Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Everyone who has been reading my blog a while knows that a big part of my move to my new home was motivated by the need for privacy, as well as places to ride my horses.  So, when I moved into my new home and immediately started getting hit up by salespeople and religious groups, I had to put a stop to it.  My dogs were nervous wrecks with the constant knocking on our door, and I couldn't get anything done with all the interruptions.

So, I put a sign on the door asking people not to knock or ring the doorbell, but to call ahead.  Of course, strangers wouldn't have my phone number, so they were simply out of luck.  That was the idea.  Unfortunately, these pushy salespeople and religious groups started walking into my backyard and spooking my horses while I was working with them, nearly causing some wrecks and injuries.  So, I had to put up a second sign telling people that the backyard is off limits and to stay out.  That seemed to do the trick as long as people driving by didn't spot me down at the barn from the street, and just drive into my backyard without going to the front door and reading the signs.

So, today I was deep in thought trying to sort through messages on my phone when someone pounded really loudly on my back door just a few feet away from my head.  I jumped out of my skin and nearly pooped in my pants.  The knock was so urgent that I thought someone had an emergency.  My friend was out riding on the trails, and I thought maybe something horrible happened and she needed my help, but when I leaned forward to see who was there, I saw a young girl with nose and lip piercings and a dirty army jacket who looked like she was homeless.

The dogs charged the door barking and the girl jumped backwards.  Of course, I couldn't open the door, because they would get out and attack her, so I had to open a window.  I was trying to process why this stranger would walk right into my backyard and knock on my back door.  If someone did that in other parts of the country, they'd be shot, because backyards are very private.  The public is not supposed to enter private backyards unless they are burglars who intend to break into your house.  Just because we don't have fences and gates up does not mean our backyard is open range.

I looked out and saw that Rock was lying on his side in the sand and he looked like he was dead.  He does that for several hours every day, so it doesn't alarm me, but I could see how it might disturb a stranger who is not familiar with my horses' routines.  I figured she saw my horse from the street lying on his side and was trying to get the attention of someone inside the house to let us know our horse was down.

I opened the window and said, "I cannot open the door because my dogs will attack you."

She said, "Oh, okay, well, I was just talking with your neighbors Joe and Jack, and I have this thing here, and I was just wondering, ummmm, do you have any kids?"

I looked at the thing she was referring to and realized it was a pamphlet and she was trying to sell me something.  I was speechless, because...

A)  She totally trespassed on my property, probably after reading the signs to not go into my backyard.
B)  She scared the hell out of me by knocking so urgently.
C)  She didn't identify herself or her reason for disturbing me.
D)  She lied about talking to my neighbors Joe and Jack, because they were at work and not home.  She had to have either talked to them over the weekend or looked up their names on the Internet, and she was obviously trying to use my assumed familiarity with them to get her foot in the door.
E)  She launched into asking me a personal question without stating her intentions.
F)  She got my dogs riled up, which is the whole reason why I don't want people to knock or ring the doorbell, and they were sitting at the door barking for hours after she left.  Thanks a lot, you little turd.
G)  I was highly suspicious that this whole sales pitch was just a ruse to hide the fact that she was casing my property for a burglary.  The other night my husband's car alarm went off when it was sitting in the garage with the garage door open, and we suspect someone tried to break into it, because it would have taken an awfully large animal to set it off, and no one was anywhere near the key fob.

So, instead of responding to her nosy question, I told her to get off my property and I shut the window.  She contorted her face in anger and confusion and then marched off.  Perhaps she had no idea what she did wrong and maybe I should have explained it to her, but the girl gave me the heebie jeebies.  I just wanted to get away from her as quickly as possible.  I didn't see where she went, so I shut the garage door in case she had been trying to distract me while her friends raided my garage.

I was also nervous, because I knew my friend was going to ride her horse down my driveway any minute now and I didn't want this stranger coming around the corner and spooking her horse.  That was a big part of why I was rushing her off my property.  I did not want yet another person getting hurt because of trespassers taking my horses by surprise.

I've noticed that the homeless people who I usually see in town have been moving closer and closer to my neighborhood.  I'm always worried that one of them will jump out of the bushes at me when I'm riding a horse in the desert.  My husband had a homeless man with schizophrenia do that to him when he was out for a walk one day several years ago, and he called the police because the man threatened him.  I'm half-expecting to go out to my horse trailer some day and find a homeless person sleeping in it.

Well, at least the girl knows I have dogs now and that the sign on the door isn't a bluff.

