Hatfields and McCoys

We are now officially at war with our neighbors.

We have the tremendous misfortune of living next door to some extremely bizarre and angry people who have been making our daily existence hell since practically the day we got here. They are loud, rude, always arguing with each other (at the top of their lungs) - in fairness, it's mostly the husband screaming and yelling - and in possession of one very annoying little brat child that screams and yells as often (and as loud) as her father. So far, it hasn't seemed to be the sort of yelling and screaming one calls the cops for (which is to say, I don't think anyone next door is being abused by anyone else), I just think they are a pair of extremely stressed out yuppies who only know how to converse in ear-shattering insults. I don't know how anyone can live like that, but they do. Mostly, you can't hear them because the one wall between the two units is very well insulated, but if you're in the garage or on the patio, where that isn't the case, you hear 'em clear as a bell (not to imply that I spend my time eavesdropping on them - they're just so damn loud you can't help but hear them).

Back in December, when my mom was in the hospital for the entire month, certain things around here fell by the wayside (because we were over at the hospital so often). If you had come into our house unannounced you would have found things like a small pile of dirty laundry sitting on the floor by the door that leads to the garage (where the washer and dryer are), and the dinner dishes from the night before left to soak in the kitchen sink until the next morning or afternoon because I was just too tired to do them the same night. Not major offences by any stretch (though my paternal grandmother must be spinning in her grave). And my dad - whose sole jobs around here (aside from doing all the driving) involve taking the trash from the garage to the dumpster, and picking up after the dogs, was also not on top of his chores. He might have gone 2 or 3 days before cleaning up the patio.

When my mom came home things went back to normal, but shortly after she came home, a letter arrived from the condo association saying that a complaint had been lodged about the state of our patio, and reminding us that the CC&R's state that the patio must be cleaned every day (which is what my dad normally did), and that we are only allowed one small pet (we have 3 dogs, and one cat - they apparently changed the CC&R's in the 8 years we weren't here and we were never notified - as if we care). Enclosed with the letter was a copy of a photo clearly taken with a cellphone camera from our next door neighbor's patio. We were shocked that their first thought was to report us to the association rather than actually saying something to us - but whatever, we were already back to keeping the patio spit spot by then.

Last month when my mom was once again in a bad way (in the ICU and possibly going to die), we were over at the hospital everyday, more than once a day, for long stretches at a time. So, for about a week and half my dad was again, a little more sporadic about cleaning the patio (we're talking maybe every other day). Plus, at that point he had a really bad cold.

About a week later, another letter came from the association mentioning the patio, and this time adding a barking complaint to the list. We'd already bought an anti-barking collar for our 2 year old (Scooter "The Dingo") that still sometimes barks simply because he can (mostly in the afternoon when kids are walking home from school and making noises outside). But the trouble with that was that we couldn't manage to set the shocker low enough so that he wouldn't squeal when it went off (he wasn't being hurt, he just squeals when he gets scared). So, basically, it defeated the purpose - he would bark, set off his collar, and then squeal, making more noise rather than less. BTW, the collar is off now since a) it didn't work, b) we always thought it was sort of mean, and c) we hate our neighbors.

A few days after we got the second letter (which was already after my dad was back to his usual routine anyway), our neighbor approached my dad while he was on the patio having a cigarette. And by approached, I mean - he came out of his door, shouted "Excuse me, sir!" and then began to say (abruptly, according to my dad) that he and his wife like to keep their windows open and we should "keep that in mind". As my dad went to say something in response (he was going to apologize for any inconvenience - despite the fact that we hate them). Our neighbor put his hand up (without letting my dad get a full word out), said, "That's fine.", turned, went back into his condo, slamming the door on his way (he always slams his door).

