Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Day Aftermath

I approached this Independence Day by ignoring it.  I hoped that by pretending like everything was normal and nothing was happening outside, my pets would survive without injuring themselves.  I gave Midge her anxiety pill as a precaution, and she passed out.  I think that and her deafness got her through the night.  Scrappy was also unaffected due to his deafness.  Stewie was on edge, perched on the back of the couch watching the sky light up outside and growling at the explosions.  At one point, he decided he had enough and ran to the bedroom to bury himself under the covers.  Getting him to pee outside was impossible with explosions going on all around us.  The house smelled like urine, so I knew I'd have a week ahead of me of heavy sanitizing.

In years past, the horses seemed to handle the fireworks pretty well, so I wasn't concerned about them.  I went outside around 10 PM to let them out of their stalls, like I do every night.  Bombay was visibly nervous.

Right when I was removing his fly mask, some idiots drove up the street honking their car horn and throwing firecrackers out their window.  That was too close for comfort for Bombay and he bolted out of his stall, up the barn aisle, and across the arena.  Lostine and Rock were already out of their stalls at that point and they took off with him.  Gabbrielle was the only horse still locked in her stall, and she was running in circles, occasionally attempting to jump the railing.  I knew I had to get her out of there fast before she hurt herself, so I threw the gate open and she took off like a race horse, kicking a rock up into my eye.

A piece of manure also landed in my mouth.  Yuck.

The horses were racing around the arena, and the next thing I knew, Rock and Bombay were in a full on kill-or-be-killed battle, kicking, striking, and biting each other.  I grabbed a rock off the ground and charged them to break it up.  I knew Rock was the instigator, so I took off after him and chucked the rock at him, totally missing, but getting my point across.

I asked for Gabbrielle's help in keeping the boys under control, but something about her seemed a little off.  She charged Rock, only to stop short of him, spin in a circle, lay down and roll.  She had an upset stomach.  Once she was done with her roll and rose up, all three horses gathered around Gabbrielle, looking to her for leadership, while Gabbrielle watched me, waiting to see how I was reacting to all of these explosions around us.

I audibly exhaled, and all the horses lowered their heads and settled down.  I shut off all the lights and headed back to the house trying to be as Zen as possible.  My jerkwad neighbors were lighting up strings of firecrackers in the street while their dog barked non-stop.  Then I heard some animal screech as if it were being tortured.  These are the neighbors who tore up our land in their souped up golf cart, and when my husband told them to stop, they came to our house and stood on our doorstep calling him names.

Remember those two young men on dirt bikes who have been sneaking around my street, trying to get out on the bridle trails?  Well, I finally figured out that was those jerkwad neighbors.  They bought a couple of off road motorcycles.  Several evenings in a row I noticed the horses alerting to the north, and when I stepped outside, I heard what sounded like a chainsaw on my next door neighbor's patio.  I thought the neighborhood burglar was stealing more of their statues, so I went over to investigate, only to find that the noise was actually coming from two doors down.  However, there was thick foliage between where I was standing and their back yard, so I couldn't see what they were doing.  It turned out that they were working on motorcycle engines.

I figured that out a few nights later when I could clearly hear someone racing a motorcycle around in their back and front yards.  However, it sounded like they were also in my next door neighbor's vacant lot, which they used to do on ATVs until my neighbors erected an expensive fence all the way around the lot to keep them out.  They had actually made a driveway for themselves across my next door neighbor's property and had been parking their vehicles there like they owned it.  I wouldn't put it past them to take down a section of fence and start using it as a motocross track now that my neighbors have moved out of state.

So, two nights in a row I tried to sneak over there with my zoom lens camera to catch them in the act of trespassing on my next-door neighbor's land before calling the police.  I wanted visual proof, because the police are notoriously slow in responding to calls.  However, somehow, some way, the motorcyclists saw me coming, shut off their engines, and hid.  I decided that next time I hear their engines, I will approach from the arroyo with my camera, because they'll be expecting me to come down the street.

Anyway, it's no surprise that people who are rude enough to tear up their neighbors' land with off road vehicles are also rude enough to scare the hell out of all the animals in the neighborhood by setting off firecrackers all night long.  My next door neighbor calls them "The Beverly Hillbillies", because those neighbors are super low class, but somehow got the money to buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood and ruin it for everyone else.

