My next door neighbour, Margaret, lives on the other side of the wall of our semi-detached house, alone with two yappy terriers. Is she the neighbour from Hell? No. But she does frequently make me wonder, WTF?
I am a dog person for sure, but not a big fan of mindless, non-stop barking. The only thing worse than Margaret’s terriers barking day and night is listening to her lecture them about it: “If you think that I am going to listen to your barking all day, you can think again! I will not have it! Do you understand? And just so you know what the rules in this house are…”. Really.
Growing up, I remember there was always one person on the street who felt justified in confiscating every ball that bounced onto their property, as though they’d had no childhood. On the street where I currently live, that would be Margaret. So I guess I should not have been surprised by her lack of generosity when a feral cat wiggled under our porch and gave birth to a litter of kittens. Being the manager of a family resource program, I did what I would do for any mom struggling on her own: I put out food and water. When the kittens ventured out, for some reason they went to Margaret’s garden to poop, then came back to our porch to be cute. Margaret puffed out her chest, made eye contact and said “This can not continue”. Non-stop yap-yap-yipping? Must be OK since we never complained. A bit of kitten poop, easily disposed of? Not acceptable.
We did, a few years ago, successfully collaborate with Margaret on the replacement of a mutual backyard fence. Six feet in height, 6-inch boards overlapped by an inch on each side, otherwise known as a privacy fence. But it wasn’t private enough for Margaret. She said she needed lattice on her side, for “more privacy”. The poor woman has had maybe 5 visitors in the 10 years we’ve been neighbours and only uses her backyard to exercise and toilet her dogs. Did she need more privacy for wild patio parties? Naked Barbeques? Moon-lit cocktail dates? Build it and they will come, right? They didn’t. Sad, really.
About a month ago, my husband and I began making improvements to our home, with the intention of separating and selling. We kept a low profile with all our neighbours, didn’t mention our plans – it was none of their business.
Our house needed new eavestroughs. We had a contractor replace them. A week later, there’s a contractor at Margaret’s house, replacing perfectly good, serviceable eavestroughs. We thought it was a strange coincidence. Then we installed new storm doors - the existing ones were in pretty bad shape. A few days later, Margaret’s getting new storm doors. We laughed and wondered what she would do when she saw our For Sale sign. It didn’t take long to find out.
Our house sold in five days and ten days after that, there’s a For Sale sign in front of Margaret’s house. She’s listing it for $100,000 more than we sold our identical three-bedroom house for, in a market that’s gone a bit soft. And for some reason, she’s really pissed with us! I said hello to her, and she looked at me with the most impressive daggers I’ve ever seen. WTF????
There’s more absurdity than harm there. I do wish her well. And best of luck to whomever finds themselves living next to her in the future. If she’s still speaking to me, and asks where I’m moving to, I’ll have a fake address ready to throw her off my trail.