Then I tried to delete the email but too late.
An hour later, someone called me, one of these firm female voices, professionally emphatic, and we had a decent enough talk and she took down notes and described the possible steps, i.e. a letter offering help, followed by a house call, no pressure, all voluntarily, but possibly not until sometime in August and that we should only consider calling the cops if she keeps it up with the bottle throwing and noise disruption at night and while I tried to frantically pedal back explaining that there was a lot more noise from neighbours revving their expensive cars and leaf blowers and hedge cutters and that it was her safety I was concerned for, the police arrived. I almost started to cry but it turns out, another neighbour was responsible for that and she never opened her door and stayed quiet as a mouse. In fairness, the professionally emphatic female on the phone seemed to get my point and we exchanged numbers and decided to keep an eye on things. Whatever that implies.

Why do I do stuff like that? That woman did not have the time of day for me in all the years we lived here and I have one bad dream about my mother and cannot keep my mouth shut.

In other news, I am officially on holidays. In fact, while busily working from home since mid March, due to pandemic measures, I have lost touch of my holiday entitlement and now must take at least one week every month until the end of the year or else. Also, I was informed by HR that since the beginning of my pandemic related home office confinement I have worked far more than my contract hours and must stop doing that as home office and overtime are mutually exclusive concepts. I reacted by collapsing into a deep semi coma of exhaustion and have now told R that I intend to sleep for the next three days. At least. Seriously.

The video above is the free entertainment laid on for us on the patio. The one below is music for a Friday.


  1. I think it was a good idea to call the psychiatric hotline. It was quite neighborly of you to do so. I understand the other neighbors calling the police too, especially with all the noise and broken glass. I hope she gets good help because it truly sounds like she needs it.
    I'm glad you're going to have so much more time without work. You have definitely earned that respite. Yay! I'm so happy for you.
    Loved both videos. The song is great and so creatively done. I'm definitely sending a link to that to my brother.
    Take care there, Sabine! Stay well and safe.

  2. With the knowledge that I didn't need to call the police, I've made calls like that for neighbors when I felt concern for their safety. As a child I dreamed once that my mother was crazy, but what could I do? I needed her.

    Restful sleep is good when we can get it. Such a sweet little bird. Thank you so much for Molly Burch's voice today. I blush, too. That's my style. Sending love.

  3. you did it because you are a caring individual even if the crazy lady is not. if we all cared instead of being annoyed the world would be a better place. so no overtime and take your holidays! this forced working from home is changing things. apparently you aren't the only one who gets more done at home than the office. I think it's possible that when the virus is conquered or at least somewhat subdued, many people will continue to work from home. and as such they don't feel compelled to live in the city. also apparently people are looking to move out of the city and into smaller communities.

  4. I wonder if, when considering people working from home, anyone thought that one of the problems would be that some people would work too much?
    I agree with Ellen. You are a caring person. You did the best thing you could do under the circumstances. My mother used to threaten suicide all the time. How I wish there had been a way for someone to notice and try to get her help.
    That sweet little bird- in between each splashing it looks to the left and to the right, reassuring itself that all is safe.
    Now take your rest!

  5. I think it was very compassionate for you to make that call. When you mentioned the police showing up, I thought, "I bet others are calling in as well." As indeed they appear to be. She obviously needs some assistance.

  6. I love that there is a social psychiatric helpline for you to call. We don't have that here. I understand how your neighbor feels, I feel like throwing things out the windows too. And I understand how the neighbor who called the police feels too, enough already!

    You're working too much. Too funny. There's not much else to do is there?

  7. Ooh, cool song. And I never get tired of watching birds in birdbaths.

    You emailed because it was the right thing to do.