Monday, July 6, 2009

Four Days of Almost Heaven

I took Thursday off from work despite my boss attempting to schedule a meeting for me then. That's his way of trying to thwart my efforts to use my vacation time by taking Thursdays off for my equitation lessons. Much to my surprise, no one appeared online on Friday, so I figured that it was a company holiday and everyone seemed to know except me. I quickly got offline as soon as I saw my boss log in, so that I could avoid having him give me tasks while everyone else was taking a break. Then I didn't log in to work at all on Saturday or Sunday, so I got four days of almost heaven in which I didn't have someone rushing me to complete some impossible task.

Of course, I spent those days with my family and the horses. My son's 16th birthday was on Thursday. We had him open his presents then, and took him on a shopping spree on Friday to spend the money that his grandparents sent him. Then he and I blew four hours on Saturday playing his newest PlayStation 3 game. I love any game where I can shoot a gun and blow things up. I just wish they didn't always have to accompany it with foul language. Target practice can be fun and help you get your angst out, but not if you character has to cuss with every other word. Who are these people who come up with these video games? I'll bet not one of them is over the age of 25. Apparently, they think that offensive language is a selling point.

I rode Gabbrielle, and she's been learning in leaps and bounds. The funny thing is that I find myself to be more relaxed while riding this horse, that doesn't have anything more than a few days under saddle, than I do riding my two older horses who I've been riding for 7 years. Gabbrielle is so incredibly sweet. She behaves as if she really enjoys being ridden, and I feel as if she wants to treat me gently and take care of me. If I shift at all in the saddle, she worries that I'm falling off, and she immediately stops. My other two horses just go faster when I lose my balance, almost as if they hope to dislodge me.

Gabbrielle's bridle broke, which officially makes 2 bridles broken over a period of 3 days, and 3 bridles broken in the past month. I've also managed to break 5 fingernails over this period of 4 days. I guess that just means that I'm riding, but it would be nice if the fingernails wouldn't bend all the way backwards and tear at the bloody part. I have to remember to keep them trimmed down to nothing so that they can't get caught on anything.

I normally won't ride on the 4th of July, because of all the people setting off firecrackers in the neighborhood, which is illegal in Nevada because the brush is so dry and flammable. Amazingly, I didn't hear any popping or cracking this year, and the neighborhood was relatively quiet, so I took my chances.

I've been having problems with a different neighbor recently. This is a man who has been living in my next door neighbor's guest house since May. He doesn't seem to have a job, so all he does all day is sit in the bay window of the guest house looking out onto our property. I can't go outside on any of our lawns to hand water without him watching me from his window. I also have to close the blinds at night, because he'll sit there looking into our windows. My husband sleeps in his underwear and gets up several times during the night to let the dogs outside. He goes outside onto our backyard lawn with our Corgi to encourage her to get down to business so that he can get back to bed. He says that while he's standing out there in his underwear, that man is always awake and sitting in his window as late as 3:30 AM. He's creepy. He never seems to sleep.

Occasionally, I overhear him reporting to my neighbor on what we've been doing. This neighbor is very neurotic and paranoid of weeds, so she complains if our sprinklers overshoot the fence onto her dirt. Occasionally, I let the hose run on the dead spots on the lawn and don't catch it before it dribbles through the fence, so this man tattles on me if that happens. Next thing I know my neighbor is griping at me for my latest offense.

Just this past week the man decided to start building something in my neighbor's garage. My neighbor has lived there for 20 years and has never used that garage for anything, but this man has suddenly decided to put some use to it by turning it into a machine shop. My problem with that is that the garage is just 40 or 50 feet from my bathroom and bedroom windows. Every time that I have to use the toilet or shower, I have to shut the window, because that man is always standing on the other side of the fence. He also has started hammering and sawing as early as 6:00 in the morning, which prevents me from being able to sleep in on holidays and weekends.

So, now I am officially surrounded by loud men who build stuff or fix stuff in their garages. Some days the noise is deafening. I've got one guy down the street working on dragster engines, another guy across the street from him working on ATV and motorcycle engines, next door to that guy is another guy manufacturing something out of his garage and driving this loud, gurgly diesel truck back and forth in front of my house all day delivering his goods, another guy across the street from me fixing broken truck engines, two guys building cabinets in their garages within just a few yards of my bedroom, and two neighbors with the loudest rider mowers on earth. I can't wait until I find my peaceful farm out in the middle of nowhere.

