Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I did not think I was one of those Types of Neighbors (Part 2)

Last blog entry  (posted July 29th on the Whiners Club) found me recounting some of the 
“creative issues” in my suburban neighborhood over the last 17 years, and how I came to realize that my tolerance of exterior individuality and expressionism was not the norm.  I also revealed that our home has caused the latest neighborhood drama.

My husband and I own/run a business, have three active children, and are involved in the community.  I would have to say that we are extremely busy, and I must confess that the
shape of our yard is not on our list of priorities. (My apologies to my friend Whitney. Whitney by the way is a great gardener.)  On any weekend you will find many of our neighbors (even if they have gardeners) out grooming their yards.  While I appreciated the results of their efforts (and sometimes feel guilty that we aren’t out there “doing it” as well) quite frankly we have better things to do.  (Though I do admit that there may well come a time when my husband and I will most likely join them.  But the time is not now, and I digress.).

Ok.  By now you must be wondering about the state of the yard.  It isn’t full of weeds, dead grass or an abundance of parked vehicles.  My husband and I practice the gardening form of Benign Neglect.  I know many of you master gardener types know what I’m talking about.  (No?)

Benign Neglect – To tend and promote well being by paying slight attention to the proper care of your plants, while ignoring the impulse to prune and cut.  The art of letting your plants “do their own thing”.

It takes nerves of steel NOT to constantly trim your bushes, keep your grass at a certain height, and to prune those trees into submission.  I really do like a plethora of plants and a more “natural” look (that and the manicured look takes way too much energy and time).

So we were practicing the art of Benign Neglect (and doing a great job too) when a letter arrives from the City.   THIS IS NOT A BILL (thank goodness) is printed large on the paper.  On the top by the letterhead large text states that we have received a WARNING NOTICE.  (What the heck?)  In short my husband and I have VIOLATED a Municipal Code (heavens). Seems our bushes and a tree have been naughty, and have overgrown to the point that they are “obstructions.”  (Ok… perhaps we have taken this Benign Neglect thing a little too far.) 

OK – ready for the whine?  (Almost a qualifying rant.)  
If my neighbor/s had a problem with a couple of bushes and a tree (instead of calling the City) why in the HECK (I apologize for the bad language) did they not come to our door to talk to us about it?  My husband and I are reasonable nice people (take my word for it).  I am not denying that our tree was partially blocking a street sign, and that our bushes had over grown onto the sidewalk.  What I am bitching about is that someone (instead of being a mature adult, ran whining to the City.  This action represents a last resort type of effort.  An effort that indicates perhaps this neighbor talked to us and that we told the neighbor to …  well, you get the picture).  Since no one came to our door we were surprised instead with a code violation letter that comes with a “Code Enforcement Inspector”, a picture of my offending plants, a possible fine, and written in a tone I don’t take kindly too.  (Yeah. I’m not a happy girl.)

Here is a copy of the letter and one of the pictures of “our ”offending” bushes!  Please note that on the day of the inspector’s visit our solar panels were being installed and the pallet of the sidewalk was removed within hours. (Just in case you really think we are slobs.)
I have been doing quite a lot of “stewing” concerning this situation.  Who reported us?  Was it the couple next door?  How about the nosy neighbor down the street?  I pondered this question while taking a walk one evening with my husband.  I came to the conclusion that I would never find the culprit, but I had a startling revelation.  I could make myself feel better.  How you ask?  By becoming the very person/s I despised – I would become the “code violator reporter.”  The more I thought about this the happier I became.  (Just thinking of the chaos I could cause is bringing me great joy.)  Just think of it!  Hundreds of people scratching their heads and wondering what heck they did to make someone “report” them?  (Yes, this will take some planning, a measuring tape, a copy of the City codes, and lots of walks.  I feel better already.  Hope you don’t live in my part of the city.)

SO… there you have it.  I have now become (twice) “that type of neighbor” I thought I would never be.  First - I became the neighbor that everyone complained about (damn those bushes and my tree). Second - I will now become that anal retentive “pain in the butt” neighbor who will report everyone for the slightest of code violations!  

And for good measure I am going to paint our house with crazy colors and erect a large sculpture. (What fun!  I feel better already.)


  1. Glad to see I'm not the only blight violator in town!! Where do they come up with these codes? Yet another job in government that is not needed!

  2. LOL!! Oh those pesky codes!! We have also been in the violators club!! Several years ago we had a pallet full of rocks that we were moving to the backyard. Someone complained to our association - or our association "police" person walked by - and saw it. We got a letter in the mail telling us to remove the "fire pit" from the driveway!!! My husband called the property mgmt people to tell them we didn't have a fire pit, but a pallet of rocks that had already been removed! Idiots!! Other neighbors have gotten bogus letters telling them to repaint a garage door or a fence, yet a neighbor down the street with peeling paint didn't receive a notice! Hmmmm... Funny (and kinda not so funny) blog by the way!! I say paint your house purple!


  3. I am happy to find fellow "offenders"!