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Thank you for all of the supportive comments I have received throughout the years in regards to my multiple-year neighbor drama. I appreciate the support a lot, because there were many times this neighbor dispute drove me into a deep depression.

Due to financial limitations, I was not able to move away from Brunswick. But, if a time ever comes that I accrue enough money to leave, I will indeed move to another town altogether.

I have decided the next place I buy must be a single family home with its own driveway and plenty of space between my home and the houses next door. (By the way, while I had the crazy neighbors on one side of me, on my other side I have lovely, fantastic neighbors, so I need to give the nice neighbors some kudos for being such wonderful people.)

OK, I avoided writing about this situation for about one year because I was still processing everything–all the emotions, all of the stress. I also wondered how best to present this update without upsetting people along the way. I will do my best.

About one year ago, my family and I were awoken in the early morning hours by what sounded like either a gunshot or thunder. Thunderstorms had been in the area that night, so we all went back to sleep, assuming it was a thunder crack.

Well….it wasn’t. What we actually heard was the mean man next door shooting himself in the head. Yes, the harassing neighbor who made our lives miserable for more than one decade killed himself. With one bullet, all my troubles with that man ended.

He was survived by his common law wife, who quickly remodeled and put the house up for sale. The house did not sell, so renters moved in. The renters are normal and nice, and I have no quarrels with them, for which I am grateful.

So, one might think “Oh! Problem solved, neighbor is dead! Now everything must be fantastic for you!” Sorry to report, that is not the case. Things for us in Brunswick are okay now, but not great. This whole neighbor drama for 10+ years has made me deeply distrusting of people, and that is a problem I need to work on. The common law wife still owns the building next door, so she could pop up here any time (she was pretty mean and evil to us for multiple years, too), so I don’t like that fact. It makes me anxious to think I could come home from work one day and find her standing in front of me, insults at the ready.

In addition to being more cynical and distrustful of people now, I no longer enjoy my yard. I used to love to try garden and cultivate flowers. Now I am afraid to grow food anywhere in the back yard where someone could try to poison it again. I stopped hanging out in my own yard years ago, because the evil neighbors would pop up all the time, mowing their lawn and such. Now that they are both essentially gone, you would think I would want to return to my yard. Nope. Being out there makes me feel exposed. So I try to grow a few things in my front yard and keep it neat, but in general when I come home from work every day, I tend to stay indoors.

I still have the car that the mean neighbor tapped with his massive pickup truck multiple times. The marks his license plate bolts made on my back bumper are still visible (because it chipped the paint). You can see little pairs of chip marks all in a line (because he tapped the bumper multiple times). At least one day I discovered he tapped someone else’s car, too, so maybe that was just old age instead of him trying to bully me.

This is my first August since I moved in that nobody has given me shit about the droppings from my crepe myrtle tree in the front yard. That’s nice.

But in a way, these evil neighbors ruined this town for me. I know they are not solely responsible for that, but I would say about 85% of my dislike of this place is because of them, and because of the people who I went to for help who simply shrugged and said, “Well, unless you can find a witness, we won’t do anything.” Hmm. So physical evidence of his vehicle repeatedly tapping mine, leaving tons of pairs of matching bolt marks that line right up with his license plate’s bolts, is not evidence enough to take action, huh?

I guess I still have some healing to do. You can hear the bitterness in my tone that shows I am not “over it” yet, even though the main culprit is dead and gone.

I continue to live here, only because I have no other financial options. Whenever my money situation is better, I am out of here…I am tired of parking struggles, fire hall sirens (although they recently shut the siren down, thank goodness), nasty people like the dead man, and feeling helpless when I need help here. I want a fresh start somewhere else.

Let’s end positive, though. To the nice people I have met here, including my neighbors on the other side, thank you for being you. Thank you for being nice and neighborly. I am sure the endless parking problems bug you, too. I truly am grateful for those of you nearby who are goodhearted. I’ll try to get over my bitterness and learn how to trust again. I’ll try my best to see the town in a better light. We’ll see how it goes.

