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Archive for the ‘neighbors’ Category

I love solar lights.  I love how they come on automatically at night and give a warm welcoming glow.  That’s why I have two of them on each side of the sidewalk leading to my front porch.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was a couple of birthdays ago when my close friend, Francie, gave me three little “mushroom lights” to add to my little rock elfin village, which is nestled among my shrubs.  It was such a thoughtful gift and I loved them.

Every morning when I go out to get my morning newspaper, I glance back at the house and see, not only my solar lights, but also the little mushroom lights and it gives me a happy glow.

Until Wednesday morning…  After I picked up the paper and turned back to the house, I immediately noticed that there were no little “glows” in the shrubbery.  I thought that maybe some animal had somehow dislodged the battery in the solar collector panel, which is a part of the string of lights.  As I bent down to check, I found only a hole where it had been staked!  A sick feeling swept through me as I walked around the landscape bed, only to discover that all three mushroom lights were gone, as well! The whole set of lights and the solar panel had been stolen…

Back at the dining room table, I took a sip of coffee and thought about it.  Someone had come in the middle of the night, right up to my front door, and slowly and methodically removed every one of the lights.  This was under my open second-story bedroom windows.  This was on the main street into my neighborhood.  They left the big solar lights by the sidewalk and took the smaller, novelty lights.  A man?  A woman?  A kid?  Who?  And why?  I haven’t done anything to antagonize anyone.  It gave me the creeps.

Putting on my detective hat, it occurred to me that maybe it was someone who lived nearby.  After all, the sight of someone with an armful of glowing mushrooms walking down the street would be bound to attract attention.  I live in sight of hundreds of windows.  But, if they lived close, say two doors down, then all they’d have to do is grab the lights and run in their front door.

I know I’m making it sound as if I have a suspect…and maybe I do.  Trashy Girl’s live-in boyfriend, let’s call him “Clunk,” because it fits, said something this past winter that I haven’t been able to shake.  It was when someone abandoned a truck, blocking our driveway completely from the street.  Eventually, UPS’s son, my neighbor Marcia, Clunk and I were all standing around the truck bemoaning the ignorance of some people.  And Clunk piped up and said, “Yeah, like that girl who parked on the driveway when it was so icy.  That really pissed me off because I almost slid into her twice.  So, you know what I did?”  We all looked at him and he replied, “One night I took an egg out and broke it on her windshield.  After that froze,  she never parked there again!”  And he let out a big hee-haw laugh.  The rest of us just stood there in shocked silence.  Shocked at what he had done, and more shocked that he was bragging about it.

I don’t know why he would do something like this to me, but then, does someone like that need a reason?  This is the same guy who blows his nose by closing one nostril and blowing out the other into the wind. The other day he came to my door asking if I had seen their cat which had run away.  I told him no.  But maybe he thinks I catnaped it or something.  I don’t know.

Then again, maybe it was just some stranger who wanted those lights and it wasn’t personal at all.

But it sure feels personal.

And they took more than my lights.  They also took away my feeling of security.

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Several friends have asked me how my new neighbor is working out.  Well, considering how annoying, rude and obnoxious the last neighbors were, this guy is a prince!  I never hear him and rarely see him.  Part of that, I attribute to his hours.  I mentioned that he works for Fed Ex.  What I forgot to mention is that he leaves for work at about 2:30 A.M.!!! Then he seems to get home sometime between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m.  So, in some ways, it feels like I have no neighbor over there at all, which is not a bad thing.

But there remains a mystery.  When I met this man, he told me he and his 23 year old son had moved in.  The son allegedly attends college and works part-time.  All the rest of the time he plays video games in the basement, according to his dad.

Okay.  But, it’s been over a month now and I’ve seen no evidence at all of a son. No son going out to the mailbox.  No son pulling in or out of the garage (which is right next to mine.)  No son walking up to the clubhouse or stepping outside for a breath of fresh air.  In short…no son at all.

Now, maybe he’s just elusive.  Or, he could just be very, very short and thin and almost transparent. Then there’s always the vampire thing…with him not coming out in the daylight.  Or maybe the son possesses a Cloak of Invisibility like Harry Potter’s and has been coming and going like crazy. Those things work, you know!

Or maybe, just maybe…there is no son.