In the morning I went down to the barn to assess the damage.  Bombay had a swollen bite mark on his flank.  Rock had a cut on his leg that was still bleeding, probably from Bombay kicking him after Rock bit him.  I broke out the first aid kit and fly deterrent, because the entire wound was swarming with flies.

Who says a few fireworks never hurt anyone?

I'm all for celebrating Independence Day, but can we do it without explosions?  Fireworks mimic the sounds of war, which can be terrifying for war veterans suffering from PTSD as much as it is terrifying for animals.  The biggest thing I miss about my old neighborhood where I lived before this is that all fireworks were illegal.  If someone wanted to experience them, they had to drive to South Lake Tahoe where a designated show was put on by licensed professionals.  Anyone caught setting off fireworks without a license was arrested.

Here in Arizona, every year we get more and more private firework displays being put on by random homeowners having parties, as well a people illegally shooting bullets in the air, not caring where they came down.  They keep the paramedics and firefighters busy, but their patriotism is more important to them than safety, so there seems to be no sign of peace and quiet on the horizon for as long as I live here through another Independence Day and New Years Eve.


Camryn said...

Totally understand. My next door neighbors who we totally get along with had company last night. Their company brought smoke bombs and firecrackers. When I went to put the new mare away, I nearly Threw up from the stench of sulphur. Thankful the mare didn't seem bothered. Though I found a baseball in the middle of her paddock. Which means company threw it at her before I brought her in. Texted the neighbor with a pic of it and mad face. No reply yet. The house is for sale, so hoping for quiet neighbors. Being its five bedrooms, it's doubtful.

TeresaA said...

what idiots. What is it about these days that make people nuts? I refuse to go anywhere on Canada Day because I would just be too worried. Fortunately it was nice and quiet.

Judi Daly said...

Fireworks are illegal here, but you would never know it. I just don't know why people even shoot them off. I hate them as much as our animals.

ellie k said...

Fireworks are illegal here but are sold on every corner over holidays people have to sign for the big ones saying they are fish farmers and need them to scare away the birds. Birds dive down in the fish ponds and catch the baby fish. The fire works were much louder and longer here last night I think.

Linda said...

Crazy!! We left town during the day, but got back early enough to supervise. People around us don't do fireworks because they're illegal, but the town next to us is the go-to place for them and it sounded like a war zone. My brother lives there and he texted at 10:30 pm that Fallujah--ie his town--was going full on with no end in sight. I could hear it loud and clear--lots of explosions.

RuckusButt said...

I'm with you - fireworks are a nightmare for our animals. I hate them now.

Jen said...

Thankfully, we had a "quiet" fourth this year. Most of the kids in the area are older now, so no neighborhood fireworks to speak of. Though we do have a huge display right up the road at the fairgrounds, it's about a mile away so the horses were okay with it after the first year (that would be the evening I spent in the pasture "hanging out" to keep everyone calm - we watched them together over the tree tops ;o)

We've had all sorts of "problems" with a family that lives over the hill behind the boy's stalls. Nothing that would be considered bad per se, just sudden loud and strange noises that spook horses (like remote controlled race cars and a mini dirt bike roaring over the hill). Must be one of Murphy's more obscure laws; it always seemed to be right at feeding time (when everyone's back was to that fence). Thankfully, I haven't heard much of anything lately. Well, except for the golf cart full of screaming kids zipping around out there yesterday... That was at dinnertime, naturally.

Mrs. Huckleberry said...

Ugh, I feel your pain. One of your neighbors started lighting them off the end of last week.... some went off Monday night/Tuesday morning around 2am. That behavior is completely inappropriate. Time and place people... time and place.

Cheryl Ann said...

You know, we too ignored it this year. We are only 1 1/2 blocks from the civic center, where the big fireworks show is, and we stayed inside and watched a movie. There was one BOOM! which shook the whole house. Our dog nearly crawled up in our laps, which is why we always want to be home July 4th.

Oh, and Quad chocked on something after the kids left Monday. It was horrible to watch. He FINALLY dislodged it, but I got 10,000 new gray hairs!

I had to have 2 gin & tonics that night.