A few days ago I had one of the most terrifying moments I've had in a while when a small neighbourly good deed nearly turned into something potentially horrible and offensive.
One of our neighbours is going through some things at the moment, and although life has been slightly on the intense side lately (aka selling our home and all the fun/scary stuff that goes with that), I just knew that this man and his daughter could do with a little bit of extra loving at the moment.
I decided to make a Shepherd's Pie for their dinner when I got home from doing the groceries on Friday afternoon, and worked out that I would have just enough time to make it and deliver it before dropping my son at work and picking up Symon from work.
I felt really excited - there's something awesome about doing something for others, and the fact I was actually going to be able to squeeze everything in on time that afternoon was a bonus!
The pie cooked well, and I calculated I would have about 5-10 minutes to quickly deliver dinner before going out. I rushed over and knocked on his door while the piping hot pie was burning my hands. A lady I have never seen before (obviously a family friend also waiting for him to come home) popped her head around from the side of their house and told me that he wasn't home.
I decided in that spilt second that it would be better for me to come back later that night - he could rewarm it or freeze it but, then she suggested I pop it through his open window onto the table. I knew he had a few cats and was hesitant, but she insisted. I could hardly reach his open window, let alone see if there was indeed a table there, but her confidence and my burning hands and tight schedule made me take a leap of blind faith.
I had a plastic bag with a few goodies in, so tested the waters by throwing them in the open window first. They seemed to land on something, so I carefully lifted the piping hot Shepherd's pie up to the window and carefully lowered then dropped it onto the table.
It was at that precise moment I had the worst sinking feeling I've had in a long while. I knew suddenly that there was no table there beneath his open window, and I also knew that my hot Shepherd's pie had flipped upside down on his couch.
Things went into hyper mode as I could imagine my neighbour (who is already going through a lot) arriving home to a couch smeared with hot mince and mashed potato with cheese.
"Oh, is the couch there now!" the lady exclaimed.
"Yes! Do you have a key to the house?", I desperately asked the lady.
"No" she replied in an all too casual manner.
I glanced around desperately and ran to grab a chair, realising suddenly that it was rather brittle and frail and would probably not hold my weight. I wouldn't want him to come home to a broken chair AND a minced up couch.
I remember thinking "Oh Lord, how can a loving idea turn into such a horrible situation!".
I quickly scanned the area and spotted a more stable chair, dragged it to the window and hoisted myself up and half into his lounge, instantly wishing I hadn't worn a denim skirt that afternoon. Time was to short to worry about my dignity, as I peered over onto the couch and tried to grab my Shepherd's pie. I grabbed it, my hands and arms burning and flipped it back realising suddenly that the tin foil I had placed over the topped had held, and the couch was clean!
My arms burned as I tried to pull the pie back out through the window, but my heart was soaring. My day had gone from great to worst ever to great again!
The lady told me to leave it at the door, but I'd had enough of her advice for one day.
"I'll drop it over later" I said and rushed off.
I've never been so hot and sweaty and burnt armed and relieved all at once. I think at that precise moment I wanted to hug and kiss whoever it was that invented tin foil - pure lifesaver!
Lessons I learnt that day:
1. Don't trust random ladies who tell you to put food in people's windows assuming a table is under it.
2. Wearing a denim skirt isn't appropriate for climbing in neighbour's windows.
3. Tin foil is my new best friend.