Of course, as soon as I put my foot in a stirrup to ride a horse, the latest annoying neighbor turned on his band saw. I complained out loud, "WHY IS IT THAT EVERY TIME I RIDE A HORSE SOMEONE ALWAYS HAS TO MAKE LOUD NOISES?!?"

He must have heard me, because he shut down his shop for the day, probably to give me a break. My nosy neighbors keep inviting strange men to come live with them for several weeks or months at a time. These men are construction workers that they hired to work for their home improvement company, and most of them look like they are fresh out of prison. One of the latest inmates to inhabit this house (that is just a few feet from my barn) drove up the street in his beat up pick up truck with a metal ladder on top. It was going BLANG BLANG BLANG all the way up the road.

The man proceeded to make dozens of trips between the house and his truck, throwing heavy objects into the bed and making the most annoying crashing noises while I was riding Lostine. Then this roll of roofing paper randomly fell off a stack on the side of my neighbor's house and started rolling toward my fence. Bombay took off like lightning, Gabbrielle spooked in place, and Lostine just perked her ears forward and balked while I jumped two feet out of the saddle over the unexpected noise. I guess the universe didn't think that was enough surprises, so it threw another roll of roofing paper at us. The whole thing was rather bizarre as we only had a slight breeze and no one had touched that pile of junk. It was as if I was being tested to see if I could keep control of my horse while some paranormal force threw strange objects at us.

Amazingly, Lostine didn't spook sideways or bolt. I was hoping the construction worker would leave soon and restore my peace, but just as he was getting ready to go with his load, my neighbor who owns the construction company drove up. Then the two of them had to stand out there and chat for a while. When the construction worker tried to leave after that, his engine wouldn't start, so he opened his hood and started making a racket banging around in his engine.

I knew there was no chance of me getting any peace and quiet and alone time as long as I was riding on my property, so I dismounted and put Lostine away. Of course, the second I walked into the house, the man got his engine started and drove off. I couldn't believe that my neighbor would make his employees work on the 4th of July, which was not only a holiday, but a Saturday. You'd think he'd have a heart and put all projects on hold until Monday.

I like it when they don't work, because I can reclaim my property as my own. I no longer have trucks roaring up and down the street behind my barn and pulling into my driveway. I can ride without noise and eyes on me. It seems the only day I can get that is Sunday when the man who owns the company goes to church, but even then his employees sometimes show up and start loading junk into their trucks. It's never ending. I'd give this man half my income if he and his wife would promise to sit still, be quiet, and leave me alone. Oh, and if he'd clean up his yard so that I don't have weird objects flying at me while I ride my horses.

On Sunday morning my husband and daughter went hiking with me as I attempted to ride Bombay through the canyon. That deserves a whole post of its own, because this one is long enough. Then I spent a good hour and half taking my time working on trailer training with Gabbrielle. All of these are goals I've had for quite some time, but could never seem to find the time to reach them. It's been a happy four days of horsing around.


Leah Fry said...

Good for you for taking time off! My boss apologized to me the other day for not taking something home that I had given her to proof. I said the company doesn't want me doing my stuff on their time, and I think it's only fair the reverse be true.

Molly said...

Nuz, I can't seem to get enough of your neighbor stories. They just amaze me.
My little California house is in a "gated community" with cookie cutter houses just inches apart, yet we can go weeks without seeing a single neighbor.
I just don't understand why all those people keep track of your business. Should we build high walls to keep their prying eyes away? Some sort of privacy fence is certainly in order.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Leah - I think I'll repeat that to my boss. The thing is that if he makes me work round the clock, I have no choice but to run my own errands and do my own chores on company time, since my entire life seems to be company time. When I returned to work this morning, I saw that my boss spent his holiday weekend assigning tasks to me. Apparently, he thinks I don't have enough to do since I took some time off over a holiday weekend.

Molly - This is the window where I planted a privacy hedge a couple of months ago to block this guy from staring out his window at our property and into our windows, but the hedge is just taking too long to grow. It will probably be another two years before I benefit from it, and by then we will probably have found a better place to live.

Kate said...

You seem to live in an industrial park! Perhaps the universe is trying to tell you that your job is to train horses to deal with every possible kind of noise and distraction! LOL! Really, it must be very hard, but I do enjoy reading your latest installment of the Neighbor Saga.

