The gravity of it all

We live in a building that has 3 stories. On each side there is a two story apartment and then on top of each of those there is a one story apartment. We have one of the two story apartments with a garden around three sides. About two years ago, we bought the small apartment that is above us. I hope to someday cut through a staircase and expand our home up while also leaving it possible to close it off for short-term rental.

The reason why it is “someday” is that along with the apartment we bought Grizelda (not her name.) Grizelda is a woman of about 70 who immigrated from an eastern European country that may no longer exist– or maybe from one that didn’t exist when she immigrated from it, or maybe one that only decided to come into existence because she had finally left and the average IQ skyrocketed.

Grizelda was a tenant at the time we bought the apartment. She immediately asked, “Do you want me to move out?” Before I had a chance to say “You betchem!” my husband said, “Of course not.” I forgot. I am married to a man who feels that every encounter is an opportunity for charity. “Of course you can stay! and at the same [ridiculously low] rent.”

So she is still here.

Now aside from some annoying habits like ringing our doorbell to say “Isn’t it sunny out!” and “Do you think that turning off the faucet might stop the water from running,” Grizelda does things that drive me crazy like repeatedly taking shopping carts from the supermarket and leaving them outside the door tothe building (I have issues with larceny) and leaving cases of water bottles in our lobby (thereby enticing the neighborhood hooligans).

But the thing that bothers me the most is that Grizelda does not understand the concept of gravity.

For years, Grizelda has been placing flowerpots and planters tottering on the edges of her balconies. At least once or twice a week, I would pick up the pots from my garden and place them at the entrance of the building to return them. She never quite got it. Her floor rags drying on the ledge of her balcony would often show up in the garden. That sponge one uses in the vegetable drawer showed up. Old sukkah decorations came tumbling down. Then there was the year that she decided to leave her sukkah up with a heavy plastic covering over the roof. And after a few rains, there was a sudden crash onto the glass roof of our sunroom. The water came down with such force that it actually bent the frame of the roof and sprayed onto our furniture. The roof was not damaged longterm, but she was getting on my last nerve.

Then we went away on a trip. When we returned, in our garden, lying on its side, was a wooden dog house. It is about two feet square with a roof that peaks at about 2 feet. I immediately realized that we were very very lucky. Had someone been in the garden when the dog house came down, that person could have been killed. I did not return the dog house. She has not asked for it. After that, all flower pots have become gifts to me.

Last week, my grandchildren were over. On the roof of our sun room was a pot with a plant in it. My grandson Daniel asked, “What is that doing there?” I gave him my stock answer, “Grizelda is experimenting to see if gravity still works.”

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