Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Did I make a mistake

I’ve been seriously thinking that moving to this house was a big mistake.  I moved away from an area because of the high crime rate but it was more than that.  It was also neighbors who didn’t respect each other that drove me away.   Maybe I made a mistake by choosing this house.  I’ll explain.

My next door neighbor is the problem.  I think she has some kind of grass phobia or maybe she just likes harassing people. Or showing she is queen of the neighborhood.  I’m really not sure which it is.  Before I had finished moving into the house (still unloading the truck) she told me twice I needed to get the grass cut or I’d get a ticket.  The grass may have been about 8 inches high.  Geeze lady, let me finish getting the truck unloaded first, ok?  I guess she wasn’t satisfied with that because a short time later she sent a young kid from the neighborhood to my house to talk with me about cutting my grass for me.  Yes, all this happened on the same day I was moving in.

Ok lady, you win. I told the kid she so desperately wanted me to hire that I wanted him to cut the grass every other week (whether it needed it or not) OR cut the grass when it was needed and I’d pay him for any extra time. Which he has been doing.  Not a very good job either.  He only cuts about half the back yard each time.  No trimming, raking, sweeping, or anything and for that I pay him $30 for this tiny yard.  That is higher than at my old house where the grass was cut, trimmed, raked, and sidewalks swept, for my yard and the side lot too.

Apparently the kid my neighbor pushed me to hire wasn’t cutting the grass to her satisfaction because she called the lady I bought the house from to complain about my grass not being cut.  Ok lady, YOU sent that kid to me.  I did not contact him.  Heck, I didn’t even know him or you.  She informs me she works for the city of Shively and knows the person who gives tickets.  What the heck does that mean?  No answer except “cut your grass.”  I took it to mean she could be sure I got a ticket and fine for not cutting the grass.

Over the last two weeks I’ve had to be gone from home everyday.  I left early every morning and returned late in the evening.  I trusted that kid to keep the grass cut to the neighbor’s satisfaction and I believed the neighbor would be happy I gave that kid the job.   Apparently not.  The neighbor called the former owner of this house again to complain about my grass.  Twice in the two months that I’ve lived here the person I’m buying the house from has come to cut grass that had already been cut.. The neighbor kid cut it in the morning and the former owner cut a second time in the afternoon. Geeze, I’ve only been here two months.  What the he77 is your problem lady?? THAT IS SO NOT RIGHT!

First off, I am a grown up person.  There is absolutely no need to treat me like a child and become a tattle tale to call my “mommie” if I don’t cut my grass to your satisfaction.  I know I don’t have a lot of money but grass cutting IS in my budget.  I do depend on the mobile food bank but only to allow me to pay my own bills.  I have my pride.  I accept food charity but I don’t want to be a charity case. Does that make sense?  I’m not sure I explained it right.  Its also extremely embarrassing to have the lady I bought the house from cutting my grass for me.  It makes it seem like I’m helpless or something.

Second, the neighbor should be talking to ME about MY house, not someone else.  The neighbor has my phone number and knows I have a mailbox.  She could have left a message on my answering machine or put a note in my mailbox.  She could have told the kid who SHE wanted me to hire that the grass needed cutting better.

There are several more respectful ways the neighbor could have handled this situation other than complaining to the former owner. Instead, she chose to ‘go over my head’ and complain to the person who sold me this house.  A really good friend.  A friend who I respect and would not want to be bothered by a neighbor with a grass phobia.

This morning I finally got a chance to talk with the former owner.  We were playing telephone tag for a couple of days and I didn’t have a chance to thank her for cutting my grass again.  She agrees that the neighbor is just being a nuisance.  (I’m saying it politely.)  Actually, I’m not sure who is the target of the harassment, me or the former owner.  Apparently the neighbor has been a thorn in the foot of the former owner and the owner of the warehouse behind me for several years.  I think I blogged that this house had been a rental house for many years?

So why does the former owner not tell the neighbor to leave her alone?  Well, technically at the moment I’m considered a tenant even though I am buying the house.  The house is being sold as part of an estate settlement which is still hung up in legalities.  The payments I’m making are being held until the legalities have all been worked out.  This puts me in limbo land for awhile.  And, means the neighbor can continue to bother my friend about my grass.

