gladys

So I am moved into my new house. It is quite lovely; my friend Betsy, who came to help me move, actually likes it better than the other one because it has a nice winterized sunroom and it’s closer to downtown, but as I told her, because this is how we are: “You have no taste or appreciation for nice architecture or home decor so your opinion means nothing to me.” But in any event, it made me feel better, sort of like a girlfriend telling you she likes your new boyfriend much better than the louse you’ve been pining for. Even if you know she’s talking out of her ass to make you feel better, you appreciate the effort.

The new house is also cursed with something the old house wasn’t — Vernon and Minnie Trimble.

We should have realized something was wrong when the owner of the house, a lovely, kind man named Bill, became seemingly possessed by some kind of demon when Vernon Trimble came wandering into his garage. Betsy and I were dropping a few things off the day before moving day, chatting happily to Bill, when his entire demeanor changed as Vernon showed up. “What NOW, Mr. Trimble???” he hissed. Betsy and I slowly backed out of the garage, fearful that Bill was secretly a closet psychopath who was mean to old men. Oh how wrong we turned out to be.

Minnie Trimble soon came running across the street and introduced herself to us with all sorts of  “our Lord Jesus” talk. Betsy fled for the car, where her Percocet stash was hidden (essential for moving, I have discovered), as Minnie shouted after her: “God bless you for helping, Betsy!” Immediately Minnie wanted to know my last name and cringed slightly when I said it — some people assume it’s a Jewish name, even though I’m not Jewish. She recovered, told me it was a “splendid!” name, and proceeded to run down the entire ethnic makeup of the neighborhood, including this choice bit of information: “John and Jenny Lee live at 1205. They’re very friendly for Orientals. Just splendid!”  She then handed me her business card. It was emblazoned with a large cross. Minnie Trimble is a Christian marriage counsellor. I am a two-time divorcee, something I look forward to divulging to her.

On Moving Day, Betsy came over right at 8 a.m. and had not stepped out of the car and she saw Vernon Trimble come scurrying out of his garage pushing a lawn mower. He soon powered it up and began mowing my lawn just past eight on a Saturday, waving cheerfully at Betsy.

In the hours to come, Minnie Trimble was over at my new house at least a half dozen times, even as movers trudged in and out of the house with large pieces of furniture while I sweatily ran around giving instructions and organizing furniture.

She would walk right into the house and start marching around, checking things out. She wanted to know what “male voice” she could hear in the sunroom with Betsy (it was the fucking cable guy.) She brought a bottle of ginger ale with a bow on it, and then when I mentioned Canada Dry, and hour later she brought a second bottle of ginger ale, this one Canada Dry. She came by to offer leftovers. She came by to try to figure out the nature of my relationship with Betsy (opportunity lost — I didn’t think to say: “She’s my girlfriend, and we’re getting married in Toronto next month.” Bad mistake.) She came by to try to figure out why my children weren’t with me and what happened to my husband. She came by to try to figure out what church I went to. IT WENT ON ALL DAY.

By the end of the day, I lost my patience as she asked me to come over to her house so she could take me on a “grand tour.”

“Millie,” I said. “As you can see, I am now in my nightgown. I have been on my feet since 6 a.m. It’s very kind of you to offer, but I am very beat right now and Betsy and I need some time to rest. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I shut the door as she was still talking. Thirty seconds later she knocked again.

“Yes, Mrs. Trimble?” I sighed.

“I’ll have you know that Vernon mowed your lawn today!” she said.

“Betsy mentioned that, Mrs. Trimble. That’s very nice of him,” I said.

“That’s Vern Trimble!” she replied. “That’s the kind of man he is!”

She remained standing on my doorstep, staring at me defiantly.

“Mrs. Trimble, please thank Mr. Trimble for me. But I don’t expect him to ever do that again. I just assumed Bill asked him to do it as a favor; perhaps it was something he couldn’t get to before he moved. In any event, thank him for me, but let him know it’s not necessary for him to do it again.”

The next day, Sunday, there she was at 9 a.m., knocking on my door on her way to church. This time she had a hand-written card upon which she had written out the names and details, including some phone numbers, of every person living on the block. After church, she knocked on the door again, and this time I pretended I was on the phone to my mother amid some kind of crisis and so NO, she could not come in to provide more information to me about the house I’d rented, since Bill and his wife had left a long list of things I needed to know.

She scurried away, calling over her shoulder that she and Vern intended to go back to church on Sunday night, where they would pray for my mother.

That’s right. I am living across the street from lonely Christian mentalcases. A few short days ago, I did not know Vern and Minnie Trimble existed. And now I sense I am going to be constantly hiding from them, turning the lights off, cranking up the music, pretending I don’t see or hear them on my various doorsteps.

Check in soon for the next instalment in “My New Life With The Trimbles,” when Minnie Trimble actually takes me on a tour of her home, a terrifying, musty old museum/shrine to Jesus Christ.

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