That’s me.

Confession: I’m “that neighbor” who does random things at weird hours of the day.

At least that’s what mine probably think.

If I can’t sleep at 2 or 3am (and if you can’t, either), you’ll see my office light on. I sometimes go in and write things down that could be bigger things (plots, character conceits, parts of a scene, a poem, etc.) at a later time. Strange nuggets of ideas with rough edges come to me at odd hours of the day, but when I review them during normal hours, I polish them and make them acceptable.

If I’ve just finished watching a movie that ended around midnight and am inspired to clean my kitchen floor, you can see me through my perpetually-partway-open dining room shutters Swiffering after the 12am hour. Good comedy.

And, not content to stop at Swiffering, I then feel compelled to gather up the bathroom and kitchen trashbags and take them outside, including my recyclables that generally have a few bottles and cans clanking around inside their flimsy, plastic, handled home. I usually wander outside around 1:30 or 2am, deposit them in my trash cans, then return to the comfort of my home. My snoozing neighbor probably hates this.

In the evenings during the week, I usually get home from work and turn the hose on in the garden flowerbeds. I find an amusing rerun to watch, get engrossed in a glass or two of wine, and before I know it it’s 9pm and I need to water the grass (no sprinklers in the backyard). I dutifully attach the oscillating sprinkler to the hose, and let it do its thing. After a half hour or so, I’ll go outside to turn it off, but then I’ll feel sad for the adjacent square of grass that the sprinkler couldn’t reach so I feel obliged to give it its own time with the water. Before you know it, my person is casting a shadow across the backyard under the watchful eye of the streetlight, and I’m watering a patch of green stuff in my jammies.

The opposite is also true. I’ll water the front yard in the morning, usually between 5:30 and 5:45 when I wake up. Fortunately there are sprinklers, so in this case all it entails is me cruising out to the front porch in, yes, those same jammies, and turning a section of sprinklers on as the dude across the street passes in front of my house like clockwork, waves with a friendly “Hola!” and continues on his walk with his ratty, hyperactive pooch. Their morning walk always coincides with my waking-and-watering routine.

Truth be told, it’s better to water in the early morning and evenings anyway…it’s just that I tend to take it to the extreme.

In my 30s, I’ve also come to realize the pleasure in going to bed early on a Friday or Saturday night following an evening with no wine (not always, but sometimes), then waking up early the next morning to weed before the sun comes out and bestows unattractive tan lines upon me.

In my 20s, I slept till noon after an evening of, well…”festivities,” didn’t weed and never went to bed early on a Friday or Saturday night. Oh, how a decade changes things.

This evening, I was in the middle of watching Father of the Bride when I realized I had a string of clear globe lights on my patio that had gone out. I noticed it a few weeks back, but I finally felt like doing something about it tonight after some TV-viewing and alcohol-free wine-ing (random, yes — and also potentially contradictory since alcohol didn’t spur me to to anything crazy…for once. Speaking of, the brand is FRE, and Sutter Home makes it. Try the [faux] merlot. It’s delish.).

I walked outside and realized it was a bit more dim than I initially thought. Remembering that I had an extra string of lights in the house, I fetched it, removed it from the box and untangled its mess of wires, only to see that two of the globes had cracked. Seeing no point in putting up broken lights, I saw that it was an opportunity for me to instead whip out the measuring tape and get the patio’s dimensions so that I could order better lighting.

With no porchlight on and only the metallic racket of a measuring tape echoing in the evening air, I felt a little weird. I went inside to turn the porchlight on, but that only helped a bit. From across the property line, my neighbor called out, “Are you saying ‘hi’ to Lauren?” She was talking to her son who was peering into the yard through the gate. I realized I had an audience, and went over to be neighborly.

We chatted about my lighting issue, Christmas lights, her two-year-old son’s fascination with measuring tapes (odd, but glad that I had one on my person), and that was that.

Having taken the measurements, I went inside to look for more ideal [read: commercial-grade?] lighting options online. A few were found, but when you see that the bulb spacing is at 24″ and costs close to $100 for a 21′ strand, that’s a lotta dinero for not a lot of illumination. I stumbled across a homeowner’s blog in which she said she used clear C9 Christmas lights for her patio, at a fraction — and I mean FRACK-SHUN — of the cost. So, problem solved.

Now I can not only be “that neighbor,” but also “that girl” who leaves up Christmas lights year-round.

Whatever. When they’re clear and on a patio, I think they’re stellar.

Tonight I am thankful for my lighting dilemma which ultimately yielded a more cost-efficient solution, for the notion of being able to leave up my yet-to-be-ordered clear Christmas lights year-round [ye who know my obsession with the holidays won’t be surprised at this] and for being “that girl’ on the street who does random things at all hours. If it weren’t for the randomness, I’d have one less thing to blog about.

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