So I have a great story that I know Amber and Chris can truly appreciate - and be thankful they avoided.
Typically while Matthew is sleeping, I allow Eric to play out on our patio and draw with his chalk, while I stay inside - with the door open - and clean. I can watch him and I can hear him. So that's what was happening today. Matthew was sleeping, Eric was drawing on the porch, and I was cleaning the kitchen. While cleaning, I heard my neighbor talking to Eric. I believe the statement was "Are you playing outside by yourself?" to which Eric answered "Yes" and looked inside at me. I walked to the door to see what was going on. The neighbor was at her car and stuck her head quickly back in when I approached my screen door (they are difficult to see in). I assumed she was questioning his safety and once she saw me would understand that he was fine. I walked back to the kitchen and heard her begin talking to him again. I walked BACK to the door and this time she addressed me but I couldn't hear her so I opened the screen door and asked what the problem was. She said, "You need to take him inside with you." I said, "No. He's fine." She repeated herself. Again I said, "NO. He's fine." She said, "Can he walk? Can he run?" At which point I answered, "Yes. But he won't. He's FINE." She closed her door and started to approach me.
Now THIS would have been a good time to grab Eric, run inside and lock the door, however I was not anticipating the following events. I try to believe the best in everybody. As it is, everyone scares me anyhow. I don't trust anyone. But I try to. And I understood that it LOOKED as if a small child was outside unsupervised, but I felt I had made it fairly clear that he was being watched - as was she. She came up to the patio and said "Take him inside." I said, "No." She said, "We're about to have a riot up in here."
At this point I'm thinking, "Ok...something is going on around the corner that I can't see and she's concerned for his safety." After all, the cops practically live at this place. So I peer around the corner of the patio and ask "Who's about to have a riot?" I see nothing. She was kneeling down talking to Eric. So I repeated myself, "WHERE'S A RIOT?" She stood up and went nose to nose with me. "RIGHT HERE!" Before I could react she chest bumped me taking me by surprise, which sent me flying backwards, practically on top of my son. She turned and walked away muttering something about "That's what I'm talking about" and went back into her apartment. I sat stunned and held Eric who was bawling. I hate that he had to witness that.
Once I calmed him down we went inside and I tried to gather my thoughts and decide what to do next. I wasn't hurt. Just stunned and now a bit shaken and concerned for my children's safety. Fortunately my landlady, Stephanie was walking across the street. She waved at me and I waved her over. After explaining the incident she said "Call the police." I HATE turning things into big deals. I really do. But since that was considered an assault I had to report it. So I did, and we waited. I was trying to keep an eye on Eric and find out the result of this situation. I was going to feel pretty stupid having the police come and have to report "She shoved me".
While waiting for the police to show up, the neighbor headed out of her apartment. She turned and quickly said "Sorry." and kept walking to her car. Stephanie said, "You need to stay here until the police get here." at which point this lady went OFF. Blood curdling screaming and cursing as if somebody had flipped a switch. She put the car in reverse and pulled out of her parking space while the landlady called 911 and reported that she was leaving the scene. As she was giving the details of the car, the neighbor jumps out of her car and continues to scream. Stephanie tells me to get inside. I do. I lock the door and continue to watch. The neighbor continues to scream and curse at the landlady and then starts to approach her. Stephanie reached for the door to run inside but found it locked so I quickly unlocked it and let her in. She tells me to get Eric back to his room so he doesn't witness any of this. I take him back and try to explain that he's not in any trouble. I calm him down and turn on Sesame Street for him and go back to see what's going on. I see her still aimlessly walking in the grass as if she's waiting for Stephanie or me to come out. Apparently she had walked right up to the door and banged on it while yelling at Stephanie then sat in the corner. The police get there and she takes off and curls up in the fetal position on my patio. I can not believe this happening. She's still going off though I can't hear what she is saying. They handcuff her and try to calm her down. They actually did really well with that, because at one point she kicked Eric's eggs off the porch and her shoe went flying. The officer said, "You're gonna lose your shoe that way!" At which point she kicked off the other one.
Now understand, this is a neighbor that we have let use our phone on MULTIPLE occasions. We have talked briefly and I've never thought twice about her. I find out that the police have had to deal with her numerous times and this is old hat for them. The officer who came in to get my information simply said, "She said something about children being outside." I said, "Yes..my son was outside on the patio with chalk..." And went to explain the story, but he cut me off. "You're fine. She's just crazy."
Indeed. From what I understand she is on medication for bi-polar disorder. Now I'm not a psychologist or anything, but that was NOT a show of bi-polar disorder. Apparently she's either not taking her meds or they are not working and she is having more frequent "episodes" for whatever mental disorder she does have. I later asked if she had any family (afraid that they would come after me since she was being hauled off). I was told where all of her children were and discovered that her youngest child was living with the neighbor's mother who had taken custody after the LAST episode she had, which then made everything very clear to me. Here is this woman who is without her kids on the basis that she is unfit to care for them and she sees a small child outside "by himself" and she deemed it necessary to make sure he was properly cared for. But not by calling CPS mind you, which I would have gladly welcomed over that whole ordeal! So seeing Eric must have set her off.
I called John and broke down into tears. He came over in his ambulance! :) He reminded my of the gun safe combination once again and Stephanie said "Listen to him. Listen to your husband. It's the safety of your children" So..I think I might be convinced now. I think it may be time to shoot the gun a few times and get a feel for it. As much as it terrifies me. I just know that if I pull a gun, I have to be prepared to shoot it. And I don't like that one little bit. UUUUGGGHHHH! Not too much longer in these apartments! I think I'll go house hunting this week!!!