Part III: Evening, June 6, 2012
Though the climax of this particular story capped off the Day of Drama, the rising action portion of the story actually started a few months earlier, and I will provide some backstory before getting into the nitty gritty of this past Wednesday evening.
So. We moved into our (first) home about two years ago. A foreclosure in an older suburban neighborhood that needed some rehabilitation, a lot of renovation and a ton of cleaning. When we moved in, there were a total of four dogs within the five lots surrounding our backyard, including an elderly hound to the west, a boxer mix puppy to the northwest, and a dying dog and a German Shepherd mix to the northeast. And then SG, our rescued Jack Russell Terrier who is probably ten or eleven and doesn't really act like a typical Jack Russell Terrier in that she is pretty mellow. The boxer mix barked and ran a lot, and we actually planted a dozen arborvitae bushes around that portion of our yard during that first summer in our house when we were expecting LG . She's since calmed down, which is good, because all of those arborvitae bushes have not grown like we expected. The hound and the dying dog have died.
Summer of 2011: neighbors to the north get a little ragamuffin puppy, the neighbors to the northeast get little ragamuffin puppy's sister for the same litter, and neighbors to the east get a cocka-poo. Spring of 2012: neighbors to the west take deceased sister's Yorkie. So now there are six dogs (not including SG) within the five lots surrounding our backyard. The Yorkie will yip at you whenever you're outside, but you can't hear it in our house. However, you can hear the ragamuffin puppies inside our house. ALL. THE. TIME. Since I have a dog (though she doesn't really bark) and grew up with dogs, I understand that dogs bark. But the rags were barking early in the morning and at night for extended periods of time. It was so bad that we actually spent $50 dollars for an ultrasonic anti-dog barking device, which seemed to work on the rags for a little bit. Unfortunately, it worked too well on the poor Shepherd mix and he didn't want to come out for a while :( We were thinking about dropping an anonymous letter in the mailboxes of the rag dog owner neighbors in the middle of the night explaining how their dogs were impacting our quality of life and give some tips to minimize the barking.
But then... six am on a Tuesday morning. AD and I are both awoken by barking rag to the north; the barking goes on for a while and we are pissed. I rant about it to my poor cube neighbor at work. And then... six am on a Wednesday morning. AD and I are both awoken by barking rag to the north, again. AD goes to yell out the window at the dog to be quiet (which occasionally works) and sees lady neighbor to the north out there with the dog. AD says to her, "Hey, your dog is waking my kid up." [Okay, so, this was a lie. The dog had not woken LG up, but it had woken both of us up for the second day in a row. AD's work schedule is crazy, and he really needs his sleep when he's home. And if the dog were to wake LG up early on a weekday when AD is working, it would be very difficult for me to get everyone ready and at our respective pen/daycare/work on time.] Now, if someone were to tell me (especially at six am) that my dog had woken up their baby, the first thing out of my mouth, without hesitation, would be "I'm sorry" (I'd actually probably have a "so" in there, too). But what does lady neighbor to the north (we'll call her LNN from here on out) say? "It's not just my dog." AD says, "Well, your dog is barking right now and you need to make it stop."
A few days go by and we are not awoken by any rags. Monday evening, I go to take something over to my neighbor to the east, who I will call J-dub. J-dub and I talk, and she tells me that LNN has yelled at her twice since AD called LNN out the week before. J-dub explains that LNN and her kids really love the rag, but LNN's husband does not and LNN is afraid that he might make them get rid of the rag. J-dub also warns me that LNN is a little coo-coo, is taking AD yelling at her dog personally, and is now talking crud about us. I'll lay down a list of crud said by LNN, as reported by J-dub:
- Other rag's owners don't like AD and I (not true, says J-dub, who is very good friends
with other rag's owners)
- LNN would never call the city on someone for dog barking (also not true, says J-dub,
because LNN called the city on the second-to-last owners of our house for their barking
dogs when her kids were little)
- J-dub didn't like the previous owners of our house (also not true, says J-dub, and what
does this have to do with this?)
