I am exasperated judge as you don’t seem convinced that I am not to blame here! You should be looking at my neighbours – all of them behaving badly. I just want to get on with life and be left alone but apparently that can’t happen here!
We had to build that 8-10 foot high fence in our back yard in an attempt to stop having the children yelling at us when we are in our yard. They are from the home daycare two houses over and they obviously feel quite powerful up in their fort or bouncing on the trampoline as they hurtle insults and jabs while we are trying to enjoy our backyard. And the high fence on the other side? Well it is an attempt to block the mean looks and stares at us from our other neighbours who also have a lot of children running around their yard while they sit in their very back corner, very close to our fence line and smoke some pot. Perhaps they have overheard our loud protests against having to inhale their second hand smoke while we close all our windows so it stops coming into the our home where we are chocking and having asthma attacks.
We have the same smoke filled issues with our newest neighbours who moved in right next store. The landlord built them a very nice side deck – just off of their bedroom and it faces away from us but they insist on sitting on their front deck smoking two packs a day. Their smoke somehow wafts and gets sucked into our home if our front door is open so we have had to endure these precious few months of nice weather with all of our windows closed and doors closed. The second hand smoke is so thick that it brings about a massive asthmatic attack with my wife who has an incredible sensitivity to scents and smells. It is so thick at times that I feel like I have taken up smoking!
We are now thinking of building a very high wall in our front yard as our properties share the same property line and it is obvious they feel some disdain toward us – first over the parking spot out front of both of our homes as I had shared in an earlier post and then our comments to them about watering their lawn in the middle of the heat with the over-watering burning our own plants. Now they both sit on their front steps frantically trying to light up a second cigarette with the first one still burning away while they suck on it harder and harder. The high fence would do nothing about the smoke but would allow us to walk to and from our car without feeling their death stares burning holes in our heads.
My final appeal is in my description of John – my very old neighbour whose home borders my driveway. The longest serving resident in this neighbourhood. Some forty plus years ago he was awarded the lot on which his home is built through some prairie schemed co-op group, which encouraged people to actually want to stay here and make their home. A modern day version of the settlers in the 1800s – to entice people desperate to just get through the prairies onto some other more inhabitable place to live – to just give up and stay put. This practice is still continuing today although you would find those schemes more easily in the remnants of farm towns scattered across the prairies, once a thriving hub of at least 2,000 people only now scarcely filled by perhaps a couple hundred.
Yes John. The keeper of knowledge on this neighbourhood. Apparently at one point in my home’s history it used to be a care home for youth and he was their operations guy so when we first moved in and we were interested in purchasing the home he wandered over to first figure out whether or not he would like us and then to share all of the details of the structure with us. He seemed nice enough at the time but as the years have gone on he has become one more person to try and avoid. Case in point was after our first winter here, when we would pile up the snow in order to clear a pathway to our back yard he came about in the spring to complain that our snowbank pushed against his fence, causing it to lean and he now wanted it repaired.
This is the same fence that he built forty years ago with the home. When you look at it you can see that the entire fence is one strong wind away from blowing over and collapsing. There are missing boards and the paint desperately faded a long time ago – the wood weathered in such a way that would be chic in some high density urban market furniture store but just looks pathetic in its natural environment.
John has taken up the hobby of wandering out into his yard or simply walking up into our yard (it used to be his turf remember) in order to comment on whatever it is that we are doing and more importantly to offer advise on what we are doing wrong. It is his excuse to satisfy his curiosity about how we have changed the place – what additions we have done and then to question our methodology, our maintenance of the additions or even why we did it in the first place.
All the while when one peeks over the fence into his yard you see it stuffed to the brim with various collections of junk. From a bicycle collection of perhaps 40 bikes in various stages of rust and pieces piled alongside his side of the fence and covered with old sheets of plywood long ago revealing their treasure. There are hoods and doors and lift gates of various vehicles piled up in other areas of his yard or being used to cover up other piles of collections. Garbage and containers everywhere. All overgrown with long ago abandoned landscaping and it is all we can do when we trim and saw and hack back at the overgrowth that has found its way over the fence and into our yard.
So you see – it is not us but them. We are not the problem! We just happen to be surrounded by terrible neighbours. But it would seem that my arguments have fallen on deaf ears. Surprisingly it would seem that in my observations all of them seem to be getting along well with each other. Perhaps they have all found common ground in their dislike of us. Whatever it is I don’t think I can avoid being that person in this neighbourhood.
Good thing I am working on my escape plan.