Shrubbery Flubbery

, , , , , | Legal | July 29, 2021

I have a very small piece of land outside the front of my house. I have a few mature shrubs growing, really just so it isn’t bare ground. I keep it in reasonable shape, weed it when I remember, and trim it before it really goes onto the path. It’s never been an issue before today.

I hear an angry knock on the door and I answer.

Woman: “Your bushes, they cut me!”

She shows me the sleeve of her coat; it is indeed badly torn.

Me: “Oh, I, err… I’m sorry. I had no idea it was on the path.” 

Woman: “Oh, he didn’t know. He didn’t know. How is this fixing my coat?”

Me: “There is nothing I can do right now. But if you leave me your details, I—”

Woman: “You take this and buy me a new one. My husband will be round later. You’d better pay.”

She throws her coat at me and leaves.

I feel awful. I figure I’d better trim the bushes back before anyone else gets hurt. As I go outside with the shears, I quickly realise that the bushes are well away from the path. They haven’t grown much at all since I cut them. Confused, I ask my neighbour if their doorbell caught what happened.

It did! It turns out the woman was on her phone, tripped over her own feet, and fell into the bush. It was hilarious; she waddled around for ages to get out.

When her husband comes around, I show him the video.

Husband: “I should be pissed off, but that was funny as f***! Can you send that to me?”

Me: “What about the coat?”

Husband: “Oh, yeah, I’d better take that, too. Sorry about my wife; she can be a real dumba** sometimes.”

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Well, SOMEONE Is Making Too Much Noise

, , , , , | Legal | July 24, 2021

I’m working from home when I hear a knock on the door.

Woman: “Your music is too loud.”

Me: “What?”

Woman: “Your music! I can hear it down the street!”

I strain my ears and I can just about hear the small Bluetooth speaker I have playing upstairs. It’s playing light rock, so it’s not as if it had swearing in it.

Me: “Look, it’s not loud and it’s not offensive. I’m allowed to play music.”

Woman: “No, you’re not! I don’t want to hear it anymore!”

Me: “Yeah, I have work to do.”

I shut the door and go back upstairs. I can see her dramatically waving her phone about and I’m pretty sure she is filming me. I ignore her, figuring she must be one sad, miserable individual to be like this.

Eventually, I get another knock at the door. It’s the police.

Policeman: “We’ve had a noise complaint. Could we have a chat?”

I invite them in and show them the tiny speaker I have been using. I show them that it couldn’t be anywhere near as bad as they’ve been told. I offer to give them copies of the CCTV, but they decline.

Policeman: “Thank you for your cooperation. I don’t see any reason to pursue this any further.”

Me: “What about the old woman?”

He thinks for a while and then sighs.

Policeman: “I will go around to speak with her. She has been raising complaints all summer. If she comes round again, tell her to speak to me, Officer [Policeman].”

He leaves and I think the matter is over, but a week later, I get another knock on the door. It’s her again.

Me: “What?”

Woman: “I told you your music is too loud. I called the police and they told me that they would arrest you if you did it again!”

Me: “Really? You mean Officer [Policeman]? I spoke to him, too, and he told me something very different!”

She goes white as a sheet and her mouth drops.

Woman: “Well, yes… Well, I… It’s still too loud!”

She scuttled away in a hurry. Thankfully, I didn’t see her again and got to work in peace.

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Those Pesky Kids, Buying Houses With Their Own Money!

, , , | Friendly | CREDIT: theambears | July 7, 2021

Back in March, my partner and I bought a house. It’s a big deal for us, and we’re so glad we managed to pull this off, especially right before the health crisis got bad. It’s a livable fixer-upper. The lady that lived here bought it in 1967 and was the only owner before us, and she made no updates in that time. It keeps us busy and that’s worked out really well, being home so often.

In May, my big project is pulling out some nasty bushes that have taken over a huge chunk of the front-side yard. It is hot. I am sweaty. I’m digging out roots and throwing branches. As I’m right up front and making a pretty drastic change to the yard, people notice. Most neighbors stop by, say a quick hello from the car, and drive away. But not this lady.

A neighbor pulls up in a shiny black suburban from the opposite side of the road, parks (the wrong way), and rolls down her window. I stand up and pause my music.

Neighbor: “Hey! Did you buy this house?”

Me: “Yep! Just moved in last month.”

Neighbor: “Did you know the family?”

Me: “Um, that sold it? Not really, we just got lucky that they chose us, I guess.” *Laughs*

I’m trying to be nice, but I’m kind of put off that they’ve asked none of the typical neighbor questions. We made a great offer.

