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Hot (old and overweight) Momma?

I’ve found myself quickly running into the house everytime a certain someone passes by the house. It makes me feel bad, like I’m not being very friendly. I feel guilty. I also feel annoyed.

“Frank” is a late 40’s/early 50’s-ish neighbor up my street. We met briefly a couple months ago when he stopped by to talk to my husband, a local police officer, about concerns he had regarding a foreclosed home further up the street. He also wanted to let my husband know that there was a position open on the Homes Association Board, thinking he might be interested. Since my husband wasn’t home at the time, Frank and I ended up chatting in the driveway.

While on the subject of neighborhood concerns, I asked about a creekbed at the corner, mentioning how unkempt it was, completely over run by brushy undergrowth and vines of poison ivy. I was also disgusted by the amount of trash collecting there, particularly the number of Old Milwaukee beer cans that seemed to be increasing daily. Since the creekbed is actually the run-off drainage system the city put in, I wondered if it was the city’s responsibility to trim back all the brush and clear out the bed. It was blocked by sand drifts, fallen branches and a whole tree which had completely toppled over, ripping up it’s root ball and leaving it standing on it’s side and about ten feet in air. I could see a coming problem with flooding if the bed wasn’t cleared of all the debris. And frankly, the whole area looked horrible and jungle-like. If it was the city’s responsibility, I was going to call and see about having them tend to it. If not, I was willing to organize a few families to go down there and clean it up. Frank suggested I go to the upcoming HOA meeting to ask about it.

I learned that the area was actually private property, and despite the fact that it was indeed the city that dug out the creek bed as a drainage ditch for run-off from the streets, the city wasn’t responsible for keeping it cleared out. If I wanted to clean it up, I’d have to talk to the property owner, and elderly man who wouldn’t be able to do the work. I asked for a name and mentioned that I was hoping to talk to him about getting some people together to help clean the area up.

The very next day, Frank came by to apologize on behalf of the HOA president, saying that he hoped I wasn’t offended at the meeting. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. He said that the president shouldn’t have brushed me off the way he did and should have given me more respect. I assured him that I took no offense and didn’t interpret anything that the president said as “brushing me off.” We chatted a little more and he left. Later, my daughters and I went down and collected three 33 gallon bags of trash all along the bed. Most of it was beer cans. Frank drove by and waved, slowing down enough to roll down his window and say that he’d help if he wasn’t on his way to a doctor’s appointment.

The following day, Frank was down at the corner, chopping down brush. He’s been down at that bed for the past three weeks, puttering past our house everyday, clearing out brush and even burning it. As hard as he’s working, he still has more to do. My wonderful neighbors across the street planted some pompus grass and flowering bushes along the tree line. It’s really starting to look nice. I have a bunch of daffodil bulbs I’m going to plant down there as well. What once looked like a wild, untamed thicket is looking lovelier and lovlier every day.

So why am I annoyed?

Every time Frank rides by on his little riding mower, he stops by to talk. To me. I now know everything there is to know about Frank. He especially likes to tell me about his ailments and show me all the scars and battlewounds from taming the neighborhood jungle. After the first couple “stop to chats” I started getting a little uncomfortable, like maybe he was flirting a little, if I dare say so. But then I quickly chided myself for even thinking such a thing. I’m 42 and overweight for goodness’ sake!

A few days later, I was out front putting in a flower bed around a small tree, when Frank stopped by again. I tried not to think about it. After he left, my girls started teasing me. “Mom, I think he has a crush on you.”

“No,” I said, “He’s just being friendly.”

My 13 year old chimed in, “No, he totally has a crush on you! The other day he was cutting up those branches and I passed him when I got off the bus and he asked me if you were my mother.” Did that really mean anything?

This past Wednesday night, I attended another HOA meeting. Afterwards, the president approached me and took me to the side. “Mrs. Keeney, I just wanted to apologize to you. I’m sorry if I offended you at the last meeting. I certainly didn’t mean to brush aside your concerns.”