And to all of you still facing daily or monthly neighbor disputes, I feel for you, and I empathize, and I wish I was magic so I could make it stop for you. I send you all vibes that your neighbor disputes will soon end, so you can breathe again, and learn to trust again. Not all people are evil, so try not to let your mean neighbor ruin your ability to interact with and make friends with others. Living with a psycho neighbor can be all-consuming and can make you feel so alone and powerless. Just know there will be an end to it, even if it feels endless; it cannot last forever. I believe in karma, so I believe those people who choose to make their neighbors’ lives hell will eventually have to atone for it.

Every August my crepe myrtle tree in my front yard blooms. And right when it is at the peak of its beauty, my next door neighbors–or should I say, “neighbor” in the singular this time (more on that in a sec)–call me in to the city for having branches hanging too low over the sidewalk.

I know, I know, when you’re old, mean, and decrepit, it’s easier to lift the phone and trot out the code enforcement officer to do your bidding than stop your chain smoking for even a moment to pick up a broom and actually sweep those terrible blossoms off your walkway, I know.

So, sure as shit, as the saying goes, it is August 2013 and my neighbors–oh, again, I mean “neighbor” in the singular–call in my tree to the city of Brunswick again because, of course, the crepe myrtle is such a menace to our small town society.

On a side note, I am pleased to announce that my decade long “neighbors” problem became a decade long “neighbor” problem in April this past year when the old man next door blew his brains out.

Yes, one of my evil neighbors is actually dead from suicide, imagine that. 

I guess all those years of harassing people and making enemies and being a jerk wasn’t satisfying enough to sustain him, so he did the right thing and put us all out of his misery.

I’ve tried to be the good citizen and be silent about this stuff (other than sometimes blogging carefully about it without revealing identities), never saying a word about what these hill trash barbarians have done to me, but my silence is over.

I now blatantly tell my other (nice and normal) neighbors that the evil ones have waged a decade long battle against me.

I’ve tried to be nice, but now instead I will be factual and blunt about what I say.

What started this battle, you might ask? 

Answer: My neighbors’ ignorance about insurance laws.

Long story short: My tree fell (not the crepe myrtle, another one that is now gone). It bent their (probably illegally-sized) antennae and I said “If damage is less than $500 I will pay cash to fix it, if more than $500 I will call insurance.”

I go to an antennae shop to get an estimate and it will be over $500 so I say to my klassy Mensa neighbors “hey, I gotta call insurance.”

They roar back at me “But you said you would pay cash!” 

I say “Yes, I did, but only if under $500.” They yell at me some more. I presume the only word they heard was “cash”.

I call my home insurance company, Allstate.

Allstate says to me “Hey, in the State of Maryland, when a tree falls down, whichever property owner is affected starts the process by calling his or her own insurance company.”

In other words, the property owner who sustains the damage makes the first phone call, not the property owner who has the tree’s roots in his or her yard.

That’s the just the way it is here in Maryland; it’s just the system.

I tell this to Mr. and Ms. Common-Law-Wife Klassy, and they proceed to scream at me, hang up the phone, and launch their petty vendetta against me for the next 10+ years.

So now every August I get the inevitable code enforcement letter from the city about the crepe myrtle tree, and every August the neighbors brutalize my tree by hacking away at the branches, always going well over the property line even though that is illegal.

But hey, when you are this Klassy, you are allowed to get away with illegal shit all the time, because there is never any witness.

I am here to formally announce that I love that tree and will keep it forever.

Until the day Ms. Surviving-Klassy-Neighbor dies or sells the house.

Then I’ll gladly take it down, if the new owners kindly ask me to do so. Because I respond to kindness and politeness, not to vendettas waged by ignoramuses who lack education and common sense.

A few more words about Miss Klassy. I did a little Googling about her and discovered that Ms. Klassy likes to harass people using our legal system, too, not just the Brunswick Code Enforcement team. I’m not her only victim. 

When Ms. Klassy gets it into her mind that “sumbuddy dun ‘er wrong,” she applies all of her money and effort towards harassing the shit out of them repeatedly, for multiple years.

At least I know it’s not personal–she’s an equal opportunity hater.

Wow.

It’s sort of sad.

I mean, when she is dead and gone, her only legacy in this world will be a massive quantity of litigation paperwork in the public archives.

I’m glad she funded those trips to Bermuda for her lawyer’s kids–they really enjoyed it!

Found out someone keyed my car over the weekend.