I can't go anywhere in town right now without running into wall-to-wall people.  I went to a clothing store the other day and waited in line for 15 minutes for a dressing stall.  The women coming out of the stalls literally had shopping carts filled to the brim and overflowing with clothes that they were trying on, because this store didn't have a limit of how many clothes you can try on at one time.  Anyway, I was in my stall for no more than 2 minutes and I heard a women who had just gotten into line start bitching about having to wait for a dressing room and saying I was taking too long!  I only had a couple of items and I had to wait 15 minutes to try them on, so I was disgusted over how impatient and spoiled this woman was acting.  She said, "Back in Minnesota, we never have to wait in line for anything."

I almost burst out laughing, because she wasn't making the connection that she was contributing to the traffic jams here by simply coming to Arizona along with tens of thousands of other people for the winter, and as soon as she and all the other people return to Minnesota or wherever they are from, there will be no more lines here.  Anyway, after that experience, I thought, "I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait for temperatures to start heating up so all these people will leave.  They're driving me crazy."

In the summertime, no one knocks on any of my doors.  It's ghost town here.  I love it.


gowestferalwoman said...

Buy a few very realistic rattlesnakes that are "sunning". Place them in very obvious walkways.

That should at least keep the girl scouts away...

ellie k said...

We live in Florida where there are lots of snow birds, traffic is so bad and the shops are so busy. They like to tell us how they do it up north, I just want to say go back up north then. I look forward to
Easter when they will all be gone.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

gowest - I'm way ahead of you. I actually have a rubber rattlesnake on my front porch, along with a tarantula, but I guess now I need some for the back porch too. I saw the UPS man do a double take at them the other day.

lytha said...

oh nm, i feel so bad for you and those nosy pushy people! and trespassers, don't they know americans have guns? have you considered e-collars for your dogs to keep them from barking for an hour after people leave? on the lowest setting it only vibrates like a cell phone in your pocket, so it's startling, but not painful at all.

i have to agree with you about the dressing rooms being awkward. i didn't have the problem with lines as much as being subject to personal conversations told so loudly you could hear them echoing outside the dressing rooms themselves. last america trip it was college age girls talking about pants that give you a "camel toe" and i was so annoyed that i had to hear that entire conversation. of course i'm having reverse culture shock because germans are so quiet, and honestly i don't shop for clothes here cuz nothing fits. also, it's really easy to tune out a foreign language, i'm sure you know this.

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, that is exactly why we put a 6 foot fence around the front of our house! NOBODY can get through the gate and I leave the two dogs out front. However, a pesky gardener DID get through the gate one day a couple of weeks ago (the dogs were inside) and I was SO MAD I told him to GO AWAY! Grrrr.....We are only 1 block off a major street, but we hardly ever get any "intruders". And, yes, now I keep the gate locked from the inside.
~Cheryl Ann~

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lytha - My dogs are not the problem. They are quiet the majority of the time now as long as people don't knock or ring the doorbell. So, that's why I'm trying to train people. I don't want them at my house anyway, sucking up my time and trying to pry open my wallet, and I like that the dogs try to chase them off. I'd consider getting shock collars for the people, though.

Cheryl Ann - We like our freedom of being able to come and go in cars and on horseback without having to stop to open and close gates. I'm not going to invest tens of thousands of dollars into fencing or walls, because several neighbors around here have done that and these intruders will scale them to get to their doors. One man doesn't even have a front door, and still they knock on his windows. I'm just going to continue to let people know that their intrusions are a rude inconvenience and they are not welcome here.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Plus, there are other issues with fencing. If we did not put a fence on the south side of our house, people could still walk and drive through my neighbor's front yard into my backyard. If we did put up a fence there, we wouldn't be able to back out of our garage, because the people who built our house built the garage right up against the property line. Right now we have to back a little bit onto our neighbor's side yard to get out, and he's fine with that, but a fence would really cause problems.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh yeah, and my husband thought the lady was probably involved in this scam in which they try to sell you something, collect your credit card information, charge you for the item, but never deliver it to you. I cannot believe that some people would actually give a door-to-door salesperson their credit card information.

Sam said...

We have that problem too. The perimeter fence does wonders to keep folks out but there are a few brave souls that still come in. Without the fence it is pretty much a free-for-all.

My Mom has reported seeing a homeless guy around her house. I've been looking for his camp. I know there is a camp almost directly across from your street on the other side of Broadway in that great big wash. I almost rode over the guy on Baron two weeks back - he is hidden that well and I went down a wash without ever seeing him from the top. You want to have a startled stallion? Yikes!