I’m thinking maybe I should seek help from the courts or possibly a complaint to the city council.  Did I tell you the neighbor has told me she works for the City of Shively?  Someone correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it true the neighbor is not allowed to use her position within the city government to threaten me or my friend when the whim suits her.  Isn’t that illegal?  Isn’t it illegal for a government worker to use their powers to threaten, intimidate, or harass someone as a result of being in power without due process?

I’ve looked at the Shively City Ordinances. I can’t see that I’ve violated any tall grass rules.  My grass has never been higher than about 6 or 7 inches.  Here, have a look at the ordnance yourself.  Shively tall grass code enforcement.

So, the point is that there is due process.  Due process is something the neighbor has not been following.  I’d much rather the neighbor file a complaint and let the ordinance inspector be the judge of whether my grass is too tall or not.  Maybe the city has a “persistent complainer” clause that could be used to stop the harassment.  I can only hope.

Getting down off the soap box now.  Thanks for letting me air my frustrations.

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36 comments on “Did I make a mistake

  1. mea
    September 26, 2016

    It is a shame that people have dropped their manners and don’t think that some graciousness would make life a smoother ride for all.
    Maybe some people are influenced by media, tv shows (trash talk shows) and movies, they have not been led well.
    Also, I believe there is an increase of mental and emotional disorders as I think there is too much stimulation (TV, computers, media), everything changes faster, not to mention people are more financially stressed due to increasing gaps between rich and poor.
    People’s physical health has decreased too, due to diets are not as healthy anymore, easy access to unhealthy foods and many times cheaper too.
    As people are becoming more disconnected to each other, there is a lack of community that perhaps at one time kept certain people in check.

    One thought to consider is that there is always going to be a certain percentage of a population that has personality disorders such as sociopathy, narcissism to mention a couple. They exist quietly among us, if you become zoomed in on by one of these, it is almost impossible to change their behaviours, they don’t think like the rest of us. At this point in time, a common advise has been to get away from these people, one cant change them.

    Many have given advise in how to deal with the situation, you are the one exposed to it, you will be the judge as in how to best deal with this.
    Wish you well.

    • Anita
      September 28, 2016

      Thank you. Well said. Points I had not considered but you are so right.

  2. Chris
    September 5, 2016

    The day we moved into our house over 25 years ago our next neighbor came over to say “trim your tree now” – yikes – we did. What I know now is that her trees drop dead branches all over our yard, she uses chemicals all over her yard, her snow removal guys have killed plants in her yard and the neighbor’s on the other side. Welcome to the neighborhood – welcome to your crazy ways…..

    • Anita
      September 8, 2016

      Its funny how so many neighborhoods seem to have that one person who bullies the new kid on the block. If the kids see it in grown ups they will imitate the behavior in school.

  3. sarasinart
    September 3, 2016

    Oh jeez, good luck with all that. Maybe she’ll get over it and herself in a while.

  4. wjcalderon
    September 2, 2016

    My response to her would be: “So sue me!”

    • Anita
      September 2, 2016

      Which I’m told she has done to several times over the years. I think she takes the comment “so sue me” literally and does it.

  5. camcoogan
    September 2, 2016

    Get a goat. That’ll really piss her off!

    • Anita
      September 2, 2016

      Hee, hee, I thought about getting a pot belly pig or two. Cute little animals. Found out we are not allowed to have them here.

  6. Theresa
    September 1, 2016

    Folks like that just wear the bright off the day. If keeping the grass cut doesn’t stop the harassment, I’d definitely talk to her employers.

    • Anita
      September 2, 2016

      Hee, hee, I like that. “Folks like that just wear the bright off the day.” I’ve dealt with bullies lots of times and I don’t stand still for it.

  7. morgne
    September 1, 2016

    I actually think that her having a job with the city make her position MORE precarious. If she were to start harassing you, through continually reporting you, etc then her job would be on the line.

