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It’s An Incredibly Annoying Day In The Neighborhood

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | April 29, 2022

In 1979, when my husband and I were first married, we bought a house near the university in the good-sized city where we lived. We liked the neighborhood for a lot of reasons. The nearby university had a lot of energy around it, and there was always something going on: free concerts, lectures, exhibits close by, etc. But our street was a quiet little backwater, off the main drag. With the exception of a mom-and-pop grocery store on the corner fronting the main street, the only other nonresidence was the church across the street from us. Everything else was a one- or two-family house.

Right next door to us was a single-family house. The owner lived nearby and owned several houses, living on one floor of a two-family a block or two away. We’d see him around sometimes. He charged people, usually students, $100 a month for a room with use of the bath and communal kitchen and living room.

There were anywhere from four to six students in the house at any given time. Most of them would move in and stay for a couple of years until they were out of school. We got along well with most of them, doing the usual neighborly thing, taking in mail, watering plants if they were out of town, and that sort of thing. For the most part, they were usually so busy with work and school that they had no time to misbehave. There were the usual parties and such, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Notice that I said, “for the most part”. There was one group of students who proceeded to make life hard for everyone on the whole street. They moved in a few days before the fall semester began. They were three guys and two girls, most of them wearing T-shirts from the same high school, so they were freshmen, friends from high school starting college, out on their own for the first time.

They were loud and rowdy moving in, but no one thought much about it at the time. School had not yet started and everyone was excited. Everyone assumed they would settle down in a couple of days when school began. We were wrong.

Apparently, the party started as soon as they moved in. Music was blaring from every open window, and people were on the front porch catcalling passersby and neighbors in the yard. The porch roof was flat, so they were up there sunbathing, eating, drinking, and throwing garbage all over the sidewalk and neighbors’ yards.

That was bad enough, but the worst was parking. I know parking in the area was usually tight, but there were no trendy bars or restaurants to bring people in, and the church across the street had its own parking lot, so except for a little while on Sunday morning or Wednesday night, there weren’t any on-street church parking problems, and you could usually find space across the street in front of the church.

It didn’t seem to matter to these kids; they parked where they wanted. About half the houses had driveways and we found ourselves with our driveways blocked — sometimes just fudging by a little, sometimes totally blocked. Everyone up and down the street had this issue. It got to the point where if my husband and I came home, more often than not, one of us would have to get out and go get someone from the house to move their car. The alpha girl told us:

Alpha Girl: “You can always come and we’ll move our cars, no problem.”

Me: “I’m getting tired of having to get your permission to use my own property.”

She ignored me.

One Friday night, my husband had to work late. It was well after 11:30 when he got home, and of course, our driveway was blocked. He laid on his horn, but the usual Friday night loud party was going on and no one heard. He got out of his car and knocked on the door. Nothing. Finally, he parked his car and came inside, and we called the police.

The police arrived a little while later, and apparently, the flashing light did what all the knocking and horn hadn’t. The door opened and seven or eight people ran out. We also came out to speak to the officer. The blonde ran over to the officer and demanded to know what he was doing. He looked at her and said:

Officer: “Writing a ticket. What does it look like? This car has completely blocked this driveway.”

Alpha Girl: “But the girl who owns that car is a visitor! She didn’t know; she shouldn’t be responsible!”

Officer: “She’s never seen a driveway before? Must be from a really small town.”

He finished writing the ticket and put it on the car.

Officer: “Does one of you own the blue [Car] down the street?”

Kid #1: “Yeah, that’s mine.”

Officer: “You need to move it before you get a ticket, too. You’re also blocking a driveway. I’ll be back again on patrol, and if both cars aren’t moved, I’ll call a tow truck and have them towed. You also need to turn down the music before we have a noise complaint.”

He left, and the blonde girl turned to us.

Alpha Girl: “I told you, all you had to do was ask and we would have moved the car!”

Husband: “I tried. No one answered.”

Me: “And I told you, we’re tired of having to get your permission to use our own driveway.”

They went back into their house, but I guess the life had gone out of the party as the music went off and so did the lights.

