Good Fences Make good Neighbors….
Or do they?
What if it is the neighbor who doesn’t want the fence? What if the reason you need and want a fence is that very same neighbor?
Do I piss them off by erecting said fence, or do I get peace of mind, safely behind my fence?
Back track about 4 years. After a frenzied 600 mile relocation back to our home state (We had two weeks notice!), we had taken up temporary housing in what turned out to be the armpit of apartment complexes. The first night I was there, someone burned down the pool house next door. It got worse, but that’s another story.
After working 9 and 10 hours a day 5 days a week, I spent my weekends braving the winter weather looking for a house. My husband was making the 150 mile round trip Saturday and Sunday to take care of his aging parents, the reason for our move.
At the time it was very much a seller’s market, the perfect house was hard to find. We were looking for a little land, two baths and no close neighbors. My husband somehow had developed an affinity for peeing off his own deck. Go figure. Maybe one of you guys can explain it.
We finally hooked up with a Realtor who found us a house that met most of our criteria, the downer? A neighbor. Another downer, when we pulled into the drive two very large, very loud barking dogs charged towards us. Hum….
With a real need to get out of the armpit, we decided to buy the house. Somewhere in casual conversation with the Realtor I stated that we would need to put up a fence since we also have a large dog who up until the apartment, had 10 acres to roam. I could also see that he would not get along with the neighbor dogs.
It was only later, when we had barely signed the closing papers that I realized what we had “infiltrated” (that’s how I feel anyway). Years and years of “family”.
Let’s see if I can explain. The couple that we purchased the house from had bought his family farm two houses down. The house we bought was built by the neighbor’s parents and he lived in it as a boy. When it came time for him to build his own home on family property he wanted to get as far away from mom and dad as he could. That means we own most of the land between our house and theirs. We are also totally surrounded by his land. When the house was sold to the couple we bought from it was platted and on the other side we could have a corn field 20 foot from the house if they choose to do so. Right now we have about a 75 foot buffer between us and the field. Oh and the neighbor and the seller were life long friends whose families had always been close. And the Realtor, well he was also the seller’s friend.
So enough with the technical stuff.
As I said the ink was barely dry, we had yet to move in. Unfortunately the seller had left the place extremely dirty, especially the kitchen. Yuck! Wouldn’t you all be embarrassed, especially if you only moved two houses away? (This same lady was later to present me with the broiler pan that she had packed. It was so filthy, I threw it out!) My husband I were there to clean when over came the neighbors to welcome us to the neighborhood. I should stop and say here, my neighbors are very very nice. Which makes things even harder.
“Hi, were your neighbors, Stan and Jill (names changed) Smith.”
(we tell them our names)
“We want to welcome you to the neighborhood”
(thank you, we’re looking for some peace and quite after living in the armpit)
(Stan) “Oh no, you think it’s quite out here? You might be disappointed” he chuckles.
(Jill) just smiles
(What do you mean?)
(Stan) “Oh wait until a holiday, you’ll see.”
(Jill) just smiles
(Stan) “We hear you are going to put up a fence” said with disappointed disdain.
(Jill) looks worried
(I’m wondering HOW they knew…see previous connections, the Realtor blabbed, it spread like wildfire)
(Um, well yeah, we have to keep Toby in (his real name)
(Stan and Jill) stare at us with disproval
(Stan) “Um…did Randy point out the property lines to you?
(Yes somewhat, he wasn’t real sure)
(Stan) “Let me show you.”
He walks towards his house, we follow. At this point their dogs were no where to be seen. As we walked ever closer to their house I could see the dogs in a pen. That was encouraging or maybe not, as I would learn. The pen was for my use if I so desired. I’ll explain that later.
Finally, when I was sure that we had to be on their property, they stopped and Stan raised his hand. As we gazed down his outstretched finger we realized that if we put a fence on the property line, we would be using most of their “perceived” back yard. Gone to them would be the fire pit, several fruit trees, a garden and basically any hope of a game of football again. The land had always been open, been in the family or owned by close friends.
So of course that made me feel bad.
We moved in. I took my dog out on a leash, in our own frickin backyard! The leash was needed for two reasons. To keep Toby home and to keep him from a nasty dog fight. Toby’s no wimp. He’s a standard poodle, but no poof. We don’t do bows and every six weeks he gets shaved. What he is, is very territorial. No animals need enter. People have backed away from the door after knocking, so fearsome he sounds. Once I let you in though, be ready to have a new 70 pound best friend.
That first summer wasn’t too bad in retrospect. Since I had had luck with electronic collars for barking with Toby before, I relented on the actual fence structure itself and decided to install an underground electric dog fence. It would be much cheaper (little did I know HOW cheap!), and keep Toby in the yard with a decent amount of space to roam.
continued in pt. 2