First things first. I walked out the front door of my house to inspect the front flowerbed while chatting with a friend on the telephone. Two neighbors (one, a real and permanant neighbor; the other, the latest in a string of man-friends to the real neighbor who owns that unit to my right. The way that household seems to work is that her men get ordered around to do everything she says. She says jump and, while it may be slow and not particularly high, the menfolk will eventually move in what appears to be a jump-like gesture. The lady neighbor can do that because (a)it's her home, (b)she's the working person and (c)those men she finds have noplace else to go. The unfortunate thing for them is that (a)she's mean (b)she's never NOT pissed off about something, (c)she uses the menfolk as built-in babysitters for her grandchildren. I don't think those fellas knew they were signing up for babysitting other people's children gigs before they begin to woo her, and they most definitely wouldn't have stayed on had they known what a fun-filled tot jamboree it was going to be. When the grandkids are around it means (for me) going inside and closing the doors until late night until the children have been collected. Otherwise I am forced to witness the car wreck that is the 'watch your brother' system, where bigger brother does not, in fact, watch his two smaller sibs but instead, finds a stick and starts whacking the youngest (also a boy) against the throat with it.
I didn't intend to vent about My Bad Neighbor(pat.pend.). I guess their household just caught me offguard again today when the landscaping company owner came to speak with me at the same time I was being approached by both my Good Neighbor and the man-friend of My Bad Neighbor. Let's call the man-friend George. It might be his name but at this point it could be ANYTHING (I'm having "I'm Darrell, this is my brother Darrell, and that's my other brother Darrell" flashbacks) and I've lost track of which one he is. Chances are good his name is not George, so George he'll be.
George, who had gone missing the past oh, 3-4 weeks had suddenly resurfaced (as, curiously, seems to be the habit with so many of My Bad Neighbor's exes). I had begun to relax during the lengthening days of his absence: I didn't have to sigh through his painful attempts at flirting any time he happened to see me outside, I didn't have a drunken man pounding on my front door at 11:30pm looking to bum a cigarette again (oh, that's one of his best habits. Borrowing. My favorite!). I didn't have to make the decision to either shut myself up indoors to escape him or have to listen to another late-night verse of George's song, 'My Girlfriend is Bad Crazy'. I mean, even creepy people can grow on me if they can manage to mind their own business, and in some ways George HAD grown on me in that creepy keep-to-yourself-please-and-don'tthink-I'm-inviting-you-to-dinner-anytime-soon way. But he'd returned.
George had clearly been given orders to tell anyone who got within a yardstick of one particular shrub in front of their place that IT IS NOT TO BE PRUNED. Never mind that George himself had offered (to me) to trim up the matching shrub in front of my home when he was supposedly going to trim theirs, and that was long ago, before he took his act on the road a month back. Nevermind that earlier this week I'd taken a hand pruner to both the shrubs to begin the process of rodent relocation for whatever it was that had taken up residence below them. I trimmed the very lowest branches to let the vermin know that the space was going to quickly be opening up and they'd probably need to move along, thankyewveddymuch.
Here's the thing about living in a condominium association type community... we got these funny things here called bylaws. Rules. Ways to get along with the other people with whom you live in very close proximity. One of the rules we have is that the outside grounds are all considered common areas. This means that yeah, I love to garden and I've worked on planting lots of perennials and cleaning up around the entire property and specifically around *my unit*, but the land officially belongs to our entire association, not to me. It's weird, but that's the way it is. So if I ever move I will either be leaving all the plants that I've established (since I bought them) or I will be digging them up and bringing them with me. It also means that even if I plant my own stuff outside, there's no guarantee that someone else won't mess with it, either for good or for ill. My Bad Neighbor doesn't understand how it can be that she doesn't own the earth surrounding her condominium. My Bad Neighbor doesn't like rules and laws. Apparently they only serve to make her life miserable and all law-abiding and stuff, so she chooses to stay silent, she attends zero meetings, she does zippo for anyone but herself. And, I guess, that's supposed to help her keep below the radar. Or something.
My Bad Neighbor and I both left our strings of ornamental lights up after Christmas two years ago. The problem for me was that the tree I had strung mine into grew like a summabitch between the time I'd strung up the lights and the time I was in take-down mode. I was no longer able to reach the strand to pull it down! I worried about the tree - c'mon, it's a living breathing thing! So I found an old mop handle and worked on yanking down as much of the strand as I could, then I manuevered the mop handle + pruners to snip the wires of sections that I could no longer just tug down so at least I wouldn't be destroying tree by binding its branches with my stupid lights.
My Bad Neighbor, on the other hand, thinks Christmas decorations should be left outside 24/7/365. She ordered George to declare a prune-free zone on the woefully overgrown shrub because their Christmas decorations were still hanging somewhere inside the leggy branches of the bush. It's better that that though. In fact, as the landscaper tells me that George reviewed for him, two years ago those lights were put into the bushes and the following spring (at pruning/cleanup time) the string of lights was accidentally snipped by an overzealous pruner. And THAT is why nobody should be touching those bushes now.
Is it just me or would it make better sense to take the dagblasted Christmas lights out of the bushes, let it get trimmed (as is supposed to happen to such growing items, duh?), then take the broken string of Christmas lights and ... oh, maybe THROW THEM AWAY??!
I waved into the air and said to the landscaper that it's not worth a battle over a bush, fine, don't trim that one. But wow, I can't believe that there is now a system in place to further protect the well-being of a broken strand of Christmas lights that shouldn't be hanging outside in the public "general space" area in JUNE anyway.
I've been eyeballing my front door this afternoon.
I'm waiting for George's first knock.
Can I bum a ....
I may very well suggest to him that he get it, whatever it is, from My Bad Neighbor, His Bad-Crazy Girlfriend.