It was a quiet weekend for once, but that ticket would prove to be the opening volley of a vicious conflict. By Monday, music was blaring out of every window and door all day long, not just when they were home. If they were home, they were on the porch, now yelling at anyone and everyone obscenities and other unpleasant things. Parties every weekend got louder and bigger. The girls would go up on the porch roof and flash people. Of course, by the time the police got there, nothing was happening and they couldn’t really do anything.

One day, I got home from work and got the mail. Included was a letter addressed to one of the male students. I almost marked it return to sender, but from the return address, it looked important, so I decided to do the right thing and take it over. The three guys were on the porch doing their usual catcalling when I walked up.

Me: “[Kid #2]? There’s a letter for you.”

[Kid #2] smirked.

Kid #2: “What is it? An apology for how you treated us? Maybe if you f*** me I”ll consider forgiving you.”

At that, I threw the envelope on the porch.

Me: “It’s from your probation officer, jerk.”

I walked away. He jumped up, grabbed the letter, and ran inside while his buddies laughed.

After that, they doubled down on their usual hijinks. In addition to their routine, our newspaper would disappear from our porch and be scattered all over the yard, trash cans got upended and trash would be everywhere and even worse, in addition to the trash they usually threw around, they started throwing glass beer bottles into our driveway so we always had to check for broken glass every time we went in or out. And, of course, we could never catch them.

Finally, one day, I came home to find the piece de resistance. One of the guys had an old junker of a car. It one looked as if it had been hit front and back; both ends were crunched up so much that the car had an inverted V in the middle. My neighbor told me that they had somehow pushed it home and left it parked squarely in front of my house for us to look at. And they left it. It didn’t move for ten days or two weeks maybe; it just sat there.

One day, someone from the city came and asked me about a report of an abandoned car.

Me: “I think it belongs to someone next door.”

I guess the kids saw me talking to the city official and assumed I had been the one to call. It wasn’t me, actually; it turned out to be the minister from across the street, concerned that it was a safety hazard with all the kids in the neighborhood who were always out playing. And God knows what the thing was leaking all over the street. And the car didn’t move then.

The next day, Karma reared her pretty head. I don’t know if the city official did something, or whether the police finally caught up with the car owner, but the next day, the car got booted — for unpaid parking tickets, according to the stickers left on the car. By the end of the day, the car was gone with nothing but an ugly stain on the street left behind. I figured we were in for it. And I was not disappointed.

The next day, a sign went up. They put a four-by-eight sheet of beaten-up plywood on the front porch with a fairly obscene message painted on it, telling the neighbors where we could all go and what we could do when we got there, in graphic detail, accompanied by some pretty crude graphics. The artist was not too talented, evidently.  

I told my husband we should batten down the hatched and brace ourselves; it was probably only going to get worse. But I was wrong.

Silence came — absolute radio silence. The sign disappeared, the music stopped blaring, there was no one catcalling on the porch, no trash, nothing. We wondered if they had all died, but no one in the neighborhood cared enough to go check.

Several days later, someone knocked on our door, and we opened it to find the landlord from next door.  

Landlord: “First off, I’ve come to apologize for all the problems my tenants have caused. I’ve been renting to students for years and I’ve never had any problems like these kids before. I’ve had more complaints in these last two weeks than in my entire career. But they won’t be a problem anymore.”

Me: “How can you be so sure?”

He got an evil smile on his face.

Landlord: “I keep a room in the house that I never rent out; I keep it for when my brother comes to town. I’ve decided to move in there while I have some work done on my apartment.”

He shook my hand and left.

And he was true to his word. The students behaved themselves, the sign went out in the trash the following week, and there were no more problems.

One day, I was out in my yard when the blonde came home. She glared at me and I couldn’t help myself.

Me: “Having fun with your new roomie?”

She glared knives at me, went into her house, and slammed the door. There were no more problems for the rest of the year.

Peace came back to our street once again, and by the beginning of the winter semester, there were a whole new group of students next door.

Everyone’s Huffy About The Huskies

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 19, 2022

After my wife and I got married and moved into our townhouse, we got a dog. I’ve always loved huskies and so did the wife, so we got ourselves a Siberian husky.

