Monday, August 07, 2006

Inch Given Mile Taken, But It Stops Here

When we first bought this house, our only immediate neighbour had a great big pile of dirt in their back yard. A pile of dirt that had been dug up to pour the basement for their house, so when I say “great big pile of dirt” I mean a great big pile.

But I’m not really being accurate when I say it was in their back yard. They had it partially dumped on our yard.

We said nothing. It was about… five months before they removed the pile. She and He had split, so She was trying to sell the place for an outrageous pile of money and her father was slaving away to finish things off on a property that then had no landscaping, because She and He had originally bought the lot from the person who sold us our property.

Yes, the woman we bought from had once had a massive property, five lots wide. Our property is 100 x 130 feet. We have a corner lot that backs on to a lane, hence, only one immediate neighbour.

And the one immediate neighbour is enough of a fucking nightmare to make up for ten.

Okay, I’ve grumbled about them before. I remember writing about how they stole our coffee table. Our doggie-diarrhea-infested coffee table. Like I care if they want to put their barbecue down on that and wonder what’s with all the flies, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s theft.

And, again, I said nothing.

Their kids play in our yard. They leave garbage and toys and when I mow the lawn I have to pick it all up.

And I say nothing.

They play their music so loud sometimes I have to close my office window to concentrate, because they have shit taste in music too.

Oh, and they let their cat run loose. We find it in our shed, in the dog pen, it runs around just out of reach of our dogs, so yeah, guess what? Our dogs bark. There’s a bi-law here about cats running loose. $500 fine for letting your animal run off your property. In the 2.5 years we’ve lived here, I could have phoned them in almost every single day.

But I haven’t.

But that’s about to change.

Last night, it was after 11 pm when someone was banging with a hammer. And then dropping something metal that clinked. Then banging, then dropping.

And you could hear the fire in our bedroom, it was so big.

Kevin said it was the people doing construction a few houses over. And the people across the street with the fire.

Earlier, when he’d been out, it was. But not after 11. It was our immediate neighbours. The fire wasn’t regulation. Shooting embers. Pretty damn fucking close to our trees – we have some beautiful trees that blossom in the spring. I don’t know what they are – to me, they’re just pretty. Sort of sums up my gardening expertise right there…

I finally said something.

And my neighbour didn’t like it.

They kept it up until well past 2 am. It was only because of Kevin that I didn’t report them. Kevin and I are funny that way – we always play opposite to each other. If I don’t care about something, he will. On a different day, it will be me in a rage and him indifferent.

It wasn’t that he was indifferent, either. It’s more what are you supposed to do when the neighbour is drinking, had a huge fire, tools out and is swearing their head off at you?

See, I perhaps not so politely, told them to play with their toys in the morning.

Which launched them into a tirade about my “fucking dogs”.

Oh, that would be my dogs, that bark at your cat when it’s on my property, and bark at your kids when they’re on my property… Well, and I should say, “dog”. Nootka has only once, ever in his 19 months of life barked at someone. He’s a discerning dog, not a barker. But he is a howler. Nootka sings beautifully if I’m late with a meal, but that happens in the basement.

Koona, on the other hand, doesn’t face their property when she’s outside. Therefore, she doesn’t bark at them much – just Chinook.

Who, by the way, would kill a cat. Because before we adopted him, he’d been improperly confined and killed rabbits. It is a husky instinct to supplement their diet with kill. We don’t trust him with our cats, and if he actually caught their cat in our pen, the cat would be dead. We know this. It isn’t rocket science either. The fact the neighbour’s cat isn’t dead already is a bit surprising, because fox and coyotes run through the yard, as well as skunks, loose dogs…

There is only one good thing about this. I’m absolutely itching to start on my Wednesday post for this week, which is already turning out to be very interesting, based on my research for it.

So I needed something I felt like venting about.

But what I really need is a solution. We need to put up a fence, but that becomes a huge headache when you’ve got nutters to deal with. Hence, being here 2.5 years and not having it done.

