death of a snowman

So, yesterday it snowed, as I may have mentioned. I woke up late, because I love to sleep in on the weekends, and outside the world was white and bright and beautiful. Kidling, who is normally so like me, adores the snow. I don’t know where he gets it from. So when he saw the snow outside, his first response was to get dressed, put on his hat and coat and mittens, and run outside to play.
I know, weird, right?
Anyway, John joined him (of course), and the two built what was actually a pretty tall snowman outside. Not as tall as that 8-ft snow alien we built last winter (or was that the winter before?), but it was a decent-sized snowman.


In case you can’t tell, John and Kidling friggin love the snow. They do this whole ridiculous snow sculpture thing every time it snows enough. I’ve had snow cats and dinosaurs and snowmen families and snow snakes and snow angels, and (of course) the snow alien. Once they made a snow bird on the hood of my car and John broke off these thin sheets of ice for the wings and shaped them ever-so-carefully. They’ve gotten really good at making sturdy snowmen that stay upright and stalwart even as all the snow around has turned to slush, then water, and they’re really proud of their creations.
After a bit, I came outside, too, and Kidling and I began throwing snow at each other. We were in the midst of a really fun snowball fight when the neighbors came outside with their kids. I do tend to get a little on edge and keep an eye on these folks, because we’ve had trouble with them before. They’re a little crazy. Well, that’s understating it. They blew up a firecracker on our porch, have thrown trash at our door, and pulled a weapon on my husband. We’ve obtained a restraining order against them.
So I kept a weather eye on them, just to be safe, but kept up with the snowball fighting and chasing. Once we were nice and breathless and chilled to the bone, we headed inside for hot cocoa and the brownies I made last night. The neighbors remained outside; their son playing with their creepy teenage neighbor in their yard and the mom making a snowman by herself.
Later, we went on a walk as a family. It was only 3 or 4 in the afternoon, but the neighbor’s snowman was already starting to slump pretty sadly to the left. I admit it, we giggled a little about the poor craftsmanship. I mean, she’d used some sort of blue paint or food dye on the snow to color the hair, but it had bled and wept onto the face, so the entire snowman had this light corpse-blue head that was slowly falling sideways — and she’d dressed the thing in a bright, hot-pink bra and some sort of garish hot pink and black checked skirt. It looked like a zombie prostitute who was melting in shame. But hey, they had a broken park bench and a shopping cart on their lawn for most of the winter, so we’re kind of used to stuff like that in their yard.
We walked to Home Depot to pick up some tarps with which to cover our motorcycles. On the walk home, we ran into my sil and bil, and stopped to chat with them for a bit. Then we get home, and I introduce Kidling to that most excellent of programs, Malcolm in the Middle, which is currently streaming on Netflix. At one point, around 6 or 7 p.m., Kidling stood up to stretch and started giggling — out the front window, we could see the neighbor’s snowman, which was tilting precariously to the left. It wouldn’t be long until it fell apart. As we watched through the window, the snow prostitute slowly and sadly tumbled to pieces.
And yeah, I’ll admit that we mocked it a bit. I mean, come on! It’s freezing out, how hard is it to build a snowman that stays upright for a full day?
Anyway, I guess when the neighbors got home and saw their snowman had fallen apart, they got angry at us. At least, I’m assuming it was them — I can’t think of anyone else who dislikes us enough to do this, and all the other well-built snowmen in the immediate area were unmolested. Anyway, when we woke up this morning, our snowman was down, too — but ours had been knocked down, and had boots prints through it and it’s head had been smashed like a snowball into the street. The very bottom mound still stood, a large and solitary snowball on the front of our driveway.
Kidling gamely rebuilt the snowman. He can’t reach as high as his dad, but he rolled and patted and gave the snowman a new head and face. It sat, unmolested, all the day — but when John and I looked outside to see how the snowfall was just now (9 p.m.), we saw the new head was missing. We went outside and looked, and it’s been kicked off.
Obviously, I haven’t seen the neighbors do it. I haven’t seen them break the restraining order and come within 15 ft of our property to smash the snowman my 9 year old son and husband made. In my experience with them, it’s totally the type of thing they would do — take our their impotence and rage at the world, under cowardly cover of darkness, on a symbol of familial affection.
I admit, it irritated me. I shouldn’t let it; they’re obviously suffering from some pretty severe mental and co-dependence issues, and the dad is clearly feeling pretty self-conscious about his inability to contribute financially to the family. They’ve got some pretty heavy stresses and serious emotional stunting going on, and it’s natural for people who can’t deal with that sort of stress to take it out people around them.
Near as I can figure, they’re taking it out on us specifically because upon our initial meeting with them, it looked like we’d all be friends. We pretty quickly realized we weren’t very similar, and were really uncomfortable with certain aspects of their family life, so we stopped hanging out with them. They seem to have taken serious offense to that, because (up until we obtained the restraining order), they were harassing us non-stop.
It’s okay, though. We’ll just keep rebuilding our snowmen. There’s no reason to let their mental issues negatively affect our family, and it just gives me yet another excuse to spend more time outside with Kidling. After all, in 10 years, we’ll have moved on to another place and won’t even remember this family’s name. They simply don’t matter in the long-term scheme of things, but Kidling and John — my family — do.

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