We’ve been living in the area for about a year now, and I take my dog on daily walks. The weather dictates how far we walk. My dog loves everyone and wants to meet everyone. Most people in the area recognize my dog and me as we’re walking.

One day, a resident of the neighborhood stops us as we are walking and my dog is more than happy to say hi!

Neighbor #1: “I saw your dog running around the neighborhood the other day. Good to see you got him back.”

Me: “No, he’s never off-leash. There’s no fenced yard here. Any time he’s outside, he’s with me and always on a leash. Huskies love to run, and you’d be hard-pressed to get him back if he starts running.”

Neighbor #1: “Oh… Well, I could swear it was your dog. Looked just like him. Have a good day!”

We continue our walk.

A few days pass, and I have another quick conversation with a different resident as I’m walking my dog.

Neighbor #2: “Your dog has been running around the neighborhood on the loose and causing problems. He’s been chasing rabbits and other neighborhood dogs.”

Me: “No. My dog is never off his leash. I don’t appreciate you making wild accusations and not minding your own d*** business.”

The person looks really offended that I’d speak to her like that, and I went go my way.

So far, multiple people have told me they’ve seen my dog outside running around all willy-nilly, causing havoc. Sadly, it sounds like someone’s husky got loose and is just running around the local neighborhoods. 

The next day, a third person approaches me as I am walking my dog and has a similar story. I explain to them it’s not my dog and go about my business.

A few days pass and I don’t get harassed, and I figure it’s over.

My husky and I are walking down a sidewalk when, all of a sudden, I hear the front door open on one of the townhouse units I just passed. My back is to the door as my dog and I are walking away.

Lady: “Hey!”

I don’t respond to “hey”. If someone wants my attention, they can be respectful and use something more like, “Excuse me, can I talk to you?” or the use of “Sir”. I don’t give jerks the time of day. I keep walking, ignoring her.

Lady: *Louder* “Hey! HEY!”

I continue to ignore her.

Lady: *Louder, almost yelling* “Hey, you! HEY!”

I continue to ignore her.

Lady: *Screaming now* “I’M TALKING TO YOU! YOU! HEY! WHAT THE H*** IS YOUR PROBLEM? ANSWER ME! HEY!”

I continue to ignore them and keep walking. I hear their door slam shut. My dog and I finish our walk and enjoy the rest of the night.

The very next day as I’m walking, we happen by the same townhouse unit where some lady was screaming at me. The lady steps out of her townhouse when she sees me walking.

Lady: “Hey, I was yelling for you the other day. Why didn’t you answer me?”

Me: “I don’t like to encourage rude behavior, and I don’t answer to ‘hey’ or ‘you’. If you want someone’s attention, do it respectfully. I don’t owe you any kind of answer if you’re going to continue to be rude and disrespectful.”

She looks a bit stunned, almost like I slapped her in the face. She doesn’t seem to know what to say next and I don’t care. I keep walking and start to turn away from her.

Lady: “Your dog has been running around loose harassing other dogs!”

By this time, I’ve turned completely away from her and I’m walking down the sidewalk.

Lady: “Hey! What are you going to do about it?”

I ignore her and keep walking.

Lady: “Hey! You!”

I give her a middle finger as I’m walking away, and I yell back”

Me: “I’m not going to do a g**d*** thing about it.”

I heard her door slam shut and that was the last I ever had to deal with her.

I don’t know what happened to the husky that was running around loose, but I do hope it was safely found and returned to the family it got away from or at least found a new home.

Huskies are good at escaping and running, so don’t think they’re safe in your fenced-in yard if you don’t have a nice tall fence. Even then, they like to dig and could possibly go under the fence. So, please keep a close eye on your husky if you ever get one, and understand that they need a lot of exercise and shed like crazy.

A Cat In Your House Is Worth The Same In The Bush

, , , | Friendly | March 24, 2022

My cat thought the outside was a bit scary, but she still wanted to go out and explore it. Since she was chipped and spayed we let her out when she wanted. Sometimes she stayed out while I went to work, then as I got home she jumped out from the bushes next to our door to go inside with me.

One day she didn’t, so I went out to call for her, knowing she sometimes was away on some adventure, but always close by. However she still did not come. At first I thought perhaps she wandered farther than usual, so I went out regularly to call for her but she never came, so I started wandering further away to call for her as well.

