Thursday, November 5, 2009

How I Make Neighbors Cry

First of all, if making your neighbor cry is your goal, it’s always best to find one that is hyper-sensitive, and possibly a semi shut-in. I suppose a drunk will work too, as drunks can go from “fighty” to “teary” very quickly.

Second…have a damn good reason to make her cry, or you just come across as an asshole. I’m not an asshole. I had a DAMN good reason.

There is a family across the street whom I affectionately call “The Bumpus Family.” I won’t name the kids, but one of them is named after one of the 5 boroughs of New York City, which seems to be all the rage (or was 6-8 years ago). And they have dogs. 2 dogs, to be exact. They also have an electric dog fence in their back yard. On exactly 1 of the 4 sides of their backyard fence. No more, no less.

Needless to say, with their digging ability, and their ability to determine that they won’t get an electric shock every time they dig under 3 of the 4 sides of their backyard fence, our neighborhood often looks like one of the scenes from the move “A Christmas Story,” when the dogs are running through the Parker’s house (minus the stealing of the Christmas turkey). Most of the people on our block have discussed these dogs, and how they have managed to survive without getting hauled off by animal control. This past weekend, the Bumpus family went to Disney World, leaving the grandparents in charge of the dogs. The dogs got out the day they flew out of town on Thursday, and came back home on Sunday when the family got back and the kids hauled them back home.

Recently, a line was crossed when I went from my house into my garage (the garage door was open) to walk out to the driveway to get into my car, before driving to work. I was quite surprised to see a dog walking around my wife’s car in the garage, ignoring me. I closed the door to make sure my cat didn’t dart out (she hates dogs) and heard this dog panting and walking just outside the door. Once the noise went away, I walked out to my car, threw my briefcase in the back, and walked across the street to the Bumpus House.

After ringing the doorbell a couple of times, a very nervous mom and daughter (the daughter is in middle school, so her bus is later and she was still home) answered the door. The father had already gone to work. I started by asking them if they knew where their dogs were. I received a blank stare in response. The ensuing conversation went like this:

Me: I walked out of my house this morning and found your dog in my garage.
Mom: I’m awful sorry, we…
Me: Your dogs spent the weekend walking around the entire neighborhood, as far as two streets away.
Mom: You see, we were out…
Me: I have a right as a homeowner to be able to walk to my car, or even into my garage, without having a neighbor’s dog in my garage.
Mom: I’m really sor….
Me: Neighbors up and down this street have been talking about these dogs, and a few of them have suggested calling animal control.
Mom: I’m…
Me: I am tired of seeing your dogs up and down the street running around, and I especially don’t want them pooping in my yard. Please do something about it immediately.

At that point, I left the porch.

That night, while preparing to sit down to dinner, the phone rang. It was Mr. Bumpus, the father. He called to apologize for his dogs being in my garage, but apparently, what ticked him off the most was that after I left, his wife called him, extremely upset, because I was, and I quote, “rude, mean, and sarcastic.” Obviously, his wife doesn’t know what that word meant, because sarcasm is, “oh, I just LOVE it when your dogs run free everywhere.” As I told him, I was blunt, to the point, and I wanted to make sure I got my point across.

Can you believe the balls on this guy? He calls me to make me feel guilty for upsetting his wife, and he told me that if there’s an issue with the dogs, I should go see him. Apparently, his wife is very sensitive, and cares what people think (and is apparently concerned now that the neighbors think they’re trailer trash). He, on the other hand, does not care. My response? “Sir, that’s where the problem is. If your dogs continue to run free, they will be picked up by animal control and you will be ticketed, and if the dogs have no tags, they will be put down. So you SHOULD care what people think. As for me, I will not apologize for talking to your wife. I am not going to wait until YOU get home if your dogs are in my yard in the morning. It does me no good if the problem is happening right there.”

He kept alluding to the fact that his wife was very upset, and felt intimidated, and couldn’t get in a word in edgewise with me talking this morning, which leads me to believe she was an hysterical mess. I think he was surprised when I explained to him that I was not there to discuss, nor debate. I was there to tell them to do something about their dogs. Why their dogs were running loose was irrelevant to me. But, I did not tell him to go to hell or pound sand, as our daughters all play together, and if I was a dick to him, then he would tell his family what he thought, and his daughters would take it out on my daughter, and then there would be a war.

So, once again, issues with neighbors rears its ugly head. I really think we need to move within the next year.


  1. It’s tragic. Another person who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘sarcasm’. I bet he doesn’t know the correct usage of ‘irony’ either (though I admit it’s somewhat debatable). You should have asked him.

  2. Hey it's not like you threatened to start mailing the wife dog body parts!

  3. You sure you didn't grow up in my hometown in NW Illinois? Because I sure think I lived next to that bunch at one time.

  4. I swear Steve, you should've been a prosecuting attorney OR an interrogater. That's good stuff!

  5. Gawd, you are so MEAN! hehehehe

  6. Naut, I read your comment too fast and thought you wrote "nailing the wife," and when I read "dog body parts" after it, I was thinking you had lost it.

  7. Simon, I should've said, "it's ironic that you called me sarcastic," just to see what their reaction would be.

    YD, I think people like this can be found anywhere in the US. And, apparently, Australia as well.

    Andi, just keep your dogs out of my garage, and it'll be a side of me you never see.

    Heidi, well, I am part German. It's a little known fact Germans make the best interrogaters.

  8. I do hope it doesn't trickle down into Staten Island being a total bitch to your daughter.