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It's hard to decide which insane story to share about my drunk neighbor.  There are so many to choose from, but the first time she came over to my house stands out the most.   

We had just recently moved into our new house and I was making myself an Appletini one night when there was a knock at my door.  It was one of my new neighbor's with a random hodge-podge of food for us (I would come to later find out that when she wants to come over she cleans out her refrigerator and brings food over so that she gets invited in).  I, being none the wiser to her evil plot, invited her in and offered her an Appletini.  Within 2 minutes, she had downed the entire thing and asked for another one.  

As I was making her second drink, it became quite clear to me that she had already been drinking and was now completely bombed.   Her speech became more and more slurred, her eyes completely glazed over, and for prolonged periods of time she would sit there with her mouth open, not moving, and occasionally making some bizarre moaning noise.  Then the craziness began (as if the previous image isn't bad enough).  

We had been out on the back deck and were getting up to go inside when she fell off of my deck, into the side of my house - denting my siding.  Ok, I thought, it's an awkward step... it could've happened to anybody.  I let it slide.   When we get inside and are in the kitchen she insisted that I light this little votive candle that was sitting on the ledge of my kitchen island.  I light the candle.  She is standing by the candle and I am on the other side of the island.  I look away momentarily and when I look back at her.... the entire side of her head is in flames - and there she is, in her state of drunkenness, mouth hanging open, not moving and making the bizarre moaning noise.  She is apparently completely unaware that her head is on fire.  I run over there and start hitting at the flames and quickly put her head out.   

My house now stinks of burnt hair, which may very well be one of the most unpleasant smells known to mankind, and as I am sweeping up the ashes from my kitchen floor and assuring her that you can hardly tell that her hair was just a giant ball of fire not 5 minutes ago, she goes over to my cat and picks him up.  Now, my cat does not like to be picked up by anyone other than my husband or me.  I quickly explain that to her because apparently the hints that my cat is dropping her (such as hissing at her and biting and clawing at her arms and face) are not getting through.  She insists that he likes her.  I finally yank my cat away from her only to have her tell me she is allergic to cats.  Her face has already started to break out in small hives.  

Sigh... could this evening get any worse?  I just wanted to relax, have an Appletini, and enjoy the summer weather.  But alas, it can... and does.... get worse. 

She has been getting progressively more drunk throughout this time frame as she continues to make her own drinks without asking.  I'm trying to drink them or dump them out every time that she is not looking, but she is very hard to keep up with.  Now comes the crying.  She is apparently very upset with her husband.  See.... he is in alcoholic.  (This is what she is telling me... that HE is the alcoholic... but obviously SHE'S just fine.)  

Through the tears, there is much hugging and clinging to me that is occurring.  I would like to remind everyone that I have only spoken to this woman once before this all took place and she is about 20 years my senior.  Then... I swear she tried to kiss me... twice.  Finally, her crying turns into snoring and as I pry her arms off of me, I realize the she has finally (Thank GOD!!!!) passed out.   For fear of waking her up by moving her, because I was not willing to go through that again, I made my husband pull a mattress off of the guest bed upstairs and bring it down to the spot where she was passed out.  We gently rolled her on to it and left her be.  

At some point early in the morning we heard her leave and prayed that she would be so embarrassed by what happened that she would never come over again.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  There are many, many more stories involving the drunk neighbor... crashing parties, refusing to leave, calling 15 times in a row at 1 o'clock in the morning even though no one is answering and then coming over anyway and banging on the door until someone answers.  I think it's time to move.    



I like to hope I'm not the only person who didn't escape college housing unscathed. At least now I can look back on it and laugh, but I had one of the worst roommates I could imagine. I went to a computer school and was in the minority gender. One girl to about ten boys. We didn't have dorms yet (I imagine they're still not built! How in the world would they fill the girls' dorm?) so the school had deals with the local apartments. At the time, I lived out of state and was looking for a home near the school before the semester began. Unfortunately, so were most of the students. 

As it turns out, a boy was in town from Wisconsin at the same day I was touring the apartments. We'll call him "Daren." I was not adverse to rooming with a boy. I had been in an all-female family after my father left, and was looking forward to having a guy around the house again. I thought I would feel safer. Boy, was I dead wrong, but we'll get to that.   

Since it would be so much more convenient if we roomed together (there would be no out of state faxing and coordinating to get the outrageous terms of making this particular lease), our parents (his father and my mother) left us alone to bond while they went out for lunch. I found Daren tolerable, if not someone I would normally go far out of my way to cultivate a friendship with. Polite, quiet, neat, had given up smoking and underage drinking (he made a point of being ashamed of this "bad behavior" which I admired, though I would have been perfectly happy with someone who smoked outside and didn't get wasted in my company), and he was into video games like me. We both agreed that we could deal with each other much more pleasantly than the paperwork and signed the lease.   

The first sign of trouble was when I moved in a few weeks later. The school didn't start up for a month or so, and he wasn't going to be arriving until the day before. My mom was just driving away when she passed along these parting words: "His dad really hopes you'll get his act together! Bye!" I grabbed her window and got towed along a few feet before getting her to stop and explain herself. Turns out she and Daren's father had discussed Daren's ample criminal record and she'd never thought to tell me. But that was alright, apparently, because Daren was only bad because his friends were a poor influence, and since I was a good influence, I'd be fine.   

It only got worse. Daren had lied about everything he'd told me about himself. He smoked and could not be convinced to do so outside all the time and all my belongings even the clothes in my closet smelled like an ashtray. He found a twenty one year old girlfriend and got drunk every night. He was loud and obnoxious and made crude downright sexist comments to me all the time. He assigned everything that was "women's work" to me as soon as I moved in. He DID play video games, at least, but he played them at full volume at midnight against the wall separating our bedrooms and swore at the characters.   

