We bought this house a little over 2 years ago, and we’ve been working hard to fix up every inch of it.
Our project this summer was the great outdoors. Or at least, our small portion of it. So we took down the old, ugly fences and built new ones. Then we bought tons of plants and planted our little hearts out.
One area we planted is a 10 ft wide strip of land located between our backyard and the street. It’s an odd little strip of land that leads nowhere but to our backyard. It was overgrown and ugly but before we planted anything I went to the permitting office to get the proper permit.
I’m a bit of a rule follower. I look up ordinances and laws and follow proper procedure. But that’s just me.
After waiting for nearly 4 hours I was told that the area was our planting strip, and therefore our responsibility. They said, “No permit needed. YOU MUST maintain that area.”
I wish they had given us a permit anyway, because the neighbor behind us, well, let’s just say he’s not cooperative. As soon as he heard we had plans to make the area pretty he began parking both his car and his trash cans there.
Skip to yesterday. While we were working in our backyard, the neighbor, his wife, and grown daughter popped over to chat.
First out of the daughter’s mouth was the accusation that I had been aggressive with her dad. Later in the conversation I discovered that he thought I had knocked too hard on his door one day, a year ago. I guess my super strength got away from me, because it had felt like a normal knock.
But wait, there’s more. The daughter then accused my family of targeting them because we’re racist. She also claimed we had made her parent’s home too unsafe for her to bring her two small children by for a visit.
Huh? In the 2 years we’ve lived here we’ve talked to the man maybe half a dozen times. I thought it was all pretty friendly. So either my very voice sounds threatening to him or it’s all about the planting strip. But that still doesn’t make sense, because how does planting ground cover and lavender make us racist or add danger?
The conversation lasted much longer than it should’ve, with the man repeatedly saying we needed to compromise. His version of compromising meant we would do exactly what he wanted.
But wait, there’s even more. We were then accused of stealing from them, and by the end of the conversation we had also been called crazy and childish.
To round it all out, they ended the conversation by saying they planned to sue us.
I still don’t know over what.
And all the while the man kept saying, “I want to be a good neighbor.”
Too bad he doesn’t know what that means.