Saturday, April 07, 2007

Border Patrol

Both the houses I have owned came with crappy fences. At the last house, it took some work but I made the fences respectable. Our yard is much bigger now and I'm not sure if I can make the fences respectable by doing anything aside from completely replacing them.

Both houses I have owned came with a corner where the fence builder gave up on building a fence and just kind of nailed up whatever pieces of wood he happened to have. At the last house, the ugly corner included a telephone pole AND a former telephone pole right next to it that had been cut off about seven feet from the ground. I tried digging the superfluous pole out of the ground but I found they put those things in pretty deep. Since I didn't own a chainsaw, I climbed into the hole with a handsaw and cut the giant Lincoln Log off below ground level. It was quite a work out.

At our current house, the ugly corner is behind most of our fruit trees and I've been meaning to fix the corner for some time. Remember how I told you about a neighbor named "Bull" who liked to work on cars? Well, he's gone and about 50 mexicans moved into his old apartment. They like to play soccer right by our fence and they are constantly kicking the ball into our yard. Sometimes we get it but we also find they are constantly coming into the yard.

There are a bunch of kids over there and you can't tell which ones are brothers and sisters or who or how many parents there may be, but one day the kids started talking to our kids and my wife invited them to come over and play. At which point, they all seemed to decide that our yard was officially part of their territory.

The hole in the crappy fence corner gets bigger and bigger as more kids push through and we've come home a few times to find them all playing in the yard when we weren't home. I asked them not to play in our yard if our kids weren't out there playing with them.

And there is a little punk kid. He always tells me, "I go to school with your son" like it is some kind of free pass to do whatever he wants. He comes in our yard and takes the kids into our dog run and takes our rabbits out of their cages. I saw him messing with the animals so I told him to get out and stay out of the animal area. He assured me he wasn't bothering the animals. I said, "It doesn't matter. Stay out of there." To which he asked a long series of questions: "I can't just come in here like this? I can't just pet the animals like this? I can't...?"

I said, "NO! You cannot be in here. AT ALL."

"Not even with your son?"


"Why not?"

He obviously doesn't listen, especially to answers he doesn't want to hear, so I gave him the jerky grown up answer instead of a chain of reasoning, "Because it's my house and my yard and my animals and I said stay out."

About five minutes later I saw him climbing high in our peach tree. I went out and told him to get out of the peach tree. "Why?" I said, "Look at all the branches that have broken up there. It's not safe and I don't want you breaking any branches." He said, "No, it's strong." I said, "I don't care. If you'd like to stay in my yard you will follow the rules. Leave the animals alone and stay out of the trees." It takes too much time and patience not to be a dick. Sorry, World.

Ethan told me the kid is kind of a bully at school so I don't mind making him feel unwelcome around here. I saw other kids in their herd breaking bottles and throwing metal pipes around in the parking lot of their duplexes WHILE BEING SUPERVISED. They don't care.

The other night we got home about 11pm and I had our 1-yr-old sleeping on my shoulder and two hombres were trying to call me over to the fence to talk to them. It was a bad time to choose to get to know me. I ignored them and went inside.

I'm working on the fence in those precious just-before-work minutes. It's practically fixed already.

Too bad it can't block out that crappy oom-pah-pah oom-pah-pah circus music. They probably think my music sucks, too, but the difference is that I'm not blasting it through the neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

If they can't respect national borders, what makes you think they can respect local ones? lol

AnoMALIE said...

Being Mexican, I can give some nice insight here:
Before letting anyone play in our yard, Mom would always "feel out" our potential playmates. It was pretty simple, you'd always choose the quiet little Mexicans over the rowdy ones (the quiet ones would also be weary about going to anyone's house). If a rowdy one ever got into our yard, Mom always had to pull the un-cool line of: "You better get out of here, or I'll call the cops, you little punks!" Because threatening with telling their parents wouldn't frighten them enough (plus, the parents are usually apathetic, if not encouraging, of their kid's behavior). That worked like a charm.
You might have problems here because you invited them in that one time. Like my mom says: You give 'em a hand, and they grab a foot (sounds a lot better in Spanish. Oh! say that to them! "Les dan la mano y agarran la pata!" They'll get what you're trying to say and hopefully back off).

P.S. I'm sorry about the music... that, I'm afraid, will be a thing you'll have to get used to until the moment comes when they can no longer afford rent (I have a feeling I know what music it is you're talking about. I call it circus music as well! I believe it's called "Duranguense," the worst thing to have ever been exported from the Mexican state of Durango... biggest disgrace to Pancho Villa's birth place).

your mother said...

Em, good fences make good neighbors. Time to invest.