And his criminal record? He broke into his town's sheriff's home and stole his gun! But the way he tells it, his friends tricked him into doing it and he would never have tried it if he had known the firearm belonged to the sheriff and not his deadbeat son who'd been thrown out of the house and just wanted his favorite gun back! The sheriff apparently punished him too harshly, arresting him and all, and Darren claims it was because he hated him for stupid reasons. What were the reasons? Darren had gotten his fourteen year old daughter drunk and slept with her. I'm surprised the guy didn't shoot him when he caught him in his house.   

After a few months of this abuse, I met a wonderful man and had him over constantly to protect me from my psycho room mate. I wanted to move out but aforementioned lease made it nearly impossible to sign off even if both parties agreed. As Darren got worse and worse (he constantly stole my knives and cut up my furniture, had taken to wearing a butcher knife on his belt, stole things from both me and my friend, "Gabe," attempted to joyride my car while I was out of town, and continued to make sexist and womanizing comments with increasing violence implied). I got more and more desperate to get off the lease.   

Eventually I convinced my mother that I had to leave and she floated the money to cover the months left on my lease. I told Darren I was moving out and my half of rent was covered and began packing up some of my things. Darren pranced around bragging about how he would have the whole place to himself and throw wild parties for the rest of the year. Turns out he forgot the apartment was unfurnished and all the furniture that had been there when he moved in belonged to me. He was annoyed when the couch and table got carted off, but proceeded to say that as long as he had "his" microwave and internet connection, he'd be living large. Guess he forgot the router and microwave were mine, too. 

After everything was packed up and he'd gone back to his room, Gabe and I grabbed the microwave and router and bolted for the car. He swore at us and threatened us all the way out, but had no idea where we'd gone. Last I heard, without someone to steal from, he'd had to move back home or go hungry. I, meanwhile, moved in with Gabe, got engaged, finished college, and for the past three years have lived happily ever after.   So remember! If you're lucky enough to have a roommate who furnishes the apartment for you, you'd better be nice to them!



I have the upstairs neighbors from hell.  I moved into my studio apartment a couple of months ago, and everything was great until this girl and her boyfriend moved in above me.  The building is older, and has hardwood floors, so inevitably there was bound to be some noise.  But the trouble these two brought with them goes way beyond a little floor squeakage. 

The very first night was when I realized I was in trouble.  They stayed up literally all night moving furniture.  It was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. Scraping, bumping, thumping, and crashing.  It sounded like they were dropping bowling balls on the floor.  My ceiling shook.  The second night was the same.  How freaking’ long does it take to get your furniture arranged in a tiny studio apartment?  But again, they were scraping stuff across the floor.  Even though I couldn’t understand why they were doing all this at night, I figured that they were still moving in, and that I should give them a little more time.  The third night they were HAMMERING NAILS INTO THE WALL AT 3:30 AM!!!  No joke.  The banging, of course, woke me up.  I couldn’t flipping’ believe it, and I stalked out of my apartment and peered up into their window.  The building is U-shaped with a little courtyard in the middle, and we live on the courtyard.  Their window was wide open, their light was the only one on, and the banging was echoing through the courtyard.  Amazing.

The noise has only continued since then.  I don’t know what these people do for a living, but they are in and out of their apartment at all hours of the night.  For awhile they would literally come home every two hours and stomp around for awhile, then go out again.  I could set my clock by them: they’d arrive home at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30, and 6:30.  Each time I had just enough time to drift back to sleep, only to be woken up by more stomping.  I came to the conclusion that perhaps the girl was turning tricks, and she was bringing a new john home every two hours.  Since then they’ve stopped the every two hours thing, but they’re still up at least once a night, generally around 3:30.

But wait, there’s more!  My neighbors’ vices extend beyond mere insomnia.  They have INCREDIBLY loud sex ALL THE TIME.  Of course, again, they’re not like normal people who have sex before bed or in the morning; it’s always between the hours of 1 and 4:30 AM.  When do they sleep??? My upstairs neighbors are also big fans of the Chronic.  They smoke out a few times a week, and the smoke filters down through the ventilation system and permeates my apartment. 

Their latest trick has been to turn on explosion movies at around two in the morning.  They crank up the volume and watch the same movie every night.  Every time something explodes in the movie it sounds like thunder in my apartment.  Finally the other night I couldn’t take it anymore.  I’m a light sleeper, so I’m used to wearing earplugs at night.  But I could hear their movie through my earplugs.  I went stalking up there all rumpled and furious, and told them to turn it down.  To their credit, they did.  But I can’t believe how inconsiderate these people are in general… I don’t have any problem with watching movies, walking around, having sex, or generally living in your apartment.  But give me a break!  There are other people in the building!! 



We live in a large and lovely condo in what is acknowledged to be the "nice" end of town.  In our building there are twelve units.  Eleven of the units are kept clean due to normal cleanliness standards.  Some of us are "eat off the floor" clean.  Some of us are "there's no clutter and the place doesn't smell, so no one will notice the dust on the book shelves" clean.  Still others are "we keep the kitchen clean, but don't always vacuum and we have too much stuff to dust around" clean. 

Unfortunately, one unit owner is driving the rest of us to distraction--and beyond.  Before I describe the situation, I will say "Yes, we realize the man  is suffering from age related mental illness".  HE isn't the one with the etiquette/common sense problem. The problem actually lies with our complex managers, the city's social service agencies and the guy's kids.  This may just be a case of me needing to vent about a situation that seems to be more and more common in cities today.

This neighbor is not just filthy. He is revoltingly filthy.  The apartment isn't a home; it's a way-station for trash.  If he finds furniture by the side of the road, he lugs it home and crams it in his  unit.  At the moment, there is a layer of trash six feet deep in most places, touching the ceiling in a few others.  The  stove is packed with clothing and food, the bedroom cannot be found.  The bathroom is full, too, and the toilet is broken.  The stench from the toilet, the rotting food  left out in the various rooms and the insecticides we have to spray on a daily basis are killing most of us who have any kind of allergy problem. 

