Sunday, September 30, 2007

crappy (but not too eventful) update

I realized (and I should have realized this a long time ago) that the contractor who was giving me such grief is actually not only the contractor on this project, but the owner as well. I was talking to my next door neighbor, who brought up the subject, and he reminded me that the short, balding pylon-obsessive is indeed the same person who paid nearly one million dollars for this tiny lot with a tiny house on it. (Incidentally my neighbor has also run over a pylon. "He's taking over the street!" complained my sweet-tempered neighbor).

This, to me, makes the contractor's behavior worse. He's not trying to please some fussy homeowner, as dear Mombo suggested (and hello to you, Mombo! I hope you are well!). He's just a rich jerk who came into this very quiet residential nook and doesn't care if he disturbs the residents who were here before him and will be here after him. Everyone's understanding is that he's here to build his mini McMansion and then sell it for a profit. There is some worry that he intends to turn it into more than one unit, which is NOT what the permit was for. I'll just be happy if he does sell it; he's not my idea of a dream neighbor.

I can't fathom the arrogance of someone who thinks they have the right to disturb other people for their own profit without apology. Not every real estate developer is like this. There was a major construction project on the lot directly behind our house, and the owner came to our home in person, carrying a nice bottle of wine and a business card. He nicely apologized for any disruptions and asked us to call him if we had any particular problems. We did indeed call once, when his roofers were dropping stuff into our backyard and we were concerned for our toddler's safety, and we all got along well enough through that major construction project.

I haven't had any more run-ins with the contractor in person. I am not going to take the approach suggested by several readers, who are nicer people than I am, that I kill everyone with kindness and run over with baked goods. I refuse to cook for a wealthy butthole who most likely tried to sabotage my car. IF he were to apologize, then we might see some cookies or muffins in his future... but there are no signs of that. What I'm going to do is to try to disengage to the best of my abilities and just not interact in any way with this little sociopath.

Today I was out in the street by my house, calling up critical suggestions to the Sober Husband on how best to display a festive Hello Kitty "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" banner, when I noticed a very large shard of glass strategically placed by a front tire of my car. It was an unusual piece of glass: unusually thick and unusually sharp. It was clearly not from anything broken in the street, because it was alone. It wasn't from a bottle (which would be the most typical thing for someone to break on a city street); the glass was too thick. If I had not been standing in the street today, I would have driven over the shard in the morning and most likely punctured my tire. I cannot assume this was the contractor again; I am going to keep an open mind. On the other hand, there's no one else I know of who currently has a hate-on for me.

I showed the huge shard to the Sober Husband, who gave me a very weary look in return. He thinks I'm paranoid and doesn't want to hear any more of it.

Just after I went back inside with my shard, poor birthday Lola threw up. Oh my poor darling, it was just a few hours before her guests were expected to arrive for her "Flower Kitten" themed party. The Sober Husband asked me to clean up the vomit, but I declined on the basis that I needed to immediately call all the parents to tell them not to come. Now, at the time we should be welcoming our little guests and having them eat homemade cake, bash our kitten-shaped pinata (how barbaric!), and play with our little herd of foster kittens, we are quietly resting. Poor old Lola, what horrific timing for a stomach virus.


Silliyak said...

Going on the premise that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, perhaps it is time to enter into some sort of psychic negotiations with your raccoon and the madrone tree. Large piles of raccoon poop moistened madrone leaves on ladders and other working surfaces. Perhaps start a ladies drumming circle, howling at the full moon, that sort of thing.
If all else fails, pray to Lola (God) for relief.

hughman said...

maybe it was lola's nerves. hosting a big fete can be very strenuous!!!

Missy said...

I agree that being nice to the A-Hole Contractor-Neighbor is a waste of butter and sugar and time. Better you should spend the time dreaming up some more subtle revenge..

Poor Lola! My oldest was sick once and had to cancel an 8 year old birthday sleepover, which she talked about for many years as being the Worst Birthday Ever. She said she really didn't feel she was sick, it was just a bad smell in the restroom, but I had to explain to her that once you come home from school throwing up, nobody, but nobody, wants to spend the night with you.

Anonymous said...