I was honestly confused. “You didn’t offend me. I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

Then it dawned on me. Before I could say anything, he turned to the secretary and quiety said, “Nancy, isn’t this who ‘FC’ said I was rude to?” She nodded her head. He continued, “Oh, well, someone called Nancy and gave her quite a fit, complaining that I’d offended you and brushed aside your questions about the creek bed and said I owed you an apology.”

I gave the HOA president my word that nothing he’d said had offended me and that I’d even told Frank as much. I was so embarrased! And I wanted to shoot Frank!

Yesterday I was weeding the bed around our front tree. Suddenly, I heard the familiar sound of a riding mower coming up the street toward my house. Without even looking to see who might be driving, I got up and went into the house.

As he passed by our big picture window, my girls started laughing. “Are you avoiding Frank?” one of them asked. I gave a quick smirk, then the doorbell rang. I went into the kitchen, leaving the girls to answer the door and quietly told them to say I was busy.

It turned out to be one of my daughter’s friends. As she came inside, she grinned and said “Mrs. Keeney, Frank said to tell you hi. I think he has a little crush on you!”

Ugh! How does this happen?

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Brandi Leigh April 16, 2011, 8:47 pm

    Goes to show, you still got it!

    Actually, your story shows me that you are very confident, take charge girl. Confidence is very attractive.

    Time to talk him up, get his number, give him a B of M, and send his number on to the (male) missionaries!

    • Tracy Keeney April 18, 2011, 5:11 pm

      Funny you should say that. The missionaries LIVE with us! Well, in an apartment attached to our house. So Frank has chatted with them a couple times already! :)

  • Angie Gardner April 16, 2011, 9:03 pm

    Haha, well I can’t say I blame him since you are a gorgeous and talented lady! But yeah, ugh…these situations are so awkward (not that I would know lol)

  • Darcee Yates April 16, 2011, 10:23 pm

    Well if you’re going to talk to every Tom, Dick, and Frank that lives on your street, this kind of thing is bound to happen!

    Seriosly though. I remember when a neighbor man got a crush on my mom while I was growing up. It was sooo not flattering to her, as he was a drunk and a bit of a slob and my victorian age mom a divorcee with 6 kids. Me and my 2 younger sisters teased her horribly for it.

    I’m thinking I should feel guilty.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…Latter Day Saint Temples- St George- UtahMy Profile

    • Tracy Keeney April 18, 2011, 5:50 pm

      I guess I must be very much like your mother. I don’t have any reason to think Frank in a drunk, but as I’ve been analyzing my feelings and response to the situation, the very point about how UN-flattering it is to me, to be “flirted” is an interesting one to ponder. I suppose some people would be flattered in this situation, but it’s actually the opposite to me. If I was single (or if a guy didn’t know my status) and he was flirting with me or in some way making it obvious that he was attracted orsomehow interested in me, then I would find it flattering, even if I wasn’t interested in him. But if the man knows I’m married, then it changes everything. I’m repulsed, instead of flattered. It BOTHERS me that someone who knows I’m married would flirt with me. It automatically makes me think less of him– the first word that comes to my mind is “scummy”. That might seem overly harsh to some people, but it’s exactly what comes to mind.
      I remember several years ago being at the grocery store and being very aware that the two Mexican guys behind me in line were eyeing me and talking about me. Now, it’s important to know that I do not speak or understand Spanish (besides the simple stuff they show on Sesame Street and Dora). But I’m not stupid or blind either, and I know when someone is eyeing me.
      When the one guy started speaking to me (in Spanish), he was looking me up and down as he spoke, and I didn’t understand a word he was saying. I simply said “Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.” I figured that would end it right there. Instead, he started speaking English with a very thick Hispanic accent. “Que? You no speaka Spanish?”
      “No– sorry. I’m not Hispanic.”
      “You’re not Hispanic? But you’re hair– it’s so dark! And you’re skin– it’s so dark! You’re not Mexican?”
      “Well, I don’t think Mexicans have a monopoly on dark skin and hair.”
      “Que?”
      I smiled and said “Mexicans aren’t only people with dark skin and hair.”
      By this point I was done checking out, so I headed out thinking it was over.
      Well, just as I was finished loading the car, the two men passed behind me and the other guy spoke up, “/We think you’re very beautiful, even though you’re not Mexican”. Just before I got in the car, I said, “Thank you. My HUSBAND thinks so, too.”
      My response in this situation was totally different. I don’t like anyone “eyeing” me up and down–that’s a little creepy and to “overt” for me. But I WAS flattered.
      It wasn’t too long ago– maybe two months or so, when I was walking through Walmart, and as a man walked past me he said “You have beautiful hair.” I just said thank you and kept walking. That was flattering.
      In both situations, the men didn’t know my marital status. I was just some woman in a store.
      With Frank though, (and I can think of a couple other men– from church actually– but that was many moons ago when I was first married) it’s the exact opposite because he KNOWS I’m married, and it just comes across as annoying and– well– scummy.