Did I say insecticide?  Yes.  Thanks to his  creative use of food (fruit rotting in bags, crackers mashed on the floor beneath piles of old worn clothes) his  home is infested with roaches which, as you might expect, have gone on to infest the rest of us.  In addition to being a fire hazard, he is also bug central. 

As I said, we recognize that he is not  the problem. He is sick and in need of help.  He isn't eating of late, there are bedbugs biting him, he has nearly set the place on fire once and recently backed his  car straight through a garage door.  Because of all that, we appealed, first to the Condo Board and then to the Condo managers to CLEAN HIM UP AND HELP US GET HIM HELP. 

Their response was to knock lightly at his door once a week for several weeks.  (We made the request in March, they began knocking in May)  It took them though the month of June before they got a sheriff to come in.  The sheriff told them they needed the fire marshal as his was an illegal fire hazard.  But, according to the managers, the fire marshal says he has a right to pile up everything and be a fire hazard.  It's illegal for them to tell him  to clean out.

So they sprayed us for bugs instead.   This hasn't helped as the bugs from his place continue to come up and visit.

So we took matters into our own hands.  Given that an elderly woman died in our city recently and the newspaper asked how this could have happened, we decided to go to the various social agencies listed in the articles.  The representatives from these agencies said, publicly, that they had never been contacted and the neighbors needed to call them.

We took them at their word and proceeded to get some variation of this response "Oh, our department doesn't do that kind of intervention, you need to talk to department X".  We worked our way through dozens of departments, bureaus and agencies before being told to go to the department where we started.  Did you know that Department of Protective Services, Aging Division does not actually help to protect the aging?  Or that the Departments of Mental Health, House Inspection, Health, Fire, Safety, Environmental Health, Elder Housing, Social Services or Police are responsible for what they say they are supposed to be doing?  After a girl in Health for the Aging told me "it wasn't her job"  I bit my tongue to keep from screaming "Well WHOSE JOB IS IT???"

Ultimately, we found one bureaucrat who was willing to put together a team to assess the situation.  When they came, they were horrified.  "He can't live here.  This can't go on.  What are his children's phone numbers?  We're going to get him some help, get him into a home and get his children to come in and take care of him."  Then they disappeared and haven't been seen or heard from  since. 

After some time, the managers of our place got him to agree to let them in and clear some of the junk out.  Then he stopped them and claimed they were trying to rob him.  Mental Health was called in and this time the specialist had him hospitalized after he saw the place.  He said our neighbor  was sick and needed to be placed in a home with private care.  Two days later he was back, telling everyone who would listen that people had broken in to his place and tried to rob him.

He has half a dozen children who live in the immediate area.  Phone calls to them have yielded shocked gasps, statements of sympathy and promises that they will take care of the problem and get their father help.  NONE of them have come to see him yet.  (It turns out they have had hundreds of calls about their Dad's problem and not a one of them has ever shown up.)  One of them said "Well, what can we DO?"  Another of my neighbors said "Well, I think you need to have him declared incompetent, get him into a home, clean the place out, fumigate and sell it."  And the daughter's response was "But Daddy is so active in the community!  No one would believe he's this incompetent and it would embarrass him."

Yet, they still promise they are "working on it."  It has been over six months now and nothing has been accomplished.  We were told recently that, as Mr. Slob owns the unit, he can live however he wants and as we own our units we can live the way we want.  That's a nice philosophy, but here's the thing; WE want to live in a safe, clean, bug-free environment and as he doesn't want to, we are all forced to live the way he does to some extent.  Further, we want to live in such a way that we don't have to worry about fire...but as he maintains a fire hazard, we are all stressed to the max, worrying that the place will go up in smoke and us with it.

We have pointed out that there are other senior citizens here who have impaired mobility and would be toast if the place caught fire.  We have pointed out that some of us have asthma and are suffering horrendously from the combination of stench and bug spray.  Some of us have pets that are in danger of being poisoned by bug spray.  But, as seems to be the case today, the only person with any rights is the offender. 

We have since learned that this man used to be a big shot in the city and it may be why the various departments are tippy-toeing around him.  Further, we learned that both the agencies and the condo managers are afraid of being sued if they pursue him too stringently.  What they don't realize is that the rest of us are getting ready to chip together and get ourselves a lawyer and start suing everyone we can--and if we die in a fire before then, our relatives, who all have access to this story, will likely sue for negligence.

I'm sorry this is long and maybe doesn't fit in to any of the usual categories, but I desperately needed to let loose and vent.  Maybe there's a new category for 'government officials who don't do their jobs"????



As a bit of background, I'm young, just 20 years old next week, and as such I know that I'm not always in the right, or even the most knowing on some subjects, however, I do feel that there are certain breaches of etiquette that anyone can pick out. I live with three people, one of whom is a very sweet gentleman from Japan who rents out one of the bedrooms upstairs. The other two however, are the stars of many horror stories. One of these ladies, C, owns the house and rents out her two upstairs bedrooms, as well as allowing me to use her downstairs guest bedroom in return for cleaning, running errands and paying a portion of the bills. The other lady rents out the second upstairs room, and has from time to time almost caused me to cast myself to the flames of E-Hell. We'll call her L.       

C has been a friend of the family for years, she took care of me when I was younger and after being out of touch for about ten years opened both her heart and her home to me when my mother died. I thank her sincerely for this, because though I had family still, they were near impossible for me to live with on a daily basis. This however, is where my gratitude ends. 

I'm a full time college student as well as working a full time job and a part time job just to make ends meet. This means I am awake at six in the morning and often don't go to bed till close to midnight. During this time I am in and out of the house for a few moments between work and school to change, finish homework, or on an occasionally lucky day take a nap. C however feels that because I live with her, if she wants something done it has to be done right away. This often delays my homework, makes it impossible to catch up on some sorely needed sleep, or makes me late to class. She is disabled, so I understand that things are often difficult for her to do, however would it be so difficult to wait till a slightly more convenient time to tell me that a certain letter has to be mailed right away, or that *her* lunch dishes need to be washed. 

