Monday, May 6, 2013

When Neighbours are NOT good friends

We have our very own soap opera going on in our neighbourhood. About 6 months ago we got new neighbours. They are right next door to us, but its not us directly they are having the feud with.

The mud map above shows the approximate layout (I am no town planner or artist). The black wavy lines is the river, the parallel lines on the left is a major road. We are in a little cul-de-sac that was just a dead-end when the old house subdivided its land and 5 blocks of land were created. The people who bought the 5 blocks, us included, all built within a year of each other. The only one who didn't was Noisy Kids, they were about 5 years later. 

Hippy Neighbour has lived in her house across the road for over 25 years, she is a very sweet, kind lady, who keeps to herself, and has 2 dogs. You have to have dogs where we live, there are a lot of undesirables wandering about, and the houses without dogs get broken into. We have been broken into 3 times, once while we were in the house and asleep. It happened when we didn't have an outside dog.

It has been a happy place to live. Most of us get along, we have parties in the street, know each other, have helped out when needed, rescued dogs when they got out etc. There are a few characters (the latecomers with squeely girls) who are a little prickly, but on the whole its amicable.

Then the new people arrived. Not very friendly as in, we stop to say hello and we get a brush off, or their little puppy gets out and we take it back and there is barely a thanks but a whole lot of yelling at the dog and kids. Little things that tell you they are just not friendly neighbours and that's fine, Mr K and I have got used to living in suburbia now. This is what you get. We get along fine with Hippy Lady, she is warm and chatty, and the Old House people are the same. The Noisy Kids family are luke-warm too, bit weird (that's a whole new story there) but they generally keep to themselves.

About 3 months ago, Mr K gets a phone call from a very distraught Hippy Lady. She has had a visit from the rangers saying there is a complaint about her dogs barking. Its never happened before. Her dogs do bark a bit, but only because she lives on the main road and opposite is a service station that is frequented by some people who think its their local pub. There are often fights and police and of course the dogs are going to bark - that's why we have them.

Hippy Lady confronted the New people, and said that we have been a nice little neighbourhood and we normally just talk to each other if there is an issue instead of rushing off to the Ranger. She was upset, she is a very touchy feely type, but sensible. New Man just was rude and said to keep her dogs quiet.  A few weeks after this, Mr K gets another, more distraught phone call from Hippy Lady. She has had an argument with the New people and a letter from the council. Mr K advises her to just do the best she can about the dogs, and to ignore the New people. She has also found out that the New people have gone to all the houses in the street (except us) and asked them to sign a petition against Hippy lady. None of them did, but she is now furious at New people.

Mr K talks to her for a while, trying to get her to see a lighter side, to not take it as her problem but theirs. Hippy lady lives alone so her dogs are her protectors and company. Mr K suggests she write them a note telling she is doing what she can (she bought a bark buster collar and locks them up when she goes out) and jokingly, to lighten the mood, he said "give them some earplugs."

So she does!!  She writes a long letter (she gave us a copy) and includes some earplugs for the family. You can guess what happened next! Mr K comes home from work and there is an all out fight going on, not physical but verbal, between Hippy lady and New man. Mr K, ever the negotiator steps in and calms them both down, when New Lady gets home, sees the letter and the earplugs and comes ranting and raving out her house to confront Hippy Lady. 

Its calmed down a bit since then, but there are flare ups and these New people are quickly running out of friends. They don't realise that they make as much noise and disturb people too. Their kids are very noisy, he starts up his truck at 6am, he is a compulsive blower-vac user, and we have heard rows that get loud.  They have an alarm that goes off regularly and guess what?  All of us ignore it. That's all part of living in a close neighbourhood. You just have to mutter under your breath (or blog about it like I do) and get on with your life. We can't go about complaining and whining about every little thing that bothers us. 

If New people wanted quiet, they should not have picked a house that was so close to a main road, a train line, a B&B and other houses. I work from home. Yes it can be noisy, but you know what? I either close my window or play music or put in earplugs. If I want perfect quiet I will move to the country! 

I can't see it being a very friendly Christmas party this year, but it will sure be interesting. Stay tuned for further episodes.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Feng Shui and Home Office Layout

Never one to really believe in unicorn ideas, I need science to explain to me the unexplained and proof that there is a tangible reason behind it. So Feng Shui at first glance for me falls into the positive thinking will get you everywhere, praying, The Secret, Lucky Bamboo category. Until we bought a house many years ago and when Mr K and I were viewing it, we both felt the same thing and commented how good it made us feel. A year or so living in this house, I received a book on Feng Shui and for giggles, I overlaid the principles on this house.

And you guessed it - this house followed all the basic rules of good Feng Shui. So whether it was just luck, or designed this way, or coincidence, the house certainly felt nice to live in and made for a happy house. It never made us wealthy however! We sold this house as we needed to look after my MIL, but when we designed the house we were to build (the one we still live in) we subconsciously applied some Feng Shui rules. Within reason anyway, the block is a battleaxe and the house is huge with a granny flat so we had space constraints.

So what about my home office? As you may remember, last July we renovated the house, including turning the old guest room into my office. It was the last room done and as I had to be up and working very quickly, it was all put together in a rush and that'll do for now. Over the months, it has been feeling all wrong, but I just ignored this as I am so busy and need to work, not re-arrange furniture. The worse thing was having my back to the door, don't know why but it felt all wrong. (Probably because I am a born sticky beak and I like to know who is walking past my door.)

On Thursday, I had a major assignment due, some work deadlines and yet I had this loud and determined voice shouting at me "You have to move your desk, its bad energy to have your back to the door". I tried to just get on with my work, but I kept drifting off and thinking of a better configuration. Friday I knew how it would be. I would move my desk to the commanding position, so I had a view of the opposite wall (and all my books) a view of the door and a view out the two windows outside to my front porch and garden beyond. I would have a solid wall behind me, for strength. 

With the aid of Son#1 and Mr K, I moved it all around and it does feel better. I feel more creative. Lets see if my grades at Uni reflect this!

Now, according to the experts, I have to get an indoor plant (please not bamboo), an inspirational poster to look at, and pack away all my books, except for ones with uplifting titles......

.... WHAT???  Hang on.  Lost me right there. Pack away my BOOKS? Apparently the edges are poison arrows and harmful. I can keep them only if there are a few, there is some softening of them like an ivy draped over, or some crystals scattered in the book shelves. This is not going to happen, so I guess I have just lost any hope of this being my wealth centre and becoming a millionaire.

Oh well.