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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

How Much for that Doggie in the Window?

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

How Much for that Doggie in the Window?

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disgruntled
Last summer, we got new next-door neighbors. They're young folks, which made us glad, because our D&D games can get pretty rowdy sometimes and we don't need some old coot with an 8 o'clock bedtime banging on the door because we exceeded a whisper. Our neighbor is a quiet, peaceful place, and we like it that way. We pay a lot of money in rent each month, we like it so much. And Bobby and I are also quiet, considerate people. (Except for the occasional boo-boo in the aforementioned D&D games! :^D)

Turns out, the young people who moved next door: total inconsiderate, rude trash. We live on the third floor; it is nothing for me to walk into the building on the first floor and be able to hear line for line what is being said on their television set. They see nothing wrong with their friends shouting and carrying on in the parking lot until three in the morning. And they smoke...they smoke so heavily that Bobby started having allergic reactions and our entire apartment reeked of it for weeks.

(Sometimes they smoke pot too. Now I think it should be legal...but it's not. And when the cops come knocking on my door at 3 a.m. because they've noticed a distinct herbal aroma on the third floor, I'm not going to be happy.)

But the proverbial s**t really hit the fan when they got a dog.

Why is it always that the people who shouldn't have pets get them en masse?

Our apartments are four-room apartments plus a bathroom. Yet the people next door have at least two cats and a dog. I can't imagine how the place smells. I can't imagine where they put a litter pan. (Bobby and I considered getting a cat except...we couldn't find a place to put the litter pan. And it turned out to be serendipitous, because a few months later, we had the infamous conversation, "Well, we could operate a home candy business." Cat hair and candy is not a good mix.) But if they want to live in a barnyard, that's their perogative.

But the dog....

They couldn't get a normal dog, no. They got some yapping toy poodle thing that looks like a damned white rat. And the thing barks constantly when they are not home. Which is pretty often. Reference the earlier statement about how some people simply should not have animals: They go out and leave the dog in a four-room apartment for the better part of a day, sometimes (as far as I can confirm) up to ten hours at a time. Understandably, the beast becomes bored, hungry, has to pee, whatever. And it starts barking. And barking. You know the sort of bark: shatters crystal when it really gets going? Akin to an icepick driven directly into one's eardrum? Yes, that.

Every utility repairman to come into our apartment has commented on the wretched beast. "Wow, that's an annoying dog."

Damn skippy.

Our families cringe and ask how we put up with it whenever they visit.

Now that the weather is warmer, our lovely neighbors have discovered that if they leave the front and back windows open, the dog will sit in the window and bark every time a leaf turns over. Awww...how cute, right?

Two weeks ago, I had all that I could take. They were out, per usual, with the windows open. It was a Friday. Bobby and I had just gotten home from work, and we always nap for an hour or so, then head out for our weekly date. For the hour-and-a-half that we were home before I finally could not take it anymore and insisted that we leave for dinner now, the white rat dog ran back and forth, the entire length of their apartment, barking all the way, from one window to another. Which meant that, no matter what room we were in, we could hear it with Technicolor clarity.

I laid in bed, trying to nap with my fingernails gouging my palm, until finally I could not take it anymore and we left.

That night, I pounded out a nice letter to our landlords, asking them to please intervene on our behalf. The barking goes on until 3 a.m. sometimes, and because the creature sits in the window, it can be heard throughout the entire block. For what we pay for our apartment, we should not have to leave it because our irresponsible neighbors can't take proper care of their pet...or have the consideration to imagine that the entire community does not need to hear their dog barking for hours on end. I was nice to the landlords; it is not their fault that the people next door turned out to be assholes, and one can draw more flies with honey than sugar, as they say.

I didn't send it out right away because I prefer to sit on emotional letters to make sure that I'm not being particularly cruel or inappropriately sarcastic. I can be both, at times, I know. The next week was when Bobby went to Washington, and on Tuesday morning, as I was hooking Maeglin-the-iPod into the tape deck of my car, the guy who lives directly below us knocked on my window, and we chatted for five minutes about what to do about that dog.

