Sunday, May 3, 2015

How to deal with your neighbors and not lose your temper.

Here we go. A few years back I had 11 American game hens and 14 American roosters/cocks. Why so many? Because I don’t eat my birds and these little birds fly and reproduce very easily and hide their eggs.
So when you least expect it, here she comes out of her hiding place walking around with her little chicks. It was the hen you thought the fox ate a month beforehand when you couldn’t’ find her.

It came to a point that I couldn’t keep all of them and so decided to put an ad in the paper and at local stores so animal lovers could adopt them. 

I had many people call for the ad; I interviewed them and met them personally. I disregarded the people that evidently came to grab the poor hens to put them in a pot and have them for dinner. One person even told me, “Why do you breed them if you don’t eat them.” Well you guessed he didn’t get any.
Fortunately I did find animal lovers that adopted my hens and roosters and I was left with three hens and two roosters.

Meanwhile I had adopted two stray dogs and had renovated the hen house for them. Poor hens, they kept on going back to their home but discouraged by the dogs they found another home in the trees and behind the barn. 

They are great flyer's; they would lay their eggs behind the barn, well sometimes, and sleep in the trees. The only problems were the neighbors. They didn’t appreciate being woken up by the rooster at 3am. Even though the rooster only sang for about 30 seconds. Well you know how it is; people nowadays are stressed and nervous. They don’t seem to be bothered by the heavy traffic or the trains whistle but if they hear a sound they are not accustomed to they go berserk.

To make a long story short, one 90 yrs old neighbor had sleeping problems and started complaining about the rooster. What happens, one person tells the other neighbor, “Did you hear that rooster of theirs sing at 3am?” At first, they deny it then they become aware there is a rooster singing, and that triggers the other neighbors. With the power of suggestion the whole neighborhood can hear him sing.

Meanwhile my neighbor started shooting at my rooster with a BB gun while it was perched on a tree facing his home. It is not legal, but I didn’t complain, I tell you, I was upset. Fortunately, he didn’t hurt him.
 Moral, I tried to capture my hens and roosters but it took me a month. I then brought them to a caring family that adopted them. A few weeks later, when I didn’t have any roosters left a friend of mine at the City Hall told me my neighbors had signed a petition.

 Well nothing happened but it did bother me, I had tried to make them happy in capturing and transferring the birds elsewhere but some people are just mean.

Therefore, which is the best way to deal with bad neighbors that complain about a few leaves that fly on their lawn or because you don’t cut your grass regularly, it’s not easy believe me. Know your legal responsibilities to avoid further disputes.

For example, my tree branches overhang the fence, and my neighbor wants me to prune or cut them down.
Well the law in Italy provides that if the trees have been there since they moved in 30 yrs ago he couldn’t ask me to cut them down because more than 20 yrs have passed since so he has no rights whatsoever. However, I must trim the branches overhanging the fence. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past two weekends.

You have to be super nice with these people, and try not to lose your temper. It’s not easy to smile at people you know are just a pain in the neck. However, if you intend to live in peace you have to be nice, if you get as aggressive as they do things get worst. I found that being diplomatic almost always works. 

As Isaac Asimov wrote in the Foundation Trilogy, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Stay calm, reflect, and learn how to cope with certain people. Here, ignorance is our enemy.

Another trick is find out, as I did, if they had a construction permit for the shack they built last summer near your fence. My neighbors didn’t but I didn’t go to City Hall and complain. I kept it in mind until his next complaint and sure enough, he complained that a bit of dirt would get onto his patio, and that the rain had pushed the grounds against the fencing and moved a few bricks, oh jeez. I smiled and reminded him about his shack, and that a corner was on my property, strangely enough, he never complained again.

Live and let live will you.

Another neighbor came out with another complaint when we had a flood last year; he called me up and told me to stop the water from flooding his grounds, his cellar was flooded and it was my fault. Well, how could I stop the water, his home was lower than mine was and water flows downwards and not upwards. 

Besides, most people in town had their cellars flooded; I suggested he get a water pump, and replied that I couldn’t do anything to stop the water because my name wasn’t Moses, the whole town was on alert for God’s sake, please.

I told him what I could do was to put some planks of wood against the fence so some water would go down the road instead of pouring into his lawn. He seemed satisfied and stopped complaining.
These are little sacrifices we have to make in everyday life in order to make the best of a bad lot.

A few tips:

1 -Don’t let things get out of hand for little things, you should always talk about a solution with your neighbor as a first step.
2 - Avoid disputes; being on good terms with your neighbors makes it easier to resolve problems.
3 –Of course if your neighbor gets too aggressive and out of hand try getting help from the authorities or a lawyer. This would be as a last resort.
Oh, remember that at times your neighbor may be right, so keep a step ahead of them, and know your rights beforehand.
I found interesting the information on Wikihow on the subject, check it out.

Do you have problems with your neighbors? How did you resolve the problem? Do you have any suggestions of your own on how to deal with bad neighbors? Please let me know.