Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors

I loved my next door neighbors on the West side. They bought their home just after us and we were fairly close, sharing barbecues and card parties and gardening tasks. I even helped her plant a rose garden opposite to mine that is still lovely and thriving. Last fall they decided to build a home out in the country for their growing family and they sold their home to a retiree.

As much as I missed them, I wanted to give the new guy a chance. Today I've made an official decision on the matter. I hate my West Side Neighbor otherwise known as 'The Misanthrope" or "TM". While I was pruning the roses he came by to tell me he is going to tear out his garden, put gravel down and build a six foot privacy fence between our yards and by the way, you won't mind if I build on your property line, right?

If there was ever any doubt as to my Southern origins, it was put to rest as I smiled, and said "Won't that be nice?" while trying desperately to remember where the property line diagram is stored in our office so I can file an injunction. Now to be clear, it is not the idea of a fence that I am opposed to, it is the type of fence TM is proposing and the manner in which he approached me about it.

Item One:
We are not talking about a back yard fence. This fence would be visible from the street. A professionally installed iron fence would be attractive and blend well into an automated driveway gate like many of our neighbors have and be in keeping with the neighborhood. TM wants to install a wood privacy fence and driveway gate he builds himself "that will keep these nosy people on our street from looking in my yard". The ham fisted piece of junk he is describing to me will not only be an eyesore, but it will block all the sun to my beloved rose garden.

Item Two:
TM put the fur on my neck right up with his "nosy neighbor" comment. And who would these nosy neighbors be? The retirees and parents of well behaved young children that surround us? Who does he think would call the police for him, or bring him food or help him with his lawn if he were ill? I LOVE my nosy neighbors. I'm proud to be one of them.

Item Three:
He tells me that he is yanking out his roses (that I helped to plant) and putting down gravel in anticipation of the new fence. "What kind of moron puts bushes by a driveway?" Duuude. It is so ON.

For now I watch and wait and get my ducks in a row. Here's my plan of action:
  • First I'll wait to see if he really does go through with it.
  • Next I'll rely on my city's extremely strict building code for fences. I think it's a safe bet that he will try building without a permit. Being the good citizen that I am, I will of course need to report him.
  • If he actually does apply for a permit, I'm sure he will not be up to code. Uh-oh! Time to call the city again!
  • If all else fails, I'll just have to take him to court for property line infringement. Somehow he doesn't strike me as the type to go to court over a fence (even if he is a mean old misanthrope).
My Spouse's plan of action? I believe it will be something along the lines of refilling his scotch glass and turning up the volume on the tele to try and drown out my grumping. Men just can't recognize an imminent crisis unless it's brought to their attention. Repeatedly. Don't you agree?