We really need to deal with it.

Funny, Kevin pulled a title from a self-help book (of sorts) yesterday. “How to stop a runaway horse.” His answer? “Shoot it.” (Yeah, we’re both a bit warped in the humour department.)

I feel fairly confident shooting my neighbours isn’t an option. But they’ve officially reached out and touched my inner bitch.

Thankfully, JT Ellison has been sending me funnies.

*The LAPD, the FBI, & the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at apprehending criminals. The President decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it.

The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that rabbits do not exist.

The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit and they make no apologies. The rabbit had it coming.

The LAPD goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: "Okay, okay, I'm a rabbit, I'm a rabbit."

A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded: "Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome. So, how are yo u getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser. "That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome's Tiber River called Teste."

"Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody think s it's gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city! The rooms are small, the service is surly, and they're overpriced. So, whatcha' doing when you get there?"

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser. "You and a million other people trying to see him. He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.

"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I k now you didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained tha t the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand; I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."

"Oh really! What'd he say?"

He said: "Where'd you get that shitty hairdo

Oh, yeah, and a contest question for day #5…

Well, let’s do a little recap.

Day 1. What name would I have given a son if I’d had one? Answer on last week’s Killer Year blog post (Wednesday).

Bonus: tell me what you thought the stupidest thing I criticized about The Book I Didn’t Like was (my Thursday post)

Day 2. Name three of my kittens.

Bonus: Name all four.

Day 3. Name three books by Ian Rankin

Bonus: The title of his forthcoming release this October in the UK.

Day 4: What is the name of my debut novel? I’m thinking about switching it, because The Happy Hooker Goes to Canada had such a nice ring to it…

So… Day #5.

I know. Send me a joke. Because I need some smiles today so that I won’t be Perma-Grumpy Bear.

OR: post a suggestion for what I can do to my neighbours to get even. You can do both and I'll put your name in twice.


Steve Allan said...

I vote for The Happy Hooker Goes to Canada. Whoever came up with that title is a genius.

Bill, the Wildcat said...

Had my share of lousy neighbors, too. I'm amazed you haven't turned them in for the cat. Kinder than I'd be.

"Getting the Job Done" was great! And I would believe it, too. Reminds me of a forward about the FBI a friend of mine sent me a few months ago. I'll send it to you. Pretty sure you'll like that one, too.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Indeed Steve, the person who came up with that is a genius. :)

Bill, the problem is, once you go to war, you go to war, you know what I'm saying? I got your joke. Brilliant.

And Kevin has just informed me that they stole all the wood we had stacked beside our garage. I'm biting my tongue...

Confessions of a Starving Mystery Writer said...

Ah neighbors, I had one whose septic tank that constantly overflowed cascading poo water down my enbankment into my backyard...

The FBI joke was good but usually the ATF are lurking close behind with matches, tear gas and gasoline.

angie said...

Crappy neighbors suck. But if you keep sucking it up, then I doubt it's going to get better any time soon. I'm just waiting for the day you write in and say they stole something big like your computer, your car, your dogs, your refrigerator...

And since when did the happy hooker leave Canada? :o)


Sandra Ruttan said...

Angie, I don't know. Talk to Steve. But about the neighbours, you're right...

RJ, are you back??? Hell, man, it's like feast or famine with you! I thought you'd be sucked into a black hole - not even Erik was divulging anything!

Unknown said...

Bad neighbors suck. I'd say build a large fence...a very large gotta do it crazy though they may be. It will probably be a pain in the butt getting it done but once it's done it will keep them off your property hopefully.

"Good fences make good neighbors."

If they build anymore non regulation fires I say report them...don't need them burning down your house.

Maybe you could set up a video camera to record them in your yard, stealing your stuff and all the other stuff they are doing. Catch them in the act of theft and then report them.