    I would tell her as much; that if she continues to harass you that you will speak with her supervisor about her attempts to use the position to bully you and will let the supervisor know that your next step is the newspaper. If you have the opportunity to record her remarks in that vein then your case will be even stronger.

    What I would not do at this stage is make a public announcement of the issue at a meeting. While the threat of publicity is motivational, actual publicity is not. For instance, she may actually lose her job… which I doubt would make her a better neighbor.

    My next door neighbor threatened me physically within a few weeks of moving in, attempted to vandalize my car, etc because we parked on what he considered to be his side of the street. He would call the police with noise complaints daily for weeks. Ultimately, other than having him warned by the police that to come on my property is trespassing, I chose not to press any charges… because the semi-nutso neighbor can become CRAZY with very little motivation.

    Good luck!

    • Anita
      September 2, 2016

      Oh I would never publicly announce who she is. I’m much too polite to do anything like that. That’s also why I haven’t used any actual names on my blog. What I want to ask the council is “What is the procedure for filing complaints when a Shively employee, either elected or salaried, uses that position to harass or intimidate individuals and why is it not available on the Shively website?” It can’t be harmful for me to ask a simple question and it does put the problem before the council. It would make them aware I have a problem without ever mentioning any names. Bullies need victims and by showing I refuse to be a victim she’ll eventually get the point.

      • morgne
        September 2, 2016

        OOO. I wish I could be a fly on that wall. 🙂

  8. Leslie Saunders
    September 1, 2016

    Anita, when we moved to our retirement home here in Az, we had someone telling us what to do. At first, I ignored it, but it does get to you after a while. When I confronted her at a morning coffee group, someone else chimed in and said our home grounds had no such rule. It shut her up. Maybe you should sound out your other neighbors to get a handle on what this lady is all about. They may be able to offer you some tips or insight.
    Leslie

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      I would not want her to loose her job…ever. Even if we never get along as neighbors I would not want to cause any hardship. I had been thinking I should go introduce myself to a couple of the neighbors. Now would be a good time to do just that. Umm… just as soon as I get over a cold I feel coming on right now.

      • Margie in Toronto
        September 2, 2016

        Excellent idea – no doubt they’ve been a target at some time as well and may have some advice for you. Be the lovely new neighbour and get everyone on your side. Other than that – document everything – record her if possible (secretly) and take notes and photos. Good luck.

        • Anita
          September 3, 2016

          Actually if we had met under other circumstances I think we could have become friends. I’ve been told we have alot in common. But, its a friendship that won’t happen now.

  9. Emma
    September 1, 2016

    You should be able to do whatever you want with your grass provided you’re within the by-law. She should not be allowed to send someone over to your house without your permission to cut your lawn. Find out if that is considered trespassing. Also, if you’re not happy with the kid’s services, let him go. $30 for a half-ass job is not acceptable. Ask your friend to ignore this woman. Finally, if you know your rights, you can politely tell your neighbour to take a hike because there’s nothing she can do other than natter in your ear.

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      You’re right I have already fired the kid and hired someone else. My friend cut the grass herself because she knows how this woman is. I just ignore the lady now and close the door in her face.

  10. jane
    September 1, 2016

    My goodness! That woman should get off your back! If it were me, I think I would phone somebody at the appropriate city department to stop her harassment…or maybe it would be better to have a serious discussion with your neighbour and if it can’t be worked out, then call the city. You’re happy with your move otherwise, right?

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      I guess with a new person now scheduled to cut the grass she won’t have anything to gripe about. At any rate I’ll just turn a deaf ear to her. I’ve lived my whole life in one poverty area or another and people like that are just miserable people. I’ve learned to ignore them after the initial anger wears off.

  11. Brian
    September 1, 2016

    I’m more concerned about the way you explained the “purchase” of your new home. I think you should seek a free consultation with your local legal aid group to look at the purchase and the situation with your grumpy neighbor. Good luck, kid!

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      Please don’t be concerned. I trust my friend implicitly. She has rescued me from challenging life situations many times over the years. I knew before moving here that a sale would be held up for a few months. I needed a way to get away from the violence and she had this great house she was willing to sell to me. If I hadn’t wanted the house it would remain a rental. Any payments I make are held in a separate account and will be applied as a down payment at the closing. All financing arrangements and such are already done.