  • jennycherie April 17, 2011, 7:16 am

    “I’m 42 and overweight for goodness’ sake! ”

    And still a babe, if I may say so. I’d flirt with you if I weren’t already married. . .and, heterosexual.

    A young woman in our ward (about 25) moved in a few months ago and quickly became the object of the affection of a MUCH older man, who is sweet, but a little “off” mentally and socially. She did a great job of being very direct with him and still, it took other people to get the message through. The EQ Pres. actually had a long chat with him to be absolutely sure he understood it was never gonna happen for them. Maybe Bill will need to have a friendly chat with Frankie? I’ve noticed your husband is very persuasive. . .
    jennycherie recently posted…The Good Old DaysMy Profile

  • Andrew Williams April 17, 2011, 7:50 pm

    It’s when they STOP flirting that you have to worry! Ha!
    Andrew Williams recently posted…FAQ- Do You Wear UniformsMy Profile

  • SouthernMan April 18, 2011, 11:05 am

    Sounds like you have a champion. I’m afraid Andrew Williams is right, you won’t have to worry until he STOPs flirting with you.

    And, besides, you need to quit devaluing yourself. Overweight and 42? Is that supposed to be an excuse to stop feeling that you can be attractive? Some people just have that magnetism. And besides, some guys can’t help who they fall in love with. Its like telling a compass to stop pointing north. But he needs to know the limit and sounds like he is crossing it. But, on the other hand, he is getting that overgrown area cleared out… Be sure to enlist your husband’s assistance in creating a bit more distance. Go girl!

    • Andrew Williams April 18, 2011, 11:22 am

      Thanks for the backup, Southern Man. Nothing more fun than being flirted with! Ha!
      Andrew Williams recently posted…FAQ- Do You Wear UniformsMy Profile

    • Andrew Williams April 18, 2011, 11:24 am

      And btw, your “compass pointing north” is hysterical!
      Andrew Williams recently posted…FAQ- Do You Wear UniformsMy Profile

    • Tracy Keeney April 18, 2011, 9:07 pm

      SouthernMan, it’s nto that I don’t feel I can be attractive. I guess I’m just a little baffled that being married with 5 kids – throw being 42 and a little heavy on top of that, that anyone would be “interested”.
      As for not being able to help who you fall in love with– I can see your point. But, let’s be honest. There’s no way the guy “fell in love with me”. There’s a big difference between being attracted, infatuated or having a crush on someone, and falling in love. That takes a little more than a few conversations about moles in the lawn and a neighborhood clean up. Either way– infatuation OR love– someone might not be able to help who they find attractive or develop feelings for, but they can ALWAYS help the way they RESPOND to those feelings. You can think the lady living next door to you is attractive without hitting on her, right? And, if you’re married, or if she’s married, and you found yourself looking for excuses to go and talk to her, or drive by her house just to see if she’s outside, etc, that would be the “red flag” that things were amiss. If you continued to look for those excuses, then it’s no longer a matter of “I can’t help it”– that’s a choice. See what I mean?

