Friday, July 22, 2011

Tarpe Diem

I laid a tarp over the round pen railing to fill in the gap where my nosy neighbor was previously parking, so I could have more privacy. 
Unfortunately, the tarp idea won't work permanently, because Bombay keeps trying to eat it. He likes to shred tarps, and one time I had to pull a piece out of his throat. I just kept a close eye on him while it was up and did some desensitization exercises making the horses move over the tarp on the ground, but I can't leave it out there.

I used the target and clicker method of getting them to walk onto the tarp for a treat.  I also lunged them across the tarp together.  Neither Bombay nor Lostine was terribly concerned.  I think working them together helped build their confidence.  A herd of horses might try to trample a threat, but an individual horse will shy from it.  Gabbrielle is really the one who needs this training, but she's away at school.

The tarp training didn't go so well at first simply because even with treats I could not hold the horses' attention.  A bunch of neighbors started coming out of their houses to see what I was doing, and the horses were focused on them sneaking around my barn to get a good view.  I wish I could live on a huge acreage where I could be free to train my horses my way without curious onlookers watching and judging.

The nosy neighbor next door was sitting in her car watching me when I first came out to work with the horses.  I hate it when that happens.  If I see her climb into her car, then I am aware that she's there, but if she's already in her car when I come outside, I don't notice.  I think it's just an empty parked car.  Once I realized she was there, I sat behind the tarp just to block her view of me and frustrate her.  She did a lot of door slamming, and then eventually drove off, but not without first stopping, shutting off her engine, and making a point of locking her front gate to her property.

I heard her engine start up, heard her moving at a crawl around her front lot as if looking for a location where she could park and see me, and then heard her shut off her engine.  Every time she or her husband start to drive off somewhere, I feel elated because I know I can then train my horses without interference.  Then, inevitably, they stop and shut off their engine before getting all the way down the street.  Or they turn around and come right back, and I get upset knowing they are probably going to be in my face for several more minutes or even hours.  In this case she shut off her engine to close the gate.  That in itself is odd.  Most normal people would leave the engine running, put the car in park with the emergency brake on, and then close the gate.

Also, as far as I can see, there's no reason for them to lock their gate every time they leave since they have no more animals that can escape.  Plus they always left the gate open even when they boarded animals.  I suspect that she's locking it now because she's angry about Animal Welfare coming onto her property to check on the goats.  I still don't know who took the remainder of them away -- if it was Animal Welfare or the original owner or new owners.  All I know is that the pressure us neighbors put on her helped the goats have a better life elsewhere, since anywhere is better than the situation they were in before.

After going through all that trouble to pull each of the huge rolling gates shut and locking them up, the woman ended up only being gone for about five minutes.  When she returned, she went through the whole routine of unlocking the lock, pushing each heavy, rolling panel off to the side, driving in, pulling each panel shut and locking up again.  It was like something you see in movies where a drug manufacturing warehouse has a fortress around it.

I wonder if they are hiding something valuable on their property now.  I mean, it is strange that they've lived there for five years and have never closed that gate until recently.  They used to take week-long vacations and leave that gate open.  This change in locking their gate coincided with when that wrecked vehicle showed up on their lot.  I'll bet someone without insurance got into a car accident and is trying to hide the vehicle in order to avoid taking responsibility for the problems they caused.  I saw another neighbor try to do that a couple of years ago.  People kept coming to our door asking if we knew where our neighbors hid the vehicle. 

I noticed that they parked this latest wreck at an odd angle where no one from the street can see the license plate or the worst of the damage.  Maybe I should report the license plate and suspicious activity to the police.  At this point, I'm looking for every opportunity I can get to make life next door to me as difficult as possible for these people so that they will be more than happy to move away.

My days have been a roller coaster of encouragement and disappointments lately.  I was relying on either my mother's house selling or the certified death certificate being issued before my kids started college in August to keep us out of a very uncomfortable financial situation with me being out of work.  We had one buyer for the house and he backed out after seeing the home inspection report.  Now my real estate agent wants me to come up with the money to replace the roof, the fireplace, relocate some gas pipes, rewire the electrical system, and replace some support beams that have termite damage.  Yeah, right.  Like I've got a spare $40,000 just sitting around my house while I'm unemployed and I have two kids in college.

