Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I is for Impatient

I know.  It happens so rarely!  I'm usually such a patient, rational being.  But here's the thing.  I believe I've spoken before about the dogs in the house behind us?  And I believe I've mentioned that I use the term "house" rather loosely as these are townhomes (condos?), and we are all right on top of each other.  I can see into the backyards of about six other people's homes and they can all see into our little back patio space.

The woman behind me with the dogs (K) is about to get dealt with (as my husband would cheesily say). 

In case I can't find the previous post (or you don't feel like reading it), I'll recap.  She has 2 large-ish dogs.  One has curly hair and is the size of a standard poodle, the other looks to be an Alsatian mutt (think white German Shepherd).  These are not small dogs.   When the owners forget to close the dog door while they are not at home, those 2 dogs are out in their yard every few minutes barking non-stop.  And howling. 

When I initially talked to her I told this:
In the interest of full disclosure, we have a cat that spends a lot of time outside, walking along the tops of the fences, so I realize that he may be sparking some barking [I didn't actually rhyme at the time.  Ack, just did it again!].  I also want you to know that I've called Animal Control to see what my options are.  They said I needed to make note of the times and length of duration on the barking.  Here's what I have in the past week. 

I handed her the extensive list.  I explained that Animal Control also said I'd have to write a letter and have a neighbor sign as verification on that letter.  I told her that the old couple I share a wall with had complained to me about her dogs, so I asked if they'd sign and they said yes.  I said, "I asked them a week ago.  Apparently they've told others because since I asked them, I've had EIGHT people knock on my door asking if they could sign too."  I also explained that I worked from home and the company I work for has a No Tolerance For Background Noise Policy and I can't lose my job because her dogs are barking. 

This conversation took place over a year ago to try to politely ask that she keeps the barking in check.  At the time, she gave me her phone # and asked me to text if the dogs were going off and promised she'd take care of it.  I've had to text her at least once a month for the past year.

I've had to text her three times in less than 7 days now.

Last Thursday I was working and some lady was in K's backyard riling the dogs up ON PURPOSE for about 15 minutes.  I texted:
There's someone in your backyard riling up your dogs.  I wouldn't care but I'm working.

She txted back that it was a friend of hers from out of town.  The friend must've been mad about me txting because over the next hour, she'd bring the dogs out every 5 minutes and play with them.  Not letting them bark but SHE was shouting, carousing with them, and being loud.  Childish much?  She also was playing tug of war with them and the dogs were grunting and growling and she was grunting and growling back and it sounded for all the world as though they were having sex.  I just had to laugh thinking, "Lady, would you mind taking the bestiality indoors please?  There's children present!"

If you've been here at all the last year, you know that I have a 70 hour week.  I work until 11p and have to get up at 6:30a to either go to school or back to work at my little desk in our bedroom.  The ONLY night I get to go to sleep whenever I wish (and sleep in as long as I like) is Saturday night. 

Last Saturday night, those fucking dogs barked from 10p to 1a when I finally had enough and went to pound on their door.  Dave said not to bother as they obviously weren't home.  I couldn't help it.  I had to try.  It was very dark out, so I also wanted to make 100% sure it was K's dogs before I made trouble.  The lights were on but no answer.  It was her dogs, though, no mistake.   I came back to my house and texted her....
ME: Your dogs have been going off for the past 3 hours.  Seriously can't sleep with them losing it every few minutes.  Please FIX this.
K:  I am out of town.... will try to find roomate

Then a few minutes later...
K: To my knowledge there seems to be a cat in heat that is making a lot of noise late at nght and in the morning.
Me:  Can't control that.  Neither can you.   What you CAN control is YOUR dog's barking.  Get them some training, get them bark collars or muzzles.

About 10 minutes later, they shut up.

The next day she texts me:
K: Ruth, really sorry about last night.  My roommmate drank a little too much last night and didn't want to drive home... we have a bark collar so I told him if he is going to leave the pet door open that collars go on...again sorry for the inconvenience.

I just txted back - Thx.

Then today.  Oh, today. 

