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.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
In other parts of the park, people walked their dogs through trails, children skipped rocks on the pond and rangers emptied trash bins unless the racoons had already done it. They would hide out sometimes, lurking in the shadows, waiting for sundown until they could come out and scavenge. They were there that night, watching as the tree went up in flames, scurrying into the woods to avoid the screeching sirens and flurry of men in uniforms. But none could save the tree and what they found.
Not far from the site, covered in soot, rambling she stood. First reports were that she was strung-out and deranged, like she always appeared but it was far from the truth. It had been that park, that tree, many years passed but she never forgot while everyone else seemed to. Haunted and stuck, like a ghost who didn't know they'd passed into the afterlife, her memory clung to that horrible afternoon while her life whirled by. One of the officers remembered but couldn't offer her anything that time and space might have created but never did. It was too late for his institutions to offer help when it had failed so miserably the first time. Instead, the death of the tree forever changed the landscape of the place and now she wouldn't have to remember. There was no longer a tree there, and that empty space could hold something different.
After the place was cleared, they decided to put a bench up and plant some new trees, to infuse some new life into the area and a new purpose. But the ground refused to accept that. The first few trees died and they were forever replanting. But when these last trees were planted, and lived, it was as if the ground wanted something else. A place for everyone to remember what had happened here, not to remain in sadness but as a testament to what happens when we try to forget and move on when we've left someone else behind.