That weekend I put up notes in the neighbourhood, and cried a lot, worrying for her. I made calls to local shelters as well but no one had seen her. After several weeks, I gave up, and went on my planned holiday.

That is when I get this call from a mother.

Mother: “Hi, are you [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mother: “Are you missing a cat?”

Me: “Yes, have you seen her?”

Mother: “Yes, she’s here with me and my daughter.”

Me: “Oh my god! Thank you! Where was she? Where did you find her?”

Mother: “Well we found her some weeks ago when visiting my mother, she seemed so scared and thin, malnourished, so my daughter and I took her into our car and brought her home.”

Me: “Really, where was this?”

She describes the exact area where I live, the bush outside my house, during the time she disappeared.

Me: “Uhm… she was malnourished?”

Mother: “Yes, we’ve given her lots of food but she doesn’t eat enough. So we were worried she was sick and took her to the vet and they checked her chip, so that is how we found you.”

I usually leave food out for my cat to eat how much she wants, as she has no issues with controlling that herself. She is a thin cat though, so those used to overweight cats usually think her skinny. But what really annoyed me was that they had my cat for weeks and didn’t think to check for a chip.

Mother: “There is nothing wrong with her though, you’ll be relieved to know. My daughter is really fond of her, she is fitting in very nicely here, I believe she is very happy here.”

Me: “Well I get back in a few days…”

Mother: “Alright, well we can bring her back then but there is no hurry, we don’t mind keeping her here.”

Me: “Well thank you so much! I’ll contact you.”

As I get home they come to give my cat back, giving me lots of cat food and cat sand as well. It is all nice and everything, but I noticed them watching me very closely with my cat, who seemed very happy to see me, and this made them sad, I could see it.

Me: “Just to clarify, did you find her in this bush?”

Mother: “Yes exactly! To think she lived right here.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Mother: “If you ever need someone to take her we would love to have her.”

Me: “No it’s alright, I usually bring her along on travels.”

Mother: “But those cages can be so traumatizing…”

Me: “Yeah she doesn’t like them very much so I usually let her be in my lap. Thank you again! Goodbye.”

They texted me regularly after that, to see if I needed help with the cat, and once I saw them from the window searching in the bushes. They gave up after a couple of months though.

Out In The Garden And Out Of Control

, , , | Friendly | March 22, 2022

Dogs aren’t supremely common where I was living at the time of this story. Most properties were more or less built into vertical cliffs, so having a fenced-in space for a dog was difficult at best.

It’s not a law outside of required areas, but it’s generally accepted that when you walk your dog, you keep it on a leash. The only times I saw someone with a dog not doing this is because the dog was so old that “racing into the road” was less likely than “being able to make it through the walk”

Enter a neighbor and their Keeshond (basically, a labrador-sized ball of fluff and speed) and his love of chasing cats. My cat hated the road but would always follow me up the steps to it when I left for work, and often sat on the stairs waiting for me.

Turned out this dog did not have a leash and loved to chase cats. We found this out when my flatmate heard awful barking and the cat screeching before lunging into the safety of my room. His owner casually stood at the top of the stairs (almost three stories up from our house, five from the garden the dog was now in) calling for him to come back. It took about half an hour to round up the wayward dog.

That’s it, lesson learned, right?

NO!

This started to happen every week until my cat learned the beast’s routine and hid. While as far as I can tell the fluff-beast will not run out into the road, but if you go walking at the same time as him, you WILL be part of his territory now.

P*ss Poor Effort

, , , , | Friendly | March 21, 2022

Several years ago, I was out walking my dog on the sidewalk next to a fairly busy street. My dog veered off to the nearest grassy patch to relieve herself. As most people probably already know, dogs can assume two different positions, depending on the nature of their business.

My dog had rather obviously assumed Position #1, raised leg and all. As my dog was watering the dandelions, a car swerved from the main street and stopped in the bike lane of the side street just ahead of me. The driver rolled down her window to shout:

Driver: “Aren’t you going to pick that up?!”

She sped off when I pointed out that no, no I could not.