Posts Tagged ‘neighbors’

I have decided not to post my resolutions this year (well, maybe ONE – at the end of this post). I’m too busy reveling in fewer working hours and loving the new job.

One thing I love about the new job is that I leave for work much later now. I used to race the other neighbors out of the ‘hood at 0-dark-thirty. They all headed south on our street and I turned north. I suspect we all eventually went north, but I was the only one who deliberately headed out to use the Little Bridge (Oregon City Arch Bridge) in order to avoid the mess of traffic on I-205.

Friday, the 2nd of January, I stood out in the cold, scraping ice, when my next-door neighbor from the south side came by. He was walking his dog, Levi. Levi is a blue merle cow dog of some sort – not quite an Aussie Shepherd. Phil doesn’t really live next to me: his mother does. Phil stays there when he isn’t working.

We stood and caught up a little on life and then Levi wandered over and peed on our newspaper. I started laughing. Phil looked embarrassed. Levi looked satisfied.

The paper is wrapped in a plastic sleeve to protect it from Oregon rain (and dog piss, apparently). I assured Phil that it was OK and I carried the paper up to the front porch (sans plastic cover) for my husband. (My husband said, “Well, a guy has to have something to aim at…”)

Today, I headed out with Harvey for a walk and we met Phil at the same place: the end of our driveway. This is the first time Levi and Harvey have officially met each other. There were sniffs, some tail wagging, and at least one excited whine. No growls, no hackles bared: the dogs like each other. Then Levi went and peed in the same spot the newspaper had been the day before.

Phil told me that today was not a good day for his mother. Virginia had an upper respiratory infection and can hardly breathe. She has dementia and this is the main reason Phil hangs around. Two years ago, his father, Bob, passed away after a massive heart attack. Bob was a great neighbor and I wish I had known he passed when he did – I would have gone to his funeral. But I didn’t learn until months later when I met Phil out walking around the block. Since that day, whenever I meet Phil out there, we talk about hings: his mother, his divorce, my husband’s brush with Atrial Fibrillation, the economy, and the weird neighbors to Virginia’s north (and directly behind us).

Later today, I was outside taking down all of the Christmas lights and decorations. I heard a friendly, “Hi Neighbor!” and turned to see Joe.

Joe is one of The Neighbors directly behind us and to the north of Virginia. There are three of them, all siblings. The sisters and Joe. I don’t know the whole story on them, but they are all on disability of some sort and they rent the place from the guy who refuses to fix the fence his tree squashed 7 years ago.

The guy who owns the place is a certified A-hole. His tree dropped a number of large tree-sized branches in a wind storm: one damaged Virginia’s roof and gutter, and another crushed the chain link between our house and his rental. He owns the fence.

In Oregon, fences are owned by whoever built them and what property they lie on. We have four neighbors who own fences around our property, and we own fence on one neighbor’s property. Three of our neighbors are awesome and responsible (and, actually, WE replaced the fence that Harvey ate because it was OUR dog who ate the fence that belonged to the other neighbor).

Landlord Guy refused to pay for the repairs to Virginia’s house and he refused to repair the fence between our properties (despite the fact that his renters have a large dog and we have two). He did not make points with Virginia’s husband, Bob, or with us. I put up a bamboo screen and wired it to the broken chain link fence. Works quite well.

The sisters are … strange. One loves to landscape and she’s done an incredible job in the rental yard, BUT – she landscapes in her bikini. Think Twiggy at age 60. Hence the bamboo screen.

The other sister has a pet tortoise that she calls a turtle. It’s name is “Precious”. Precious lives in the backyard in the summer. We eavesdrop on conversations that go like this: “Precious? Where are you? Oh, there you are. No, don’t eat that, Precious. You’re a bad girl, Precious. Precious, I know you love me…”

Then there’s Joe. Joe introduced himself shortly after moving in. He’s bipolar and on disability. He had a large German Shepherd named Max, but Max disappeared after a friend’s pet bunny was discovered dead in the yard (“Max! How could you??”). Max was replaced by a brindle pit bull whose name I forget. You can see Joe and the pit bull walking all over town.

I have been told that one time S.W.A.T. invaded our back yard as they surrounded the rental. This story was relayed to me by the other back yard neighbor, Joe’s neighbor to the north. I don’t know where WE were when this happened as it was apparently quite entertaining. This particular neighbor has no love loss for Joe’s sisters and their many “guests”.

We all agree on one thing: we all like Joe.

So here was Joe today, being pulled around by his brindle pit bull. I stopped what I was doing to say “hi” to him and to exchange pleasantries. He asked about our dogs. He was going to his mom’s later to watch football. And he seemed genuinely surprised (and pleased) that I remembered his name.

Joe is odd but he’s not a bad guy. His landlord, however…

Anyway, I thought it was kind of cool to see my neighbors and talk to them. Sometimes you can live in a place and never know your neighbors.  It’s so easy to go there in this day and age.

New Year’s Resolution

So – here’ my biggest resolution. There are smaller ones, but this is the one I want people to hold me accountable to.

I want to BE THAT PERSON. The person in the link who is the “heartwarming” example of humanity. My friend, Cindy, told me on Facebook that I am already that person, but I don’t think I am – yet. This is my goal.

We live in a troubled, hateful world. If those of us who live in the world where this blog can be posted and read – freely – would only resolve to BE THAT PERSON – we could change the world just a little, teeny, tiny bit. Be kind. Go out of your way. Treat others as you would love to be treated yourself.

Speak to your neighbors.

Love you all.

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