The Old Man is in a feud with the neighbors.
To be fair, the neighbors are pigs. They have an all concrete backyard where they keep their yellow lab 18 hours a day. They never walk her, and she pees and poops all over the concrete. Then they leave it there for several days. It makes using our backyard, particularly on very hot days, distinctly unpleasant, to say the least. After the Old Man and I had a talk about it one day recently, I’m pretty sure he called the health department on them, because that’s just nasty.
They also have this whiny little kid who drives me insane. He’s about 7 now, I guess, but he seems to have been the same temper tantrum-throwing age for the past 5 years. He’s spoiled rotten. One day, his mom was going out with one of the older kids. It looked like she was going out to run some errands, you know… quick stuff that she wanted to just get out and get done. That kid stood on the front stoop and screamed for 5 minutes straight. Instead of settling him down and telling him no, the father stood there and watched him scream until the mother got out of the car and came back to get him.
This kid is constantly kicking soccer balls over their fence into our yard. Most of them go into my garden and wreak havoc. I’ve asked nicely, time and again, for him to please avoid doing that, to no avail. One afternoon, I picked up one of his balls for the umpteenth time to throw it back into their yard, and the kid shrieked at me, “That’s miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“I know,” I replied tossing it at him, “And keep it in your own yard.”
From that moment on, I started throwing those balls in the trash every time I see them in my yard. I think his father picks through our trash to get them out.
Last year, they had a new roof put on their house. That was good; they really needed it. Problem was, the roofers threw all the old roofing tiles down off the roof onto our side lawn. I was afraid to go to the mailbox for a week, because they weren’t looking where they were throwing stuff, and I nearly got hit a couple of times. As a result of having roofing tiles land all over it at high speed for about 5 straight days, our side lawn was trashed. The Old Man had to completely dig it up and put in a new lawn this spring. He was seriously not amused, and the neighbors basically told him to STFU when he bitched about it to them.
I think things are going to come to a head soon. When the Old Man put the new side lawn in, he also started paying a lot more attention to the front lawn, throwing seed down to fill in some bare patches. To keep people off the new grass – we live on the corner, and people are constantly cutting across the lawn to save themselves 10 feet or so by staying on the sidewalk – he put wooden stakes around the property line and ran some tape between the stakes. I never really paid much attention to what the tape said, but I now know that it says: Caution – Unground Electrical Wire.
How do I know this, you ask? Because this morning I heard banging on my front door, along with frantic bell-ringing. When I stomped down the hall to answer the door, annoyed and ready to bitch out whoever was being so obnoxious about getting my attention, I found myself face to face with about 12 firemen. With a truck and everything.
Apparently, “several neighbors” fear for their safety, what with this buried electrical line and everything. Apparently, someone’s dog was electrocuted in my yard this very morning! And, apparently this is the second dog to be electrocuted in my yard.
Apparently, someone is making spurious complaints to FDNY.
I think the guys couldn’t figure out why I was laughing at first, but I explained to them that no, there is no buried electrical wire. The yard is perfectly safe for people and pets. In fact, I walk around barefoot in the lawn quite often, and I take my cat out there on his leash. They stuck around for a while to wait for the Old Man, then left, asking me to tell him they were there and that they’d be back.
I have no doubt this was the neighbors, trying to get back at the Old Man for calling the health department. I think it may backfire on them, though, because the Old Man is going to talk to FDNY about tracing the call and prosecuting the people behind this “prank.”