Friday, May 8, 2009

Vacation Countdown

If all goes well, my vacation should start next Tuesday. However, I'm seeing signs of trouble to come. First of all, my neighbor's boarders have been on vacation all week, so they have been spending the majority of each day working with their horses next door. Of course, I can always appreciate wanting to spend your vacation with your horses, because that's exactly what I'm trying to do, but my horses get out of control whenever these boarders work with their horses.

Normally, if no one is working with the horses next door, I can go outside and groom my horses, train them, even do a little work on their hooves, without having to catch and tie them. They just hold still for me. It's nice and it saves a lot of time, even though I know it's not the safest routine. However, if the boarders are working with their horses, my horses run up and down the fence line all day in excitement. I have to catch them, halter them, and lead them to some location where they can't see the other horses in order to be able to work with them.

Even then, they still run back and forth while tied, whinnying and ignoring my commands. It takes ten times longer to get anything done. That's one of the reasons why I resent my neighbors for opening a horse boarding facility (in addition to their construction business) next door. Not only does it disrupt my routine, but we have constant traffic going up and down our drive all day.

The other day I was outside doing a photo shoot with the horses for a post, and these boarders drove past laughing at us. They distracted the horses, and I lost a great shot that I went to painstaking lengths to set up for. I'd do anything to be able to erect an 8-foot wall around my horse paddock. Right now everyone seems to think that my property is their personal drive-in theater.

The other frustration that comes with spring and spring vacations is the onslaught of door-to-door salesmen, surveyors, and religious groups. This week I got interrupted by yet another ring of the doorbell. I work out of my home. I need to be able to concentrate on my job. I don't need these distractions. Also, every time that someone rings my doorbell or knocks on my door, they send my dogs into barking fits. Then my dogs start barking at everything that moves and every little noise for the next several days, thus disrupting my ability to work from home.

A simple knock on the door has far-reaching effects in my household. That's why I have posted NO TRESPASSING signs around my property. Yet, no one seems to think that these signs apply to them. So, when someone rang my doorbell yesterday, I first looked out the kitchen window to see if there was a car in the driveway that would identify who it was, but there was nothing. I thought it might be my neighbor friend needing my help with her horses, so I went around to my office window to look out.

There, standing on my porch, were two young men peering into the window of my house, smiling at me as if they were here for a party and I was their best friend. I knew they were shysters up to no good, probably after my pocketbook. I don't like to open the door when I'm home alone, even with the dogs barking their heads off, but my window has been stuck lately. So, I opened the door a crack and before they could get two words out of their mouths I said, "I have NO TRESPASSING signs on my property. That means you should not come to my door. It upsets my dogs." I then shut the door and locked it before they could respond.

They left without further interaction and went across the street to another neighbor's house. I don't know why, but this woman always allows these people to take up all of her time, so they stood on her doorstep for a good half hour while my son and I stacked hay. One trick that salespeople use is finding out the names of our neighbors, and then coming to our door and saying, "Well, your neighbors, John and Mary, are buying this from us. They think it's great..."

I've been meaning to talk to John and Mary (not their real names) to tell them to stop giving their names out to people. They are so trusting. A while back their house was being burgled on a daily basis by someone they trusted, because they'd leave their doors unlocked when they went to work. I finally figured out what was going on and chased off the burglar, who was a young woman addicted to drugs. She had been stealing cash and jewelry from the house to support her drug habit.

I'm thinking I much prefer summer to spring, because most people can't stand the heat of summer and stay indoors, leaving me to ride my horses to my heart's content. Unfortunately, we've had a few summers where temperatures were routinely in the triple-digits, which means for the sake of my horses I should not ride. I know I have to ride as much as possible in the spring and fall just in case we have a heatwave during the summer months. However, all the people who come outdoors in the spring and fall disrupt my ability to work with my horses.

I miss the good old days when my neighborhood was quiet. No one knew it existed. I could sunbathe on my front lawn all day and not a single car would drive past. Now cars are driving past every five seconds. Despite my PRIVATE DRIVE - PLEASE STAY OUT sign, posts and chains at the end of my driveway, at least three vehicles turn around in my driveway every day. Strange cars pulling into the driveway is yet another thing that sets my dogs off, and if it is an 18-wheeler, my horses spook and sometimes injure themselves. Then I miss several hours of work each day tending to wounds, not-to-mention the veterinary bills I have to pay thanks to some idiot truck driver who ignored my signs.

I have to leave a section of the driveway open so we can get our own cars in and out, but the world seems to think that opening is for them. Every spring we get a bunch of newcomers in our area, and for some reason they all think that my driveway is the perfect place to turn around when they get lost or forget something. I even have people come to my door to ask for directions. I've begun directing them to the 7-11 down the street to ask for directions, because my private home is not here to serve the public. One business actually got so fed up with people stopping to ask for directions that they put up a huge sign that says, "NO DIRECTIONS HERE." It seems extreme, but I feel their pain.