Neighbor: “Yeah. My son really wanted this house. He grew up in this neighborhood, you know.”

Me: “Oh, darn. Yeah… houses move fast right now.”

Neighbor: “He spent his whole life in this area. He really deserved to stay in the neighborhood, you know.”

Me: “Yeah… That’s too bad.”

I’m having major “What the f***?” feelings now.

Neighbor: “How much did you offer?”

I’m not about to tell her details.

Me: “Over the asking price. We were proactive.” *Chuckles*

Neighbor: “Well, my son really wanted that house.”

I’m feeling quite awkward with this whole situation and just looking to shoo this lady along.

Me: “Yeah, well, I’m sure more houses will go up for sale around here.”

Neighbor: “Well, that doesn’t help him now, does it? He had his heart set on that house.”

I just exaggeratedly shrug and decide to resume my root cutting to try and give her the message.

Neighbor: “You’re probably flipping it. He would’ve loved it.”

Me: “Uh, no, we’re not. We are staying long-term.”

Neighbor: “Yeah, right.”

She doesn’t leave. I’m wondering if I should go inside or something. She just keeps looking at me, expecting me to say something. I keep cutting at a root.

Neighbor: “Is it just you, or did your family help you get it?”

I’m getting pretty short in tone.

Me: “My partner and I bought it together.”

Neighbor: “My grandkids would’ve loved the yard. A loved yard makes a house a home, you know.”

Me: *Not looking up* “Well. My dogs will love it… especially once I’m done.”

Neighbor: “Seriously?”

I just scoff, pull my root out, and throw it on the pile. I feel her eyes watching me. I’m really ready to be done.

Me: “Well… Have a good day!”

Then, with a last glare and an “URGH,” she sped off, leaving a quite annoyed and bewildered me in my dirty glory, mulling over what the heck had just happened. Did this freaking lady just try to guilt-trip me because we bought a house her son wanted? What the f***?

It was definitely the most unwelcoming interaction I have had since we’ve moved in. And I have not seen her since.

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Horsing Around And Being A Horse’s A**

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: Shifting-Parallax | June 4, 2021

I live in a rural neighborhood on five acres and my nearest neighbors are a sweet elderly couple about one acre from me. They’re perfect and we get along very well. I own my own home and have two horses and a cat, and recently, my mom has also moved in.

Here’s where things go south. My neighbors’ son and his wife and two girls — four and seven — live in the nearest city and don’t feel safe during the health crisis. I don’t blame them, and because my neighbors are saints, they open their home and the brood moves right in.

One morning, I’m letting my horses — a Clydesdale and a Welsh Pony — out into the front pasture, and I hear the most high-pitched squealing from next door. I pop my head out and the two girls are losing their minds. And I get it — little white pony and the horse from “Brave” — but still, they’re large animals they don’t know, so they should have the sense not to approach, right?

Pfft. Not a snowball’s chance in Hell. These kids sprint to the fence shrieking. The pony runs around in panic and the Clydesdale stands there with the same “WTF?” look I’ve got on my face. Then, the four-year-old starts to go under the fence.

H***. No.

Me: *Firmly* “Don’t you dare climb under that fence!”

I admit I’m kind of harsh, but I’ll be d***ed if I’m going to have my horses mow over a kid. I walk over to them and they look like they’re about to cry.

Me: “These horses are big animals and could easily hurt you. You must never climb under or over the fence.”

They go home and I clean stalls. An hour in, I hear someone banging on my home’s door, and I can see through my barn’s hatch door that my mom and the kids’ mom are having a conversation. The kids’ mom then storms down to the barn. I’ve never met this lady, but I know an entitled parent when I see one. Joy of joys. She starts going off on me.

Kids’ Mother: “How dare you make my kids cry?! They just wanted to see the ponies!”

She goes on and on, but when she takes a breath, I get my point across.

Me: “Ma’am, your youngest was crawling under the fence toward two large animals none of you know. That Clydesdale is a 2000-pound draft horse; he can literally crush you, not feel it, and do permanent damage. The pony looks cute but needs an experienced hand as he is very untrustworthy, flighty, and tends to bite. Your children are not allowed near them without my consent and heavy supervision, and they’re never allowed in the pasture with them. Do you understand?”

Kids’ Mother: “Well, if they’re so dangerous, why do you have them? Are you even allowed to have them? I should call animal control!”

And on she goes again, until I find a space to interject.

Me: “One, they’re my personal horses; yes, I’m allowed to have them. Two, your kids trespassed on my property; I’m trying to keep them safe. Three, this is not a petting zoo.”