It's driving him nuts too.

I told him about my letter, and he beseeched me to send it out. Bobby talked to him again the other day, and he had called the rental office and they had asked him to also submit a complaint in writing.

I dropped off the letter late Monday afternoon.

Yesterday, in our mailbox, was a letter from our landlords.

I thought: It can't possibly be in response to my letter! Not so quickly! Only one business day--Tuesday--had passed, and I had allowed them a week before they had to deal with one pissed off Polish bitch (me) ringing them up to ask why they find it unnecessary to reply to a tenant who spends close to a grand each month for her four-room apartment? Alas, it was a reply...or more accurately, a copy of the letter that they sent to the Neighbors from Hell next door.

"It has come to our attention that you are harboring a dog in your apartment, in direct violation of your rental agreement...."

Which means that the idiots had not only kept an egregiously noisy rat-dog, but also did so against their lease, perhaps thinking that no one would notice the hours of ear-splitting barking?

When Bobby and I looked into getting a cat, the security deposit for one cat was $300. (Our security deposit, for two tenants, was $100.) If they have three animals, that means that they owe at least $900 in security deposits. Which I know that they can't pay. How do I know that? Because in less than a year, they've had three eviction notices on their door that we've seen. They were summoned to a meeting yesterday with our new landlords to discuss their "financial situation."

I feel bad in the sense that the one who will be punished the most by this is the damned dog. And no matter how many fantasies I admittedly have entertained of hiring a local neighborhood kid with a bebe gun and asking, "How much for that doggie in the window?" I really do love animals--including dogs--and hate that the animal always must suffer for its guardian's negligence. However, Bobby and I do pay our rent fully and on time every month, and that we can't even sleep or eat in our apartment without wanting to rip out our hair in enormous handfuls is entirely ridiculous.

I do not know if the business office approves dogs for all apartments or if it is just limited to certain buildings. Our lease makes no bones about the fact that we are not allowed to have a dog; we are allowed up to two cats, with written permission and paid security deposit(s). This is in boldface, highlighted, underscored--literally--in the lease, so there is no way that a person with an IQ over 40 can miss it. (In the case of the guy next door, I pin his IQ at about 38. The girl is actually pretty nice, and it's mostly her white-trash boyfriend who seems to be the cause of most of their problems.)

If they do allow them to keep the dog and they manage to scrape together enough for the security deposit, I don't know what will happen from there.

I am hoping that they won't be around much longer. They are coming close to having been here a year, and I'm hoping that either 1) they'll realize that ours is really not a good community for them or 2) the landlords will decide that for them. I am a very tolerant person and have put up with a lot from them, but there is a limit to my patience. If they were willing to extend a bit of courtesy to their neighbors--not shouting at the dog in the stairwell at 2 a.m. for instance--then I might have been content to look the other way. But we don't live in a bloody dorm. It is a quiet community of professional people, and we pay a lot to keep it that way. Yelling, screaming, and carrying on at all hours of the day and night might have been cool in the frat house, but it's not cool here. Maybe that makes me a snob. I don't know.

As it stands, I'm switching over to pure self-interest. If that makes me a bad person...well, I figure it's better than stealing Potter's paintball gun and engaging in some target practice with the rat in the window.
  • I live in a four-rooms-plus-kitchen-and-bathroom apartment, and I'd say it depends on how big those rooms are if you want to keep one or two cats in there (but you *should* be willing to invest in expensive cat litter...).

    Dogs in apartments, however, I'd say is a definite no-no. Simply because dogs, even little, fluffy dogs, smell so much more than three cats together (with the exception of Jupiter-the-little-devil, perhaps, but it's not his fault that he has a chronic illness).

    And if it's barking so much, I don't think they are taking very good care of it. Poor doggie.

