Friday, February 25, 2011


This story out of the U.K. is a bit old but hit the headlines (and my attention) today because the court case has wrapped up with "Santa" found guilty on two counts of criminal damage. Just a few days before Christmas last year a man in a Santa suit was caught on closed circuit cameras slashing the tires on his neighbour's car. He may have gotten away with the crime if the same CCTV cameras had not also caught Lee O'Reilly putting on the suit and adjusting his fake beard.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Neighbour Mailbag - The Vandals

Madraga writes:

I came across your blog while I was searching for ways to deal with neighbors that are "vandals". I just want to share my woes in the hopes that you'll have suggestions on how to deal with them.

I live in a subdivision. I have a neighbor that lives right across from my place who has always been greedy about parking. Their home is on a corner lot so the side I see directly across from my home is the right side of their house. We have a Homeowner's Association and there is an agreement that for houses that have corner lots, the homeowner may only choose one side as their designated guest parking spaces.

Unfortunately the association has not been that strict in the implementation of rules around here so my neighbor was parking their car in all available streets surrounding their home. They park their car directly across from my driveway so entering my garage is difficult. They also parked their cars on the cul de sac near my home which is at the back of their lot, so this over crowds the whole street, again making it difficult for me to enter and exit. In effect they are parking on all sides instead of choosing just one.

Whenever another car is parked in of their favorite spots they call security and ask that the spot be vacated. It's not like they don't have a garage. In fact, they have a 4 car garage. If you count their designated guest parking, you can park another 2. There have been discussions (well, more like heated arguments on the resolution of the parking situation) but they refuse to follow rules.

I mentioned to my neighbor that she may only choose 1 side of the street as her parking spot and that her practice of parking all over the streets surrounding her house is not allowed. She then said that she's choosing the side across from my home. I gave in since she obviously leaves the street in front of her home as free parking space. Apparently this was not good enough for her.

I had a party one time (probably a few months ago) and my cousin parked in the only available spot, which was near their front door. My neighbor left us no choice, they parked it all over the street making it impossible to find any other place to park but the vacant spot near their front door. Well, the vandals did what only vandals do... they scratched the side of my cousin's car with a key. I have a witness who saw the incident but a criminal case was never filed. They denied scratching the car. The association saw this as an opportunity to settle the issue and called in a lawyer to help in the settlement. It was then agreed that they were no longer allowed to park across from my house. Their designated guest parking will the on the street in front of their front door. They were also asked to not park their cars in the cul de sac area since that place is used as a driveway.

We never spoke to each other ever again, every now and then they'd violate the rules and park their cars in the cul de sac area but I never bother about it. They never tried to park across from my place again. I figured out a new way of parking my cars into my garage but once a car is parked from across of my house, the whole street will be clogged. It was the only way to fit my cars into my tiny garage.

I had another party the other day, the first since the date of the scratching incident, this time my guests parked across from my home. After the dinner, we discovered that my guest's car was also scratched. There were no witnesses this time. There may be doubt as to who really scratched the car but the only people who will have a motive to do it is them. The car came in perfect condition and my guest had to leave with giant scratches on their car. My guest did not park on her front door. He parked on my driveway. Apparently she's pissed that she lost the battle and is resorting to underhanded and cowardly tactics to win her battle.

I'll have my revenge soon... The next time this happens, I will definitely file a criminal action. How I wish I was a vandal as well. I could strip their car paint and slash their tires but I don't see the point in continuing the vicious cycle. I'm a lot of things but not a vandal. I guess the only solution is to wait and be ready for concrete evidence.

That's my stupid neighbor story.


Well Dear Readers, any advice to help deal with Madraga's vandal problem? I'm thinking shit-box car with some preexisting damage and a closed circuit video camera is all it would take to catch the vandals in the act. Then approach them with the evidence and/or involve the authorities.

The fact is that time and time again parking issues (from shared driveways to street parking) are one of the most common causes of conflict.

Neighbour Mailbag - Family Tree

Wendy writes:

I just thought I'd drop a line to say that sometimes neighbours can be the best thing that ever happened to you. We moved into our cul-de-sac 20 years ago. After having had neighbours from hell in the past, we strove to be friendly, but cool, with the peeps around us. My twin daughters were 13 years old. Two years after we moved in, we got new neighbours, with 13 and 11 year old sons. My girls, being that much older ..15 at the time.., would have nothing to do with the boys, however, I became quite friendly (chat over the fence) with their mom, despite some language difficulties (they were Czech).

Fast forward 13 years..Marta (the Mom) has gone through some difficulties including a marriage break-up and a new husband. We are still 'friendly', but not 'best friends' (I still have a fear of getting too close to next door neighbours) And guess what? One of my twins starts dating her oldest boy! Long story short, it was a little weird, especially when they were dating, but now, yup, they're married, have a two year old and 5 month old twins!

We tag team each other helping to babysit. We have a communal high chair and playpen that gets passed back and forth when the kids can get it together to get to our respective places. We have barbecues together, but funnily enough, still maintain a relationship that I would describe as just "neighbourly".

Some people might think it would be a nightmare having the 'in-laws' as a next door neighbour, but in my experience, because we were neighbours first, and established the parameters early on, it's all worked out well.

Oh, and funny thing, my other twin daughter has married a Czech boy as well, (but I don't think I could handle being a next door neighbour with his Mom and Dad)!

I'm really enjoying your blog! Started reading it today from 2002.

Great story Wendy and Thank You for sharing!


That is right. February 2011 is almost over so I decided to come back from the dead and post something on this often ignored and highly irrelevant (or is it irreverent) blog.

Somehow in December I got promoted. Something to do with me being 'the fixer' (I posted about that before) or perhaps they just didn't want to go outside of the organization (last few people who joined the team that way exited soon after) but either way I have suddenly found myself holding the title of "Director" of something-something.

Not that titles mean anything... they don't... except that apparently they do. I am attempting to adjust to the situation and playing a whole new level of corporate politics. That all being said, I simply neglected the blog for far too long.

So updates to come... today I'm just going to post a few letters that have come into my inbox over the last few weeks that I have not had the chance to post. Then I'll give a whirl at pulling out the paddles and giving some shock treatment to this old beast.