First the lawn mowing was no problem. Then the neighbor got greedy. Soon, a small section of lawnmowing on the adjacent property next to our home became a blade against tall grass motorized battlefield……I am talking hours upon hours of endless mmmmmmmmmmrrrrmmrmrmmrmrrmmrmmr(Oh Gosh!) Get this! The property does not belong to him. I found that out much later. I asked him why he chose to mow the grass so long, why he chose to dump the shavings right next to our fenced in patio area(we could smell the decay). He even purchased an edge trimmer and started destroying the beautiful raspberry bush that thrived behind our fence. My husband questioned his intention and he replied, “The owners asked me to take care of the property.” Things got worse. He would begin mowing when we would return home from work. 18:30 until 20:00. Then the next morning at 8:30 a.m. Then the third day, 10:30 a.m. until I left for work. I visited the mayor, explained the situation and asked for advice. He promised that he would have a conversation with this man. When I visited the mayor again, he informed me that the man screamed at him,
“‘I am doing nothing wrong, I will take a warrant out against you for insisting that I am doing something wrong! Who complained about me making noise? Who?'”
I found out who the property owners are. I left phone messages(no response)…I left written messages(no response).. Finally, I dropped by one day and the daughter of the family arrived home. I explained the situation and she made sure she would relay the message to her parents.
The owners finally visited our home(I was not present) and offered my husband the history of this strange lawn maintenance arrangement. The noisemaker had asked permission to use the property in 2006 for a wedding festival for his daughter. Since that time, he took it upon himself to care for the property, permissionless.
The owner noticed that the property was being cared for, however, a contractual agreement was not involved. So, the property owner was receiving free labor.
I arrived home after the couple’s departure. To my dismay, my forlorn and conquered looking husband uttered,
“We have no chance. The owners allow it. They have no problem even though I explained his lawnmowing is a nuisance!” Wait a darn minute. No way, I thought.
I visited the owners again the next day after work. I rung the bell. The door creaked open. A man, early sixties, dressed in a bathrobe, peeped from the door. I introduced myself and explained again the dilemma. Diplomatically, I offered him the feminine perspective of the annoying behavior…and addressed/underlined the issue of voyeurism(noting the fact that we have a 20 year old daughter about the same age as his daughter).. In seeming defiance, he uttered over and over,
“‘I can do nothing. I can do nothing!'”
I repeatedly questioned,
“How can you look at my face, see and hear how this man’s behavior on your property is a nuisance to us, and maintain a neutral stance?”
Then, a calm descended upon me. I will explain it as a spiritual calm. I then said,
“I see that you are a kind man…I see it in your eyes.”
He then said,
“‘You know, Ma’am, sometimes when one takes something away from someone who is probably a bit unbalanced, unfortunate things happen!'”
I am not certain whether this property owner was bluffing and simply attempting to maintain the arrangement of free labor, or whether he was concerned about my and his well being. I returned home feeling defeated.
The mowing continued.
I blasted my music when the lawnmower noise maker mowed(poor other neighbors). One morning, I arose at 5:30 a.m. and began dropping stones in a wheelbarrow…loudly! I loudly removed debris from the area behind our fence. At 8:00 a.m. I heard the lawnmower noisemaker open his shutters. My husband left for work at 8:30 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., this neighbor came right next to our pine trees and began to mow already mown grass. Enough is enough! I stormed outside and yelled, “Stay away from our property!” “`F__k off!'” he responded in French. Then, I phoned the mayor who told me to phone the police. I did as reqested. I then phoned my husband. I grabbed a camera and took photos of this noisemaker. When he began posing, I reflected on the concern of the property owner. There was a huge possibility that this man was simply “loco”. (I shuddered at all the times in the past this man had interrupted my jog and forced me to chat with him. I cringed when I thought of the recent occurrence of his taking our daughter’s right of way, and aggressively piping, “‘You drive too fast!'”) This man had to be stopped. That I knew for sure. This is our home and we deserve the right to dwell in peaceful surroundings harassment free.
After the third photo, I went to another neighbor and requested that he come and witness this behavior. He obliged, accompanied me, took one look at the noisemaker in action, and simply said,
“‘He is sick. He is sick.'”
The witnessing neighbor returned to his home and I to mine. After five minutes, my husband arrived. The mowing continued. My husband went out to our fence and requested that he stop this annoying mowing. He pretended not to understand my husband’s French. Then he said,
“‘I don’t have a big machine. I am almost finished!'”
Finally, he stopped. The municipal police arrived. My husband and I explained our grievance. They promised a resolution. They then visited the neighbor. After approximately 10 minutes, the police returned to us and explained that the neighbor would reduce the number of times he mows the grass, once every three weeks more or less depending on the sun and the rain. They also promised to contact the property owner to decipher why this neighbor has been given property maintenance responsibility(unpaid).
I filed a police report with the state police. The state police also gave me the address of the Judicial Department, the department to which I would have to file a complaint of harassment, a justified complaint which warrants a fine.
Since early July 2010, the incessant lawn mowing ceased to once every three weeks.
Presently, it is winter. I can sit in the wintergarden and hear the birds chirp. For the next six months, peace.
Often, one needs heaps of energy to find a solution. For the sound of silence, I will raise my mighty voice.