AareneX said...

NuzMuz, you make me grateful for my wonderful neighbors, who fed my chickens for me last week while everyone else--family, horses + dogs--spent the week in the mountains! I wish your neighbors would sell out and you could have some good neighbors like mine. :-)

re: broken bridles
Have you considered biothane? I bought a biothane bridle for my first endurance horse in 1997, and it still looks brand new. Cleaning regimen for it is dunking in a bucket after a ride, or throwing it in the top rack of the dishwasher if it's really salty and yukky. Here's a link to a good company: They do beautiful work. You can even get brown biothane that looks like leather (but I prefer purple, of course)!!! Cost is same or lower than leather, and it lasts a lot longer.

fernvalley01 said...

Glad you got some time to your self . and good for Lostine taking all that in stride!

Lulu said...

Despite the distractions, it sounds like you were very productive!

I wasn't near as lucky as I put in more than 26 hours between Thursday night, Friday, and Sunday evening. What a weekend.

manker said...

wow this gives new meaning to "sit down and ride".. what doesnt kill you makes you stronger... you are one tuff cookie... Time for you to head for the hills methinks

i agree tho, about feeling differently on different horses.. Alle my showhorse/qtrhorse, i can ride stirrupless, bareback on on while i havent yet done that on gazi (the arabian)... a goal tho

be well and get some peace

TCavanaugh said...

I can't believe your neighborhood is sooooo busy! I thank God I only have one close neighbor...he is nosey enough! Good luck getting some peace and quiet.

Katharine Swan said...

Oh my! I knew when I saw the title of your blog post -- "Almost Heaven" -- that the neighbors were probably involved. I agree with Kate -- I know it's got to be so frustrating for you, but it's entertaining too. Someday when you're living on your quiet peaceful farm, I hope you'll read back through these posts and think so too. :o)

Good for you for taking some time off work! Sorry to hear your boss retaliated by assigning you more to do.

I'm looking forward to reading about Bombay's ride and Gabbrielle's trailer training!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I complain about the neighbors, but also have a sense of humor about it. For instance, every time that I walk up my RV lane to my barn to ride a horse, my nosy neighbor instantly appears in her car on the road in front of my house. I always mutter under my breath, "I wish someone could pull this GPS tracking device out of my butt so that this lady would stop monitoring me." It's creepy. It's like I step on something on my RV lane that sets off an alarm, and this lady happens to be parked just down the street, then when the silent alarm appears on her top secret monitor within her car, she throws her car into gear and drives by right at that exact same second when I'm in the exact same spot on my lane. I tell my husband that I feel like I'm Bill Murray in Groundhog's Day.

Andrea said...

I am glad you got to take some time off work. You needed that!! And Happy birthday to your son!! Sounds like Gab. is coming along very nicely!! She sounds so sweet.

I am so sorry you are surrounded by crazy men!! That would drive me nuts! I think I would have screamed too!!

S. Lauren said...

It sounds like you and your family had a lot of fun celebrating your sons birthday. I wish my parents would play computer games lol. I also agree, I don't understand why some games have negative language/visual images, I think it does affect the people that play these games to be more violent/full of foul language.
Your posts about your neighbors are funny to read but I'm sorry that they are really frustrating to you! If I had neighbors like that I'd probubly bug them back lol.

HorseOfCourse said...

So good for you to finally get some days off.
I cannot stop being amazed by your neighbours...don't they have a life of their own? It must be totally boring though, as they spend so much time watching their neighbour??
(NuzzMuzz, you are sure that you are not a candidate for the Funny Walks Dept or something? Indecently clothed? There must be something hidden here. Ohoh, I get it. You must look gorgeous! That explains it all!!)

Paint Girl said...

I am happy to hear Gabbrielle is doing well with training and that you got to spend the weekend riding.
Sorry your neighbors are being pains again! Well, I guess they never stop being pains. I'd send you my good neighbors if I could!

Breathe said...

Glad you got some time off! I wonder if you're in some sort of gated community experiment - where they are keeping some of the oddest people in and you and your family are the control group!

Here's to riding in the arena...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hmmm, I'm starting to think your neighborhood and your lifestyle would make an interesting video game. lol!
Kind of like Sims, but with more action, social weirdness and, possible weapons to blow things the crazy neighbors! hehe!

Happy Birthday to your son, albeit belated :)