We Have Got To Get A Playground

, , , , , , | Legal | November 21, 2020

I have been noticing a lot of minor and odd occurrences in the car park that my garden backs up to. It’s little things, like my valve cap covers going missing, toys left in the road, my bin disappearing, drinks and rubbish left all over and on the cars, etc.

It’s annoying but nothing major, so I chalk it up to the new family that just moved in and hope it will sort itself out.

Eventually, I set up a couple of cameras and unsurprisingly see the new family’s kids messing with cars, throwing rubbish around, etc.

One day, I find a football in my garden. I check the cameras and see that the kids have been kicking the ball against my fence and actually other people’s cars! The ball goes over my fence, and then they actually try to come into my garden — thankfully it’s locked — and give up. I’m pretty annoyed, so a few days later when their father arrives at my door, I am ready for him.

Father: “I’m very sorry, but my kids kicked their ball into your garden. Could I have it back?”

Me: “No.”

Father: “Please, I am asking as they did it only by accident. It was their present.”

Me: “No. You see, I put up cameras. And what do I see? Your children damaging cars, throwing rubbish around, and then trying to get into my garden. You can have your ball back when you promise to actually supervise your children and they apologise.”

He disappeared without saying a word.

On reflection, it occurred to me that I had no right to keep the ball, and I felt pretty bad. I figured I would throw it back over the fence after a day or two.

It was a surprise to see the police at my door the next day. I let them in and confirmed that I would return the ball, but I also showed them the camera footage. They took particular interest in the cars the kids were interfering with and they visited each of the houses.

It turned out that no one wanted to take the issue further, but they did speak with the father to inform him of what could have happened, and how he would be responsible for any damage his children caused.

In the end, he stopped letting the kids play unsupervised in the car park. Hopefully, he didn’t just set them loose on another neighbourhood.

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Really Gotta Work On Your Delivery With New Neighbors

, , , , , | Friendly | October 7, 2020

The water pipe under our lawn has sprung a leak, and to fix it, the plumber needs to cut off the water at the main, meaning five houses along our street will have no water tomorrow morning. I’m knocking at the neighbours’ houses to let them know.

I get to the home of a new neighbour I haven’t met yet. I knock and she yanks the door open, holding a large parcel that she tries to hand to me.

Neighbour: “About time! Here!”

Me: “Uh, hi. I’m your—”

Neighbour: “Come on, you’re late! I need to go out.”

Me: “I’m not—”

Neighbour: “Would you just hurry up?!

Me: “Look, I’m—”

Neighbour: “God, where’s your scanner? Hurry up!

Me: “I don’t—”

Neighbour: “You were supposed to be here an hour ago! Oh, my God, I’m so late. Would you just scan this?!

She thrust the parcel at me and let go, and I grabbed it in reflex. Then, I stepped back, set it on the floor, and walked away, shaking my head. She stayed standing on her doorstep yelling after me, and I just walked to my own doorway and opened it. She stopped yelling. I looked back at her, and she was just standing there, looking suddenly very embarrassed.  

I guess she’ll find out the hard way that there’s no water in the morning.

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That Mom Must Be Dog Tired

, , , , , , , | Friendly | September 18, 2020

It is a pleasant day and my mothers group and I have taken our kids to the park. We’re on our way back to the house for lunch when we come across a stray dog which is determined to rumble with my dog.

With no owner in sight, we manage to separate the dogs, get back to my house, calm the dog down, and put him in the garage with some water.

I start messaging the number on the dog’s collar.

Me: “Hi! My name’s [My Name]. I found your dog on [Road] in [Town]. He’s okay. We just have him in the garage having a drink of water.”

Reply: “Which one?”

I express to my friends that that was not quite the kind of response I was expecting, having found their family pet, but I continue.

Me: “His collar says his name is Jesse. He’s black and white.”

Reply: “Okay.”

I talk again with my friends about the weird reply and they all egg me on to just call the pound and tell the owner to go there. I think about it but I’m kind of intrigued now, and I want the best for the dog, so I keep going.

Me: “When do you think you can come and collect him?”

Reply: “I’m not sure.”

Again, my friends think this was a ridiculous response and start looking up the numbers for animal control when my phone rings from an unknown number.

Me: “Hello?”

Woman: “Hi! I am so, so sorry. I’m the owner of the dog you found. I left my phone at home today and my twelve-year-old was answering the messages. She just called me and read the conversation out. I’m so sorry; you must think us very rude. I’m just leaving work at [Location] now to come and collect the dog. Is that okay? Thank you so much for looking after him!”

She arrived soon after and collected her dog and gave me a box of chocolates. She had a sulky looking pre-teen in the car with her who looked like she had just gotten a bollocking. Poor kid.

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Small Town, Big Country

, , , , | Friendly | July 1, 2020

Several years ago, we moved to a tiny town in Eastern Ontario very near the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Ottawa has huge celebrations for Canada Day, July 1. We’ve learned that areas surrounding Ottawa view themselves as detached from Ontario and Canada, but we didn’t realize by how much until this conversation.

The area is also very insular, not recognizing much of the world beyond its own boundaries. During our first summer in the area this conversation occurs.

Me: “Does [Small Town of about 75 residents] have any Canada Day celebrations?”

Local Official: “Yes, on [date in June rather than July 1].”

Me: *Puzzled* “Is that so the celebrations don’t conflict with those in the [Very Nearby Capital]?”

The official speaks in a tone as if I’d suggested a perversion.

Local Official: “No. Nobody goes to that! It’s so it doesn’t conflict with the big celebration in [Nearest ‘Town’ of a few hundred people].”

Me: “Okay, so we won’t miss that!”

We go to the June celebration in the tiny town, which is a picnic with very modest fireworks in the evening. On July 1st, we go to the festivities in the nearby “big town” which centres around a parade. The parade consists of locals driving their own undecorated cars around the main drag for an hour, followed by two horses. I speak to a local at the parade.

Me: “Have you ever been to the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa?”

Local: “What?! There’s a parade there, too?!”

Me: *Internally* “We have soooooooo moved to the wrong place.”

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The Secret With Dogs Is Consistency

, , , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2020

A neighbor’s dog, large but still a puppy, has slipped her collar. The dog is usually very well-behaved and has learned commands well. The neighbor is pretty friendly, laid back, and in control, so I am a bit surprised to see the dog running back and forth in the street as the young man chases after, swinging her leash and cursing and yelling at the dog to stop.

Of course, the dog thinks it is a great, fun game and keeps running, staying close but out of reach, and nearly getting hit by cars a couple of times. “Stop” is probably not a command that she’s been taught.

Me: “[Neighbor], stop and command [Dog] to ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’ She thinks you’re playing with her and she’ll keep running if you keep chasing her.

Neighbor: “She’s my dog and I’ll handle it my way. Butt out!”

As I watch, the “game” continues for several more minutes, the neighbor getting more and more frustrated and upset at his dog but still chasing after her and cursing and shouting. Finally, after the dog is nearly hit by another car, he stops running.

Neighbor: “[Dog], sit! Stay!”

The dog immediately sat, allowing the young man to walk right up and slip her collar back on and lead her back home.

Although it was hard not to say anything, I didn’t, as I was glad disaster was avoided and I didn’t want to antagonize the already upset young man. The next time I saw them, the dog was wearing a sturdy harness, and for several weeks after, the neighbor avoided eye contact with me.

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