I will admit that I do also get paid for this cleaning, though the majority of that money goes right back to her.     C also has a bad habit of giving her input on subjects she knows next to nothing about, such as what classes I should take, how I should deal with my family in a certain situation, or even where my life should be going. My father has taken to telling her that he feels that I should move home with him, which I understand. However, C takes this, turns it into something much more and then proceeds to tell me how she needs me and that it's best for me to stay here for my own freedom and financial gain. I do stay, but for no other reason then I have some space here that I would not get at home. 

The largest problem however, is that my bedroom is right off of the living room, where C spends her days and most of her nights watching TV. If she wants something and doesn't know what I'm doing she will walk right up to the door and open it. No knocking, whether she thinks I'm asleep or working on the computer or anything. More often then not it's because she wants me to go to the store twenty miles out of the way or she wants me to clean something. I'm not completely certain, but last time I checked it was only common courtesy to knock before opening the door to someone's bedroom and walking in.   

Then there's L. She only moved in about two months ago. During this time she has taken over the upstairs hall, the kitchen, the garage and a good portion of everyone's lives. When it comes to upstairs I don't care, nor does my grandmother, the kitchen and the garage bother me however. I cannot find anything that I had stored in the garage because she constantly seems to be adding things to the mess. This is especially difficult as C and I both keep art supplies and gift wrapping out there so it's not being tripped over in the house. 

It is even worse in the kitchen. We have two refrigerators, and due to her taking over a complete one there are three of us sharing a small one, and she still goes in there to just take things without asking almost every night, even though we have politely asked her not to do so. Also, we find odds and ends in the kitchen such as a fairly ugly bowl of plastic fruit. We have tried moving it, asking her to remove it, and putting other fruit in there to try to mask it just a little. None of these has succeeded as come the next day it is just as it was the day before. 

The worst thing about the kitchen though is that she constantly makes food that smells, and often looks, utterly disgusting, and tries to make the rest of us eat it. C is allergic to almost everything, so she will politely accept a plate, and then as soon as L is gone will come to my bedroom door, open it and give me the food expecting me to eat it, even though I can't stomach the smell, let alone the taste. Many mornings I have gone into the kitchen only to find bowls of these leftovers sitting on the table or the counter, uncovered and a note asking us to please help ourselves in the morning. I find this practice unsanitary and disgusting, but no matter the hints or polite requests L will not stop doing it.   

The topper though, I am slightly overweight due to a minor disorder. L has a habit of telling me every time she sees me that I need to lose weight so that I will look sexy and have a boyfriend. This I find utterly tactless as I not only have been steadily losing weight, but she does not know me much, and has seen my boyfriend here many times and actually spoken to him. Now when I hear her coming I attempt to be in other places, or too busy to stay and chat with her. Unfortunately, living under the same roof, this isn't always possible. I just hope others are not unlucky enough to have an L or a C living with them, let alone both.



I have a story about a bad neighbor. It was when I was living in my first apartment. As I was working for minimum wage, paying for my wedding, and preparing to go to college, I was pretty much flat broke. I rented the cheapest place I could find, which was described as a one-bedroom apartment, but was really just a tiny little studio. It was completely underground, except for a tiny little 1 x 3 foot window, through which almost no light came through. In other words, a hole. It was like being buried underground. Trust me, I wouldn't have lived there, except that it is against our religion for my fiancé and I to live together without being married, and it was really all I could afford.

Still, I was thrilled to actually have my own place, away from my parents. The problem was the neighbor upstairs. He had a piano. Not one of those electric keyboards that you can plug headphones into, but an actually upright piano. What landlord would allow such a thing if he would allow pets? (Though the place smelled so bad that pet odors might actually have helped it!)

Anyway, this guy upstairs would play the same few songs over and over, and not well. He absolutely sucked! He would get stuck and pause in the same places of the songs every time he played them and make the exact same mistakes with each repetition. I swear, to this day, the sound of Pachabel's Cannon (which I used to love) has me screaming with my hands clapped over my ears.

Still, as I was either working or at school most of the day, I figured that I could live with this. Until he started playing his piano at three o'clock in the morning! I couldn't believe it. I screamed, "Don't you dare!" at the top of my lungs. When that didn't work, I punctuated it with a few whacks of my broom against the ceiling, and a threat to call the police.

Is it any surprise that I moved out a mere two months after moving in? Only problem with that place was that the in the apartment woman below was almost totally deaf. Not that I have a problem with that, but she would watch her television with the volume turned all the way up, even at midnight! It was so loud that the dishes were rattling in my cupboards. I mean, come on, either use headphones, a hearing aid, or buy a close-captioned television! Don't make your disability everyone else's problem. Once, after my husband and I were married, we had to jump up and down on the living room floor as hard as we could to get her to turn the TV down. This was after one in the morning! I hurt my ankle. Not only that, but should would turn the heat up so high that it felt like a freaking tropical rainforest! It was in the middle of December, and I would have to open my porch door all the way to let some cool air in so that I would die of heatstroke. And the guy above me would play Celine Dion's version of "All By Myself" at three in the morning. Luckily, a complaint to the apartment manager soon took care of that. You would have thought that this would be a better building, considering that you had to be screened before your application was even considered.

After that, we were more than happy to accept military housing, and got our own little rancher-style three bedroom house. It was the dustiest thing I'd ever lived in, but at least I wasn't woken up in the wee hours of the morning by late night television, or by the droning sounds of a song I never even liked in the first place. I swear, I will never live in another apartment unless it's absolutely necessary!



This didn't happen directly to me but to a friend of mine.  "Amanda", as we'll call her, immigrated to Canada from an Asian country to study English and to get her Master's degree.  A sweeter girl you couldn't find.    Amanda had always lived in the university dorms (one unit to 6 people or so) while she went to school, but once she graduated she needed to find an apartment to share.  In all her years at school she'd never once been asked to leave a dorm unit - like I said, she's a sweetie - and most of the students she'd roomed with were still friends with her.  She immediately found a place to live and stayed there for the better part of two years, until her roommate decided she didn't want to have a roommate (any roommate) any longer. 

