The Neighbors

If you read my post from Sunday, you’ll know that I broke one of our pool supply lines and had to drain about twelve inches of water from the pool so I could repair the pipe. I fixed the pipe Monday afternoon and refilled the pool on Tuesday. Once I verified the repaired pipe wasn’t leaking, I buried the pipe and filled in the trench I had created in the yard. With all of that done I didn’t think another thing of it… until today.

Monica and I got home from a doctor’s appointment at about 4:20; I changed into shorts so I could work in the yard and Monica and I were catching up on each other’s day. I don’t think we had been home even ten minutes when we heard the doorbell ring – persistently – then someone started banging on the front door. I slipped my 9 into my waistband under my shirt since the insistence of the banging was quite disconcerting then went to open the door.

There stood a diminutive and petite woman who I would guess was in her early to mid fifties, about five feet tall, dressed in casual business attire; over her shoulder I could see her first-generation Honda CR-V parked in front of our house facing against traffic – I hate that (park your car correctly, there’s a law against parking that way!). She introduced herself but I couldn’t make out the first name and could barely make out “Rose” or something like that as the last name… or was that her first name? She had a fairly thick, Northern accent (New York? The Bronx perhaps?) and an abrasiveness about her. Doesn’t matter. Her first question was “Are you the guys with a pool?” When I told her we were, she told me that she was our neighbor who’s property adjoins ours along our back fence – not directly behind us but the next one over (the yards in that area are pie-shaped so we have two neighbors to our West who’s properties abut our back fence). Then she started in on a tirade about how her yard is always wet and she cut down her privet hedge because she thought it might be causing the water to collect in her yard (Really? Has this woman no concept of plant biology? If anything, cutting her hedge down has exacerbated the problem – she removed vegetation that was absorbing water.). She told me how my next door neighbor’s fence had fallen down and it took her months to get them to put the fence back up and they left trash in her yard and now they throw junk like old toys over the fence into her yard. She’s now several minutes into our one-sided conversation and I have to admit I was starting to wonder just why she was telling me all this, then she finally got to the point.

Our pool. She told me how for years her yard has been eroding and there’s always water in her yard, she pointed out that she was in the Walnut Creek sub-division and we were in the Walnut Run sub-division (the thinly veiled implication was that she was living in an upper-class sub-division and we were living in the no-class sub-division), and that our runoff – pool water included – shouldn’t be running through her yard. She informed me that she had gone out into her back yard Sunday afternoon to spray Round Up but her yard was a swamp and she had gotten her shoes muddy (Oh no! Not muddy shoes!). She informed me that every time we drain our pool (which we have not done since we moved in several years ago) it floods her yard.

As she keeps talking, I had a few thoughts running through my mind then something clicked – Sunday… water in her yard… broken pipe… I finally wedge a question into her conversation – more of a statement than a question – “This was Sunday afternoon?” She told me it was so I told her about the broken pipe and how there was little I could do about that particular instance; I apologized for the inconvenience that had caused her and told her that I had already fixed the broken pipe so that would not be contributing to the water in her yard again. She asked me if our pools leaks and didn’t we have to keep putting water in the pool because it is losing water somewhere? That’s a pretty big conjecture on her part – I told her no, our pool doesn’t leak, we don’t have to add water to it frequently, and we aren’t losing water anywhere else that I am aware of.

At this point I’m starting to get the impression that she has been observing (read spying or stalking) us very closely. She appears at our house minutes after we get home. She was confident enough in her belief that we were home to aggressively ring the door bell and bang on the door. She believes we are having to top-off our pool frequently; I’m not sure how she would come to that conclusion to begin with but I would have to assume she has been watching through the fence, over the fence, or from one of her upstairs rooms where she might be able to see into our back yard and thought she saw me running water into the pool – I do drag the garden hose across and through the pool to water the plants and garden on the far side of the pool which she may have misconstrued as filling the pool but we don’t have to top-off our pool.

She’s still carrying on about the water in her yard and how it must be coming from our pool. She’s going to contact the city to come out and check the storm drains so I pointed out that I was pretty certain there was a storm drain in the back of their yard along our fence line. She assured me there isn’t and never has been. Whatever. This conversation has been going for close to thirty minutes and I was more than done with it. Somehow I got the conversation to come to a close and she finally left. I’m hoping that’s the last encounter we have with her.

Come to think of it, we have lived in this house since September, 2006 and those neighbors have never acknowledged us until this past weekend. I think it was Saturday morning, it might have been Sunday morning, I was watering the garden and she happened to be out in her yard; she did wave at me and I think she said “Hi”. That was the first time in four-and-a-half years. I have seen them (her and someone I assume is her husband) out in the yard before and given a friendly wave that was greeted by their turning their backs to me. I guess when you live in the Walnut Creek sub-division, you are far above those living in the Walnut Run sub-division.

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