Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I received a rambling and incoherent letter from a reader today. Normally I would edit and post but it was so bad I would have spent too much time and energy doing a proper editing job. So in a nutshell here is the concern... (paraphrased)

My neighbour and I both enjoy our backyard decks. Due to the way our houses were built my deck is close to the fence while his is more in the exact middle of his backyard. My neighbour recently moved his BBQ over against the fence. I can only assume he did this to minimize the smoke that could disturb anyone sitting on his deck. However his BBQ is now just a few feet from where my picnic table is located. He could easily locate the BBQ somewhere else in his backyard, and when I asked him politely he basically told me to piss off.

BBQ pollution is a serious matter. How many times are you enjoying your backyard only to be disturbed by a neighbour who simply does not know how to properly cook a steak?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm still getting used to small town living. One thing I realize I miss about the "big city" is that municipal governments have a bit more influence on your daily life. I'm no advocate of government interference in personal lives but there are some examples of when this is a good thing.

Case in point, shoveling your sidewalk. When I lived in both Toronto (Pop 2.2 Million) and Kitchener-Waterloo (Pop 300,000) there were municipal bylaws regarding the requirement that all property owners shovel their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall.

Sure there were some people who never did it but for the most part everybody complied with the bylaw. If there were complaints to the city they would send a crew out and shovel the sidewalk in front of the offending house, and send the tenant a bill. This wans't done at minimum wage either, these were city workers and that is a union gig. The bill could be several hundred dollars.

Now I live in a very small town (Pop 900) where there is no municipal bylaw regarding shoveling your walk. I seem to be one of the few folks who takes the time to get this done after each major snowfall. Not just because it is the right thing to do (I cringe at the thought of some poor old lady slipping in front of my house or a kid getting hit by a car because their only choice was to walk on the street) but because shoveling snow is really one of the few forms of exercise I get.

I'm going to try to figure out how I can get a citizens initiative on the ballot in our next municipal election.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Speaking of property lines...

My father-in-law lives in a small town about 15 mintues drive from where I live. He has lived in that same house since he had it built roughly 20 years ago. Next door lives someone who I will refer to as "Satan"

Satan has lived there as long as my father-in-law. Possibly longer. There has been a long standing dispute about their properly line.

Satan has always insisted the properly line is about 1 foot farther to the right then it really is. Every year for 10 years he paid someone from the local municipality to come out to measure and confirm the "official" location of the properly line.

Every year they put the marking stakes in the same spot. Every year after they left Kenny (I mean Satan) moved the stake one foot to the right.

This continued literally for 10 years. Until last year. That was the year that (as luck would have it) the person the city sent out to make the measurments was a close personal friend of Satan. Lo and behold suddenly the municipality indicates the properly line is mysteriously moved 1 foot to the right. What are the chances?

I should mention this is not some big-city lot, where a single foot can be worth thousands of dollars. This is rural, small-town, population 300. The lots in question are about 90 feet wide already, so 1 foot either way is really meaningless.

Now of course my father-in-law was a bit upset about this sudden change. He knew full well that Satan had been crossing his fingers every year for 10 years hoping and EVENTUALLY the person the municipality would send out would finally be his friend, his ally. So my father-in-law phoned a lawyer the same day (a Friday), and setup a meeting for Monday morning to discuss what his options were.

He woke up at that Saturday morning to discover that Kenny (I mean Satan) had built a fence overnight. He must have started at about 5am in order to finish by dawn. I should mention that Satan has been on government disability pension for the last 20 years but still somehow is able to build a fence or shingle his roof.

Satan building that fence was an attempt to creating "facts on the ground". For 10 years he didn't build a fence, then suddenly the fence appears overnight. The lawyer my father-in-law spoke with told him that he would take the case, but it would end up costing alot of money and would hardly be worth it. He decided not to pursue the case, and has learned to enjoy the fact that his neighbour built a very nice fence and he didn't have to contribute a dime towards the cost.

As for me? I have a big stinky dog. When we are visiting and he "does his business" in my father-in-laws backyard... I pull out the shovel and heave it over the fence.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'm using this post to turn over a new leaf. It seems I have little choice. I was told by a friend at work that my site was mentioned on some daytime talk show the other day. If I don't get off my fat butt and actually properly update this on a daily basis now I will lose any momentum I may gain from those brief few seconds of fame.

In essence all my posts and all the stories people share here can be reduced to communication issues. Lack of communication, lack of understanding or misunderstandings, etc. Here we discuss this under the context of two people who live on the same street in the same town in the same country. By this alone they share common experiences and culture that (in theory) should help bridge communication barriers.

The concept of "stupid neighbours" however is not related to Main Street. We have the Isreali/Palestinian conflict as the most glaring example of this on a national, cultural and religious scale. Yet in essence the conflict there is territorial, and at a macro level is the 'Protection Barrier' any different from two Suburban neighbours arguing over their property line?

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Do you have a neighbor that you really don’t see eye to eye with? Have you tried to settle your differences but still remain at each others throats? If this sounds like your situation our celebrity host would love to hear about it. We would want to talk to both sides and provide some easy and helpful ways to resolve your issues.

Please contact