 Through friends, Amanda found a room in the home of the mother of one of her co-workers.  She didn't need the room for very long - just a few months - because she had decided to go back to her country of origin.  She was just going to finish off her current job contract.   My husband and I had Amanda over for dinner one night after she'd moved into her new accommodations and noticed that she was not her usual happy self.  With some prodding, she revealed that her new landlord had some harsh rules and was not respectful of her privacy.    Amanda had a rice cooker (rice being a dietary staple in her country) and she had wanted to use it in the kitchen (duh, since that's where rice cookers go), but the landlord refused to let her unplug any of the kitchen's other appliances (toaster, teakettle, etc) to use the rice cooker!   Even for half an hour, even if she plugged the appliances right back in, even if the landlord was not using the appliances, even if the landlord wasn't home!  So Amanda had taken the rice cooker into her bedroom and was plugging it in there when she prepared meals.  The landlord freaked when she caught Amanda doing this.  She became obsessed with the idea that Amanda was leaving the rice cooker plugged in all day and began to barge into Amanda's room to "check" that the cooker was not on, in spite of the fact that a) Amanda promised her up and down that she would only use it when she was home and preparing meals, and b) that the landlord had created the situation by refusing to let Amanda use the rice cooker in the kitchen outlets.   

My husband and I, being native-born Canadians and long-time renters, informed Amanda that what her landlord was doing was illegal - the room she was renting was hers alone and the landlord had no right to enter it without giving her 24 hours written notice.  I printed off a copy of the provincial law that covered renters and gave it to Amanda so she could inform her landlord of this.  (Amanda thought this was typical landlord behavior in Canada since she had very little basis for comparison.)   We awakened a sleeping giant, inadvertently, my husband and I.  But with the best of intentions.   

The landlord, upon being told that Amanda knew she could not enter the room without permission, freaked out.  Her spot checks became daily occurrences - and she began to root through Amanda's property whenever Amanda was out, claiming that she thought Amanda was stealing from her!  She complained that the food Amanda cooked "stunk like foreign junk" and demanded that Amanda not cook it when she was around.  She refused to let Amanda use the dryer, although she let her use the washer.  (She thought Amanda couldn't be trusted with the dryer since she was a "foreigner" and the dryer heated up - she said Amanda would cause a fire!)  She made Amanda hang her clothing outside to dry, but if she was having friends over she demanded that Amanda remove the clothing from the line and take it in her room (but she wasn't allowed to hang it up to dry there!  She had to iron it dry!)  She didn't want Amanda to be in the house if her friends were there, and she didn't want Amanda to have any friends over, although the living room and kitchen had been agreed upon as common areas.  Amanda began to spend all her time in her room after work, scared to come out and terrorized by continued "spot checks". 

Finally, Amanda and the landlord had a fight bad enough that the landlord demanded that she leave immediately.  She phoned my husband and I, having no place to stay and being extremely distraught at the "eviction" (which was by no means legal).  We didn't think she should stay in that environment any longer and drove over to help her pack and to take her back to our apartment, where we had a spare room.  The landlord allowed us to load up half of Amanda's stuff, but when we came back for the second load she had called her son-in-law to "watch" us (because in her mind foreigners, in addition to being dirty, fire-hazards and cooking foul-smelling food, would obviously steal her blind!) and until he showed up she locked the front door of the house (Amanda only had a key to the back door) and wouldn't let us in!  We had to phone the police to get entry to the house in order to remove Amanda's stuff - and you should have seen the ordeal we had to go through to get back Amanda's rent cheque for the month (she was "evicted" at the start of the month after having paid in full in advance).   

 In the end, Amanda stayed with my husband and I for almost two months until she returned to her home country.  She did all the housework while she was there and cooked for us on a regular basis, although we told her she didn't have to do either.  I couldn't have asked for a more conscientious houseguest. 

I was just glad that Amanda had experienced many acts of kindness by the Canadians she'd met before she ran across this racist nut bag of a landlord, otherwise she would have been left with a terrible impression of us!



I have an anecdote from my days back at my previous house.  My husband and I were positively elated at the prospect of moving into the house we'd just bought together.  The house was lovely, the lot was lovely, the neighbors were lovely.....or so they seemed.  We got along with one household well enough until one day they started avoiding us like the plague.    

Then, one night, they invite him over for a party when I am conspicuously absent.  He tells me, laughingly, when I get home what the big problem was with the neighbors.  Apparently, the woman had pulled him aside and told him that she was jealous of me (apparently she was quite blunt about it).  She hated the fact that I am skinny, not exactly flat-chested, don't drink much, and have the audacity to be going to (*gasp*) college.  She felt that I must feel I am some smarty-pants snob to be taking classes (yes, she called me a snob to my own husband).  

My husband was very gracious while listening to the list of accusations, including that one time I had talked to her live-in boyfriend "while not having any panties on."  In truth, in instance in question I was fully dressed in my mucky old gardening gear.  How would she know what was under all that?!?!?   My husband told me not to worry.  He said that her irrational fears just reflected her own inadequacies in herself; in essence, there's nothing I could do about it.  He pointed out that she was anxious around me because I represented things she wished she could have, including a secure marriage and a slim figure.  Unfortunately, things deteriorated after her confession to my husband, down to a heated yelling match.   

 This woman had a clique with the other families in the neighborhood and used them to harass us in numerous ways.  We became pariahs, complete with fuzzed-out druggies and dealers yelling at us about various stupid things.  The worst of it was that the neighborhood children picked up on this childish woman's catty behavior and tormented my older son relentlessly.  The woman had her clique-members call the police and child services to have my son taken away!  [In case you're wondering: nothing came of it; the authorities knew right away these were false accusations born of spite]  They would also call the cops on us for the goofiest things, such as the time somebody had left a recycling bin on their mailbox (most likely a third party trying to instigate problems).   