It's getting warm here in CO and we have to have our windows open or the upstairs cooks.  I don't know what CO's aversion to ceiling fans would be, but they are few and far btw.  The thermostat is downstairs which is ten degrees cooler than upstairs so even if we turned on the AC, it wouldn't do much for upstairs. 

So I've got our windows open and of course those fucking dogs start going off.  The really messed up thing is that they are actively barking AT US.  If we walk around in our room or when they hear us talking, they are in their backyard like a flash, barking and howling at the fence inbetween us.

I try to be patient but after 2 hours (and one customer asking if there's a dog IN THE ROOM with me), I text her again...
Me:  3rd time in less than 7 days.  My customers can hear and I will get FIRED if my boss hears or hears about it.  Patience is thinning rapidly....
K: Ruth, I have been gone all day at a conference downtown... my daughters must have forgotten to shut the dog door when they left.  I have complied and apologized for every sound they make.  They are dogs and happen to bark when they see a cat or a bird or other dogs.... it's only natural.  I can only do  my best and somtimes it's not perfect.  You complained the other night because we were playing with them in the backyard way after work hours.  I can't always manage your work hours, your windows open and when my dogs are allowed to go outside... it's not fair.  It's a residence not an office park... they have been good for a very long time.  Please try to understand it's not intentional... 
I don't like bothering peole, I'm a friendly person... but the other night outside playing with my dogs was little bit much.  What if I had small children that played outside and made noise?  I will take care of the issue like I always do... I guess the part that bothers me so much is that you are somewhat rude about it and it puts me in a defensive position.  Being friendly when issues arrive solves problems instead of making it worse.

ME:  The lady on the other side of us has 2 fat chihuahuas that fight and bark.  But after a bark or 2, she goes out there and takes care of it.  K, if it were a bark or 2 here or there then yes, dogs bark and it's a residence.  Pretty sure you know that's NOT what your dogs do.  It's the sustained, unchecked barking and  howling  off and on for hours at a time that makes me text.  If I seem rude, it may be because, to me, it seems very rude to be so careless with one's pets, allowing them to CONTINUALLY make so much noise.  They are not children, they are dogs.  If you think I'm rude now, let them bark btw 10p and 7a EVER again and we'll see if the cops think I'm rude.   How many times in the past year have we had this txt conversation??  More than once is too many and I'm done.  I'm not the only neighbor sick of hearing them.  I'm just the only one with your phone #.

I haven't heard much out of them since then.  Fingers crossed I never will again.

I wrote the above in April.  After the texting war, I never heard those dogs bark again.  AND, I'd see them in the backyard.  Previously, EVERY time they were in the backyard, they'd be barking.  After the texting war, I'd see them back there and they'd be just as silent as you please!  Then sometime in July, the dogs seem to have disappeared.  We thought maybe they moved out, but their grill and other yard stuff is still there.

Either way, I shoulda called the cops on that bitch a year ago.

Enjoying the silence, Ruth!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

H is for Health

Sorry I've been away for so long.  It's been so hard to think of how to write this.  Dave's dad's health started failing and he went downhill rather quickly.  He passed in June and..... I don't know. 

He had quadruple bypass surgery 44 years ago.  Four years ago, he ended up in the hospital.  They thought that bypass was failing, but it was actually his aorta was leaky.  They wanted to replace it, but he was 80 years old and the recovery period was estimated at over a year, so he opted out.  They put in a pacemaker and told him he had maybe a year left.

He lasted four years!  But it caught up with him.  He lost his appetite; lost a lot of weight.  He started getting sicker and sicker and told the doctor he wasn't going to take any preventative measures to stop the inevitable. 

He lasted about six weeks from when he started getting sick.  They tried hospice at home but that only lasted about 2 weeks.  He's far too large a man for the tiny wife to try to lift him if he fell.  So he spent the last 10 days of his life in a nursing home. 

At one point, when he was still conscious, I was feeding him (at the nursing home) and he had to stop after a few bites.  He said, "Solid food is exhausting."  It made me so sad! 