This time of year I can't even walk to the mailbox without some tourist pulling up beside me to ask for directions. I think more people need to buy cars with On Star in them and carry compasses and maps, so that the rest of us can live our lives. If it's just one person, that's fine, but it all adds up. If I have three people stop me from working in my yard or working with my horses in order to ask for directions, I can easily loose a decent chunk of my free time. Most days I'm battling just to get five minutes here and there to take care of things.

These tourists never seem to listen and accept my directions, but ask me to repeat them multiple times. A lot of people will question my judgment. I'm already irritated that they are sucking up my time, and then to question my directions is like toying with a Rattlesnake. That's why I prefer to just send them back down the street to the 7-11. I know they won't listen to my directions anyway. I also know that the 7-11 probably hates me. I wouldn't be surprised if the clerks at the 7-11 store were giving out my address and sending people to my house for directions as revenge.

Sometimes I think that people bother me for directions rather than stopping at a gas station, because they know they don't have to stand in line at my house. One time a man stopped by my house to ask for directions, and I said I couldn't help him. He said, "Why? Don't you live here? Don't you know this area?"

I said, "No," and offered no further explanation, so he scratched his head and drove off.

My husband is so kind that there have been several occasions where he actually got into his car and drove to the location that the people needed to get to, so they could follow him in their car. That's probably why he has better Karma than I do. If I weren't so stressed for time, I'd probably be more giving too, but for the past several years of my life I've been putting all my energy into problem prevention, so that I can spend more time doing what I want as opposed to solving problem after problem after problem. Some days just getting from Point A to Point B is impossible because of all the problems that pop up along the way that can't be ignored or postponed.

My husband once led a man to the veterinary hospital, because the man was hauling a horse that needed medical attention. I admit I probably would have dropped everything to do the same in that case, so I'm not all bad. At least I'll do what it takes to help out our horsey friends. I just have my limits for how many people I'm willing to let trespass on my property and burn up my time. I figure that if someone is rude enough to ignore my rules, which are clearly posted, then they don't deserve respect from me.

I really hope I can take this vacation, because I worry that if I don't get it, I'm going to keel over from a heart attack. I've been having chest, arm, neck, and jaw pain when I've been stressed at work. For some reason, no one in my office can give me advance notice when they need something. They wait until a deadline and then ask me, "Where is that 50-page report?"

"What 50-page report?"

"The one I needed today or our company will self-destruct!"

"This is the first time I have heard of this. How long have you known that we needed it?"

"Oh, a couple of months. Did I forget to tell you?"

That is why I am constantly having to give up my evenings, weekends, and holidays for this job. I suffer because of other people's disorganization and inconsideration. Once again, I got pulled into a Friday afternoon meeting in which everyone was told to work over the holiday weekend to meet the next deadline. I can't even celebrate Mother's Day because of my job. Don't they know it's my job to be a mother too? I don't think I have had a single holiday since the New Year in which I haven't been told I had to work.

My husband offered to hike next to me on a trail ride this weekend. I've been looking forward to this all year. You can bet any work that I do for my company will only happen long after my horses are in Dreamland.

Considering that I wrapped up yet another week without getting a single lunch break, I think I deserve a trail ride. Now if only that trail ride could be relaxing...


Andrea said...

Deep Breath!! I am sure your vacation will be wonderful!! And so well worth it! I would get really aggravated with all that traffic in my driveway too.

I don't ever get anyone at my door. Really, nobody comes down my road. And if they do, we all stare at them like they are from outer space. We live on a dead end road and are the third house from the end. We know who should be passing our house.

I do hope you get a nice relaxing trail ride!! I will send my good behavior vibes to your horses!! :)

Katharine Swan said...

Good heavens, NM. This is all getting rather out of hand. You need to set some boundaries with your employer and co-workers (i.e., "If you don't tell me about it, it won't be done on time, period"), your neighbors, and trespassers. You need to be able to live your life, for heaven's sake!

Oh, and that comment the other day about if you move you could end up in a worse situation? I don't believe it for a moment. NOTHING could be worse that what you just described!

Paint Girl said...

I'd be getting frustrated too with all that traffic and people coming to the door.
I hate solicitors. Even with a no soliciting sign, they still come, when I lived in the city. Now that I am living in the country I only get a couple a year. I also don't like opening the door if I am alone, so I usually ignore it, kinda hard to do though, when I have the tv or lights on or they see me.
People do turn around in my driveway alot, we have a pretty wide driveway compared to most the other driveways in our neighborhood. Of course this sets my dogs off too! They will go into a barking frenzy, and they don't stop for over 10-15 minutes!
I have even watched a car pull up to my garage, a girl with a backpack, get out and go to my front door at MIDNIGHT, I was thinking "you got to be kidding me!" My other half was in bed, I hid in the bathroom and watched out the window, she ended up turning around and getting back in the car before she knocked. I think she was being dropped off at the wrong house, first, shouldn't you know what the house looks like that you are going to?
Anyways, I hope you get some peaceful times while you are on vacation! You sure do deserve it! Please enjoy and I am hoping all those nosy neighbors just go away for the week!