Think about it.  Could it be that nice Mr. Fed Ex man has a split personality?split personality Maybe he comes home at 2:00, looking like a friendly cub scout leader in his little Fed Ex shorts and then, the minute he’s in the house, his other personality takes over!!! Maybe then he changes into jeans and a black Metallica t-shirt, goes down to the basement and loses himself in some wizardy video game, believing he is a 23 year old!  At some point he falls asleep and then, when the alarm rings at 2:00 a.m., he wakes up, Mr. Smiley Face again, having no idea that his “23 year old son” is, in reality, himself!!!   Oh, come on!  It could happen!  You people have no imagination!

movie psychoBut, if you don’t buy into that theory, which I do think is an excellent one, that only leaves me with my other idea – The  Psycho theory.  Yes, he lives there with his 23 year old son, or rather, the dessicated corpse of his son which he has kept with him for 23 years. And, even as I’m writing his, that son-corpse is sitting propped up in a chair in the guest room of the house next door!   M-WAAAAAAH!!!!

Okay, I didn’t want to go there, but you guys made me! So, what do YOU think is going on ?

Star Signature

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stick guyRemember the older man I saw moving in next door who always seemed angry?  Well, I finally met him in person.  Before I tell you about him, let me map out the situation first.  In our four attached townhouses, this is the neighbor next to me whose front door faces mine across two porches.  So, due to that proximity, I’m always anxious as to who will be living there.

Okay, so like I said, I met him last week when I was returning from the mailbox and we stood and talked for about twenty minutes.  So, here’s what he’s not:

1) He’s not a retired Mafia Don.  (And I was SO SURE!)
2) He’s not crabby all the time.  He didn’t once crab when I was talking to him.
3) He’s not alone.  Apparently his 23-year-old (invisible?) son lives with him.
4) He’s not McDreamy, McSteamy, the Mentalist or Sawyer from “Lost.”  (A woman can dream, can’t she?)

What he is is:

1) A father.
2) A Fed-Ex employee.  (This could come in handy if I need directions to somewhere!)
3) A former apartment dweller. (For 13 years.)
4) Divorced.
5) A seemingly nice man.

So, that’s all I know for now.  Sure, it could have been better, but it could have been a whole lot worse, too. (Remember the last Evil Neighbors and their big pooping, yucca-killing dog?)

All in all, I’d say I’m hopeful.  So, I guess I’ll let him stay…for now.

But, mind you, he’s on probation!

Star Signature

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Patience Pays Off

Well!  I just had a nice surprise.  Remember the “bad neighbors” I’ve written countless posts about?  They are the ones who were snotty from the git-go.  They are the ones who always put their trash in front of my house rather than their own, and, when the bags got torn open, left their garbage in my yard.  They are the ones who took their dog out in back of my townhouse to “do his business,” and never ever picked it up.  They are the ones who never gave that dog any exercise and, in fact, grew impatient and hit him with his leash if he took more than three minutes to poop.  They are the ones who let that same dog pee on my prized yucca plants until they almost (and still may) died.  And when I put up some fencing to prevent that, they are the ones who waited until the dead of night and pulled up my fence without my permission.  And, even when I tried to make peace with them, they still maintained their “we’re better than anyone else” attitude.  Remember them?

WELL, THEY’RE GONE! I still have to pinch myself to believe it!

I had written earlier that only six months after they moved in, they put the place back on the market, but they’ve had very few lookers, and I had resigned myself to the fact that they’d be around quite a bit longer.

Then I met the people on the other side of them and got the scoop.  Apparently, the mother had met a man and went to Las Vegas and married him and planned to move to Arizona.  (Her divorce hadn’t even cooled off yet!) I have no idea if she’s taking her kids with her or is going to hand them off to her ex-husband.  When I asked this other neighbor if she was friends with her, she started laughing and said, “Oh no!  The moment she found out I was living here in sin with my boyfriend and my kids, she thought I was the spawn of Satan!”  At any rate, that’s where things stood…

UNTIL TODAY…

I just saw the other neighbor outside and she told me they’re gone – lock, stock and barrel!  They left their furniture at the house so it would show better, but she said they are GONE.  The bad neighbor mentioned to her that she was leaving for Arizona and her kids were going to spend the summer with their dad in Colorado.  They only told her because they wanted her to know that she had a friend and a real estate woman who would be coming by to check the place.

I know it seems like I’m making a big deal over nothing, but it’s not nothing to me.  It’s amazing how unfriendliness can taint your everyday life, but it can.  It’s the little things, like waving at someone at the mailbox and not having them wave back.  I’m not the kind of person who needs to be “best buds” with my neighbors, but it costs nothing to be civil and considerate.  And they certainly never were.

I know.  I know.  You’re probably saying, “Star, how do you know someone worse won’t move in?” And you’d be right.  I have no way of knowing.  But you know what they say – “Live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.”