This is a man who loves food and loves to read.  He stopped going to the library for books (something he did every week).  I asked my husband, "Do you think it's because he's afraid he won't be able to finish the book and not know the ending?"

This is a man of strong Christian faith.  He didn't have much to leave, but he left his Bible to Trevor and some C.S. Lewis Christian book to Davis.  Dave wasn't happy about, but I said, "Let it go." and he did.

Before he got really bad, I went to their place with my steno-writer and computer and asked him a bunch of questions about his life.  His childhood, family, teen years, etc.  His wife was sitting there making horrible comments and being really mean about it.  Not sure what about it made her so damn mad, but there it was.

What made me cry the most?  When he asked me how school was going for me.  I said, "It's going really well!"  Then he said, "I'm sorry I won't be here to see you graduate."  Are you kidding me?  Instant waterfall.

Things that made me mad:
When the MIL kept telling anyone that would listen what a good man he is/was.  She NEVER said that to him in his lifetime.  It's like she suddenly discovered it.  Sad.

The boys:
When the boys were with us, visiting FIL in the nursing home, they had such different reactions.  T could barely stand to be in the room w/FIL.  Even when he was still lucid and fairly OK.  Dave finally told him, "T.  It's OK.  You can't catch the old."  D2, on the other hand, was by FIL's side constantly.  It was very sweet.  Not that T is any less sweet, he was just so sad and uncomfortable with the whole thing, he didn't know how to deal with it.

We kind of broke it to them weeks in advance.  When FIL started going downhill, we sat the boys down and told them as gently as we could that Gpa was at the end of his life.  The boys both broke down and sobbed.  T especially.  He was so heartbroken, it tore us up.  It's the ONLY time I ever saw Dave tear up.  Dave never cries.

Things that weirded me out:
Despite wearing jeans and T-shirts (my usual gear), a lot of the old people at the home thought I worked there. They would ask me to get them things or help them in some way or other.  One woman in particular would follow me around and demand that I get her some water or whatever.  What the hell?

Things that made us laugh:
T found a friend.  That place was deadly boring, so we let the boys bring their nintendos.  When we came out of FIL's room, he had this little old lady in a wheelchair next to him and he was showing her how to play his nintendo!  Every time we visited, he'd hang out with her (Charlotte).  It was very sweet.

Also, we had a run-in with a woman who had severe dementia.  She stopped us and asked the way to the cafeteria.  We told her, then she said, "You look like nice people.  That's why I asked you.  You look like nice people. Are you married?"
Dave said, "Yes."
Then, she got really incredulous, "To each other??  No.  Not to each other!"  and went on and on like that for a few minutes until we could ease away. 
So funny!

When we visited FIL the last time, that was the worst.  It was fucking awful. The home was very nice and very expensive. He got good care, but was declining so fast. The last time we saw him, he had his eyes half-open, and we couldn't tell if he was awake or sleeping; couldn't tell if he knew we were there or not. 

He died that night.

We got the call at about 6:30a the next day.  We told the kids when they woke up.  They cried a bit, but we all knew it was for the best at that point.

Both Dave's parents have donated their bodies to science so there was no cost to the family.  And after a few weeks, we got a very respectful, well-worded letter that told us what body parts went where and what research/teaching places it went to.   (When I say it, it sounds gruesome, but it was a very nice letter.) 

They didn't do any memorial or anything for him (he didn't want one).  That was weird to me.   He was funny and loved and we miss him.

Things have been rough on MIL since then.  She is alone and feeling it.  We see her FOUR times a week now as opposed to the two times we were seeing her before he died.   Her apartment raised their rent again right before he died.  So she's in a one bedroom apartment with an empty garage attached and is paying $1100 a month.  We pay the same for our townhouse.  We are looking for a place we can move her in with us. (Good times. Goooood times.)

I have so many things to tell you and SO many finished projects!  Enough for now.  I'll write more later and finish this Alphabet Soup before the year ends.

Missing him so much, Ruth!

Accidental fundraiser results: The garage sale mentioned in my last post raised $2000.  The professional organization for court reporters in CO matched it!  Thanks all!