Tuesday Sep 02 2008
Tolerance and creativity resolve neighbor annoyances
By: Miki Garcia
Dear Miki, “Drop-dead-gorgeous” used to live next door to me, but he leased his home and has built another. When this guy comes to do repairs, he has to park his Jaguar down the street to avoid the jumble of cars belonging to the tenants. Why does he not do something about this? I understand the real estate market today and how things are not selling like they once did, and I understand that to get a good renter who is willing to help you pay your mortgage is ultra-important. But what I don’t understand is why he chose this particular family to rent the place? This is a very quiet neighborhood and homes around here sell anywhere from $800,000 up to $1.3 million. I am finding it unusual that this family moved in with three kids (a teen and two smaller children), a large dog, a cat who eats our cat’s food and numerous vehicles. In addition to this, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that several other people (friends? relatives?) with additional cars are staying over there too, making the flag-lot driveway look like an airport tarmac. Cars leave between 5:30 and 7:00 in the morning, and the trucks are exceptionally noisy. Radios blare music waking me up with a start on the wrong side of the bed. The teen boy has other pimply teens over all the time and they park their vehicles in the driveway and walk around yakking on cell phones annoying my two “indoor” dogs. I can tolerate the loud music, and I can tolerate the gridlock in my driveway, but what I can’t tolerate is their extra large dog taking huge bowel movements right out front where I can see, and no one is cleaning it up. As I drive in, I can clearly see these disgusting piles and wonder why they can’t. Perhaps they can but don’t care? ‘Drop-dead-gorgeous’ is divorced, and I want to keep our conversations pleasant. What should I do? I appreciate your advice and love your column because you tell it like it is. Frustrated on a Flag Lot Dear F. O. A. F. L., Because you love my column, I will say this with a spoonful of sugar. My dear friend, when you purchased a flag lot, you agreed to the frontage house becoming your home’s curb appeal. A rear property owner having a driveway for an easement appurtenant over the front property can only be a back seat driver in the complaint department. It is time for you to be creative and embrace opportunities. Here’s how at 83 my mother is the Grand Dame of her neighborhood street. For three decades, she has taken the coming and going of homeowners and renters in stride. Recently, she was awakened by the police ringing her doorbell at 1 a.m. Through the peep hole, Mom saw two officers and asked them to show their badges. She kept the chain lock on and opened the door. They told her that a neighbor had complained she was having a boisterous party. Mom said, “Well, yes I am. It’s a party like Hefner throws at the Playboy Mansion. If you want to join in, you have to come back in your pajamas. I’ve got some champagne on ice. I’ll wait for you.” Perhaps the “Life-Line” around her neck caused the cops to smile and leave. Hurriedly, Mom phoned the nineteen-year-old next door who regularly had entertained at his parents’ beautiful home this summer when they were out of town. She warned him the police had gotten the wrong address. Before returning to college, this teen came to say good bye and thank her for not ratting him out to the police and his parents. He plans to be a doctor and Mom hopes he realizes his dreams. And there is the homeowner whose front yard is comparable to Woodstock’s aftermath. Over the years, he has been the first to check on Mom if she needed anything. She smiles when she hears his motorcycle rev up in the middle of the night and takes this time to thank God she’s alive to hear it. Mom brings fresh fruit and the newspaper to an elderly neighbor who waits for her caregiver to arrive. It doesn’t matter that the neighbor doesn’t share her political views; it does matter that widowed survivors go on the best they can. My point is for you make friends with your neighbors’ kids and pay one of them to pick up the piles that their parents consider fertilizer. Buy one of the Dog Whisperer’s books to find out how to explain a scratchin’ real estate market to your pooches through their behavior modification. Lessors are no longer in the position of eeny, meeny, miny, moe and so the bottom line must do. Put some lipstick on your smile and get in step with “drop-dead-gorgeous”: Whether you’re a brother Or whether you’re a mother, You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Feel the city breakin’ And ev’rybody shakin’ And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin’ alive. Stayin’ alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin’ alive. Ask Miki is a column of opinion and entertainment, and anything herein is not intended for real estate, financial, legal, tax, medical, or psychological advice. You may contact real estate agent Miki Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.