There's a happy ending to the story, though.  They moved away and some of the children started behaving nice to my child.  It was almost like they were waking up from a nazi brainwashing session.  From what I heard, that woman finally got her boyfriend to marry her, so she might settle down with the insane suspicious nature.  I have to admit, though, I had been tempted to buy a bit of lacy undergarment and leave it in his truck just to stir the pot, but didn't.  I realized that, with all the evil things they had done, I didn't have it in me to retaliate.  So I laugh instead!   



My neighbor, Sam, does not like trees, or in fact any greenery that reaches beyond shoulder height. Such plants do not exist on his property, and if he had any say in it, they would not exist on ours. The greenery along the fence line that we share is always clipped back way past our side of the fence, and although the fact that he interferes with our garden has always bothered us, we didn’t say anything about it until one particular incident.

Sam had set his eyes on one particular tree on our side of the fence, whose leaves sometimes fell in his yard. Because this was a tree and not a hedge, he could not simply cut back the offending foliage. He regularly complained to us about this tree and asked us to chop it down, citing a different reason each time in an attempt to persuade us. Because this tree was part of our garden and provided privacy for our balcony, we felt that we had the right to keep it on our property.

So Sam switched to a dirtier tactic. When she was alive, my elderly grandmother used to come and stay at our home about half of the time during each of our holidays. Sometimes she would continue to stay at our house after my parents had returned to work and my sister and I had resumed school. On one of these days, Sam knocked on the front door. When Grandma came to the door, he told her that the tree loppers he had employed had examined the tree in our garden and found that it had termites. He said that because the tree loppers were still here, they could cut the tree down immediately, as long as Grandma gave him the money for it on the spot. She handed over fifty dollars and agreed that we would not want a termite-ridden tree in our garden, giving Sam permission to remove the tree. She returned to the house, feeling happy that she had been able to help us in this way.

When we arrived home that afternoon, the tree had been replaced with a stump. When Grandma was told about Sam’s history with the plants on our property, she was very upset that she had been taken advantage of, and furthermore, that she had paid Sam to carry out his agenda. My parents reimbursed Grandma, but since then the relationship between my family and Sam and his wife has deteriorated markedly and is almost non-existent. To me, one of the most shocking things about this story is that Sam is an elderly man himself, and I cannot believe he happily took advantage of an elderly woman like that. And when we had the tree stump examined by a professional, his verdict was clear – no termites.



When I was little my family lived in a house with a woodsy, brush-filled area in the back yard.  More brush and blackberry bushes separated our lot from the neighbor's.  Every year in early spring, like clockwork, we would smell something foul whenever we were in the back yard.  For a few years my parents assumed it must be a boggy area thawing out and stinking up the place.  But one year it was so bad that my brother and I refused to even venture into the back yard, so my dad decided to investigate.  He located the general vicinity of where the stench was strongest (the area between ours and the neighbor's yard), and started clearing the brush.  And you will never believe what he found.  A long pipelike tube, the flexible kind people use for draining pools and such, ending disguised in the brush on our property.  Dad followed the tube for some distance into the neighbor's yard.  The tube was attached to a pump.  Which was attached to the neighbor's SEPTIC TANK.  THEY WERE PUMPING THEIR RAW SEWAGE INTO OUR BACKYARD!!!!!!! 

Rather than pay to get their septic tank drained, they had decided just to take care of it by quietly pumping it into an area they didn't think we'd check.  And they had been doing it every single year in early spring... we'd been smelling sewage all along.  Not only is this foul beyond description, but it's obviously a health hazard.  I was seven years old and my brother was only five when we found out what they'd been up to.  David and I played in that back yard, and so did our friends.  Can you imagine pumping sewage into an area where you knew small children would be playing?  Dad called the cops, and the cops called the health department.  Neighbors got fined big time, and fortunately we moved soon after that.  But this story is still one that leaves us all bewilderedly shaking our heads in amazement.   




First, I need to get a few things out of the way so that the story is clear.  I live in a 2 bedroom student apartment complex.  Students are assigned apartments, and thus usually don't get to chose who we share housing with.  My roommate, whom I barely ever see, has her own room, and shares it with her girlfriend.  I have my own room, and for the last few weeks a very dear friend of mine has been staying with me.  I normally don't let people stay with me, because I figure it would be disrespectful to my roommate.  However, since she has her own permanent guest and never asked my opinion, I shrugged and said turn around is fair play.

I woke up this morning and dressed for class.  Since I showered at night, all I had to do was wash my face and brush my teeth.  After my guest had exited the bathroom (we'll call her Claire), I went inside to take care of business quickly.  As I was on the commode, someone banged on the bathroom door and demanded that I get out; it was my roommate's girlfriend, who from hereon shall be called Butch.  Butch demanded I open the door that instant, in a very nasty tone.  Of course, one doesn't normally get yelled at at 9am while on the John, so I was puzzled.  

After finishing and washing my hands, Butch proceeded to yell at me for hogging up the bathroom and being generally disrespectful.  She insisted that they (she and my roommate, whom we shall call Maria) had been waiting for 50 minutes to use the restroom.  This wasn't quite true, as Claire had gone in and come out in less than half an hour, and I had been in for all of 1 minute.  However, I understand that sometimes Claire can take a while in the shower, so I told Butch we could discuss it, but without the attitude.  She continued to yell, claiming I was a disrespectful housemate because I used their silverware and dishes, always banged on their door, slammed doors, disrespected them, and--this surprised me--intimated her girlfriend!  