    • SouthernMan April 19, 2011, 12:19 pm

      Tracy, You are so right about falling in love, and allowing those to develop. I guess what I so flippantly equated was his infatuation or crush with falling in love like a school boy. Sure sounds like puppy love, and it is changing his behavior and giving him some motivation to work, defend your honor to the HOA, ask about you… And they are all red flags. And he certainly can help his lack in the gentlemanly graces.

      And I am grateful that I am so easily able to continually, repeatedly and constantly fall in love with a certain 50-something, slightly overweight mother/stepmother of 6 and grandmother of 9. She is the most classically beautiful woman I have ever seen. What a wonderful feeling when she smiles at me. And I am so fortunate she married me.

      Please be careful.

  • Heather April 18, 2011, 11:22 am

    Tracy! I was reading this and it just sounded like someone I knew…and her husband!! Then I had to look at the author. I didn’t know you wrote for this website. Oh and you are one of the most fantastic people I know, do not de-value yourself!

    • Tracy Keeney April 18, 2011, 9:15 pm

      Hmmmm…. you’re talking as if you know me personally. I don’t want to devulge any identifying info that you might not want “out there”… so we’ll do this is stealth mode. Are you the Heather who my daughters LOVE babysitting for? Or possibly the Heather who’s children sing in my ward choir? Or possibly the Heather in my former ward who’s also friends with jennycherie? (I think those are the only 3 Heathers I know!)

    • Heather April 19, 2011, 8:28 pm

      Ha ha well, I did get to know you that much before you moved out of my ward…but you like to come back and visit. And we are friends on FB :D I was in YW with one of your daughters…

  • Waitedinvain April 18, 2011, 1:51 pm

    I think we’ve, frankly, lost the art of repartee and friendly adult conversation. Particularly in the Church, adult men and women who aren’t married to each other simply don’t talk to each other much. How sad. Banter and chatter between the sexes is not always flirting, even if/when one develops a “crush” on the other.

    • Tracy Keeney April 18, 2011, 9:21 pm

      I agree that “banter and chatter” between the sexes isn’t always flirting. And though I’m sure there ARE people in the Church who aren’t comfortable talking to members of the opposite sex, I’m not one of them. I chat with men at church all the time. But, I don’t get the feeling that they have a crush on me either. The couple times I HAVE felt that way, I tried to avoid them without making it obvious, because it made me very uncomfortable.

