Monday, January 30, 2012

The Hunt

After soliciting the help of a real estate agent to assist me in finding a home I can live with, she was only able to find one home that fit my criteria, and it's a short sale.  It was a newer, really nice little horse ranch that looked awesome until I saw the taxes and the fact that it is in a flood plain (which means expensive flood insurance) with a huge natural wash running through it. Also, it is set up just like my current neighborhood.  This house is the first on a dead-end dirt road, so all the other neighbors on the street have to drive right past the barn and horse paddock to get to and from their houses.  It's not a problem if they just go to work and come home and go to the market, but if they are hyper drivers like my current neighbors, coming and going every five minutes, then it's a pain.

The agent altered my criteria to show me that I can get more hits if I'm willing to make some sacrifices.  She increased the price (to an amount I can't afford), included a pool (something I'm not willing to maintain), decreased the number of acres I want (the need for more outdoor space is the whole reason why I'm moving), and removed the horse facility requirement (which is not an option).  Sigh.

I just don't think that we are looking in the right area, but my husband wants to work in Phoenix, and since he's the main bread winner at the moment, I have to do what he wants.  If I can some day make more money than him writing novels, then I can live wherever I want.  I'd really love to improve my lifestyle, which is something I cannot do with the neighbors I currently have.  The thing is that if we are going to spend every penny of my inheritance and go through the huge hassle of moving, it had better be to the right home.  I do not want to end up in the same situation or a worse situation than I am in now.

I stopped sleeping in pajamas and am now sleeping in my clothes every night, because I literally cannot step outside for two minutes without having an audience, even at 2:00 AM when I just run outside for a minute to chase the deer off.  This morning I rolled out of bed and went outside to feed the horses at sunrise.  I said something out loud to the horses, and instantly heard a noise behind me.  I whipped around just in time to see my nosy neighbor ducking down behind her car.  What was she doing outside that early in the morning?  It was freezing and she had no chores to do in her front yard.  She wasn't walking her dog.  She was doing nothing other than getting into my business once again.

The other day I saw that the nosy neighbors had left in their car to go somewhere, so I ran outside to clean the manure in my horse paddock along the fence line, and I instantly heard their engine coming back up the street.  I had to grab my wheelbarrow and run before they pulled up next to me and stared at me.  I thought, "This is ridiculous.  I'm on my own property yet I feel so uncomfortable having these neighbors near me that I can't even do my chores outside."

They make such a big production out of going places, getting all dressed up, spending hours loading their trunk with stuff, locking and unlocking and relocking up the house, only to drive somewhere and be gone for no more than two minutes.  They are so weird.  I wish they would just go away for several hours and let me have some space.

Unfortunately, because I always run away when they drive up, they are now suspicious of me and come up to my fence and look around to see what I was doing.  I think they might suspect that I'm throwing manure into their yard or something, but it is simply that I can't stand having them stare at me so intently while I'm doing my chores.  I used to run away when the previous neighbor lived in that house too, but in her case it was because she was a non-stop talker and would not let me get my chores done outside if she spotted me.  She had this urge to spill her life story to me and would not shut up even when I said I was busy and walked away.

The horses threw one of their balls over the fence months ago, and these neighbors walk past it every day, but refuse to throw it back over the fence to my horses.  Maybe they think it is theirs?  Actually, I don't think they know what is theirs anymore, because they allow so many people to store junk on their property.  I used to just get my son to climb the fence really quick to get the balls that the horses toss over, but he's not around to do that for me anymore.  I've contemplated walking over there to get it myself, but don't want to give them any ammunition to use against me.  Since I always chase them and their dog off my property, I know I can't go onto theirs, even if I'm just trying to retrieve a ball.

Sometimes I think they've got a camera pointed at my property and the ability to view the images remotely, and then when I come outside, they race home to try to catch me in the act of doing something. It feels like they are chasing me away every time I try to do anything in my horse paddock, because they come tearing up the street in their vehicle like they are headed toward a fire, and then once they park next to me, they sit there in their car forever watching me like they've suddenly got all the time in the world.  It feels like I am their destination.  It's unnerving. 

I've been having this problem in which I shut the horse trailer tack door and make sure it is latched tight, and then the next time I walk outside, it's swinging open.  I thought the latch was just getting flaky again and didn't think much of it until this morning.  You see, when the door is swinging open, I usually look around in the tack room to see if anything was stolen, and nothing ever is missing.  That's why I don't think anything of it other than that the door is getting flaky.  However, this morning Bombay kept biting Gabbrielle in the rump to tease her, and when I chased him off, he'd come right back and bite her.

I wanted make a lasting impression in him that he is not to tease his sister, so I grabbed the lunge whip out of the tack room to chase him around with it.  I got irritated, because the whip was tied in a knot again.  I paused and thought, "Again?"

Yes, each time I would use the lunge whip, there would be a knot tied in it.  Why?  I wasn't doing it.  The only other person who lives with me has no interest in horses and never goes near my tack room.  It would break the laws of physics for this whip to tie itself into a knot while it is propped up against a wall in a closed room.  Right?  I know that when I last put the whip away it wasn't tied in a knot.  I always untie the knot, because I don't want to take out an eye with it.

I know that sometimes you can tie a whip in a knot when you swing it around and crack it, but this whip was not in motion at all.  I put it away in the trailer knot-free, and the next time I pulled it out, there was the knot.

So, somebody has to be trespassing on my property, getting into  my tack room, and tying my whip into a knot, or at least swinging my whip around so that it ties itself into a knot.  What a bizarre thing for someone to do, though.  What would be the motive? 

