Saturday, May 7, 2011

Encroachments

Okay.  I've been trying to ignore my annoying neighbors since I returned home, hoping that by ignoring them they would not affect me.  However, they are now taking things way beyond over the top.  Their activities are so "in my face" that I'd have to be in a coma to succeed in ignoring them.

The night I returned home from after driving 400 miles I was exhausted.  I started falling asleep only to be woken by a horrendous vibration and the house shaking.  I could clearly hear the roar of a truck engine coming from their side of the house.  I went outside to investigate, and they had yet ANOTHER tow truck hauling one of their broken down pieces of crap back to their house and depositing it up against my paddock fence as close to my barn as possible, scaring the bleep out of my horses in the process.

This has to be at least the tenth time one of their vehicles has broken down somewhere out on the highway and been towed back to their house.  Most people tow their broken down vehicles to the mechanic or the dump, but this guy tows them home and then tinkers under their hoods for six months until he gets lucky and they start running again for a day or two.

Every time we drive up the street and I see that guy has yet another hood up or multiple hoods up on several vehicles, I say, "Oh God.  Now he's going to live outside with his tools until he gets them fixed and I won't have an ounce of privacy."  My husband says, "Well, he's got to keep the hoods up to give the chipmunks some air."

Then one morning I went out to the horse paddock to put ointment on the horse's hocks, because they keep getting sores lying in the sand.  I noticed that the guy was tinkering under his hood right up against my property line and my horses were hiding behind the barn, trying to get a little of their own privacy.  I squeezed between two horse butts and bent down by their hind legs to rub the ointment on, (something I only needed a few seconds to do) and in that very second, the annoying neighbors' dog startled the bleep out of me, my good neighbor, and my horses by barking its attack-bark when my good neighbor came out of her house to move her sprinkler.

The jerk next door just lets his dog run all over the neighborhood off leash, chase people's horses, and poop on their lawns.  The dog was barking at my good neighbor on her own property.  She yelled, "STOP THAT!  YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK!"

The jerk next door paid no attention and made no effort to restrain his dog.  Luckily, I did not get harmed by my startled horses, despite being in an uncompromising position.  I felt my good neighbor's frustration, as that same dog came onto my property and started barking and lunging at me while I was packing my truck for my trip.  I got so annoyed that I chased it up the street back to its house.  The neighbor saw me do that, and still made no effort to come and get his dog.  He was probably thinking, "Nice lady.  She's returning my dog to me."

Then the other night my son informed me that these neighbors got some goats delivered to their house.  My jaw hit the floor.  "Where are they keeping them?" I asked.  "In their front yard," he said, which is right next to my barn and horse paddock.  I ran outside, knowing the horses would be freaked out, having never seen goats before.  They suffered so many injuries in their panic when the deer first started coming around.  Sure enough, the horses were on high alert and very disturbed by these bleating creatures that invaded their space.

The horses wouldn't go in the barn or sleep at all that night.  The next day I found them lying flat on their sides passed out from all the excitement.  Eventually, they built up the courage to approach the fence and watch the goats.

Then today I looked out the window to check on the horses and saw some man standing at the fence, reaching down, pulling up weeds with all three of my horses huddled around him.  I screamed to my husband, "SOMEONE'S FEEDING THE HORSES AGAIN!" as I ran past him out the back door.  I almost just opened the sliding glass door and yelled out at the man to stop feeding my horses, but something told me to make the effort to go all the way out there to see what was going on.  I marched up to him, shoved a couple of horse butts aside and saw that the man was attaching a fence to my fence, and my horses were "helping" him.

I said, "You're just working on a fence?  You're not feeding my horses, are you?"

He said he wasn't.  He was putting up a pen for his goats.  I looked around and saw that he had chosen the corner of my neighbors' property right up against my barn to house his goats.  Great.  Now I have even less personal space than I had before, because now people are going to be hanging out with the goats next to my barn.  I had never seen this man and his wife before, but having strangers visiting next door is getting to be a daily thing.  My neighbors seem to just pick up people from off the street and take them in to help them out.  It turned out that these people were moving here from another state and needed some place where they can temporarily house their animals until they can get their own place.

I don't know where my neighbors find these people.  Perhaps they belong to some worldwide organization where people connect through word of mouth and chatrooms, or perhaps they trawl Craig's List for people in need.
 
The woman said, "We had three horses, but I got rid of them."

I paused.  Got RID of them?  What does that mean?  Did she acquire horses and then decide they were too much of a burden for her nomadic lifestyle?  "Are you in a situation where you have to find new homes for your animals?" I asked, feeling sympathy for the plight of those who get laid off from jobs and must abandon their previous lifestyle to find security elsewhere.

"No," she said, "We just got rid of them."  I didn't care to inquire any further at that point.

By now the horses were no longer scared of the goats, but intrigued by them.  I know that people often buy a goat to keep a horse company when they don't want two horses.  I don't mind the goats, but I am sick of all the people loitering around my property.  It multiplies ten-fold on the weekends.  My neighbor's place becomes Grand Central Station as they conduct a variety of business with different people.  Their horse boarders show up to ride, other people show up to work on vehicles, other people show up to load and unload junk from trailers they've got stored on the property, other people drop off random pieces of junk like toilets and ovens and washing machines which sit in their yard for years, and now we've got people erecting a goat pen next to my barn.  When will it ever end?