    I hope you'll be rid of them soon! (And that the animals find a better home...)
    • One of the rooms I'm counting is the teeny-tiny kitchen; the other is the teeny-tiny dining room (which we made into a study). The bedroom and living room are decently sized. We are permitted two cats, and that seems reasonable. (My parents have two cats--albeit in a big house--and nothing smells except around the litterpan.) As soon as the neighbors arrive home, the first thing that we hear them do is get out the vacuum, which implies that the animals are either making messes on the floor or tearing things to bits. Either way, I cannot imagine what that place looks like. Methinks they won't be getting their deposit back.

      They clearly aren't taking care of the dog, imho, when they leave it for more than ten hours at a time...I think anyone needs a potty after that long! :^D

      I've also heard the guy beating the dog to where it screamed and I thought he was messing around with his girlfriend...but when I put my ear to the wall, it was the dog. o.O

      People like that do not deserve pets. (Or neighbors!)
    • LOL Your cat's name is Jupiter? That's my dogs name...
      • I have a black tomcat - Jupiter-the-little-devil - and a white cat with tiger spots, Juno-the-cat (who gave me my online name).

        What can I say, I like cats.

        Dogs, too, but I'd need a house for a dog... *sigh*
  • I don't think you're over-reacting at all. I also begin running amok when the guy living next to me has his music too loud (the house I live in was built for students which means paper-thin walls, yay!). But the fact is, music can be switched off, the dog can't. Where I come from we have a similar problem with cats: Because our negihbours don't have them castrated they keep running around impregnating everything that crosses their way (at least they're mostly silent)... not to mention our neighbours' bratty kids.

    By the way, I don't think cats and candy match either. I keep finding cat hairs in my laundry at home, though I only come in contact with cats at my parents'. o.O
    • Once we get the business officially licensed and such, I doubt we'll even legally be able to keep animals in the same apartment. I know how difficult it is to keep human hair out of food in restaurant work (luckily, mine is three feet long and easy to spot and remove prior to beginning work in the kitchen!), so I'd think that pets would pose a definite problem.

      Plus, I have a foreign-bodies-in-food complex, so even if I could keep an animal, I doubt that I would so long as I was running my business from home.

      Reading these comments has convinced me that human beings simply should not live near other human beings. Too many seem to believe that the world is theirs to do as they please...as loudly as they please.
      • Your hair is really three foot long? Mine refuses to grow more than a little past my< shoulder blades... which is probably a good thing since it is a major pest in general... ;)
        • Yep. :) When it's wet it sticks to my bum. When it's dry, it tickles the small of my back.

          (Now it's curled around two pencils and a hair tie because I'm mixing blackberry frozen yogurt for Mother's Day tomorrow and don't want to find any dark-blond surprises!)

          The wedding pictures I post for my anniversary show how long it was a year-and-a-half ago and it's grown since then.
          • Wow, that's some really nice hair you have! And I really like the way you're wearing it in those picture. Unfortunately anything that's slightly more complicated than a pony tail will make my scalp itch terribly somehow (not to mention I can't keep my hands from the clips and hair pins, so it would get undone pretty quickly).

            (And now I can't get around to mention that I also really like your dress and - as an official addict to nail polish - the colour your nails are painted... Eru, I recognize things, hehe).

            Yummy, frozen yoghurt. And I'm totally familiar with that kind of "surprises". I always have to tie my hair back when I'm preparing food, too. (I also have a friend who's always occupied with saving my hair from spaghetti sauce when we're out for lunch...). :)
            • It rarely looks that nice; it was washed and brushed that day and made to behave. :^P Today, it was also washed and brushed but then I spent two hours driving back and forth across the state with the windows open, so I'm afraid that I looked like a banshee for all of my efforts!

              Thank you, though! :) I swore that I would not get married in red since I tend to choose red for...well, everything. But we can say that the dress picked me. :)

              Luckily, in six years of foodservice, no one ever found a "surprise" that's source was me (which would have been obvious, given how long my hair is), so I like to hope that my methods work and hope to keep the record up!

