I wish I was kidding. I saw him coming up the walk and knew…but let me set the scene for you.
Sprinkler going, one toddler shirtless and running through it. One baby, in a diaper, running in the yard. Small dog, who thinks he is Hercules, begins to yip. And yip. And lunge against its choke chain. Mom, who is dreading being ‘nice’ but smiling all the same. Enter the man from Slovakia.
He walks up to us and starts his banter. ‘I was just talking to your neighbors, the _________. Do you know that family?’ Um no… due to the fact that it has either been blazing hot or stinking cold on top of the fact the dad mows in flip flops. Does he have no concern for his toes? I don’t trust anyone with no concern for his toes. So the short answer is no. He recovers nicely and says ‘Well, they have small children like you’. Well, that’s good. I start to notice L yanking the hose down the hill and starting to water the neighbors sewer cover. I ‘nicely’ ask him to knock it off. L clearly takes this opportunity to begin to ignore my parenting requests.
The guy, who looks like he is 12, proceeds to make fun of his own accent and smiles. He asks me if I know where Slovakia is. I didn’t hear the entire question due to the baby shrieking like a howler monkey in my ear. Mr. Smile says ‘you don’t know where Slovakia is? –with this shocked look on his face. I realized he was judging me…and due to ‘Are you smarter than a 5th grader’ being on recently, I said ‘I know where IT is, I just haven’t MET anyone from there’. I’m smart….you idiot.
The dog is clearly about to come out of his skin. And yet Mr. Slovakia continues. He says ‘You are a hard lady to get a hold of’. I have a full time job, 2 kids, a famous blog and a dog with territory issues. I’m a little busy. M proceeds to sneak down the hill, determined to play on the swing set. I take Kujo and head down the hill to retrieve the diapered babe. I still don’t have any idea why this dude is still talking to us. Clearly, we all look sane. But points to him for determination.
I run down the hill and grab the baby. This happens twice. L is now thoroughly watering the sewer cover, his face and half the neighbor’s yard. I tell Luca to knock it off and get up here. I am secretly praying for a fit or perhaps this dude will call this visit a loss. But alas, I am wrong.
I am invited to sit on my own porch to see his presentation. I finally pull the cranky mom out and say ‘I don’t even know what you are selling.’ He pulls his badge out and says ‘I’m Jozef.. see my name is spelled wrong,’ That didn’t win points, buddy. I’m not a dumb person who makes fun of foreigners. He proceeds to show me pages and pages of neighbors that I have never met or may have judged (toe mower guy) who have clearly had time to sit with Mr. Slovakia and chat about the mystery item he is hawking. Yeah for them. Perhaps their kids wear clothes, use bathtubs instead of sprinklers and the like.
Here was the best part… I was trying NOT to engage him in conversation. I mean I WAS giving him quality parenting tips at NO charge but still. After the invitation to sit on my own porch and clearly no fits from my kids in sight, I agree to listen. I’m standing…. Nobody puts me on the porch (enter my Jennifer Grey dance moves). But then…. he asks the question… ‘How old is he?– meaning the diapered one. I say ‘He’s a toddler’–and because I don’t want to tell you. He continues.. ‘And this one?’ Luca, who NEVER talks to strangers and sometimes even people he knows, choses THIS moment to speak, on his own accord. Awesome. ‘I’m fee!’ And so the conversation begins…. with the fans. The fans being my kids. This dude was like the Pied Piper of Slovakia. I have no idea what he said next because I was watching my kids… sitting quietly on the porch behind me. I was amazed. Perhaps I needed an accent.
He opens up the binder and shows me a map of Slovakia. I remember my ‘5th grader’ facts and nod like I know what I’m talking about. English was my Ace in the Hole… not Geography. Sorry dude. He proceeds to say he is an exchange student in college staying with a host family in Lenexa. ‘Do you know where Lenexa is? It reminds me of my home in Slovakia.’ Seriously?? Lenexa?? Wow.. well does Slovakia have a Spinach Festival… then Lenexa is awesomer. And just like that….L scoots over and sits next to him. Motherly instincts kick in… or falcon instincts…either way, I grab him and put him on my lap (my kid, not the guy). And then M…sitting quietly against the wall (which has NEVER happened in his LIFE) moves in towards the Piper. Crap. Now I am sitting on the porch…. with kids who must think this guy sells ice cream or something. M gets up and down and up and down… so technically I am still NOT listening to what this dude has to say. I finally say ‘Can we just get down to it?…. or maybe it sounds like ‘Tell me more about this mystery product and can you make fun of yourself just one more time?’ I will never know. Because M decides to barrel towards me, misses me and trips. Right into the concrete planter on the DAMN porch. Which wouldn’t have happened, had the dude not asked me to sit down. Grrr…
Now screaming baby who has a unicorn horn sprouting and 3 year old are my priority….. and the Piper says ‘Perhaps I should come back another time.’ No kidding. Are you sure? –I may have been a little cranky.
I’m not even sure I said goodbye…. or ‘I like Lenexa’. Sorry… but damn that man from Slovakia.