Because the calling card Peeper is no longer living with the neighbors, I stopped locking the gate.  It's a pain having to remember the combination and struggle to get that lock open every time I need to walk through that gate, which is multiple times a day.  So, I get lax and stop locking it.  Then these bizarre things start happening around my property again.  I know the old man is too crippled to walk all that way, and the calling card Peeper is gone, so it has to be either the woman who is always walking back and forth in front of my house or the kid she babysits.

The other day I walked outside and found the kid sitting in the dirt playing right up against my fence.  I shook my head in disgust, because he's got two acres to play on, and he always has to be right up against my property interacting with my horses.  I guess the horses on his side of the fence aren't interesting enough.  I was also annoyed that once again no one was supervising the child.  They must have seen me from the window shaking my head, because the father came out and said to the kid, "How many times have I told you not to play there?"

It makes me wonder if the kid is coming over onto my property to play.  He's not being properly supervised and obviously doesn't respect anything his father says.  So, unfortunately, it looks like I now have to start locking my horse trailer tack room in addition to locking the gate.  It's annoying that every time I have to take a new security measure to keep these freaks off my property, I end up just creating more barriers for myself as well.  I can't get around and do my chores as easily with all these locks.  I have to waste time searching for keys and combinations.  These neighbors are turning my life into one huge fiasco.

Today a man in a truck hauling an old appliance drove up to their place.  I thought, "Oh great, I guess they don't have enough junk and need more, because they are having it delivered now."

Much to my surprise, he started loading my neighbors' junk and old appliances up onto his truck and hauled some of it away.  I was shocked.  They've never made any effort to clean up their property, which now makes me wonder if perhaps they might be moving.  However, I don't want to get my hopes up, because chances are they just saw my handyman hauling off some of our junk from the jobs he did, and decided to be copy cats.  Whenever I do anything out of my routine, I find them doing the same thing a few hours, days or weeks later.  It's like their minds are blank until they see someone else doing something, and then they decide they have to do the same thing.  It's also possible that someone reported them for storing trash on their property.  I've heard several neighbors and visitors to the neighborhood complain about it recently.  One man said, "Don't they have any younger relatives who can help them get that place cleaned up?"

I said, "Yeah, and they come for dinner every night, but never actually do anything to help."

I suppose the couple could be hoarders, and perhaps their kids have tried, but can't do anything about it.

I just can't figure out why they went to all the trouble to pick up that junk, haul it to their house, unload it, and let it sit around rusting all winter only to have someone pick it up and take it to the dump.  Maybe they tried to sell it and failed.  I've been looking for a unique love seat to use as a photography studio prop and am amazed at some of the junk that people try to sell for the same price someone could get it new.  I think they are delusional.  I don't understand why so many people have a hard time differentiating between something usable and garbage.  I suppose one man's trash is another man's treasure, but someone would have to be quite a talented artist or refurbisher to handle some of the junk I've seen for sale by owner and not get Tetanus from it.

I also suspect that a lot of these pawn shop / storage auction / junk hunter TV shows are a bad influence on people.  They give viewers the impression that people are getting rich collecting junk.  What they don't show is the amount of work that goes into researching the market, finding sellers, finding buyers, finding the right people to refurbish the junk, the amount of energy, time, and gasoline that it takes to haul it around, etc.  In the end, the $200 they make as a profit was something that cost them probably months of their time and was hardly worth it.  Plus, I doubt they are factoring in all the expenses, because if they did, there would probably be no profit to report, which would ruin their TV show, which is what is really making them money.

It's just that the enthusiasm that these junk hunters have is contagious.  I used to feel that way when I was a gem hunter.  I found hundreds of crystals and other gems, all of which are pretty much worthless, but it was all about the hunt.

I'll leave you with a link to some hilarious photos taken around Russia:  Let's just say, I'm not interested in moving there.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Bummer about the house search. I guess with the current economy, people can;t afford to move and sell their houses, because they can't find anything else affordable either. I'm not sure that it's buyers or sellers market. Maybe it's neither?

We have a new neighbor that moved in on the other side of us that are starting a nice sized junk car collection. They live in a dumpy tiny mobile home and have no garage and no storage or workshop, yet have at least 4 junk cars and trucks outside...all rust buckets. Do they really think they're going to fix them up and do what? Use them? Sell them? Crazy!


TeresaA said...

I know from my own experience how frustrating it can be to find the perfect farm. I ended up buying a property I had discounted before. But once I saw it- I fell in love. We did have to build the barn, fencing, riding ring- but the property was so cheap we could. I would say look at the acerage you need and then look at everything after that.

When I was looking I wouldn't even go into the house until I had inspected the property (and barn if there was one) because there was no point in looking further if the property wouldn't work. Drove my agent batty until he figured it out. :)

Cappy said...

You can always fill in a pool... That's a "feature" that can be removed.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sorry to hear that the agent has the idea to change what you want in (and on) what will eventually become YOUR property. You are the one spending the money, you should have the final word on what you want or don't.

As TeresaA said, we found we would spend an hour +/- looking at the horse set up and property before making a quick 10 minute jaunt through the house. If we were going to be outside with the horses all day- the house was not our main focal point.

I don't blame you on the pool. They are nice to have but if you don't use them- you still have to take care of the damn thing. Just something else to break IMO. If anything, you may consider dropping your max price. Then whatever you find, you can afford to put in exactly what you want, where you want, the color you want, etc.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm not blaming the agent. She was just showing me what preferences needed adjustments to fit most housing in the area. Houses, their features, and land are all very different throughout the country and are set up the best way needed for the climate and whatnot. Most homes in the desert have pools whether you like it or not, and in the Phoenix area it is difficult to find homes on more than 3 acres. If I moved to the Midwest, I could probably buy a home on 40 acres, but I'd be dealing with snow and have difficulty finding jobs.