Thursday, October 09, 2014

Neighbour problems (again)

We've hired a company to replace our window wells, fix the path on the side of the house, and make our driveway narrower. They started work this week and have finished putting in the stone window wells. We're quite pleased with the work our contractors have done; it's nice, they're tidy, and they put away their work neatly at the end of each day. They're personable but not chatty and prefer that I leave them alone and if there are problems to talk to the project manager.

Unfortunately, things are not going smoothly with our neighbour - the one we've had problems with before. We figured he'd be upset because he wasn't doing the work for us and we were right.

He's already stopped by earlier this week to tell our contractors that they were doing their job wrong and we were crafting an email to ask him not to approach our contractors directly. Today he flipped. Our contractors were cutting the capstones for the window wells and it was really windy so the dust was blowing into our neighbour's yard. He came over and spoke to (yelled at?) about how the dust was blowing by his office windows and they had to stop it. Apparently they offered to cut the stones somewhere else but that wasn't acceptable to him.

Then he rang the doorbell and told me the same thing about the dust and his office. I told him that it was windy and the dust couldn't be helped. He said that he builds a little house thingy and cuts in there and that I had better stop the dust blowing into his yard. OR ELSE.

I told him that just as it was unacceptable for me to talk to his guys, it's unacceptable for him to talk to my guys and to please come to me instead of them. Then I told him that he should know that we are having work done on the driveway on the property line and that the weeping tile may need to be adjusted. He said that they had better not mess things up OR ELSE. "Or else what?" I asked, and his answer was: "You'll see". That freaked me out.

After all that he asked why we didn't talk to him about the driveway. All I could say was, "Really? Really? After everything that's happened, why would we do that?"

I admit that I didn't respond well to him and I know I made things worse between our houses. When I'm confronted with anger I respond in kind, which makes me exactly the wrong person to deal with him. I do feel compassion for him because I know he wants the work and I think he was hurt that we didn't give him the opportunity to bid on the work we're having done. That compassion doesn't change the fact that I'm also worried that he'll do something. I don't know what, but something... maybe sabotage the work we're having done?

I'm especially worried about what's going to happen once the contractors get to the driveway. There's a Rogers cable going to the neighbour's house that's under our driveway somewhere and there's a very good chance that the the contractors will cut that cable... making our neighbour's internet go out. He has an office at home and needs that internet and if it's cut then he will be very, very, very angry. We don't think Rogers does locates because we've been told that they prefer that the cable just be cut and they'll repair it but I'll check and see.

I thought about calling the police about the ("don't mess things up OR ELSE" with a "you'll see" explanation of the or else part) because I felt threatened but then I thought that he'd be even angrier if I did that. My metalsmithing instructor said that I should call the police just so that if something happens, there's a record of it.

I don't know. I want nothing to happen, but in that last kerfuffle he told Ian that he has to be aggressive and that he can't show weakness in the construction industry... and that kind of thinking doesn't really lend itself to leaving things alone.

I hate neighbour disputes. I wish I'd handled things like this better. And I wish we had a different neighbour.


Titus 2 Thandi said...

Why didn't you use the neighbour for the work? Not that it's a reason for him to be like this, just wondering why he'd think he should be used just because you're neighbours...I hope you DO tell the police even if they maybe don't take it seriously. Poor you! Some people...

Chantelle said...

We did hire him to create the peastone path along the side of the house. We were somewhat unhappy with the job itself, mainly because he changed the grade between our house and the other neighbour, causing friction there.

We'd also had flagstones on the gravel part of the driveway that we allowed him to remove so that he could get a cement truck into his backyard to pour a foundation. He said he was going to replace them and never did.

We're also concerned about his ethics: he built a second-story sunroom and deck with stairs two years ago and has not put up railings. If he doesn't think it's necessary to add that kind of fundamental safety feature, what else does he cut corners on?

But even with all of that, we would have asked him for a quote for all of the work if that last kerfuffle hadn't happened. He and his wife had approached Ian because I'd spoken to his employees about parking over the property line and I spoke to him in front of his employee about parking in front of the fire hydrant.

During that conversation, the neighbour told Ian that he doesn't talk to women and told Ian to control "his woman". Once Ian told me that, I decided that I would not do any kind of business with him. I can't help that he's my neighbour, but I can choose what kind of business I interact with - and I choose to never deal with any business whose owner expresses misogynist statements.

We haven't told him all of this because he has a temper. I don't deal well with that and Ian doesn't like confrontation. This also isn't the kind of thing that is best discussed over email.


Robin said...

Calling the police might be a good idea - he did threaten you, and if you call the police after he calls them (assuming he ever would call them on you) then your complaint would look like a retaliation complaint. Also, then they would have it on record in case something does happen. I've had a bad neighbour before and had to file a report. It's scary, but I felt better after doing it.

And really, he could have closed his office window to stop the dust from blowing in. He sounds like mom in that he needs to control his outside world because his inside world is in chaos. Does that make sense? You are doing nothing wrong, your contractors are doing nothing wrong, your neighbour is the one who is acting inappropriately.

Love you heaps,