Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor.

I have to continually remind myself of this.

She makes it VERY hard to do.

We have a neighbor with whom we share backyards, she is old, and I think she is crazy. Not that being old makes you crazy, but maybe in her case it does. Or she has always been crazy. I don't care. We are dealing with the brunt of her crazy right now.

I don't even remember if I have posted anything about this, but our first time meeting her, she pulls out the "Hi, I'm Betty. This fence is falling down and I'd like for you to pay half."

I understand that sharing the cost of a mutual fence is usually common. But really? The first time you meet someone you throw that out? Then she ends her request for our money with "I'm elderly so I'm on a fixed income. *poor me face*"

I sure wish I lived in my home long enough that it's probably paid for, have a renter downstairs, and had a fixed income. That would be pretty dang nice. Right now, we are a new family, with little kids, brand new OLD house that needs and unbelievable amount of money put into it, and numerous visits to the hospital. AND I don't work. I stay at home with the kids and heaven forbid Matt lost his job and couldn't find a new one. I'd go to work making 1/4 of what he's making.

So it got to where I hated going into my backyard. It was like she was looking out the window all day waiting for me to go out there and then would come running out complaining about one thing or another.

"The vines on the wires need to come down."
"The trees need to be trimmed. They are too close to the power lines."
"The fence is falling over, we really need to get together and talk about your part of paying for it."
"That tree really needs to be cut down. It's too talk and could fall over onto my house."
and on and on and on.

One day not too long ago, I looked into my backyard and there was some strange guy there. Matt went outside and they were tearing the fence out.

Fine. Tear the blasted thing out. But #1- common courtesy states you let us know that you are doing that or in the least that someone is going to be hanging out in our backyard. #2- Make sure you have a plan in place to keep our chickens and ducks and kids out of your yard. That shouldn't be our responsibility if everything is fine the way it is. Anyway, whatever. She then had the gall to ignore Matt for 20 minutes while they were tearing the thing down, pretended like she just saw him, and then asked if he got the message that she was getting rid of the fence.

Previously, Matt has told her time and time again, that if she wants to pay for supplies, he'll build the fence, but that we just don't have the money nor the desire to split a professional to come in and do it. She keeps telling him that she doesn't understand what he means by "she buy the supplies and he'll put it up".

For real, lady?

Then, he explained that she could do whatever she wanted with the fence, but it was the retaining wall that was the reason the fence was falling down and it would be stupid and pointless to tear the fence down and put up a new one if the retaining wall was failing.

She couldn't understand the reasoning behind the fact that the retaining wall was her responsibility. It's her dirt. It's her wall. It's her wall keeping her dirt out of our yard since we are downhill.

Imagine her surprise when she went to multiple attorneys to find out the actual law on this.

So, THEN she tried to get us to pay for half the retaining wall and the fence...

O.o  <-------That's my blank stare.

So the fence is torn down, and her son and family show up. Which was fine, but they acted like we were the most awful people. Their surprise when we were nice to them when their football was thrown into our yard and that I gave their dog a treat just killed me. WTF did she tell them about us?

Her son's dog is a hunting dog and had been in the car since Washington. It was running, barking, and going crazy. I don't care. I love dogs. But she was up yelling out her window to "Shut that dog up!" "Stop that dog from barking!"

It was noon.

Again... Really?

So, we had some friends over. We get loud. We have a fire. We drink. It isn't anything that doesn't happen almost every weekend once the weather gets tolerable. And of course, there is gasoline to keep the fire going and of course you can't keep the boys from playing with the gas.

We sat and watched them watching us and then they turned the lights off once they realized we were watching them back. We then saw lights that seemed to be camera flashes... I don't know, nor do I care, but it was weird.

We've spent about a month ignoring each other and it's been nice. I mow the lawn, she comes out to garden, I turn the mower off, she goes inside. That's the dance we dance these days.

Until today.

Not only was it early, but I was in my pajamas (ie: no bra) and hadn't had my coffee yet. I am NOT in my best form early in the morning.

She caught me and came rushing forward to ask me to talk to Matt about the "bonfires".

Apparently she doesn't realize that if someone has VERY frazzled hair, jammie top with no bra, boxers underneath, babies in diapers and ridiculous bedhead,  MAYBE that isn't the best time to talk. I just like to make sure the ducks and chickens have food and water and then go back inside to get prepared for actual outside time. Sometimes Linus likes to play out there  a little longer... grrrr.

I saw her out there and tried to sneak into our backroom and hiss to Linus to come inside. He  promptly yelled out "NOoooooooooo!" Sigh, so outside I went to get him and she caught me.

Her: Could you talk to Matt about the bonfires?
Me: .......bonfires?
Her: My grand daughter was here a couple of weeks ago and she almost called 9-1-1 she was so terrified. Luckily she came and woke me up.
Me: ............Um.............Ok? (We were able to see all of them watching us out the window. She was there as well. And the kids seemed to be enjoying it. It's in a fire pit with a chimney...)
Her: And it's killing my lilac bush, see? And I've noticed you haven't had any fires since Linus's accident. How's he doing?
Me: He's fine, this isn't where he was burned, he understands fire safety, it was just a camping accident. I will talk to Matt about the gasoline, but really, we have fires almost every weekend. There isn't much that we'll do about that.
Her: (scoffing) Well, if that fence was there, it would have burned to the ground! Those flames were 20 feet high!
Me: ........O.0 (blinkblink)........This door was here at the time... it's not even browned. (It was an old door from our garage that was sitting behind the fire pit at the time. Besides, our tree up there would be dead if that was true. But I'll talk to him.......

I can only shake my head. I understand that there are 3 sides to every story. Hers, ours, and the actual story.

Everyone has that neighbor. She is ours and a few others' on the block. And we are hers.

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