Then, of course, I ended up spending money on things I didn't expect these past few months, such as vet bills, moldy hay, horse trailer repairs, and doctor's bills.  It was looking like my husband was going to have to go in for shoulder surgery again, but fortunately the tendons popped back into place as he was on  his way to the doctor's office.  I call that Divine Intervention.

Every day unexpected bills arrive in my mother's name.  It has all been building up while our bank accounts have been going down at a rapid rate.  I was starting to get scared for the future of my family.  My mother set money aside to help us after her passing, but the law wouldn't let us access any of it. 

I had been calling the Coroner's office every few weeks asking for the status of the death certificate, and they wouldn't tell me much beyond, "Just wait."  Easier said than done when you have way more money going out than coming in.  I decided to change tactics and call the doctor who did the autopsy on my mother.  I figured that dealing with the person who handled my flesh and blood would be more effective than dealing with someone who just pushes paper.  It turned out to be a fateful decision.  This doctor got really angry when he found out that I've been unemployed while settling my mother's estate, I somehow have to pay for two kids in college, and it has taken 120 days for the Medical Examiner to close the case.  The doctor said that based upon my hardship, he would make sure that the case was closed and the certified death certificate was issued that very day.

I felt so relieved until I called the cemetery to inform them that the document was ready for them to mail to me.  They said there is a two-week process for the State to turn the online form into a hard copy.  Say what?  They can't just print it out?  Argh!  So, by the time this process is done and they mail it to me, it will be the middle of August.  Then I have to turn around and mail copies to all the companies that are holding my inheritance and wait another several weeks for them to process it and mail me a check.  By then we are looking at the beginning of September. 

This means that absolutely nothing can go wrong that will cost us large amounts of money for the next two months.  That means no horseback riding for me.  I'm even afraid to go to the Animal Shelter, because the last time I went, a dog tried to bite my forearm three times.  Had he broke the skin, I would have had to get medical care and the dog would have been sent off to a kill shelter.  The county's insurance would pay for my medical care, but I don't need the hassle.  I just don't want to take any risks that could result in us getting into deeper financial debt or in me getting disabled on any level.  I still have to make at lest one more 800-mile round trip to my mother's house to clean it out.  I'll need my arms to do heavy lifting.

I feel like I lost a year of my life when my mother died.  That's why we must always seize the day.


Anonymous said...

when we had to sell my mother in laws house we wrote up a contract that stated this house is being sold "as is", the buyer later wanted us to help pay for something but my husband said read the contract it says "as is" and that that.

Mikey said...

Oh man, what a crappy situation. I can't believe the hoops they make you jump thru when a person dies. That's just ridiculous. I'll be praying everything goes smoothly.
Your neighbors are bizarre. There just aren't words for how weird those people are.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I was going to say, get a picture of the plate or binoculars and read it off, turn it over to the cops and let them deal with it.

Funny that the neighbor is upset when they can't watch you anymore. I would have put the horses in, taken the chair over to the fence near her car, sat down in it and 'watched' her. Turn the tables on her. Make her uncofortable. Take delight in making her life hell. Relish in it. If she asks what you're looking at? Just look her up and down as you tell her "Not much".

Hoping things get better for you soon.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Or seize the tarp! Bombay's got the right idea. hehe!

Thank God for Divine Intervention and for those tiny miracles that get us through the unbearable moments.

And I agree that the waiting time for stuff to be processed is getting ridiculous!

Two months ago, I got a letter inviting me to apply to receive my full Pension money from my previous job with the airlines, so I included all the documents requested and filled out the forms....and waited.
About 2 weeks later, I received a simple letter saying they received my forms and documents. Great!

And then another 2 weeks later I received another letter saying that all of my paperwork was in order and they had everything they needed to approve my Pension money.
Sounds good!

After 2 more weeks, I decided to call them and ask how long it would take for my money to arrive and the girl asked me how long it had been since the first letter had been received. Then she laughed and said, "Oh it will take several months for the money to be processed and sent"

What? Seriously?

It's like the letters are sent to just string you along, to make you believe that they are actually doing something.
I say, instead of the pathetic letters and waste of paper, ink and postage, why not just send MY money and get it over with? Oy!


