Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun with the Neighbors Part II

As mentioned in my previous post, "Fun with the Neighbors Part I", my next-door neighbors drive me a little crazy.  The only upside of this situation is that I'm pretty sure we drive them equally crazy, which goes to show that there really is justice in the universe.

With the great weather this fall, the farmers across the road from our neighborhood were able to get their crops in quite early, leaving the fields crowded with Canada geese gleaning the dropped corn kernels all day.  Once goose hunting season started, we were awakened early on Fri-Sun mornings by hunting sounds - gunfire and geese honking as hunters took advantage of the easy access to thousands of birds.  Growing up around guns and having many friends who hunt, the only feeling I had about the gunshots I heard was irritation from the fact that I was being woken up far earlier than I wanted to be on weekends.  This sentiment was shared by my neighbor to the south - he too, did not appreciate the 5am gunfire - and, in past years, went so far as to call the police on the hunters.  Legally, they are allowed to hunt on the land across the road since it is privately owned, and birdshot does not travel far enough to threaten any residences, so his  call was to complain about his peace being disturbed (he also admitted to me that he was a bit jealous because he wasn't hunting with the hunters which added to his irritation when making the complaint to the police).

My neighbors to the north, however, being from California, decided instead to make a complaint to our city, citing that the hunting was a danger to residents in nearby neighborhoods and going so far as to say that our entire neighborhood was also worried about the dangers of hunting in the fields across the road from our homes.  Which is to say that the residents of the neighborhood with whom my neighbor speaks on a regular basis, may or may not have an issue with the hunting.  She did not ask me my opinion; if she had, I would have happily told her what I thought.  (I'm guessing that's why she never asked me.)  Instead, I only learned of her complaint when I was approached by a reporter for our local city newspaper who happened to see my daughter and I outside our house after she had been interviewing next door neighbor about her complaint.

At first I thought the reporter was stopping by to talk to my fantastically talented daughter about the fact that she had just participated in Early National Signing Day and had rocked at the State Championship Swim Meet the prior weekend.  My disappointment was short-lived, however, when I learned the actual reason for the reporter's appearance in my neighborhood.  (I have to admit that she may have thought I was nuts for the cackling laughter and snorting that I couldn't hold back when she told me her reason for being there.)  She asked me if the neighbor had ever talked to me about the hunting, mentioning that my neighbor had claimed knowledge that the entire neighborhood was concerned.  She asked me if I would be willing to go on the record how I felt about the goose hunting, and once I stopped snickering, I told her that while I didn't appreciate being woken early in the a.m., it was private land, so it didn't matter what I thought - they were legal to do it.  I then asked her: "Did she tell you they moved here from California last year?  Did you ask her for her views on the 2nd Amendment? Did you mention to her that a) that land is being developed into a subdivision early next year and hunting will no longer be allowed and b) that she has more chance of getting hit by a stray bullet in downtown (enter big city name of your choice here) than by birdshot in her backyard, especially when it is protected by her 6' privacy fence?" I also told her that I wished that they would allow more hunting - bow, not gun, mind you - within city limits as the night before I had followed two deer who were out for their evening constitutional on a residential street two blocks to the north of my own neighborhood, and that I was tired of the coyotes barking nearby every night and the raccoon that loved to harass my dogs.  (By the way, my suburb has a population of 50k+ and while we still have woods and farmlands nearby, we are by no means truly "rural" in nature.)

While I was chatting it up with the reporter, I noticed my neighbor in her car, high-tailing it out of her driveway while giving me the ol' stink-eye.  It was about that time that the reporter asked if I thought any of our other neighbors would be willing to share their views on the issue, to which I responded "Yes!" and helpfully pointing out which neighbors were hunters and/or who actually talked to my neighbor on a regular basis.  The last I saw of the reporter, she was being welcomed into the house across the street, home of one of the many hunters who has resided here for more than 20 years.

The next day, hubby and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures (mid 60s on Thanksgiving Day Eve?! No Way!) to "Griswold" our house: dragging out of our attic all the working lights, candy-canes, Santa, Sleigh, Reindeer, etc. and installing them on our house.  (It really is a good thing we have no HOA here or we'd be in severe violation of "single-color"/"clear/white light only" rules, etc.)  We love the Christmas Season and sharing Christmas cheer with our neighbors by having the largest light display possible, which is celebrated with the "Annual Lighting Ceremony" on Thanksgiving night, modeled after the Griswolds of "Christmas Vacation," complete with "drum rolls" produced by whomever is still at our house after dark on Thanksgiving Day and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner by my BFF, after which every one usually hurries back inside, complaining of the cold and asking why we insisted on having them outside to witness the turning on of our glorious lights.

The fact that our neighbors have yet to put a single light on their house last season or so far this season only contributes to our glee regarding our over-the-top display - if we can be annoying them in the process, it truly does make the work it took to create the display all the more worth it.

Black Friday morning found BFF and I up and at Menards at 5am, then on to Mills Fleet Farm at 6am (yes, we really are geeks! But the deals at Menards were really awesome.) which was where I found the final piece to this year's Christmas Light Display: A Six Foot Inflatable Snowman Hunter, complete in camo and wielding a shotgun! I snatched up the box and took it home with me, intent upon putting it in the front yard, six inches from the lot line between the neighbors' home and our's. Hubby even seemed excited with the prospect of tweaking the neighbors, laughing over the irony that we aren't even hunters!

Alas, it was not to be: our light display this year is too big this year for the crappily wired electrical system of my house as it is, and the addition of my wonderful Camo-Clad Snowman would require that we not only not run the microwave after dark, but also be relegated back to using candles for light (and while that seems like fun for a while, the thought of the 16, 8 and 6 year old children playing "Pioneers" while wandering around with lit candles scares the crap out of me) if we wanted to keep from blowing circuit breakers every 30 seconds.  So unfortunately, I had to take the Snowman back to Fleet Farm. (I promise though, next year, I will give up the candy-canes and even the sleigh and reindeer if I can have Mr. Snowman Hunter in my yard.)

~~ Still waiting to see an actual article printed about the goose hunting; wondering if there will actually be one published.  Also fighting the urge to buy a Christmas wreath for the neighbors & put on their front step since their unbedecked house looks very bare and sad next to our Griswold majestic wonderland.  There's two things stopping me: 1) Hubby finding out and yelling at me for wasting money on our unappreciative neighbors and 2) being caught putting the wreath on their front step (they keep their blinds closed all day, so the chances of being detected are slim, but I'm still paranoid).

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