My best guess as to who did it: the guy who looked like he was trying to break into the Post Office on Saturday night (I saw him, he saw me, he saw which car I got out of, so he probably came back and keyed it after I left). Thanks, hoodlum! You represent your home town so well…by the way, did you ever graduate from high school?

It’s so sad to feel so bitter about a town I had so much hope about way back in 2002.

At this point I am soooooo done with it. If I ever win the lottery, my top priority is getting the hell out of Brunswick, STAT. Or as it is fondly known in this region of the world, “Bruns-hick.”

When I moved here, and when I started this blog, I was so full of optimism and love for everyone… but since then–

  1. My car has been keyed.
  2. My neighbor has poisoned my plants, tried to run over my bare foot with his truck, hit the back end of my car with his truck numerous times, and many more horrible things I have already covered in this blog ad nauseum.
  3. I have had things stolen from my yard.
  4. I have had trash and used cat litter dumped into my yard.
  5. A bully smashed my son’s face in for no reason.
  6. A drunken teenager broke into my house and broke my front door.
  7. I had a random mean random unsigned nastygram stuck on my car telling me “to stay parked up on your end of the street” where there is never any fucking parking.
  8. And even more shit has happened, but who wants to hear me whine more?

OMG, one thing my next home will have no matter what is its own goddamn driveway so that I never have to deal with parking problems like this ever again.  

Why was I even parked at the Post Office the other night? Because there was no goddamn parking available anywhere near my front door. Parking is my number one issue in this town–there is none. Atr least none near my house. The hoodlum could have keyed my car as it sat in my driveway I suppose, but it would have been far less likely with the car sitting right udner my window with a big huge floodlight on it.

At this point, I am beaten and cynical. I can hear it now: a person who actually likes Brunswick, someone, somewhere out there–although I have yet to find such a person–saying to me “Well. just leave, then.” Oh, I so wish I could. I would effin’ leave in an effin’ heartbeat if I had any money to afford a moving truck and a realtor and all those other expenses that go with moving. If I had a fairy godmother, I would have asked her to get me the hell out of here years ago.  

But my sad reality is I have no money, so I will stay in my nightmare, having my car vandalized over and over again, struggling for nonexistent parking over and over again, watching things being stolen from my yard over and over again, getting the stink eye from the crazy neighbor who hates me over and over again, dealing with it only because there is no other option.

But just know that deep inside my seething, angry heart is a person desparate to escape this bloody town as soon as I can.

(Side note: Just because I hate the town does not mean I hate everyone in it. I do love and like a fair number of people here and I hope they are having better lives than I am living in Brunswick, I really do. I wish no ill towards these good people of which I speak.)

 

Revival 2011

I’m revving the blog back up!

Much has transpired since last year and now I have many, many (positive) reasons to get back to regular blogging.

For those who have left comments, I’ll be going through those this weekend.

Happy Fourth of July Weekend to all!

OK, so I am in the Brunswick Shopping Center when a parade starts to go by. I get happy and excited and I start to watch with a smile on my face. About six vehicles of nice kids and parents start to go by. Then, the stream of vehicles stops, so I start to drive forward, thinking it is safe to do so.

I see another parade vehicle approaching from behind. I pull over to let it join its compatriots. All good so far.

I see no other parade vehicles. I start to move forward again.

I pull up to where I can turn onto my street. Blonde mother of a Brunswick child is frantically waving her arms and screaming something unintelligible at me that I cannot hear because my windows are closed.

I open my window to say in an encouraging manner “I live right here!” gesturing to make a right turn. What I am intending to convey is “Whatever ya’ll are doing, I am about to get out of your way and turn right here so you can keep going without my interference.” My intentions are good.

What do I get from blonde Brunswick Mommy in return?

Yells angrily at me: “Well, we’re trying to have a parade!”  [Then in snotty sarcastic upset exaggerated tone] “Way to go Brunswick!”

Way to go indeed. Yes, let’s all have a parade but fail to put up any public signage about it so that we, the general public, are totally clueless about what is going on and thus we are rendered unable to support our town’s kids.

Way to go Brunswick, indeed. Fail to provide enough escort vehicles so that the parade gets fragmented, then blame it all on citizens who had no forewarning that a parade was going to happen at all.