Jiller said...

I know what you are going through, I lost my Father in September of last year. Here's hoping for smooth sailing from this point on for you.

Perhaps you could add those green slats through your fence, I think they sell them at home depot or lowe's, Maybe even Walmart! That would fix your problem with the neighbors at least until you or they move!

Hugs, Hope better days are on the horizon!

Breathe said...

The tarp is a great idea.

I understand a little of the stress you're under, our life has a similar stress level around money, but I've decided to realize my limitations.

We can only do what we can.

I hope you don't give up riding, particularly since Gabrielle will need her training kept up to speed. You really deserve the joy that riding gives...

We are all learning a great deal from this experience and I'm dreading going through this with my grandmother and mother.

Dreaming said...

Oh, thanks for the laugh. One of the few I've had today. Your title was just so cute, despite the hassles you have to endure.

Caitlin said...

I too would suggest just selling the house "as is." My family has sold a couple houses that way and while they have to be sold at a lower price the burden of repairs does not fall on you.

And maybe you should just start doing little things like the tarp to annoy your neighbors. Maybe it would encourage them to relocate?

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, don't forget to take some time for YOU. I know you had a day this week to rest, but, being a caretaker is hard. Believe me...been there, done that. Yes, paperwork happens at a crawl...LOVE the tarp! Yes, it does make you wonder what in the world your creepy neighbors have in their yard...they are so bizarre!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Regarding selling the house "as is", we've already taken that route and it didn't work. There aren't enough buyers on the market now, and very few are flipping houses anymore. Now my real estate agent is talking about me fixing up the problems and leasing.

Linda said...

You come up with the best titles for your posts--Tarpe Diem is now a new rally call for me.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

The leasing idea sounds like a good way to at least not keep losing money paying for your Mother's mortgage. We did something similar when we had to relocate to South Carolina for 7 years and the real estate market was terrible. Our house in Rio Rancho, NM also needed some repairs and we weren't financially able to take care of them, so we found a leasing company, who handled all the rental ads for us, the interviews with potential renters, and then enforced all the legal contracts and rental payments. It was relatively pain-free and although we didn't make a profit by leasing out our Rio Rancho house, we were able to keep the house while having someone else pay for our mortgage. And them after John's and the boy's major auto accident, we were forced to sell our home in South Carolina and we were able to move back to New Mexico to our Rio Rancho home, kicking out our renters, and have a lower mortgage payment, so we could start over again.

California is a rental paradise, usually in favor of the home owner, because their tends not to be enough rentals to go around and the cost of homes are too high for most people to buy.
My uncle is a real estate agent and he has never owned a home for as long as I can remember. But they have rented quite a few homes. Renters tend to stay put longer in CA because of the lack of finding anything better to rent. And many times, the renters will offer to to do minor repairs on the house they're renting, with the hopes that they'll get a discount on their rent payments.
My Uncle replaced the water heater, did plumbing repairs, fixed roof leaks, did yard and garden maintenance, and a lot of the time, it came out of his own pocket. It was worth it to him and my Aunt, though, because they really liked the rental house, the rent costs and it's location.

Depending upon the legal aspects and that darn delayed death certificate, this might be an option for you.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - It's good to hear your experience with leasing. I'm getting a lot of pressure from people to do that, but before the house would be leasable, I have to come up with about $40,000 in major structural repairs and whatnot. (That's conservative. My real estate agent was estimating $150,000 in costs, but his estimate included kitchen and bathroom remodels.) Every room in the house has cracked walls and flaking paint, a gas line has managed to rise above the floorboards and needs to be relocated, the list goes on and on. I have way too much responsibility to have to manage a bunch of home repairs from a distance, so I'm not looking forward to it. Then there is our own house which needs serious repairs of it's own if we are ever to be able to move away from our crazy neighbors. If it were as easy as hiring a company to handle the business end, I'd do it, but my real estate agent says I'll have to make the house safe and improve its condition before I can lease.

achieve1dream said...

I understand the whole being afraid to do anything in case you get hurt thing. I'm in the same boat with my husband jobless and having no health insurance. It really sucks so I can totally sympathize with you.

I hope things work out faster than it seems they will. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.