How Much for that Doggie in the Window?
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."
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
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.