              (My hair falls in food, too, btw. Spaghetti is a big culprit. But it's my husband trusted to do the saving. :^P)
              • I'm afraid that I looked like a banshee for all of my efforts!

                Haha, I know what you mean. The death of my hair is damp climate or rain. No matter what I do, when it's raining I always look as if I didn't even own a hair brush. ;)

                I swore that I would not get married in red since I tend to choose red for...well, everything.

                I think you can never go wrong with red, hehe (see my R-meme). :)
  • Well, that sounds now, as if the cats impregnate the kids... LOL
    • LMFAO!!! That was my thought upon first reading it, before I realized what you were really saying! :^D
  • I think you've handled it very well! No one should have to put up with that! Those yappy little dogs drive me nuts too!

    • A friend of mine once called them "kick me dogs": All that yapping sounds just like they're begging, "Kick me! Kick me!"

      Not that I'd ever do that, but I will admit to entertaining fantasies of making a field goal at the Ravens' stadium with a white, fluffy football....
  • OMG. This takes me back to the days when we had an inconsiderate next-door neighbor with a yappy dog (it was white too, and small--isn't that weird?). Only we were in our first house (that we owned). We were lucky because these people moved only a year after living there (and they couldn't possibly have made any money on their house). Now we have one next-door neighbor with a great big huge yappy dog. Not yappy--ear-splitting is more like it. And if you walk by the fence near it it will jump up at you. It could be a great dane except it's spotted brown and white, and I don't think they come like that. Anyway, my husband Ed was talking to Vince, the neighbor, last week and the dog leapt up and scratched Eddie on the arm, leaving a fairly big gash. He told Vince that if he decideded to sue, he'd split the money with him. He was just joking. Vince is a nice guy. He had also just told Eddie that his youngest son just got his 15-year-old girlfriend pregnant and she's going to move in with them, so Eddie felt really sorry for them too.

    We have 3 cats, but our house has 18 rooms, so it's pretty big, and several of the rooms are shut off from the animals. However, I would never have that many cats again. You have to clean out the litterbox constantly, and they can't go outside because there is a bylaw in our town that prohibits cats from being out of doors, and they enforce it here. So I'm finding it's too much trouble and our house would be better without them. (No scratch marks on the furniture, no pet hair, no smell.)

    Neighbors can be hell no matter where you live. Our neighbors on the other side are really nice, but they have decided to put an addition on their house this summer and they've just finished putting up a new fence that will help keep the dust and rubble from spilling over into our swimming pool (that new fence just cost us $500 for 'our' half of it). So this should be an interesting summer, listening to the work crew next door and scraping building detritus out of our pool. Oh well, luckily I have a lot of patience. We'll see how I am by the end of the summer, though.
    • I told atanwende--after reading y'all's awful-neighbor stories--that I have come to the conclusion that human beings should not live near other human beings. Neighbors are a pain in the ass.

      Actually, we've been/are really lucky with ours, except the winners next door. Downstairs from us is the nice guy who also wrote a letter to Howard Crossing management; next to him is a Russian family who just moved in a couple of months ago. Both like hockey, so they talk with Bobby all the time. And we have a single young woman (with two cats!) on the bottom floor who's hardly ever home; she's really nice too.

      Our building is so peaceful and everyone's so pleasant except....

      The dog might be a Great Dane, btw. They come in a "harlequin" variety that is spotted; someone in the historic district has one and we always see her walking it. I've always loved Danes or large dogs in general. I don't understand the point of tiny, yapping dogs...but to each her own, I guess.

      The sad thing is that Bobby and I are willing to tolerate just about anything...as evidenced by the laundry list of offenses we've ignored from the eejits next door. Like you, I'm patient! Also, we're young too and have friends over on occasion, and I don't want complaints every time someone laughs to loudly after 11 p.m. on a Saturday.

      So that we're at our proverbial rope's end...that's saying something.