Poor Lola ! That sucks, wishing her a speedy recovery, a 0 percent infection rate in your home and then the most kick ass birthday party ever.
I recant on my prior nice advice. Why didn't he introduce himself to you as the owner ? I apologize for second guessing your character judgment. Your diagnoses is correct. Total Asshole. I hate when people tear down smaller charming homes to put in giant mcmansions. Probably has a second floor where one of the neighbors is going to lose some privacy.
Perhaps you write a letter of complaint signed by your neighbors to have on file with the city.
My family and I are great and I can't believe that you had sex in the preschool bathroom OMG I love you so much !

2amsomewhere said...

Sorry to hear about poor Lola's ailment. Give her a "get well" wish, will ya? I guess the stresses of a five year old just keep getting worse, don't they?

(tongue planted firmly in cheek for passage that follows)

Although, if I were you, I'd sit down with her and have a talk with her when she's better and remind her that the phrase is "Party 'til you puke", not the other way around.


the Drunken Housewife said...

But Silliyak, I can't pray to Lola's god (Lola) without taking sides in the sibling wars. Don't forget Iris has gods, too (Frowstomatic the Immortal God and also Butterball, a deceased Persian. Iris's gods are all very fluffy).

the Drunken Housewife said...

Mombo, you are exactly on with the lack of privacy guess. I just noticed yesterday how one of the neighbors has a very charming little second floor deck which will now be abutted by the McMansion just a foot away. No more light & air & view on that gorgeous little deck.

Silliyak said...

Perhaps a backyard of separate but equal shrines is called for.
Oh hell this is getting too about shitting on his stoop late some night?

The Landlord said...

I have the feeling we live in the same city???!!!! There is a constant battle over the McMansions here, and it is sad for me to drive through the area and see all the crazy construction going on. The charm of the older neighborhoods is being lost to these developers. Some fool is putting 1960s style apartments/condos in an area where the homes are of a much older architecture...the condos don't even look like they belong!

hokgardner said...

Here in Austin we're having big problems with McMansions taking over smaller in-town neighborhoods. Some people, like my husband's cousin, have done it right - a pretty house that blends in with the neighborhood style. Others, like the one across the street loom over the neighbors. The city passed an ordinance disallowing big remodels, to much hue and cry from developers.

But even a McMansion built by a considerate contractor is worlds better than one built by a jerk.

I say you start stealing pylons, like on reader suggested.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't lived in SF before it's hard to picture just how tiny and precious the yards are.

One big mansion can completely deny a yard of sun for ever. And in a city this foggy every little bit of sun is crucial.

I feel for the other-side neighbor who is losing their deck.

the Drunken Housewife said...

The anonymous last commenter is right on. I can't stress enough how tiny my backyard is... it's the tiniest little yard, with a tiny little deck, a magnolia tree that I HATE, a tiny little lemon tree, and a few tiny little flower beds. No grass; a little square of concrete with flower beds around it, and a wooden deck. It's also shaded in the back by the big building put up behind us (that new building was why a prior owner sold).

But in my case, having been a long-term renter, I'm thrilled to have any little outside private area to call my own. The children and I make such good use of our tiny garden, as do the cats.

Trouble said...

Hey, be careful DH. A former boss of mine (a cop) used to say, jokingly (and yet half seriously): "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you."

Just don't read any Edward Abbey right might give you ideas. ;)

Missy said...

I had to look up what pylons were, we just call them Orange Cones. What a bunch of ignorant folk we are out here!

Those suckers are not easy to move, we have to do it after carpool at school and it sometimes takes two of us to lift them.

You should not be expected to move them frequently and all day long.

"Barney" tapes played loudly on your deck when the neighbor is having a housewarming cocktail party or early in the morning are one way to get your point across. (Not that I have ever done that, of course. )

Vodalus said...

Alternatively, every time you are forced to move a pylon, you could place it such that it obstructs HIS vehicle.

Anonymous said...

hey! we're having a little bit of a mcmansion battle in our neighborhood as well:

i don't know where we all get the idea that people must be considerate to their neighbors. After all, it's all about ME, and only ME! I find this attitude to be upsettingly typical. The only thought that comforts me is that it's fairly endemic, and it's a lack of consciousness. Thinking about the effects your actions might have on others is a pretty evolved way of thinking, and at the rate we're destroying our home, I think the majority of humans have yet to master it...