– Elizabeth K Ros
Oh, sounds so mysterious and threatening doesn’t it? But sadly it’s a tale of irresponsibility and harassment. And pure stupidity. It goes something like this. The Saturday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were awakened by loud crashing noises upstairs. Like luggage being drug up the stairs. Having had weeks of construction going on upstairs previously, we assumed that someone was moving in. And moving in at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night. My husband went out there and asked the two women what they thought they were doing and if they didn’t stop, he was calling the police. Logic set in at that point and they stopped. But that was the last time logic set in.
One of the first things we found out about the new upstairs neighbors were that they had dogs. They had two. Starting barking at 4 am or earlier. Every morning. And they would open up the sliding door upstairs and let the barking dog out to relieve themselves on the patio upstairs. After about a week of this, including me going out at 6:30 am and confronting the woman who left the barking dog inside while she took the other one out for a walk, we did a little research. I contacted the woman who owned the property to find out that she had sold it. (On a side note, we’ve lived here for 10 years, had a great relationship with her, bought her muffins that she was selling to raise money for cancer, etc, which is why I had her contact information.) We located the company that bought the place and I went and paid them a visit. I got the man’s contact information and the receptionist assured me that he would contact me and he did. I had also contacted our Home Owners Association because it is a nuisance to let your dogs relieve themselves on the patio. It’s not just a nuisance, it’s disgusting.
One bright and early 3:30 am Saturday morning in December the dogs started to bark. At 4 am, I called this man’s cell phone and left a message. At 7:30am I received a call from the man’s wife. It turns out, her sisters are who lives upstairs. She insisted that she would take care of this and that she would be checking for urine smell and such. Because if you’re leaving a dog to bark all day and night, they probably are relieving themselves somewhere if they can’t go outside right? Later that day she left a message stating that she was getting an anti-bark device and that she didn’t notice any sign of dog mess. I chalked this up to denial and stupidity on her part, if they wanted to let all the work they did on cleaning up the condo get ruined by their sisters so be it.
The behavior of letting the dogs out on the patio continued. As did rain. Until the rain stopped for a couple of weeks. And the smell began. The flies began to circulate on the patio. We had the Association come by and they could smell from the sidewalk what had been going on upstairs. And then there was the poop waterfall. Yeah. Good times. So the Association sent the maintenance people out. First guy obviously came and saw and decided that he wasn’t going to jump right in and clean up. That happened after we called about poop waterfall. Then the boss came. He took pictures. His employees began the horrible job of cleaning out the gutter which was full of feces that the upstairs neighbor had been sweeping into the gutter. But while he was taking pictures one of them came and stood on the balcony. He informed her that she can’t let her dogs do that, her reply was “we don’t have a dog.”
Really. Seriously. I don’t put question marks beside those words because it takes a special kind of person to blatantly lie to someone who knows that they are lying. Later that month, at the Board meeting for the Association I showed up. Because they fined the upstairs neighbor. And she and her sister, the owner of the condo, showed up for the hearing. They tried to engage me in some sort of conversation and I did not respond. You can swim in that river of denial but I’m not going to let you piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining. So the Association asked what the status of the dogs barking was. I stated that apparently some anti-barking device was being used and it was working. And I informed them that the smell had been cleaned up and during the cleanup the Maintenance company had taken pictures. The sister-owner piped up and stated she wanted to see those pictures. They then proceeded to share their side of the story which was that the sister-dog owner took those dogs for walks 3 times a day. The Association informed them that there were multiple parties witness to what had been taking place and that they didn’t believe them. They left.
So the dogs started barking again. My husband called the sister-owner. Had a long conversation with the sister-owner. She was swimming in that river. Told my husband that she would have to take side with her sisters and that we had just gotten off to a bad start with them. That her sisters were living there because their mother had died and that they had lived with the mother and her mother’s dogs. It was her mother’s dogs upstairs and that one of them was “gonna die really soon.” Like that’s some sort of relief for us who can’t sleep now. Or that it’s a logical reason for their barking. No, leaving a dog inside for 8-12 hours without relief is a reason for barking. But it gets better. She then said that her sisters thought that it was our cat, jumping up to the second floor balcony and relieving himself in the gutter. If you believe that a 20lb cat can jump up into a gutter and not bring that gutter crashing to the ground, or that he suddenly decided to start doing this after 5 years of living here, and couldn’t even jump up onto our balcony anymore, I have some ocean front property on Mars to sell you. Cheap. Maybe we could move your sisters there? Oh, and by this point, our cat had been dead for over 2 months. He died December 10th. Maybe he was coming back from the dead to do this defecation in the gutter? Instead of poop waterfall we now have ghost poop.
So nothing for a couple months. Then this week. Hearing the dogs barking at 7:30 am on Monday. My husband left angry messages but not his phone number. Then Wednesday at 11:30 pm. He calls and it goes straight to voice mail as they’ve turned off their cell phones. Barking. Until 2:30 am. Then one of them came home. Last night I called. Several places and people. We were up until 2:30 am again. We waited but no one came home. But the dogs got quiet. A little relief.
I usually write poetry and post here. Or about life in other aspects. Or short stories. I’d like to return to that please. Perhaps when I actually get some sleep.
Sometimes things can be very overwhelming. Bad news in the media, at work, at home, in the neighborhood can make life seemingly unbearable and sometimes even horrible. There’s a tendency sometimes to oversimplify, throw out suggestions such as ‘make a gratitude list’ or even shine over what is going on. While these have been things that I have done or throw out, they are not really dealing with what is. I believe that the essence of the statement ‘Life on Life’s terms’ is recognizing the ups and downs on the roller coaster of life. We are born into this life and we will all eventually die. Whether we believe we will come back or not is irrelevant to the process of dying and grieving that those who remain will experience. There will surely be someone in our lives who will make bad, even horrible choices and their decision to act on those choices will affect our lives and the lives of people around us. Whether they are politicians or lone gunmen, we all have to live with those decisions. So while these events go on, and seem to go on forever sometimes, where I choose to live is in the now, allowing myself to feel the emotions that come up as a result of these events and staying present with them. By staying present with what is, not projecting what the future holds but rather allowing myself the experience as unpleasant and grieving as it is, I acknowledge what these events are. I create space for myself to be just a human being in this place called Earth, and know that I am here to experience what life has to offer, sometimes unkind and sometimes unpleasant. I know that sometimes all that I can control, is what I choose to respond with.