Way to go, Blonde Brunswick Mom! Assume the worst intentions of your fellow neighbors when they are saying they actually want to get out of your way; you go ahead and do your civic duty and give your fellow townsfolk a snotty attitude and tongue-lashing instead to reign them back in line. Yes, let’s all think the worst of each other, because that’s what builds a real community!

You know, this is not the only reason, but for a whole host of reasons: Brunswick Maryland, eight years of you is enough for me.

If I was rich I would have moved out of here a long time ago. But I’m not, so I am stuck here, presumably for another eight years or more until I can afford a house someplace else.

I came to live here with the best of intentions back in 2002, but instead I get:

  • Rude Brunswick Moms screaming at me for no reason even when I am trying to be helpful to their cause
  • Never enough parking on my street
  • Drunk teenagers trying to kick my door open late at night because they are too drunk to find the right house to go home to
  • My son physically assaulted by another teen in the railroad parking lot–who literally breaks my son’s face
  • Psycho next door neighbor constantly trying to sue me and harass me over the crepe myrtle tree that was planted here years before I even lived here
  • No fluoride in the water
  • No yard waste curbside trash pickup
  • Favorite shops closing downtown
  • Speeding ticket for driving 3 miles per hour over the limit (and yet no one ever seems to catch the people who speed down my one way street…driving the wrong way)
  • Hearing loss from the fire siren

I am sure now that I have lodged this blog complaint, this sort of behavior against me, my family and my property is only going to increase… So maybe in a day or so I will remove this blog post entirely and go back to pretending that all is well here, go back to hiding my head in the crowd, hoping to go unnoticed so that at least rather than being attacked here I will be left alone instead… But right now I am upset and sad.

Sad that people here automatically think the worst of me…and sad that even though I started out wanting to see, believe, and think only the best of them, I’m losing my faith in this place that was supposed to be my forever home. I don’t want to feel this way.

I guess right this minute I am doing the same thing the Blonde Brunswick Mom just did to me: assuming the worst of this town and the people who live in it. I know in my heart it can’t be right to do that.

But you know, I am tired. Tired of various forms of harassment, theft and rudeness. Tired of not having enough money to escape from it, or even enough money to fix the house I live in. Tired of fighting for parking spaces.  Tired of the 3 AM siren waking me up so that I perform badly at work the next day.

I used to be the biggest fan of this place. I would talk about it positively to everyone I met everywhere. I would blog about the positives to emphasize them publicly and to try to generate more interest in them from people outside Brunswick. But I don’t find much here to blog positively about these days.

Now, there are some good things here still…the farmer’s market and its sweethearted vendors; some of my closest neighbors (not the psycho tree haters, of course, but the others who are genuinely wonderful people); the sound of the train in the middle of a cold winter’s night; Officer P who truly cares about kids and animals and people; the riverside… But are these things enough for me now to make me stay here?

Probably not anymore. I stay here only as long as forced to do so by the constraints of my finances. When money allows, I am off to some other corner of the county. It saddens me, because I had such high hopes when I first got here.

I want to change my mind. I want to feel better about this. I want to see things turn around. I want to try to contribute to make things better here.

But tonight, I am tired, and I definitely have a long way to go to get to where I need to be.

Thank you to Marine Cpl. Kurt Shea for his service to our nation. I wish I could have been there today on Opposumtown Pike to pay tribute to him with the other citizens who came out in the rain to honor him. I send condolences to Cpl. Shea’s family for their profound loss.

I Am Sorry, Poland

Today’s news–about how the nation of Poland lost its President, its First Lady, and its top leadership in a horrible plane crash–saddens me more than I can express. I wish there was something I could do to help the nation of Poland and its people. It’s not fair that history and fate have brought them so much suffering; they don’t deserve it.

I guess because I am a Scandinavian with Eastern features (I’m not one of those blonde Scandinavians at all), I feel a sort of kinship with people in the Baltics and the former Soviet States, because I share some of the same roots (at least if you go back hundreds of years through the cultures and the bloodlines; the Finnish language is Finno-Ugric, after all). Maybe this is why this news story has affected me so much.

For the people of Poland I wish for healing, for strength, for peace, and for stability.