The horse's pasture to the East...

Monday, May 23, 2016


We live next to the "neighbors from hell". Over the months they've been here I've tried to laugh at their behaviors, use descriptive language like " challenging" and "an opportunity to learn" and so on and so on and scooby dooby do on. But I am now ready to lay it out there. They are major league asshats. I can't even use an exclamation point. It's an honest statement that needs no other description.

I've tried everything I have in my repertoire, things I've learned over the years to smooth the waters. I've taken them cookies, stopped to chat, used gentle suggestions like, " I hope Apple and Miniver aren't bothering you when we go out for last check, to hay the horses. Sometimes the deer in the yard are just so exciting. Let me know if that's the case. We'll do our best to solve it." (We're never out for more than ten minutes and the dogs bark a few times, but you get my drift here. It's a hint. What I really want to say is, " Would you just stop with the ATV and cross country motorcycles and rap music and country music cranked up so high the walls shake! Please, stop shooting your guns. " And so on and so on and scooby, dooby do on.)

This past weekend was exhausting. I think there is a real possibility their 14 year old teenager may be hyper active. 'It' was out on the ATV flying around in circles, tearing things up and driving on two wheels, at one point on one wheel and then airborne! 'It' went on all day long while they had another one of their parties, endless parties, with people drinking, music cranked up, yelling at each other and no one, not one adult paying attention to this out of control kid who had other little kids on the back of his ATV holding on to nothing and being thrown all over the place. 

It's so bad now that we have tools laid out in the carport where we can get to them in seconds, a pile of clean towels set up to stop blood flow and have 911 on speed dial and keep our blue tooth thing a ma bobs in our ears, connected at all times. I've practiced my red cross revival skills, caught up on the newest information and we've done simulations. Both of us are that certain that sooner or later there will be a terrible accident. 

Yesterday I decided to mow. Rain is coming all this next week. I don't usually mow on Sundays. I don't want the noise to bother people but the noise next door was already so loud I was pretty sure my attention to detail was meaningless and the grass was turning in to a meadow. I have good earphones, the kind that block noise. It was actually a relief to put them on and mow!

Except, except I found myself mowing and crying. The kid flying around and around tearing up the ground and driving on one or two wheels kept speeding past me. They were all so oblivious! All I could think about was how much I enjoy caring for the land, listening to the quiet, drinking up the quiet, touching and living in the quiet and how I have friends who still have things to do, stories to tell, gardens to plant and they're dying. And these disconnected people next door are so cavalier with their children's lives! It doesn't compute. 

I kept chanting to myself, " It's not my rodeo. It's not my rodeo. It's not my rodeo." Except, when it's so in my face, something I can't get away from, it becomes my rodeo. I do not want to see a child injured while the adults responsible for their safety, party. Talk about self centered and thoughtless...

I've been keeping track of events; taking photos of the car chassis and parts piling up on the yard, videos of the ATV racing and music, parties and shooting. But basically it's been made clear that the new landlords, an endowment of a local university, are going to do nothing. And the sheriff has been clear too. They haven't technically broken any laws ... YET. Unless one of us or the animals are hurt and we have proof, nothing can be done. 

For the first time in all of the years we've been living here we are treated with distain. Because we are the ones who are quiet, who care for the land, live without bothering anyone, we are on our own until something bad happens.

Let me make this clear here (this has become part of my record keeping too), these people have broken their contract over and over. They have animals they have not paid deposits on, living there. There are way more people than the original person who signed the contract, living there. They are shooting on a preserve and destroying the land with ATV and motor cycle traffic. They smoke and litter and no one says or does anything while we live with them in our backyard. And during the year that it took for the land to change hands we were told, over and over, that we are liabilities. The university does not rent to people with animals. (We were lucky in that the former owners did go to bat for us, made our long term lease part of the contract for sale without our having to pay more rent or the outlandish fees for liability insurance they insisted we get. We already have insurance. No reason to buy more. But endowments are beasts of their own class focused on one thing : MONEY.)

I do not deal well with unexpressed emotions or with doing nothing when something so clearly needs to be done. And, basically, we've become hostages to these people. It's a reflection of the chaos in the world, on a tiny scale. My horses are out there, easy targets. (I've already lost Buddy to an accident at the top of the drive, where the ATV is being driven day and night. I can't prove who hit him but I know. Not even a , "Sorry Mrs. Ness. I didn't mean to kill your cat." ) 

Here's the odd part. When I walk over with yet another idea to try, another way to peacefully resolve a situation that will only be fixed when either we move or they do but here I am, Nancy the Optimist, still trying... when I talk with them, they aren't bad people. They're just oblivious to the chaos they live in and cause around them. I don't honestly think they know  they are making everyone who lives across or up and down the hill from them crazy with the constant noise, commotion or filth. (I won't say dirt. I like good dirt. I'm a Master Gardener. It's been a love of mine for most of my life.)

So today I am genuinely tired, frustrated, exhausted and dumbfounded at how easily things can change. Aging I expect. I'm kind of enjoying the process, am fascinated with it. But this  thoughtless behavior from a well known institute of education and the people they've brought in, the lack of empathy and consideration or respect, appalls me. 

I will not name anyone here. Being sued for possible liable is not my goal. But I will tell you Orcs are in the Shire and I am past worried and moving on to joining Frodo and his band. I'm ready to form my own "army" of elves, hobbits and white wizards to deal with the Evil Eye on the land, sending it's horrible scope across the home I've loved. 

It's not my rodeo. But then again, it is! One more thing. My other solution is to keep building gardens, more and more flowers and herbs and vegetables and fruit. I am making this place sing with color. Color as a weapon ... not a bad response. 

I am, ever yours, with dark circles around my eyes, and flower magic under my belt, ready for action and smiling. Well, action after a nap but still, willing. I am, ever yours, Miss Nancy, Wizard hat in place and standing my ground...sighing.

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