The house next door has been under contract and in escrow for a couple of weeks. My ex-neighbor has been calling me a lot asking for a variety of favors, but trying to be careful not to overstep the bounds I placed on her. Her latest request was for me to spy on the home inspector and take down his name and company information. Needless to say, I didn't do that for her. She called while I was out on my trail ride yesterday and left a message to inform me that her husband was on a plane flying out to inspect the condition of the house himself and do some repairs. I thought, "Well, it's a good thing I got one trail ride in this week, because once they show up, all bets are off."
The man is actually pretty good about not asking me to physically help him. He just borrows ladders and tools and our Internet connection and printer from us, but he makes it difficult for me to ride my horses because he's always either doing yard work with power tools or doing something up on a ladder or up on his roof that worries my horses. My arena is right next to their yard and house, and I have to ride past their house in order to get out onto the trails. I went outside when Rock finished his breakfast and took note that no one was around, so I saddled up, celebrating my good luck that I would be able to trail ride one more time this week without neighbor-caused spooks.
As I rode up the driveway, I heard a car approaching, and I stopped Rock. It whizzed past us and the driver held up a finger as if saying, "Wait a minute. I need to talk to you."
I didn't recognize the car and couldn't see anything but a silhouette in the driver's seat, but when it pulled into the driveway next door, I knew it had to be my ex-neighbor. I rode across the street and stopped in front of his house and he came out of the garage to talk to me. He didn't take up much of my time, because he knows that my riding time is sacred. He said he'd talk to me later.
There were truck tracks all over the desert, so I knew that the power company had been out doing their inspections some time since yesterday morning. The good thing about them bringing trucks up the bridle trails is that they widen the trails by knocking down overgrown brush, which makes it safer to ride horses without stepping on rattlesnakes. I decided to stay on the trails they made since it's been such a snaky spring.
At one point we reached the end of a widened trail where the tracks cut away and take a different path. I decided to turn Rock around and go back the way we came. He was acting weird, being hesitant about moving in any direction, but I got him going once I assessed that there were no rattlesnakes in the vicinity. We were walking along when he alerted on something. A hiker had somehow passed us on a trail nearby without either of us noticing. I hoped she had earbuds in her ears, because I had been talking to Rock the whole time we were turning and walking back the way we came. Some people think you must be crazy if you talk to animals, but my animals understand every word I say.
All that green grass we had a few weeks ago is now dry and loaded with stickers. I don't like plucking them one by one out of Rock's feathers and tail, so I'm no longer cutting across trails. I stay in the dirt, off the dried grass.
When we rode on a trail close to my street, one of my neighbors must have been doing yard work, because he kept dragging a trash can around, and Rock felt he must stop to look every time he heard that noise. It was getting annoying, so I pushed him down further and then we came across another neighbor who was doing yard work with a tractor, and Rock was obsessed with that, so I turned him back the other way because I wanted to just ride without all the gawking.
When we got back to the trail head, Rock alerted on my ex-neighbor bobbing up and down in the bushes with a chainsaw in his front yard. I pushed Rock to keep going and he danced around, and then decided he wanted to run toward the neighbor and chainsaw, as opposed to running away from them. I swear, this horse is more like a dog. The problem was that he was so excited that he stopped listening to me. I was just a fly on his back. So, I wrestled with him until he stopped, and I dismounted and made him walk across the street past the man with the chainsaw and then headed back to the barn.
He didn't want to buy it "as is" even though he knew he was entering into an "as is" contract, and according to the seller, most of the things that the home inspector said were broken were things the inspector himself, the buyer, Looky Loos and real estate agents had broken while touring the house. People kept leaving lights on, so the sellers got dinged for lights not working. They weren't working because the bulbs burnt out because people carelessly left the lights on. I felt bad, because I saw that people were leaving lights on and leaving gates open, but I didn't notify the sellers because I knew they'd make me go over there to fix everything, and I was busy.
The buyer was obviously on the fence about purchasing the place, because I'd never seen a person take so long to make a decision. I knew something was wrong, because he had been haunting that house daily up until this week. I haven't seen hide nor hair out of him recently, and was happy to finally be able to ride my horses without interference only to have the seller show up this morning and start a whole new slew of spooky activities.
The time of year when homes sell around here is coming to a close, so it looks like next door may remain vacant for another year. That's both good and bad for me. It means I won't have to deal with annoying neighbors, but it also means that I will have to deal with annoying Looky Loos and squatters. The sellers have given me permission to kick people off their property if they are trespassing without an appointment and an agent, but the truth is that the owners won't be able to sell the house if they don't let these intrusive people look around at their leisure. I've been putting up with all the trespassing, because I want the house to sell. I don't want to spend the rest of my life updating these ex-neighbors on the condition of and activities surrounding their property, and dealing with strangers crawling all over the place invading my privacy. Even if I have nosy neighbors next door, at least they aren't nosy strangers. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, I suppose.