She huffs off and I continue work. Later that evening when the kids’ father gets home, I explain what happened. He’s understandably alarmed. I explain how dangerous that situation is and he agrees. I’m optimistic about his reaction, but I know he’s often not home so I stay cautious.

Later in the next week, I’m working from home and I suddenly hear screaming — not excited screaming but scared little kid screaming. I rush outside and the four-year-old is bawling in the middle of the pasture. The pony is doing laps around the perimeter of the fence as my Clydesdale slowly approaches the little girl. The seven-year-old is crying outside the fence and calling for her mom, but clearly, their mom is not watching them. My initial terror recedes a bit because my Clydesdale is essentially a golden retriever in a horse’s body — the sweetest pushover in the world. He’s gingerly approaching her in a slow, friendly, way and being as non-threatening as he can. And with him so close, the pony won’t rush them. He’s probably about three steps from her, but I yell for him to halt, and like a good boy, he does. I make my way in with them.

Me: *To the four-year-old* “Are you hurt?”

She’s not, but she’s clearly scared, so I pick her up and walk out, making my Clydesdale heel to me just in case the pony gets a dumb idea.

The mom is STILL nowhere in sight, so I take them to my neighbors’ house. What proceeds is about thirty minutes of screaming and crying. The girls’ mother is the one to open the door, she starts screaming at me and firing off questions before my neighbors intervene. I tell everyone exactly what happened and my elderly neighbors BLOW UP — at her, not me.

Neighbors: “How could you be so irresponsible and negligent?! Your daughters could have been hurt!”

Kids’ Mother: “Well, if your neighbor didn’t have those horses in the first place—”

The mom keeps trying to throw the blame on me, but they aren’t having it. My neighbors apologize profusely and I go about my day until the father gets home. He comes by my place.

Kids’ Father: “I want to apologize for my family’s behavior and especially for my wife’s behavior.”

Me: “Thank you. I understand; they’re little girls, and I, too, know the allure of magnificent, fluffy horses! Their mom is at fault for not watching them. I’m just glad everyone is okay.”

The girls were still really shaken up, so I extended an olive branch. I was an overexcited kid who liked horses once, too, and I didn’t want this to completely traumatize them from being around horses.

So, the next day, I properly introduced them to my Clydesdale, with him in his stall with the inside hatch open and the girls being supervised by their father and me. They loved it and the Clydesdale loved the attention. Everyone’s happy, right? Well, except the mom, who took my olive branch as an offer to teach them horseback riding, give free lessons, and other crap, but her husband shot it down hard, and presumably so did my neighbors.

Since then, it’s been quiet. I did install a second electrical wire on the bottom of the pasture fence — not just on the top — just in case. And yes, they did test it. The seven-year-old got zapped pretty good and got in trouble with her dad. Aside from that, there have been no incidents other than them wanting to pet the horses when I drop evening feed once in a while. Here’s hoping it stays peaceful.

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Like A Good Neighbor, Mind Your Freaking Business

, , , , , | Friendly | June 2, 2021

I have a close friend who is black move into my apartment. Shortly thereafter, I spend three weeks downstate for work-related purposes.

As I am making my way down the apartment hallway, I run into an elderly neighbor who is well known for stirring up trouble and constantly complaining. For instance, she once called the police on a trio of second-grade girls who were selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door and apparently did not see or understand a posted “No Soliciting” sign.

Neighbor: “Does that black girl live in that apartment with you?”

Me: “Not that it’s any of your business, but yes — and yes, she is on the lease, so don’t even bother trying to report her because you’ll just be wasting your time.”

Neighbor: “Ho-ho-ho-ho! It’s worse than that! I don’t know where the h*** you’ve been, but that girl has been blasting rap music at all hours of the day, and there have been all kinds of people coming in and out of that apartment — day and night! I’ve already complained to the management, just to let you know!”

Me: *Cold stare* “Really.”

Neighbor: “She’s a rude little s***, too; twice I tried to talk to her when I saw her in the building, trying to ask if she lived there, and she just kept right on walking like she was too good to even look in my direction! Who the h*** does she think she is?”

Me: “Right. That’s because she’s hearing impaired. That’s not to mention she’s a painfully shy introvert who spends her time programming and blogging. So either there is some serious paranormal activity going on in our apartment, or you’re just itching for me to recruit the whole building to mob you out of your apartment — permanently.”

She stares at me for a minute and then starts walking into her apartment.

Neighbor: “I’m keeping my eye on her.”

Me: “I’m sure she’s flattered by all the attention.”

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