    • Tracy's Husband April 21, 2011, 2:40 pm

      To be in the World and not of it is a tricky realm to live in. It seems that Niavity of perception and intention are a fine line. While ones intentions are truly on a non-flirtation level may be an others perception as the opposite. People who live only of the World base majority of there exsistance on what makes them Happy. They go through life always over indulging upon their needs, wants, belifs and feel that every thing roatates around their pleasures. I see this in my job as A Police Officer all the time and have witnessed it with in my various Church Callings. We self justify and quantify what we think is right and measure everyone else as wrong and crossing Moral lines. I have a Police Officer friend who was partnered up with a very attractive young female officer. His wife was jealous and very uncomfortable with the fact that he was in a squad car 8 hours a day trusting each other and putting their lives in the hands of one another. With in a year the Rumors on the Department started up. People were acussing him and her of having an affair. I was constantly defending their Honor. What was amazing is this once jealous Wife had developed a friendship with my friends partner. They became close friends. Sadly the female officer ended up quiting the Department. She no longer trusted the perceptions of Officers who are non-trusting and paranoid by nature due to the job. She stated because she was young and attractive that people labled her as: If to friendly with the opposite sex as a flirt and loose. If proffesional and only friended the same sex she was a lesbian. She stated there was no middle ground. Was this fair? Was there anything her and my friend could of done to stop the rumors? I do not know. I know that most live of the World and buy into those perceptions and Rumors. Stories about Bishops having affairs with Relief Society Presidents, People having Affairs with old boy friends/girl friends they reconnected with through the computer. Some may be true and some just rumors. I call it the Fatal Attraction. It becomes Fatal when perception become realities or when they start to ruin marriages, relationships, self being or the Unity of Wards. I know that Satan’s play ground is based in the minds of deceptions and perceptions. He is the father of lies. Why give fuel to his fire? Do you place your self in situations that could be missed percieved? Sometimes it is going to happen even when you do everything right. Its the hard reality of Sexuality. By nature opposite Genders have an instinctual drive of procreation with one another. Biologically some have it worst than others. I have had the displeasure of working with and against some of these vial creatures. Comments like: “One Man’s wife is another Man’s Girlfriend.” ” Go for the Married ones they already are committed so there will be no strings attatched. ” Those are just a few. The World is the Devil’s playground. You must have Boundaries. Those boundaries should be set by you and your spouse. Do not cross them and be leary but not to a fault. Just be aware of who, where and what you are talking about when conversing with the opposite sex and be ready for those perceptions no matter how good your intentions.

    • jennycherie April 25, 2011, 5:59 am

      “Just be aware of who, where and what you are talking about when conversing with the opposite sex and be ready for those perceptions no matter how good your intentions.”

      this is where we have to remember to avoid even the appearance of evil – but even when we do, in Tracy’s situation and the situation of the female officer, sometimes perceptions have more to do with the situation of the gossiper than what has actually happened!
      jennycherie recently posted…The Good Old DaysMy Profile

    • Tracy's Husband April 25, 2011, 8:58 am

      My point exactly. My wife and this other Offier are victims of Perception. The World is ugly and it is not fair. My wife and this Officer did nothing wrong yet one is judged by her (the Officer) peers the other ( my wife) because Frank crossed the line she had set. Now she has to deal with the perceptions that even my girls and the neighbor kids have towards him. He may be guilty of “Flirting”, or just being to friendly to a point of making people feel uncomfortable. Either way my wife did the right thing. She has distanced her self and has done it in a way to keep Franks Dignity in place. ( hopefully there is not any Gosssip going against him or my wife.) I or she will not know either way and its sad to even think that people do buy into those perceptions.

  • Darcee Yates April 18, 2011, 8:51 pm

    Waited in Vain- You bring up an interesting point that I’ve argued both sides of (with myself!).
    When I first married- it was awkward for me to be more than cordial with all of my husband’s friends(we moved into the small town/ward that he grew up in), Because I was so used to only having boy-friends that I flirted with- I had no idea how to just have a friend of a male individual. So rather than say the wrong thing- i said very little. Needless to say they all thought I was pretty stuck up, or shy, or backward- or whatever.

    It took YEARS before I figured out how to have a friendly conversation-relationship with a male individual other than my husband.

    And I still think there should be a definate limit. A line drawn in the sand so to speak that can not be breached. Crossing the line has caused the beginning of the end for too many marriages. And I gaurd the marriage- like an entity to be protected at alll costs.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…Latter Day Saint Temples- St George- UtahMy Profile

  • Kate May 27, 2011, 4:03 am

    Hi Tracy I enjoy reading your story. I find it cute and the comments are interesting. :)
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  • sandramez June 1, 2011, 12:04 am

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re overweight or too thin, what matter is how you handle yourself, if you believe and think that you’re beautiful, it will reflect on your looks.
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  • Amber June 5, 2011, 9:16 pm

    Sometimes you have to wonder, when I was 26 weeks pregnant some kid at the institute tried to flirt with me. I was extremely annoyed – I figured that if the ring didn’t tip him off, the growing belly should have!
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