So, my dad has been cleaning the patio multiple times a day since then - basically, the moment something is done, it's picked up. And we have seen neither hide nor hair of our neighbor - though, of course, we've still heard the yelling on occasion. Until earlier tonight, that is. We were watching "The Riches" and it was windin down, my dad went out front to have a cigarette, and two of the three dogs went out with him to do a little something before night-night. They were out on the patio together, and I was watching the end of the show, when the dogs barked a few times. My dad opened the door and they came in, went and got a drink, and then laid down. A little while later my dad came in with a funny look on his face and asked, "Did you hear my friend?"

I told him, I heard the dogs bark a couple times. "No," he said, "our neighbor."

Then he related the story - it seems that the dogs went out, did what they needed to do, and were on their way back in, when someone went jogging by on the sidewalk just outside the gate. They barked, very briefly, he told them to knock it off, opened the door, and they came in. Then he heard our neighbor yelling and screaming, as usual, the door opened next door, and out came the lunatic, screaming, as loud as he could, that it was 11 at night, and the dogs were barking, and why couldn't we keep them quiet, and that he "couldn't [efffing] comprehend" why we would "[effing] do that" - as though it takes a lot of imagination to figure out why a dog barks at a jogger, and is if we'd purposefully told the dogs to bark.

My dad had decided that if psycho-boy ever talked to him again, he'd ignore him. Which is apparently what he did. Psycho-boy stood on his patio yelling about how late it was, and his lack of piece and quiet (which he never seemed to realize he was the only one contributing to at that point), and my dad stood there, smoking, and completely ignoring him. He got a little angrier, then stormed inside. But, not feeling pleased with himself, I guess, he came back out and yelled some more (just the same things over again). My dad ignored him again. Eventually, he left in a huff, saying "Thanks a lot, neighbor." in his most oscar-worthy sarcastic tone. As if psycho-boy knows anything about being a good neighbor!?!

Now, these are people who come and go, noisily, at all hours of the day and night, who cannot seem to communicate with one another without shouting so loud you can hear them down the block, whose child is always yelling, screaming, crying, or throwing a tantrum that can be heard in the next county (a child who cannot be more than 5 and is apparently allowed to stay up as late as she wants because I can hear her obnoxious little "No! I don't wanna take a bath!" sometimes as late as midnight. But they're gonna have a meltdown because two dogs, let out three barks, at a passing jogger, at an hour when everyone was obviously still awake enough to dart out the front door and start screaming, in two seconds flat? UGH!!!

Have I mentioned I hate them?

I hate them, I hate living next to them, they make my life miserable! I don't even want to duck out to get the mail unless I'm pretty sure they're not home - that's how much I do NOT want to run into them. They are heinous!

My mother finds it consoling that they paid way too much for their little "cracker box" (that's what she calls the condo), and that they probably owe as much as it's worth, and will be stuck here for years. I think she finds comfort in that because a) that's all the condo is to her, an investment she's soon to cash out of (though it can't be soon enough for me), and b) she doesn't live with these people (when you add up all the time she's spent in the hospital, she's been in there more than 3 of the 6 months we've been here - so what does she really know about how awful it is to live here next to the psycho-Nazi-yuppie king of OC?).

At this point, we're worried that he's insane enough to poison our dogs or something, so tomorrow we're going to work on moving certain things out of the garage so the dogs can use it instead. It's not ideal, but we kind of don't want to have them ever set foot on the patio again - our neighbor is disturbingly out of control! I am totally freaked out by what a raging nut-job he is. Of course, what do you expect from a guy with an 'I Love Hockey' sticker on his truck?

All I know is, we're gonna have to work on keeping the dogs away from him, and I'm going to start lobbying to get the hell out of here. What else can I do? I'm not in love with living here anyway, but when you add these people to it, it's unbearable. I vote we put the condo on the market again, tomorrow!

1 comment:

LuluBunny said...

Update: The day after this post my dad and I worked on the garage for a couple hours and got it all cleaned out and ready for the dogs. The dogs, however, do NOT understand what it is we'd like them to do out there. They go out, walk around, sniff everything, and then lay down on the cement floor.

So now, the task is to teach old dogs new tricks - not easy, not easy at all.

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