Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Night Drivel

First off, my apologies for my snarky post about sending Thomas back to public school. I get very vocal about things that, well, rub me the wrong way and I also have a kind of wonky sense of humor.

What a weekend. I know one of my readers doesn't like mention of my neighbors, but I'm going to talk about them a bit. The nasty man who assaulted me almost one year ago April and his wife left town for the weekend. What a celebration that was for us! It was heavenly to be able to be free in the front yard. This is the couple that watches every single move we make. (I know I sound paranoid, but I'm not about this.) I washed the driveway down and I even swept the gutter out.

Our next-door neighbors with that yappy #$Q@ -- um, dog, mow their lawn twice a week and then the guy takes his blower and blows all the clippings onto the street. They end up back in the gutter, and since we have a dip in our driveway gutter part, it all collects at our house. So if the cops drove by, they'd think that we are putting our lawn clippings illegally into the street. It is illegal in our town to do that.

A good friend suggested I call the city and let them know that they need to inform the neighbors that it is illegal to do that. I worry about the karma of doing that.
What would they do to us in return? (Homeschooler paranoia speaking.)

The neighbors with the dog had Demon (not his real name) running loose all day. Yap, yap, yap, yap....if I were them, I'd go crazy listening to that all the time. I go crazy one house over. We can hear that damned dog in my house when he is in his house with each house having its windows shut. FWIW, I am an avid animal lover. I have volunteered at shelters and even done foster care work for homeless pets. I don't hate dogs.

Anyway, we started clearing our jungle/bank at the back of our property. Cutting tree sprouts, trimmed our pussy willow down -- and the woman stands at her back door and screams at me: What are you going to do with all that wood? I ignored her, threw it behind my shed, and walked in the house. Our plans were to build a fire pit and burn it. Well, after thinking about that, our other neighbors -- the people everyone in this neighborhood hates worse than us -- who are actually civil to us, would have problems with the smoke, so we decided to not do that to them. We went in search of the infamous tree deposit site that is run by our city. We drove a few miles in the country and did not find it. I'll be calling the city tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the lack of privacy in our yard has always driven me nuts since the new yappy neighbors moved in. They're out there all the time. They're seniors, and they have nothing better to do than have the perfect yard. (It's okay, but true gardeners wouldn't like their style.) Last year my husband planted six shrubs -- some type of cranberry -- that are very pretty, for privacy. And they're short. They do nothing to give us privacy and I expect they won't for several years. So I decided to get on the net and search. I found a very cheap solution! Bamboo fences. You can buy rolls of bamboo fence that is 6' tall from 25 to 50' in length. I could get some on Ebay for $50. I told Bob I was going to order some and he could get posts to attach it to. Then he'd be happy when snow comes because he could take it down.

It's a good think I didn't jump right on that. Bob decided that he would bite the bullet and BUILD A FENCE around our patio area. Twenty-five feet out from the house and four to six feet perpendicular to that. A nice L-shaped privacy fence. We went to the lumber store, priced it, and this project will be less than $400. And I'm hoping it will give me my sanity back.

Two years ago Bob threw out my outdoor swing. I had used it so much, and it had so much sun rot, that it was not functional. Every night after supper I enjoyed sitting on my swing, watching Thomas play, and then watching the sunset. It was my soul nurturing time. The swing went the same summer yaps moved in. I haven't been able to enjoy my back yard since. So I think this $400 fence is going to restore me beyond belief. I miss my quiet time outdoors.

And now I'll have some actual motivation to get my yard in better shape and my garden going very well. Yeah.

Life is good.

The weather here was gorgeous. Spring sometimes has the air that when it hits you, you just feel good. It can lift a mood quicker than anything I've ever experienced. We were bouncing and happy all weekend.

I made a big, long list of things that needed done around the house and attached it to the fridge. I worked fast and furious -- got the master closet cleaned out, lots of putzy stuff done, fixed my blinds that were broken, washed windows inside and out -- I worked my tail off this weekend. Well, it must have been contagious because Bob dug in, too. He fixed some things that had been driving me wonky since he broke them -- one and two years ago. My bathroom outlet is now not hanging three inches out of the wall and is where it is supposed to be. For that, Bob, I am very grateful.

I have lots to do on my list, but I'm feeling very energized. And I've decided to try to shift my perceptions about my neighbors -- because I do have a lot of anger. I'm just having a little difficulty finding the solution in how I need to shift. The dog people are just annoying and I really don't have anger, I just wish they'd train their dog. It's the man across the street that assaulted me that I'm having difficulties shifting my perceptions. He admitted to me during the assault/confrontation that he watched us all the time. That is just icky. So if someone has any ideas on how I can refocus, please share. I'm sure Mother Crone doesn't want to read another neighbor rant. ;-)


Carrie said...

I hope that fence is at least 7' tall... a 4' fence is easily seen over just by standing and a 6' fence can usually be seen over if you're inside of your house looking into your neighbor's yard. (Or the same for them looking into yours.) It's always higher up in the house for some reason. Or maybe it's just that it's further away. Hrmm. I should make that a math lesson. :)

Don't suppose you'd want to move to Virginia? There's a house down the street for sale and we've got lots of genuinely nice older folks here. Plus the family right on the corner homeschools their teenage son.

The only thing I can think of is to totally disarm your neighbors. Like, be proactive in some way.

Maybe, instead of letting them make you cloister yourself into your house, you guys can go out and be obviously enjoying yourself and be normal. If you see them peeking at you, give them a big obvious wave and yell "Hi!"
They probably won't be ashamed and eventually quit doing it, but it's worth a try.

Oh, if the neighbor really is that picky, you might want to check the city records and look really closely at your property line before putting up the fence. If it's just 2 inches over more than it should be, there's no doubt they'll report you. Ugh, busybodies. Grr.

Frankie said...

Bob is proposing a 6-foot fence. I checked the city ordinances online and it says we can go up to 8. We both thought that would be too high.

Their house goes back about five further than ours, except they have a side window that looks out directly over our patio. So I asked Bob if we could hang a beautiful plant to block their view. And I think that's what we'll do.

The fence will be about 8 feet from the property line. We're just going to surround our patio area. I'm going to call the city and make sure all our T's are crossed and I's dotted before we start.

I've often thought the answer to the neighbors is to just ignore them -- but for some reason I have a hard time letting go and doing that. That was a very traumatic experience for me -- Bob was in Africa, and the guy was shoveling stuff from the gutter into my yard and I caught him doing it. (Thomas had been playing in the gutter and it ticked him off.) He stopped because his daughter and her family drove up. I will never forget their expressions -- their jaws were dropped. This guy has yelled at all the neighborhood children since we've moved in. My kitchen faces his house so I can't help but see him out and about when I'm cooking and doing dishes. My next house will have the kitchen in the back!

I'd love to move to VA -- or to the country here, but Bob says no. So I have to shift my attitude instead.

Kamrin said...

Sorry Carrie, but we have a house for sale here near us in Arkansas that would be perfect for her! With neighbors like that, who needs enemies?!?