      Yesterday, too, the guy shaved the rat-dog on the front stoop of our building and didn't pick up a bit, leaving gobs of hair strewn across the garden and lawn. The landscaping of our community is kept really nice, and Bobby was livid and left an angry note on the mailbox. His girlfriend picked up the hair and wrote an apology back. But that's just the sort of person he is: too lazy to pick up after himself and assuming that we're all willing to deal with his mess.

      Good luck this summer with the folks next door. Sounds like you're in for a treat...hopefully the construction will be over quickly and you won't be scooping plaster bits and detritus from the pool for the whole of the summer.
  • Damn, and to think the only thing I had to deal with in Turnquist were the next door neighbor's snotty and inconsiderate children. Hopefully the sitaution will be taken care of in your case. As for mine, thank God we moved.
    • You used my favorite of your icons! That one never fails to amuse me. ;)

      I'm hoping that they'll move when their lease expires. No offense to them, but it's pretty clear that they can't afford to live here. I think the girlfriend works, but the guy's always home...or out partying. Living in Howard County is not cheap, unfortunately. :^/

      Incidentally, the dog's been gone all afternoon/evening...so have they. So they either took it with them or it's really gone. *crosses fingers*
  • I feel bad in the sense that the one who will be punished the most by this is the damned dog.

    Not necessarily; the dog could wind up at an animal shelter, where it stands a reasonable chance fo being adopted by someone else - with any luck, someone living in a house where the dog's barking won't be so much of a problem. So don't feel too guilty.

    Here's hoping the troublesome neighbors are soon the troublesome ex-neighbors! After all you've put up with over the past year, you deserve to get your peace and quiet back.

    (Your iPod is named Maeglin? Cool!)
    • I try to tell myself also that the dog certainly doesn't have a good life with them. It's not being properly taken care of, and I've heard the guy beating it so hard that it screams. (That was awful. I still get shivers thinking about it. :^/) Probably because it messes on the carpet...because they leave it home alone. Doh.

      (Your iPod is named Maeglin? Cool!)

      Yes! :^D The other week, when you said that "Maeglin had gotten caught in the pond filter," my first reaction was "OMG!!!" Then rationality kicked in and I realized that 1) you couldn't possibly be talking about my Maeglin and 2) you have a fish named Maeglin. Crisis averted!

      (Incidentally, his favorite song to shuffle: "Bizzare Love Triangle" by New Order, hehe.)
      • Yes, getting that poor dog out of that particular family would be a mercy.

        (Incidentally, his favorite song to shuffle: "Bizzare Love Triangle" by New Order, hehe.)

        Clearly he's a true Mole, indeed! Is he also black?
        • Yes, actually! I believe that might have been why I named him Maeglin in the first place, come to think of it....
  • Way to go Dawn! I hope those idiots and their rat get kicked out. Seriously, if there is anything that makes me go ballistic, that's not having peace and quiet. Your ordeal makes me imagine how I would have loved to wring the necks of both your neighbors and maybe have their pets sent to a shelter or put up for adoption. Such people belong in a dorm/cave/under a bridge.

    Hope things get better and that the landlords will take the complaints, not just from you but from other tenants as well, and get those bastards evicted.
    • I'm not too familiar with Maryland laws pertaining to property rental, but my mom seems to believe that the community management can refuse to renew their lease if they haven't been paying on time. Which they clearly haven't, since we've seen three eviction notices on their door...and we figure they've gotten more, since we are usually at work when the Howard County sheriff comes 'round on such tasks. So we have hope that when their year is up, they'll be out of here.

      Thing is, I am such a patient person...but I start to lose my patience when it becomes fairly clear that someone is acting like a baboon--not because they simply don't realize what a pain in the ass they are--because they simply don't care and think that the world should bow to their whims. I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for shouting in the stairwells at 3 in the morning except that one is an asshole and not afraid of showing it.

      I also don't understand the point of those yipping-yapping rat-dogs...but to each his/her own. In apartments as small as ours, though, I have to attribute it again to pure inconsideration on their part. They must have realized--and continue to realize--what a disturbance their rat-dog is. They just don't care.
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