And, you know how I feel today?

joy

Yes I do!

Star Signature

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nebulaYou know, it must be very tiring to be God.  I mean, here He is, keeping the universe in balance every single day, whipping up beautiful sky formations, clouds, stars, sunrises, sunsets, saving people from themselves, healing, inspiring and just generally being God.  And all the while, he watches over his creations, sometimes with despair, sometimes with joy.  I figure every once in awhile He feels He owes it to Himself to have a little fun.  It’s never anything horrible, just running someone through the paces and having a little chuckle.  Here’s what I mean.

Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with the story of the Bad Neighbors.  For those who are new here, here is a capsulized version:

Once there was a very kind and gentle princess person named Star.  She had the best neighbor in the world who had to move.  Star was sad.  When Star saw her new neighbors, she was much sadder.  It was a family consisting of a mother, a teenage son, a teenage daughter, a little girl and a dog as big as a horse.  Now, normally, Star would have been open and friendly and happy to meet new people.  But these people were loud and rude and inconsiderate from the git-go.  First, there was an army of workmen in and out of the house at all hours, hammering, sawing and slamming doors.  Then there was the family, themselves, moving stuff in after dark many nights and yelling at each other as if they were on a construction job.

Once they were settled, things only got worse.  They would put their trash out the night before trash day in front of Star’s house rather than their own, then, when the bags would be torn open by cats and other critters, it was up to Star to pick up their yucky garbage, which was now in her yard.  They also got into the habit of taking the horse-dog out in back of Star’s house to dump loads of horse-dog excrement.  But, the worst of all was, they let the aforementioned horse-dog pee on Star’s prized yucca plants When Star tried to put up fencing to protect the plants, they waited until the middle of the night and pulled all of her fencing out of the ground!  It was bad.  Bad indeed.

Through all of this, Star’s life seemed a little less shiny.  More and  more stress started coloring her existence.  Though she tried to mind her own business, they kept “spilling” over into her life with their rudeness and yelling at each other.  After the fencing incident, Star decided to confront the woman next door, once and for all.  She was very brave.  She presented her case and explained her problems and, wonder of wonders, she got through to the neighbor who apologized.  Things got a little better after that.  No more trash out front, at least.  But, by this time, the yuccas had to be removed and put on life-support on Star’s balcony because yuccas don’t take well to horse-dog pee.  But all in all, Star felt that, although it had been difficult, she had met the challenge with strength and dignity.

Fast forward to this Wednesday.  I was coming back from the mailbox, when, you’ll never guess what I saw in their window...a “FOR-SALE” SIGN! They’re moving after only six months! I went through all this stress, aggravation and finally resolution for people who are leaving after only six months?  If I’d known that, I could have just begun a countdown the minute they moved in!

And now I just bet God is shaking all over with mirth as He gazes down from heaven, while he says, “Gotcha!”

P.S.  But, yes, I am glad.

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My post yesterday described my quandary as to how to deal with the latest “neighbor attack.”  If you didn’t read that, you might want to go here and read that before you go on…

After writing that post, I still felt that kind of anger like bumblebees buzzing in your stomach and resolved that I definitely needed to confront this woman, once and for all.  Before I did, I called the other neighbor, who is a real estate agent, to ask her about the driveway dividers and who specifically owned them.  She was of the opinion that we just owned our town homes and the land they stand on, but wasn’t sure.  She said she landscaped her divider only because it was ugly, and she knew the homeowners association didn’t do things like that.  But she didn’t think we “owned” them individually.  Well! For me, that put a different light on things, NOT that it excused the neighbor from pulling out my property, but because I really was under the impression that the divider was mine.

When I saw that the neighbors were home, I screwed up all my courage and marched over and rang their bell.  Let me tell you, this was a lot harder than it sounds.  I HATE conflict!  While I was waiting for someone to answer, I thought, “Should I display just how angry I am or should I try logic and reasonableness first?”  Then I remembered my daddy always telling me, “You can catch more flies with sugar than vinegar.”

She answered the door.  I looked her straight in the eye and asked, “Can you come out on the step for a minute?  I think we need to talk.”  She looked a wee bit nervous, but smiled and said, “Sure.”  I won’t go into my whole speech, but here are the highlights:  I started by saying, “I think you and I have gotten off on the wrong foot, and it’s only going to get worse.  Life is short and we live so close to each other that I wondered if you’d be interested in discussing some of our problems.”

She indicated that she agreed and said, “Absolutely!”  I asked, “Why didn’t you just come over and talk to me before pulling out all my landscaping stuff in back?”  She looked embarrassed and said, “Well, it was late… and uh, uh…  To tell you the truth, I felt bad about it all day yesterday.”