Just now I looked out the window and saw that the two goats have multiplied to three plus a rabbit hutch as well.  Of course, I'd much rather have farm animals around than junk vehicles stacked up against my fence, but I'm sure that nosy woman next door will now use having to feed and water these animals next to my barn as an excuse to come out to spy and eavesdrop on me each time I'm inside my barn or working with my horses.

I also feel bad for these animals.  We've got high winds tonight and tomorrow, and I'm worried that the rabbit hutch might blow away.

I'm ready to go back to my mother's house.  I booked a flight and can't wait to get away from these neighbors from hell.  When I returned from my last trip down south, I discovered that my fair-weathered friend, Mr. Creeper and Peeper through my bathroom window, has moved into the guest house on the other side of me.  Oh joy!

Today my husband and I went out to lunch in a restaurant two cities away from our own after seeing our son qualify in the top 9 in pole vaulting for regionals.  The waiter was going to seat us right next to one of our next-door neighbors.  I waved hello to her, and then leaned into the waiter and said, "Keep going," hoping she didn't hear.  But really, who wants to go out for a relaxing meal and have to listen to their next-door neighbor point out that your lawn needs mowing and that the weeds are threatening to spread through the fence into her yard?  That's all this lady can talk about.  Since our yard is the view of her precious guests, she acts like she owns it.

The neighbors at my mother's place are all nice enough that they came to my mother's funeral and reception, and they have been begging me not to put her house for sale, but to move in and live there.  They are terrified of what kind of trouble might move in, and I can certainly empathize with their fears.

They had some man from a foreign country buy a historic house on the street and attempt to tear it down along with all the ancient trees on the lot to build a monstrosity that mimics the homes of the wealthy in his home country, and wouldn't fit into the neighborhood at all.  The neighbors took him to court over it, and he was told he could only make pre-approved improvements to the existing house, could not tear down any trees, could not destroy the integrity of the architecture, nor add on to the square footage.  The legal fight took over two years and when I was staying in my mother's house I had to listen to construction trucks roaring around day in and day out while that stubborn man made his "improvements".  They say the man's wife divorced him "because all the neighbors hate her now since he was such a jerk and refused to give up his vision of a mansion in the hills."

Still I'd rather be there than dealing with the neighbors I've got here at the ranch.  Unfortunately, I can't keep horses in the city suburb where my mother's house resides and I'm not willing to board them elsewhere.  Maybe once I get some money from selling my mother's house, I can finally have some money to move out of this hell hole, get some land, and live happily ever after in a spacious meadow with my family, dogs and horses -- not a neighbor for as far as I can see (with binoculars or a telephoto lens or a telescope.)

10 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

They are the neighbors from hell. I wonder if you complained to some city/town agency about the abandoned cars, washing machines etc. as a safety hazard to children if they couldn't get them to remove the crap. They are truly the neighbors from hell. Good luck selling your mother's house and getting out of Dodge.

Breathe said...

Oh, boy, I hope you can get out quick. I highly recommend the Texas Hill Country. :)

You asked about fly season in Texas - we've got them bad from about May to September/October, depending. Predators work pretty well, but it takes them a while each year to knock down the population.

Mikey said...

I'm with Grey Horse. They ARE the neighbors from hell. I do hope you move. You should really move down here :) So much nicer. I thank my lucky stars every day. I hope things get better for you.

strivingforsavvy said...

I sure hope it works out so you can get another piece of property. It sounds miserable where you are now. Hang in there.

fernvalley01 said...

Rotten that they continue to infringe on your life. I do hope someday you are able to find a piece of land that affords you some peace

Cheryl Ann said...

Dear Nuzz,
I'm so sorry to hear about your most recent neighbor problems. A couple of thoughts...my city has an ordinance against JUNK CARS on one's property. Does yours? If so, turn your neighbor in! I'm sure your city would love to collect the $$$$ from the fine! Additionally, is your residential area zoned for GOATS? Another thing to look into! (((BIG HUG)))...glad you are back!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

One other encroachment I forgot to mention. When I returned home after my trip, I found a few child's toys scattered about in my horse paddock. Obviously, the boy that my annoying neighbor has been babysitting has been chucking his toys over the fence, probably throwing them at my horses. One was all the way over by my house, which is about 60-feet from the fence.

Anonymous said...

I hope you confiscated the toys!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I can't even imagine! How horrible. I'm so glad that all of my neighbors are pretty nice and seem to appreciate their privacy and respect other's privacy as well.

That being said, sometimes things happen. While we were gone camping this past weekend, my neighbor acquired two alpacas. Now Apache isn't afraid of llamas, not even when she first arrived here, but I have a feeling she might have never seen an alpaca before and might have gotten worked up, especially if my neighbor's horses started running around upon the alpacas' arrival. I'm not sure exactly what happened as we weren't here, but when we arrived home today, I immediately noticed that Apache is lame and favoring one leg. The same shoulder and leg she injured last summer. And I was hoping to ride her in the next ACTHA event! gah!

I'm frustrated and disappointed, but I also realize that we can't just wrap up our horses and protect them from every little scary thing. Like Clinton Anderson says (concerning desensitizing horses) "Heart Attacks are Free".

Still not fun, though.

~Lisa

achieve1dream said...

I really hope you can sell the house and use the money to get out of there. No one should have put up with what you put up with from your neighbors. Good luck!