review of my neighbor

April 28, 2007

I didn’t want to have to do this, but I feel I must review my neighbors. Not all of my neighbors, just the ones across the street from me. To be more specific would be pointless, because, on the one in a trillion chance (so yes, there’s a chance) that my neighbors ever read this page, much less even know who I am, well, everybody on my street will know exactly which neighbor I’m talking about.

Anyway.

I guess what I’ll do is just list the incidents, the stuff, the grist, that sort of thing.

First, the house. The neighbor, let’s call him, hm, George Webber. George built across the street from us, on the view side of the street (we couldn’t afford the view, so we’re stuck on the lame side of the street), so he has the walkout basement, the huge deck overlooking the valley, the hot tub on the deck, the works. George’s house is cool, lots of cool colors, cool paintings, cool lighting, all that. The problem is the color. Sort of. The base stucco is a nice earthy yellow color. But in a botched attempt to make the house look like an Italian villa, George had the stucco done with dark streaks, to simulate 500 years of sitting in a Mediterranean climate. That didn’t work out so well–it looked more like a child had taken black oil and splashed it on every wall. For a year we referred to it as “the haunted house.” Made it very easy to tell people where we lived—“oh, we are across the street from that gross haunted house.” Slam dunk.

After about a year, George went out with his kids and painted over the stucco using a base, earthy yellow color. Not professionally done, but still. Better than haunted.

Last year, George had the yard landscaped, but he burned through several landscape companies, because he kept changing his mind, en medias rex–they couldn’t stand the flip flopping. He also spent some time shopping for a landscape company that wouldn’t balk at violating all of the HOA’s rules and regulations. Just when he got the yard about, but not quite, done, his last landscape company up and quit on him–They’d had enough.

Let’s do the family. I don’t really have much of an idea, after two years, what exactly the family make-up is. At first I thought I knew, I thought it was George, his kids from previous marriage who only came up to visit, and George’s girlfriend, hairdresser girl, and her kids from previous marriage, who seemed to live there during the week, but not on weekends. But this last winter, girlfriend disappeared, George came and went sparingly, no kids, and another crazy man seemed to live there, coming and going only during the oddest of hours. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. Except the oddest of hours part. That can be a problem. More on that in a minute.

Oh, and recently, George seems to be back, with girlfriend hairdresser girl, but no kids. But now with an entourage.

Okay, how about some of the, er, activities. First, crazy winter guy. All during the winter, crazy winter guy would come out of the house at about 3am, and fire up the generator and the water compressor, and start power washing the driveway. Seriously. Like 3 times a week. I should mention that January was very cold, sub zero for many days at a time. So crazy winter guy would power wash the snow and ice from the driveway, and create large piles of ice at the bottom of the driveway, on the sidewalk, from all the power washing.

The power washing was particularly fun, because we would be fast asleep, and awakened by the generator, only to go to the window to see crazy winter guy in boxer shorts and a white sleeveless t-shirt, power washing his driveway. In January (about 0 degrees). At three in the morning. Good times all around.

Speaking of three in the morning. George, in his infinite wisdom, spent well above $50,000 (you read that right, fifty thousand dollars. American.) on a house-wide custom sound system, with wall mounted flat screens, the works. Who wouldn’t want that? Especially with the hot tub overlooking the valley in the backyard.

Well, there is a downside. The axiom we live by is, the more expensive the sound system, the harder to figure out. Which isn’t a problem when it’s your neighbor’s sound system, unless he’s installed very large, very expensive speakers in the eaves of his front porch. Pointing roughly at my front door and bedroom window.

The first time Kim and I were awakened at 3am, it was to the strains of the Carmina Burana. And it was so loud our windows were shaking. I stomped across the street, banged on the door, rang the doorbell, and stomped around a good ten minutes until crazy winter guy finally saw me through the window. He sheepishly came to the door, dressed in his traditional sleeveless white t-shirt and boxer shorts. I mutely pointed up at the speakers. He held out his hands, helplessly, and said “dude.” Except he said it like it was a 20 letter word—“ddddduuuuuuuuuuude. It’s a $50,000 sound system. I don’t know how to turn it off.” Eventually we got it turned off. Only to have it turn on when I got back to bed. And then off again. And so on.

This happened several times over the winter. We called the cops a few times, since it was way too cold to go stomping over each time. But the cops would show up, bang on the door, flash their flashlights in the window, and nobody would ever come to the door. But the music would turn off, and the cops would just shrug and leave. Nice. I’ve seriously considered going over with a hose, and spraying the speakers until they short out, or even just a broom handle, and punching out the woofers, but I figure anybody with a sound system like that also has closed circuit security cameras, and I don’t fancy starring on America’s Dumbest Criminals.

A month ago or so, we got into bed around 11pm, only to be jolted back awake by the soundtrack to the movie “300.” I knew it was that movie, because it was the scene where the Spartans push the Persians into the ocean. I stomped across the street, and a teenage girl answered. “How’s the movie?” I said. “WHAT?” she yelled. “I don’t live here!” “I don’t care! I just don’t want to watch the movie with you!”

She figured out how to turn it off.

I don’t want to go into each incident. But the most recent one was pretty good. Last week, again, around 11pm, we had just gone to bed, and the music started up. Each time this happens, we lay there in bed for a minute, waiting to see if they’ll realize the problem (they never do).

So I got up and started across the street. Lots of cars, lots of noise (the new thing, now that George is back with entourage, is hot tub parties). I got across the street, and was starting up the driveway, when a dwarf in a swimsuit came running around the side of the house, soaking wet, and ran right in front of me, then disappeared behind the other side of the house. Like I said, hot tub party. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Oh, and he may not have been an actual dwarf, but at first I sure thought he was. Turns out he was more like an 8 year old boy. Same diff.

Just as I started back up the driveway, a woman came around the side of the house, clearly in pursuit of the boy. She was also soaking wet, but unlike the boy, she had no swimsuit. Instead, she was stark naked, and in a full run. She saw me, and without breaking stride, she placed both her hand over her breasts, muttered “this is just too much,” (amen, sister) and continued her way around the house.

Normally that would have been enough to send me back home, but there was no way I wasn’t going to the front door now. I knocked for a minute or two, and when the door opened, I was greeted by a woman I had never seen before, dressed in just a towel, and not a big one. Oh, and Kid Rock’s hat. No kidding. Kid Rock’s black top-hat, except it was furry.

I said “Hi. Do you think you could keep the music on the inside of the house?”

She just smiled, said “sure,” and closed the door. No invitation to stay. I’m quite offended.

Funny thing is, now when I tell people about the neighbors, the women laugh, but the men invariably ask for the address.

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