We've been here for four months. I've been fortunate enough to have only officially met one neighbor- who turned out to be cool, one neighborhood woman who seems to be...knowledgeable about what goes on here, and a young neighborhood couple who are definitely young and entertaining. I haven't even talked to our landlord. No need. Drop the rent in the box and watch for it to clear my bank account.
Yesterday morning, there was a young girl standing in the cold rain, miserable and shivering. I offered her a seat in my van. I was thinking it was a one time thing because of the weather. Turns out she's a very friendly girl who likes to chat. She wanted a ride home. and then a ride to the bus stop. and then a ride home. I'm definitely going to have to meet her parents before someone starts wondering if I'm trying to kidnap the kid. Lord knows we're already getting a reputation for collecting neighborhood cats.
I took her home today and Goofy started pointing out a trailer he was going to visit. I have no clue who lives in this trailer. He calls her "the girl he helped." Based on that description, she could be anywhere from 1-100. As far as I know, there are no kids living there. School age, anyway. There is a mix of people living in this Parc, some disabled, some decent and hard working, some secretive, and some you wouldn't dare knock on the door. The kid has no sense of self preservation. I told him no. I told him he was not going to anyone's house until I met the parents. I told him "because I said so!"
Goofy was out playing with kids while I cleaned up to start supper. Walter came in to tell me that the church van comes down here and Goofy tried to follow the kids into the van. No thought of even telling me he was leaving. The van was here, he was going. Walter stopped him. He said he couldn't believe Goofy would have just left with them and started worrying about how he would leave with just anyone! Yeah. I know.
After supper, I let him go back out for a little bit. The rules are that he can go to the white mailbox to the left, and the start of the horse fence to the right. When I call his name, he steps out to where I can see him to check in. I sent Walter. He called. Once, twice, three times... I saw him leave the porch. He called again. and again. He came back to tell me he couldn't find him. I went out and called. Once, twice... I went left, Walter went right. Nowhere.
I turned around to head Walter's way and saw the neighbor outside. Goofy wasn't there, she sent her daughter to show me a fort he could be in. We started up the street when she turned around and saw Goofy standing almost at the end of the street. We went back toward him, past our trailer, she went into her trailer. Three more trailers, I ran into Walter and pointed to his brother. Two more trailers before we found his bike in a yard. Three more before I got to him. I'm telling you, I don't know how I managed it, but I absolutely did not beat his ass all the way home.
I wanted to, but I didn't. Instead, I spoke as calmly as I could, explaining that I already told him not to go there. We went over the boundaries and the calling rule. I reminded him that he was not allowed to go anywhere without telling me and I didn't want him anywhere that I didn't know the adult in the house. I have to meet the people before he goes. He disagreed. He knows her. It's fine. I'm thinking about buying a leash. Get a 100ft rope and tie his little butt to the front porch. It would at least take more effort on his part to get lost. Maybe it will take him long enough for him to remember to tell me he's leaving.
Tomorrow he's grounded, Friday he's going to his dad's. That will buy me some time before I have to go meet some more neighbors.