Good Neighbor Skills 101...Failed!!

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by tmk, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. tmk

    tmk Songster

    This is something that happened to us recently and I still think about what I could have done better. So it’s not really a rant about a crazy neighbor, it’s more of a confession of my own…lol
    If you guys can please hear me out and share your story to inspire me to be a better neighbor next time around.

    My family and myself have been living in our house in the suburbs for about 5 years. (Subdivision)
    One day this lady came to the door. DH was at work and only my children and I were home at that time. She was an elderly probably in 70s. She had a pair of long shears that you use to cut tree branches in her hand. I thought she must have been in a middle of her yard work like many of us were in the neighborhood so I opened the door.
    She seemed too excited to speak rationally, but what I got out was that a brown dog killed her cat. And she believed it was our dog’s doing, and she told me she came to kill our dog with her shears. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t think it was our dog because Zoe stays with us in the house with a fenced in yard. We would know if she got loose long enough to kill anything.
    She got even angrier and she started yelling at me to get the dog so she could snip it in half. I couldn’t close the door because she was standing in the doorway looking in to see if the dog was there. I couldn’t leave there to get to the phone because I was scared she would just come in and I wasn’t about to call one of my children to bring the phone to where I was. Everything happened so unexpectedly and fast and I panicked. So basically I was just standing there trying to block her from coming into the house and yelling at her to get our of my house.

    Luckily our neighbor came by. He knew her when he was a child, and managed to get her attention by calling her by her name. She stepped away from the door to tell him her story so I shut the door then. The lady turned out to be someone who lives with her cat about 20 houses down from us. My DH and I were going to visit her with flowers or something and let her know that we are sorry that her cat was killed and explain one last time that it couldn’t have been our dog that killed her cat, and also apologize about me raising my voice at her.
    One good thing we found out later was that her cat wasn’t killed. She saw a brown dog chasing her cat recently and was really upset about it, and when my 11 yrs DS was walking our ‘brown’ dog, Zoe, she decided to follow him home. When she found out where we lived, she came back with her shears. Since her cat was okay, we decided not to have a visit. We thought it was for the best if we leave it alone.

    I know what she did was wrong and she may even have gotten in trouble if we called police. We didn’t call police on her because we take our family’s safety lightly. It was a conscious decision my DH and I made based on the belief that this was an isolated incident. She wasn’t a troublemaker in the neighborhood who pulls this type of stunts often. She was just really upset because it was about her cat which was the only family to her. She knew us just as much as we knew her, nothing. As far as she was concerned we could have been the crazy neighbors that let this mean brown beast loose so he can feast on cats!

    Our dream of moving into the countryside has finally started coming together. (Financial and timing aspect of it)
    In addition to valuable chicken info, I enjoy reading posts about the lives in the country on BYC forum. And I occasionally see posts about things people do about problems in their neighborhood. Shooting wandering dogs, calling police on neighbor kids who come into the property, etc. I never took those stories to heart till after this happened.
    When our dream finally happens, we most definitely will be those folks who are clueless to some “common sense” in the farmlands and will make mistakes. But we do look forward having good neighbor relations.
    Our life on subdivision right now is uneventful except for kids ringing our doorbells constantly asking our kids to play. Everyone’s gone most of the day but we do get along just about everyone.
    I was pretty confident that I had good “neighbor skills”… till this time. Looking back at my behavior, there are so many regrets.
    I got impatient when she started accusing my dog of killing her cat when I knew it didn’t. So when she got very emotional and started with me I got bit more than irritated. She was barely able to rise the shears with her both hands, she probably couldn’t do any harm even she tried. But out of panic I raised my voice and told her to "get out" to her face.
    Hopefully we will be approached kindly when and if my kids cross our property lines not realizing that our new neighbors’ “yards” are often bigger than their school playground, or when they found our neighbors’ animals to be cute and different and are just too irresistible not to go near.
    But even when we find ourselves in less than desirable situations, I know I will react more graciously than I did to this lady…
    It didn’t matter what she did or said. I know now that I had choices to make. I could have stepped out and shut the door behind so my children wouldn’t be involved. And started off by asking her name and introduced myself first instead of getting defensive.

    So here is my 'shoulda coulda woulda' looong story.
    Thanks for listening [​IMG]
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Eh, I have known some crazy old ladies in my day...LOL You'd be surprised what they can be capable of! I was really expecting something different in your story based on how it started out. I don't think I could have reacted any better than you did.... and I certainly don't think I would feel badly about how you handled it... you are far more reasonable then most would have been [​IMG]

    But kudos to you for looking in retrospect for an even better solution [​IMG]
  3. FlockEweFarm

    FlockEweFarm Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    Ma'am, a woman came to your door with a potential LETHAL WEAPON! I understand that you realized that she was perhaps half a bubble off plumb, but you would have been correct to have called someone and let them know how she was behaving. I am not scolding you or anything, but just for a gut check, what if she had caught up with your child? Even little old people are capable of hurting someone when armed.
    The big thing about moving to the country is to remember that you are in the COUNTRY. It is not the city, and people have critters that make noises, have smells, and sometimes get out and do things that their owners would prefer they didnt. Most folks do their level best to control their critters, and the smells and noise, but they dont live in the city for a reason. Dont move into the country and try to make it the suburbs, or the city, its not, and that is the big problem that I have with many folks,(including my neighbor) that move out here. They move out here to escape the city, and then try to turn my neighborhood into the city, and they want to micro-manage everyones land. The big thing that you need to know is, mind your business, be friendly but not intrusive, and dont expect it to be like it is in the suburbs, and please for your sanity and that of your neighbors, dont try to make it that way.
    Your good neighbor skills are ok, your neighbor sounds like she was disturbed, and perhaps it would have been good to have brought it to someones attention, but beyond that, just go with your gut.
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I think if a neighbour has come into my property offering to do a "king Solomon" on my pet. I think I would've freaked too!!
  5. debakadeb

    debakadeb Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    SW Indiana
    I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. It's so much easier to see what you could have done after the fact. Truthfully, I probably would have told her to get out also if she were trying to push her way in to snip at my pet with her garden shears.
  6. Cheep Mama

    Cheep Mama Songster

    Mar 14, 2008
    I think you handled yourself nicely. Many people would have done and said a whole lot more in your postition.
  7. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    When they pull hedge pull your 9mm. Little old lady or not, you never know when someone is suffering from dementia and can do serious harm without meaning to...especially with children in the home.
    One of our Alzheimers clients pulled out a handgun he had hidden (and no one knew about) and took a shot at his neighbor because he thought that he had stolen his lawn mower. Luckily, he was a bad shot.
  8. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Whoo.... [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. tmk

    tmk Songster

    Quote:LOL! Me too. I think I was chased by them with a broom sticks.

    I guess you had to be there to really see that she wasn't one of those crazies...even with the shears and all.
    Elderly people is often labeled as crazy and be dismissed (not saying you are doing it) because of some tend to be more emotional and not so articulate.

    Hey thanks for the kudos, it's my bad habit tho. My DH always tells me to quit that! [​IMG]
  10. Newchickmama

    Newchickmama In the Brooder

    Jun 21, 2008
    North Carolina
    Wow, if that was me, i would have totally broken her hip! No one comes near me and my babies with shears!


    Consider yourself a wayyyy better person than me!

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