  12. KAY CAREY
    September 1, 2016

    Do you have a city or county Senior Citizen agency?? Perhaps they could give you some advice about those who bully or harass the elderly?? Or do you have a public Mediation service in your area?
    Otherwise, could you call up the city of Shively & report that their worker is identifying herself as a city employee while harassing her new neighbors & is misusing her city connections for a personal vendetta?
    Is the city actually willing to let citizens such as yourself get such a bad impression of their employees DURING AN ELECTION YEAR???
    Meanwhile, Na-na, I will keep sending good vibes your way, so you can quilt & blog in peace!! Illegitimati non corborundum!! Best wishes, KMC

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      Thank you for the good vibes Kay. We can all use those. I’ve asked to speak at the next city council meeting. I was told that situations like this can be turned over to the city council at the meetings. Its not an election year for Shively or Jefferson County. That will be next year. I hadn’t thought about talking with a senior citizen agency. Excellent idea! We have a good one here. Thanks for suggesting it.

    • Emma
      September 2, 2016

      Solid advice. The key is to get this on the radar of officials as soon as you can and be consistent and don’t ease up. Your neighbour needs to know you won’t put up with her bullying, and the city needs to be aware that this woman is a nuisance.

      • Anita
        September 2, 2016

        After a night of thinking about my situation I believe the neighbor is a manipulator and a narcissist. I could be totally wrong but I believe she likes knowing she can cause my friend to “jump” at the mere mention of a grass citation and loves doing it. I’m going to have a heart to heart with my friend and hopefully stop enabling the neighbor to control her in that way. If there is to be a citation given it should be between my friend and me, not my neighbor and my friend. I’ve dealt with bullies lots of times and the key to their success at being a bully is enabling them to be one. I refuse to do that.

  13. Margie in Toronto
    September 1, 2016

    OMG – sounds as though she is a bit of a nut case – and I could be less polite! My advice would be – “don’t engage with her” it will only make it worse. Ignore her, go about your business, find a better kid to cut the grass and then check with the city. Let her complain to them, not to you or your friend – and let them deal with her. And as you’ve said – if she tries to use her position to intimidate you – report her!
    Otherwise – just laugh her off – that will probably be the best revenge. You’re new – she’s going for a power play – just close your door and ignore her! Maintain things according to the posted bi-laws NOT to what she wants. Good luck!

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      You’re right Margie, she is a nut case. I started ignoring her and I fired the kid. I have someone else to cut the grass now. I’ll be speaking to the Shively council at the next meeting to turn it over to them.

  14. Linda Smith
    September 1, 2016

    Why is everyone letting this woman be a bully? Go over & tell her, firmly & politely, to mind her own business. or you will go to the city & register a complaint. Then fire the kid who does a bad job & call a lawn services til you can find one you can afford. This won’t stop with fall & winter; it’ll just be your leaves & then snow. I have absolutely no tolerance for bullies!

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      I don’t think anyone has ever had the courage to stand up to her like I’m doing. Fear of retribution keeps many people from speaking out. Lucky I’ve had years of practice at standing up to bullies at my old neighborhood. This bully won’t know what happened by the time I’m done.

  15. Laurel Kendrick
    September 1, 2016

    Fall then winter will soon arrive. No grass to worry about.

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      So right! Never thought I’d ever say I looked forward to winter but this year I am.

  16. Cynthia
    September 1, 2016

    It’s too bad this woman is making life in your new place miserable. It sounds like she picked up with you right where she left off with the former owner. If it were me I think I would tell her if she has a complaint about your lawn to call the city to make a complaint, not to call you anymore and then use caller id to not answer her calls.
    Good luck!

    • Anita
      September 1, 2016

      Situations like this only irritates me until I’ve spoken about it to get it off my chest. The saddest things is that we have so much in common that logic says we should actually be good friends. Too bad that isn’t the case though.

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This entry was posted on September 1, 2016 by in DOWNSIZING MY LIFE, JUST THINKING, MY NEW NEIGHBORHOOD and tagged , , , , .

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