Nevertheless, I had thought talking to J-dub had put the situation in a different perspective; maybe LNN was not as inconsiderate as I thought, maybe she is just a little crazy and feeling desperate about losing a dog that she loves dearly. I tell AD about the convo and my thoughts. He considers. He is probably going to say something like, Hey, sorry I yelled at your dog the other morning, we were just frustrated... next time he sees LNN.
Wednesday night. I am getting LG ready for bed and AD is in the yard. A rag is barking, and LNN comes out of her house and says to AD, "Just for the record, that is not my dog barking" very snittily (that's a made up word AD and I use). AD comes inside tells me about it, and it's on.
I try really hard to let things 'roll off my back.' In the past (like probably until I was 25 or so) I would let things bother me, and I'd spend a lot of mental and emotional energy being angry or pissed off about things that just weren't worth it. Gradually, my attitude has become 'be the bigger/better person and let it slide.' I am a big believer in God and Jesus and can give these personal grievances over to them to deal with. I am also a big believer in Karma, really just the basic idea that if put bad energy out into the world, that it's bound to come back to you at some point.
I also try very hard to stand up for myself when necessary and not let people walk all over me; also something that I've let happen in the past. I think my current attitude described above kind of addresses this on the mental/emotional level, but sometimes, things have to be adjusted on a for real level with words and actions.
So between Part I of the day's drama, knowing LNN has been talking crap bout me round the hood and now being bratty to my husband, I had had enough. I tried to steel myself as I walked into the backyard, telling myself I was going to talk to her like a rational adult. LNN was in her back yard with her back turned to me. From the fence, I said excuse me and asked if I could talk to her. I told her I wanted to talk to her about the other morning.
And then the craziness started. From the moment she turned around, she had this pointy look on her face, and her voice and words were so incredibly b*tchy (sorry, I've been trying not to swear, but to not use the word to describe her attitude is just being dishonest), snide, snotty... I honestly wanted to either punch or strangle her--I can't remember wanting to do this at any other point in my life. I actually told her that I just wanted to talk to her about the dog barking issue, and to get rid of the attitude. I'm not going to go through the whole play by play, since I know that this post is already very long and I've probably lost any reader paragraphs ago. So I'll lay down a list of crazy:
Statements made by LNN:
- Since the time they introduced themselves to us, we "flipped them off" (My response
[paraphrased, slightly sarcastically]: Um, do you know what kind of work we've done to
this house since we bought it? That, and had a kid and got a new job. I'm sorry we don't
have a ton of time to be making besties with everyone on the block)
- That we are unfairly discriminating and picking on her and her dog (Sorry, we would yell
at anyone whose dog woke us up continually at six am in the morning)
- We wouldn't yell at the other rag because that family is good friends with J-dub's family
(We would yell at other rag or J-dub if their dogs were barking at six am in the morning.
[my voice was raised and waivering and my eyes were tearing up at this point; God, why
did I let this woman get me so upset?] My husband is a pilot. He gets little rest when he's
out of town flying, and needs to catch up on sleep when he's home. Do you want a pilot
who's gone like a week without any decent rest to fly you around? When he's not home, I
have to take care of my son, our dog, our house all by myself [oh and work full time, too]. I
need my sleep, and I depend on my son being able to sleep as well)
- That she believes dogs don't belong in the home or a neighborhood setting [Didn't say this,
but, why the heck did you get a dog then?]
- That her dog barks because of the squirrels in our tree [At this point, I was just trying to
get her to shut up so I could get away]
- That I need to run the vacuum around LG so that he gets used to noise [Really? Now
you're giving me parenting advice? a. LG hears plenty of noise around our house, b. I
think I'm doing just fine at parenting, and c. why would I take your advice when I don't
like you, and now I don't even respect you?]
J-dub says LNN often realizes that she's a little crazy and then tries to right things, which I believe is why all of the musing about dogs and parenting started. Anyways, I told her I was glad we talked and I needed to go back inside. But now I'm thinking, do I have to smile and wave and talk to you now? There was drinking of wine straight from the bottle and recounting of the encounter to AD and J-dub that evening.
I hate to tell you that the drama didn't end there this week, though there has been no more drama with LNN since then. However, tomorrow starts a whole new week, and my hope is for a lot of falling action.
[The title of this song is very similar to the name of my neighborhood]