First, I had never spoken more than 10 words to Maria at that point, and had never spoken to Butch at all before that incident.  The largest conversation we ever had was when they wanted to have a party; I said ok, helped them clean the living room, and then left for the night so that they could enjoy themselves.  I didn't usually speak to Maria because she didn't seem like she wanted to be spoken to!  Whenever I saw her (rarely), I'd say "hi" or "good morning", and she'd mumble a reply back at first, but eventually stopped responding altogether.  If I was entering a room, she would run quickly back into hers!  All of my friends who visited me thought it odd that she'd hide whenever she saw me, but I just assumed she was a very private person, and tried to respect that.  As for the dishes, I have my own plates, pots, and silverware, so never saw need to use theirs.  I also instructed my guest not to do so, and she complied.  Even so, they insist that I was using their possessions (weird, since some of the thing they accused me of using I distinctly saw them using themselves!).  The slamming of the doors I will give them credit for; I don't try to slam doors, but sometimes I have a tendency to unintentionally do.  Intimidating?  Being barely 5'3, both of them are taller than me, and Butch is significantly heavier and taller (and she tried to block me from exiting the bathroom with her body). I have never made any threatening moves or gestures, was never in close physical proximity to Maria, or said anything which would be construed as threatening.  In fact, the only threatening behavior I had ever seen displayed in that apartment was by Butch towards me at the moment.  When asked exactly how I was threatening, there was no reply. The whole banging on her door issue--I had knocked on her door about a month ago to deliver some mail.

What I fail to understand is why they would wait so long to bring these problems to light, and do so in that manner.  If they had a problem with Claire hogging the bathroom, why not talk to me about, instead of waiting weeks?  If I wasn't home, why not just leave a note on my door?  If you don't like me "banging" on your door, why not just ask that I not knock so loudly when you open the door, instead of waiting for a month to scream about it?  I admit I may have be unintentionally inconsiderate at times (like slamming doors), and I have no problem taking the blame for it.  What puzzles me is not the allegations (most of which weren't true), but that it would be resolved in this manner.  It was Maria who had a problem with me, so why send your significantly larger girlfriend to yell at me and tower over me early in the morning? And why wait so long to do it?

I don't want to move from the apartment, because I go to school in an area where housing prices are ridiculously high, and it is not everyday one finds a low-cost apartment with all utilities paid.  But if this keeps up, I'd gladly take out an extra loan to  rent my own a studio apartment. If this experience has taught me anything, it's that sometimes you can't put a price on personal space and piece of mind.



My story is from when my husband and I were traveling and working in the UK (we are Australians).  Housing in England is not all that easy to come by, especially affordable housing, so we generally took whatever we could get.  That’s how we ended up living with ‘Dick’ (short for ‘dickhead’ of course which is how we used to refer to him).  Dick and his wife ‘Edna’ own a five bedroom house where they reside and then rent out the other four rooms to poor unsuspecting tenants. 

Dick unfortunately had far too much time on his hands as he didn’t work, just lived off the proceeds of his and his wife’s disability payments and the rent from the rooms (the rent was probably undeclared income, a point which becomes important later).  To give you an idea of what he was like, the only book he read in the entire time we lived in the house (a good 6 months) was ‘How to grow marijuana in your cupboard’.  He then proceeded to set up just such a cupboard, complete with giant lights (god knows how he wired those in there, a fire waiting to happen).  Unfortunately for him, he didn’t seem to understand that fully grown dope plants are BIG and his lights were less than a meter away from the plants when they were seedlings, so we weren’t terribly surprised when they died.

Another revolting habit of Dick’s was to come back from walking the dog all sweaty and gross, then pull his t-shirt up over his big fat belly to wipe his face on it while standing in front of me and other housemates in the lounge-room.  I also once caught him wiping his face on a t-towel in the kitchen, which he was about to hang back up until he saw me looking at him at which point he hastily threw it into the laundry.  I made sure I used a fresh t-towel every time after that episode. 

One morning I was up early getting ready for work and I walked with my toothbrush in hand into the downstairs bathroom to clean my teeth.  Unfortunately there was Dick, having his morning ‘session’ on the toilet with his pants around his ankles and the door wide open.  I nearly vomited on the spot.  By the time I got home from work that afternoon Dick was in the lounge-room regaling all the other housemates with the story of how I’d caught him on the toilet – he seemed to think it was hilarious.

The final straw of living with Dick which made us decide we’d rather live on the street than stay in that house, came just after we got back from a two week holiday over Christmas/New Year.  On the door of our room was a typed letter, which basically told us our rent was going up.  There were so many problems with this letter I hardly know where to begin.  For starters, he had BACKDATED our rent increase to the beginning of the year – what the…??!!!  Secondly, the letter went on to say that the rent increase was necessary because the ‘poll tax’ had been raised ‘again’ that year as a result of all the lay about immigrants entering the neighborhood.  I called the local council and discovered that not only had the poll tax not gone up, it hadn’t gone up for about the previous four years.  Thirdly, he had raised the rent of my husband and I by double the percentage (and then some) that he had raised the other housemates who were living in single rooms by, despite the fact that we paid quite a lot more than them to start with (to be expected as there was two of us).  So he raised our rent by about 25% while raising the others by 10%.  Hmmm, I wasn’t about to try to explain the concept of ‘percentages’ to him, we figured it was time to cut our losses and go. 

One of my workmates took pity on our sad situation and offered a room at her house for the remainder of our stay (which was only going to be a couple more months).  Mind you, she charged us less rent than Dick had charged us originally, and the rest of our stay in the UK was so enjoyable because staying with her was wonderful compared to the hell of living with Dick. 

My husband gave Dick two weeks notice (as we had agreed on when we moved in) when we next paid rent, and we didn’t pay any more as it was paid two weeks in advance.  My husband was working nightshift at the time, so one day a few days before our two week notice was up, he hired a car and moved all of our things over to the new place.  It so happened that Dick and Edna were out for the day, so they didn’t see him do this, but we weren’t trying to ‘sneak’ out, they were hardly ever out and so it was just coincidence that they weren’t there that day.

