Monday, January 5, 2015

Do you have THAT neighbor … ?

The other night, it went like this:

Arizona (peering out a front window through a decent snowfall): Is the German Shepherds' house is on fire?

Me: Now *that's* something you don't hear every day. (Comes in from the kitchen to hunker at the window beside him. Sees flames licking up alongside the brightly lit house, which is a river and a street away, but clearly visible through the winter-bare trees.) Wow! Maybe? Or could it be on their TV? In a fireplace?

Arizona (grabs binoculars--which are never far away, and make Darwin smile at his preparedness--and stuffs his feet into a pair of flip-flops--cause, yanno, Arizona--and heads out onto the front porch for a better look)

Me (starts pulling on a parka, hat, gloves and snow boots--cause, yanno, New Englander--makes sure I have my cell phone and realizes I don't know their street number, then sticks my head out front): What's the verdict?

Arizona: Well, *something's* burning, for sure.

Me: Let's go take a look. Dinner'll keep. (Heads back inside to put our dished-out turkey and rice in the microwave--cause, yanno, cats.)

(A minute later, with him having exchanged his flip-flops for boots and thrown on a parka, we stand out in our driveway. Which, for the record, could double as a ski-jump and is wearing a layer of fresh, slippery snow, leading down to unplowed roads.)

Me: What do you think?

Arizona: We'd probably get the car down okay. Not sure about back up. 

Me: Let's hoof it.

Arizona (eyes his could-deliver-baby-any-day-now wife): Um. 

Me: I'll be careful. Promise. And if I fall, I swear I'll aim to land on my ass.

(A minute later, safely down our driveway and trudging through the snow up our street.)

Arizona: Did you bring a flashlight?

Me: No. I can see fine. 

Arizona (Shoots me a 'but the cars can't see *you*' look and produces the flashlight he almost always has on him, along with a pocket knife and cordage.)

Me (defensive): I've got my cell phone. And my keys.

(Somewhere, Darwin shakes his head and wonders if I was the best choice for procreation.) 

(A couple of minutes later, having dodged two plow trucks and one SUV going WAY too f-ing fast on the snowy back roads, we get in range of the house in question. The lights are all on, but we don't see anybody inside, and certainly no sign of an 'eeeee, fire!' response happening.)

Arizona: Smell that?

Me (wrinkles nose): Wiring. Or at least burning plastic. Maybe vinyl siding? Think their electrical box committed suicide?

Arizona (comes around to far side of house and peers down driveway): Nope. Barbecue.

Me: Whaaaa?

(Sure enough, there's a BBQ on the porch, smoking away. The flames have burned down, but it's clearly the culprit. And it smells awful.)

Me: What were they doing, the ceremonial New Year's burning of the ex-husband's things? 

Arizona: Sure doesn't smell like hot dogs. Come on, let's head home. (As we turn onto our road, he glances back.) Glad everything was okay. Also glad we didn't just call the fire department without checking. You never know with those guys.

Because, you see, the house in question is rented by THOSE neighbors--the ones with a bunch of big, ill-trained dogs that, up until a recent Facebook spat with a couple of other neighbors and input from Animal Control, would bark 24/7 in their yard and routinely roam free, chasing cats (see above for picture of Lucy stuck fifty feet up after they had come and gone), jumping fences and muddying up pools. 

In fairness, things have been soooo much better since said FB altercation, but the dialog got pretty heated, and it wasn't like Arizona or I felt like we could call over and say, 'Hey, everything okay?'

So we hiked over in the snow to see for ourselves. Because that's what neighbors do, regardless, and we hope that if the situation was reversed, they (or someone) would do the same for us!

What about you? Do you have one of THOSE neighbors? Do tell!


  1. I live in a downstairs apartment. I've told my upstairs neighbors that I can hear every footfall so naturally they stomp harder and have regular bowling nights in their living room. That's about as bad as it gets for me at the moment. :)

    1. LOLOL on the bowling nights, and my sympathies! I once lived upstairs from a half-deaf musician who liked to come home stupid-late and crank the tunes or TV to unwind from his latest gig. Ugh. The rent was cheap, the heat was included, and if you craned, you could see the ocean. But I sure don't miss sharing air space!

  2. Some people really shouldn't have pets. This girl and her family up the road from us let their dog run up and down our road like it's no big deal. This draws my dog out of her yard to chase the other dog out of her property, which I can understand but it still gives me a heart attack every time because I'm so scared she's getting too close to the road (and though we live in a woodsy area, we do get a lot of cars speeding on our road). They just got another dog who went missing, so the girl was going house to house asking if people had seen it. She didn't think anyone was home. I was doing laundry so I couldn't get to the door very fast when I heard Mac sounding the alert. When I got upstairs, the girl was tapping on the window TERRORIZING my dog. I do not like those people. They don't take care of their animals and they mistreat mine. Not nice! Grr.


    Rant over.

    I think everyone has THOSE neighbors...

    How are you doing, Jess? I hope you are well and that you and Arizona had an amazing holiday! Stay warm...don't fall down...and keep us posted on the baby :) Do you have names picked out yet?


    1. Ugh! Sounds like they definitely deserve a rant (and should probably downgrade to pet rock territory).

      We're good, thanks for asking! The holidays were awesome, loved having the four-day weekend for New Years' and having a hard time getting back into work mode today, that's for sure!

      Baby H updates as warranted. He's got a name, but it's a secret until the deal is sealed and it's on all the paperwork!

  3. I have had those neighbors and somehow Been that neighbor.

    My neighbors next door let their animals run loose. They had one dog that suddenly disappeared that used to chase cars and Really hated my UPS guy. I dislike having to apologize for someone else's animals. One dog that constantly has ticks imbedded in its skin that my husband is forced to remove for him since his owners don't bother. This dog is at my house so often I set food out for him now , he sleeps on my porch and my kids pretty much think we have a dog. One tiny little Doberman pincher looking dog that wont come near us, but sits about 10 feet away barking at us any time we leave our house.

    When I lived in an apartment for awhile the downstairs neighbors filed a complaint about us because they said we were up til 3 am moving furniture around every night. I was pregnant at the time and going to bed with my oldest child around 8 pm. And if my husband was up at 3 am rearranging furniture then he put it all back before I woke up the next morning. I had No Idea what they were talking about.

    1. Ugh on the feral neighbors (figure we should blame them, not the dogs!). Good on you for picking up some of the slack--won't fix them, but I'm sure it makes a difference in the lives of those dogs. And snicker-snort-wow on the furniture. Wonder if said neighbor occasionally heard voices, too?

  4. We're lucky right now. But... back in the grad school years, we had an apartment (subsidized medical school housing) in NYC. The downstairs nurse retired and moved away after many, many years. Cockroaches invaded our apartment. Tiny, little ones by the hundreds. Jeff and I had to declare chemical warfare. We talked to the building's super and found out she'd been a total slob. When she moved, their food supply was lost, and they went looking for a new home. Ick. It was awful for a good month.