And if that fails your dogs poop don't they? For every piece of garbage or toy in your yard toss dog poop into their yard. :*)

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Sandra Ruttan said...

LOL Andrea! Yes, our dogs poop! What a clever idea.

Thing is, Kevin's on the fire department, but it's tricky when you're 'personally involved' in the situation. He was well within his rights to go order them to douse the fire. But when they've been drinking, have tools out and are hostile? Not exactly an ideal scenario...

Bill Cameron said...

I seem to be a sleepy grumpy bear myself today (okay, okay, I'm a rabbit), so I'm not sure I can send you a funny. Atleast my neighbors keep their weird, noisy acitivities to day light hours -- I don't have to contend with midnight drunken bonfires.

WannabeMe said...

Well, you can pull an Osbourne and toss raw steak into their yard. Might drive their cat nuts and attract lots of maggots. =)

anne frasier said...

i could write an entire book on my neighbors. they bought the place 3 years ago and have been building and rebuilding ever since. killed all my shrubs and grass, plaster on my windows, my house shakes and i have to wear earplugs to write. they've redone almost everything 3 times. brickwork, sidewalks, basement, garage. the new part is so big my whole house is now in shadow. they ran gutters under their sidewalk, then out to shoot directly at my basement and foundation. i talked nice to them about that. when they refused to do anything about it, i ended up having to report the code violation. things haven't been pleasant since then. they built almost on the property line, and our houses are so close we could sit on the toilet and hold hands. which we often do. i highly recommend it. i've never had bad neighbors before, and it really, really sucks. i feel for you!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Bill, since this is Alberta, I'll just be glad there were no guns involved.

At least, not that I know of.

Dana, I like it. The ideas file grows!

Anne, my word, that would drive me mad! Aren't there any bi-laws to stop people from overbuilding? Can't you sue them for lowering your property value and infringing on your quality of life? I think I'd consider that if I were you! I can at least be glad that there is about 40 feet to walk between the edge of my house and the start of their property, which makes their noise all that much more appalling, because the bit between us and them is the section of our property that has the most trees.


Bill Cameron said...

Here's something I heard about that might work, at least for a satisfying sense of revenge if nothing else. Of course, I have no idea if it ACTUALLY works, having never done such a thing in my life. Nor would I encourage anyone to do this. I'm just saying.

Get a bottle of brake fluid. Use it to write a message on the hood of their car. It won't be obvious at first, but if it has the chance to bake in under a hot sun, I have heard a rumor that a chemical change will occur in the paint such that every time they wash the car or a good rain falls, the words you wrote will become MORE VISIBLE. Washing the dried fluid off doesn't matter. Once it's "cured", the paint doomed.

Not that I know. Myself. Personally. Certainly not because I may have done it on some asshole's Porshe after he took my assigned parking space for like the five hundredth day in a row! Nothing like that. In fact, I'm sure I just made this whole thing up just now.

Sandra Ruttan said...

BILL! You did this to someone's porsche?! Ah, you and I really are siblings, separated at birth!

anne frasier said...

sandra, right now the noise and construction seems to be over. but i've thought that about 20 times before. and i had planned to move this summer -- but that's another thing altogether. if this were permanent, i would definitely be putting up a huge fence.

is your neighbor still trying to sell the place? maybe they will drop the price, it will eventually sell, and she will move? give her a copy of crimespree opened to your story. hmm. now that i think about it....

DesLily said...

you could always check yourself into the "funny farm".. I've heard they are quieter and many less "assholes" there then in your neighborhood.. heh.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I failed to mention (being a bit tired) that He and She got back together and the house isn't for sale. I think they actually plan on staying there.

Oh, but the Crimespree idea is a damn good one. Why didn't I think of that?!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Hmmm, you might have a good idea there, DesLily!

Kat Campbell said...

Sandra, you may not change the title of your book to anything that has the words "hooker" or "happy" in it.

Sandra Ruttan said...


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