Leah Fry said...

Your post has caused me to utter a prayer of thanks. I'm sure I'd either self-destruct or go postal.

allhorsestuff said...

Oh got er' BADDDD...I am just like you in wanting and needing and practically demanding my privacy!! I really need to live in the country. We get those door to door folks and I do not have dogs that go balistic, sorry for that, but I just don't husband is like yours and he will answer..fine, but he knows me by now-20 years in- don't trouble me with an unannounced door call person!
I am so does sound terribly stressful there...with the boarders..bleck!

Please make an appt. for a massage while on vaca and take a great ride, take it as it comes. It's almost here!!!
Thinkin of you!

HorseOfCourse said...

NM, you really need that vacation!
I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get a nice and relaxing trail ride, without any complications.
And I agree with Katharine S, get your collegues to give you acceptable time frames. We all have enough to do and we for sure need to at least have the possibility to plan ahead to make things work out.

nikki said...

I should go buy you the sign I saw at Michael's for your driveway. It says:


;) Maybe that would deter them?

Breathe said...

You need a dog that you can have run loose in the front yard (like with an invisible fence). Junkyard dog with junkyard dog manners. Then they'll just go next door.:)

Here's to a wonderful vacation... You deserve it!

sue said...

I have a friend who's driveway is in the perfect "turn around spot"... tired of always telling people not to turn there... he gave up and put out a sign that says.... "turning welcomed.... 1.00" I don't know if anyone actually took him for real, but it makes people think or at least laugh...... hope you get a vacation..sounds like you deserve it......

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I really enjoyed all of these comments. I especially like the idea of charging people to turn around in my driveway, only I think I'd jack up the price to $10 per turn.

jen098 said...

As I mentioned, I live next to where I work. One day, there was a big event held at the workplace. When the parking filled people parked in my yard, (including a higher up's wife) and on my brother-in-law's new septic. I went into the lobby and announced I was going to call the sherrif's department, and if that didn't work I would personally tow the vehicles with a big truck we have. I turned and walked upstairs. The vehicles were moved within 5 minutes. Our no parking and trespassing signs we put up after that have worked so far (knock on wood). Maybe put up beware of the dog signs?

As for the horses next door when you are riding, I had a similar problem with my mare and a neighbor's gelding who was in love with her (she was screaming for him, getting more and more worked up each time I rode her). I finally had to punish her fairly severely when riding her. (I won't go into details, but I got her attention, and it only took once for her to know I meant business). It was that or sell her because she was getting out of control and I was becoming afraid of her. I don't know if that is not an option for you, but I would hate for you to get hurt, or have your horses take advantage of the situation making riding them not fun, but also dangerous. I hope I am not offending you, I just understand when moving isn't really an option.

I really hope you have a relaxing vacation!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

jen098 - I think that's one of those situations where someone says, "Jen lives here. She won't mind." Then everyone who comes along after that thinks, "Well, if so-and-so parked here, it must be okay." I call that the herd mentality.

I do have Beware of Dogs and even No Parking signs too. My husband has a limit to how many signs and blockades he's willing to put up with on the property. He's only home evenings and weekends, so he doesn't get the brunt of it. I want to put another sign on my front door that says something to the effect of, "What part of NO TRESPASSING did you not understand?" but he won't let me.

I had one neighbor encourage me to put up a private community gate at the end of the dirt road, because she's just as sick of all the strangers wandering onto our parcels as I am. I know that not all the neighbors would appreciate having to use a remote or punch in a code every time they have to come or go somewhere. I have two neighbors in particular who are coming and going every five minutes. They and their non-stop visitors are the main reason why there is so much traffic in front on my house.

Shirley said...

You know, NM, It sounds like it's time for you to reevaluate your life. I'm not trying to be critical, but there is no job or circumstance in this world that is worth a stressful and unhappy life, and you, my dear, don't sound as if you enjoy living where you do. You'd be suprised what opportunities are out there when you really start looking! If you don't make some changes, you are going to make your home a prison.
I'll pray for you,and I hope you get to enjoy your vacation.

Kate said...

Sorry things are so hard right now - hope you get a break with the vacation!

Two thoughts that sometimes help me when I'm stressed out:

First, after a certain point (no soliciting signs, fencing, politely declining to do things you don't want to do), you just can't have any control over what other people do - you can only control your reactions to them, and it's your reactions that determine how you feel.

Second, there are people (particularly those we have the most trouble with) and situations (often stressful) that come into our lives and give us the opportunity to learn something about ourselves, or to take an action (sometimes to change the course of our lives) that we wouldn't otherwise have taken.

That being said, on a really bad day, nothing helps except trying to take a deep breath and relax!