I went to the post-office the same day to get our mail forwarded to the new house, but the forwarding didn’t start for a few days, and in that interim period a belated parcel of Christmas presents arrived for us from Australia.  Dick decided to keep this parcel as a ransom for the unpaid rent he felt we owed him.  He wrote us a very long letter (delivered via one of our friends in the house who we kept in touch with), about how horrible we were to ‘slink away like rats in the night’ and how we owed them 200 pounds in unpaid rent (obviously he had ‘forgotten’ that our rent was paid in advance).  I wrote Dick a very concise letter in return.  I didn’t bother to enter into arguments about the rent, I just told him that if he didn’t give our mail to our friend by a certain date then I would report him to the tax department and social security for his undeclared rental income.  Our mail was very quickly forthcoming. 



Ok, here's my less kind neighbors treatment of us.  Our neighbors have lived next to us since our kids were in kindergarten, and they are well off, husband is a doctor in our small town.  Over the 2 1/2 decades they've lived next to us, we have endured unbelievable rude nasty treatment, put-downs, terminal arrogance, condescending snobbery, etc, etc.  We live a quieter life style, not the  jet setters, not the name dropping sort that this woman and her husband are.  We have been stunned repeatedly at the nasty public treatment we have received by them amongst our other neighbors when we are chatting at the curbside.  The most recent occurrence was at a mutual neighbors son's wedding reception. They sat there at our huge round table, and openly stated to us that at their sons wedding that is to be an outdoor wedding in their yard, we had better close our windows so that the noise of their band would not keep us awake.  Hence, we gathered that we were being publicly humiliated in front of all our other neighbors at the wedding reception table, that we were not being invited to this wedding. 

However, we were invited to their daughters wedding (though the invitation arrived only 4 weeks in advance, and the invitation ONLY arrived after the faux pass at the neighbors sons wedding reception.  Kind of looked fishy that we got a late arriving invitation to their daughters wedding.  

We already had made a prior important commitment that required us to be out of town that weekend, however we did give the bride a lovely and very expensive vase for a gift, that we dropped off personally at their house. 

Now, the other day as we dropped off the gift, and this woman asks me if I will hire her part time at our business, and pressures me endlessly, then she takes me and another neighbor that had been chatting with her as I pulled up her driveway to drop off the daughters wedding gift-- she takes both of us inside and I spend the next hour looking at her daughters wedding pictures, though I mentioned that I had a meeting to get to and could only take a few minutes. 

So, I casually ask when her son's wedding is, knowing that it is to be soon, I suspect, as they have been working night and day sprucing up their yard for the outdoor wedding.  She informs me, right in front of the other neighbor that her son's wedding is 2 /1/2 weeks away!   Again, as gracefully as possible, I simply say, "Oh", really?"  and try as absolute best I can not to reveal the sting of her hurtfulness, and her complete and unbelievable insensitivity, she knowing full darn well she didn't invite us to this wedding, and minutes before she is asking me to hire her part time?!   If, she had invited us to the wedding, and the invitation had gotten lost in the mail (sorry but we've never had a missing invitation in over 38 years of marriage and 38 years of weddings to attend ) then wouldn't she have said something like, "Mary, you know the wedding is just around the corner, didn't you get your invitation?".   

There was stone silence, instead, and the other neighbor clearly must have already known that we were not being invited.   Nice neighbors, and supposed friendly neighbors according to some folks.  The level of cruel snobbery still baffles me, as we earn just as much money, but we are in a business that is more blue collar, but we have worked very hard, and created a nice lifestyle for ourselves too.  We do not name drop, and we do not relish in hurting others for sport, as this woman does, along with her social climbing husband. 

What do you do with cruel and hurtful neighbors, elitists with a sense of entitlement to be cruel and rude, and do it so openly?  We have lived in this home for over 3 decades, and we have lived her longer than this woman and her doctor husband, however we watch as most of our other neighbors cater to this team of socially vicious status climbers.  We may not be bluebloods but my husband and I are good hearted souls and we always try to treat others with kindness even to the most rude and snobby people. 

So, no invitation for her son's wedding, and the corker is that this woman is a neighbor and their son is marrying our other neighbor on the other side of us!  So, now we get cruel treatment from both sides.  We have been nothing but continually gracious and pleasant to these people, no matter what they have said or done in the past.  This woman, wife, of the doctor is so viciously competitive in our town and has an unfortunate collection of friends who saddle up to her and evidently support this kind of behavior.  Kind of like watching a junior high school  clique operating,( the cool kids who go around and openly hurt innocent kids, just for sport, and the salacious groupies who sit at their feet endorsing this behavior ) .  

So, there's my story.  I just don't know what to do or say to these people, and I have taken enough garbage off them, that I truly do wish there was a eloquent yet pointed way of clipping their nasty wings that would expose their chronic treatment of us, and frankly put them in their place for the first time. 

Of course this same woman is never too shy to ask us for discounts in our merchandise and then complains to our faces when our prices are 1 nickel over some other store.....but she's there for every handout, or anything we might have, expecting to receive, but she never gives.  Mind you they have a million dollar home, boats, tennis court, island property, and on and on.  

Help???!!!!   What can I say.  What would Ms. Manners say.... because I know that Ms Manners has a way to say things that sting, but in a polite way, but still a good comeback for such insulting treatment.   If we get a sudden invitation in the mail, which will no doubt only arrive 2 weeks prior to the wedding......must we attend, and send a gift if we choose not to go.  Why should we be treated this way and then because of a late invitation, knowing full well that they had no intention of including us, but probably strategizing that we would send another gift, like we did for the last insulting late invitation to their daughters wedding.  I guess white collar doctor and his wife think we are way too far beneath them to be treated with any margin of dignity. 

Ms Manners can you please offer some thing to say to people who continually get away with treating people badly, and others who silently stand beside them and support and no doubt rationalize such profoundly cruel behavior?

It might fall on deaf ears, but maybe something should be said anyway, and I suspect that Ms. Manners has a short and thinly veiled way of conveying our noticing their cruel and rude treatment of us.


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007