First off, I explained the money I had spent and the care I had given to improve the divider.  She was shocked because she thought that it had been done by the builders.  She understood about the plants, and said that she and her son would make a point of not walking the dog through there.  She said she would have felt the same way.

While I was on a roll, I got into the trash problem, and how her torn- open bags scattered garbage all over my yard.  Her eyes got big and she said, “Mine has been torn open?”  I responded, “Three times.”  I told her I had to pick it up and had the feeling they just didn’t care.  She was mortified, apologized, and said it wouldn’t happen again.  I reassured her that I wasn’t some nit picky old crank who jumps on someone every chance she gets.  I said that  it was just these two things that really bothered me.  She said, “You and I are more alike than you know.  I think if our positions were reversed, I would be extremely angry with you!”

Now I’m not going to say we linked arms and started singing “Kumbaya,” or anything, but we did sit there on the step and talk for an hour – about landscaping, her family, and the neighborhood.  She almost seemed (dare I say it?)nice. We both admitted that we failed to communicate with each other and let this animosity snowball.  She even said, “Thank you for being the bigger person here.”  (Me!  The bigger person!  Woo hoo!) I almost feel this whole thing turned out too good to be true, but, if she was acting, she fooled me.  Until it proves otherwise, I’m going to have faith that our relationship will improve from here.  Whew!

I guess Daddy was right…as usual!

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That title sums up the question that’s been plaguing me the past two days.  Up to now, my evil neighbors have just demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the people living around them – doing very annoying things like putting their trash in front of my house and just leaving the garbage when their bag gets torn open by animals, and stomping on my yucca plants in the driveway divider.  But now they’ve gone too far!  And I’m not at all sure what to do about it.

I wrote a post earlier about how I had staked out my yucca plants with string, hoping to communicate the idea that they weren’t there to be stepped on.  Well, Thursday I decided to try a more presentable solution.  I went to Lowe’s and bought three very nice black wrought iron fence posts, each with a ball on the top.  Then I bought a length of black chain to string from post to post.  I spent two hours hammering everything into the ground and getting it just right.  That night, before I went to bed, I went out on the balcony to see how it looked and was satisfied.  Friday morning, first thing, I went out to look again, and everything was GONE!  I rushed downstairs, through the basement and then garage, only to discover that –  they had pulled every bit of it out of the ground and left it in a stack! There was a note attached saying, “Please don’t put this on my side.”  To say I was outraged would be an understatement!  I was so mad my hands were shaking!  I got dressed and decided to have my breakfast, all the time watching for the moment she would take her dog out, at which time I would go down and talk to her.  Guess what?  She never took the dog out that day.

I told my friend, Iris, the one who sold them her house, and she told me that she didn’t believe that talking to this woman would help.  She’s an aggressive bully who thinks she is always right.  She’s the type of woman who revels in drawing blood. She’s all cutesy on the surface and then manipulates people to get her own way. Iris suggested that I call the Homes Association and see if they would deal with it.  So, that’s what I did.  The property manager’s assistant completely understood.  She said she could send them a letter about the trash, and would check with her boss about the driveway dividers.  When I got off the phone with her, I felt that at least it was something, but I didn’t really feel satisfied.  I mean, what do you do about people who wait until the dark of night and then go out and pull up your property?  It’s outrageous!   I really don’t want to go knock at her door, because there are six people over there and only one of me.  So, I continue to watch the back, thinking that if I see her out there alone with the dog, I’ll go out and tell her I need to talk to her.  I don’t really want to, because I fear that once I get started, I might turn into the Incredible Hulk or something and wring her scrawny neck!  But this thing has gotten under my skin.  The NERVE of some people!

All I want is to live and let live and be able to enjoy my home.  But these people are making that impossible.  So, dear Internet, I turn to you.  How would you deal with people who go out of their way to do bad things to you?  With a normal person, I could point out to her that we have to be neighbors, so why don’t we just respect each other?  But I fear that’s not what she’s looking for.  She wants to steamroller me.  From the way she dealt with Iris, she has no conscience and no heart.  I dread a hostile confrontation.  I really do.  That’s not who I am.  On the other hand, if the Homes Association does nothing, then she’ll think she got away with it.  Believe it or not, I woke up at 3:45 Saturday morning with my stomach churning, just thinking about this.  That’s not how I want to live my life.  If you have any ideas, opinions, or possible solutions, please leave a comment! What would you do?   I really need all the help I can get!

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