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Get out of my yard!

A husky man with a little dog walks past my back porch every night at 7:15pm. Sometimes he is reading a book, other times he is playing a hand-held video game which I know is not called a Gameboy, but I want to call a Gameboy because I was born in 1980. Usually he is wearing a T-shirt, flip-flops and baggy gym shorts. Regardless of his outfit, every night at 7:15pm I burst into uncontrollable giggles, because it is very odd to have a strange man who is oblivious to my existence appear within 3 feet of me and then disappear as quickly as he came. I almost expect him to stroll through the sliding glass door, look up in a confused manner and mumble, “How’d I end up in this lady’s living room?” Then the cats would attack.

My new apartment has a back porch which faces the back of another row of apartments in the complex, divided by a stretch of grass which probably has a proper name defined in dictionaries, but I don’t know it. This means I basically have a back yard now, a back yard that people traipse through as they please, usually with their dogs or baseball bats or Gameboys. I grew up in houses with yards and I remember school kids taking shortcuts past our statuary and I remember being a kid cutting through strangers’ flower beds, but this was all many years ago. It is odd to have a yard again and to have people pop up and pop out of my line of sight suddenly, but it is just one new thing I’ll have to adjust to, just as I am learning all the new sounds of the apartment, like the crunch of the ice maker and the dripping of the air conditioner and the thumps of our upstairs neighbors who sound like they are practicing for the International Clogging Championships.

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25 Comments

Angela • July 1, 2009 at 10:20 am

I thought your new apartment was on the second floor…I’m confused! :)

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PastaQueen • July 1, 2009 at 10:26 am

@Angela – My old apartment was on the 2nd floor. The new one is on the 1st floor, thank God.

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Braveheart • July 1, 2009 at 10:26 am

Oh dear! Your upstairs neibours should be warned that they have some stiff competition for the International Clogging Championships. My upsstairs neighbours practice from first thing every morning till pretty late at night only stopping to make noises that can surely only be the sound of them assembling flat pack furniture.

I think the thing that you see eing played on is a Nintendo DS. I was born in 1972 and still covet my sisters multi screen Game & Watch Donkey Kong!

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Braveheart • July 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

@Braveheart – sorry about the spelling – I clicked submit before I checked!

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K • July 1, 2009 at 10:40 am

Unfenced back yards are one of the things that foreigners probably find exotic and strange about America (European foreigners, anyway). No strangers ever wander through my flower beds because there’s a fence in the way. As children, we would never have dared enter someone else’s garden uninvited – well, unless there appeared to be nobody at home and we were on the track of a lost ball. But even then, you trod carefully.

In my current neighbourhood, there are many fences although they don’t provide very much privacy. The neighbourhood children do occasionally climb them to get to one another’s gardens. Then their parents come out and yell at them. I don’t mind the climbing as much as the yelling, but there we go.

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Dana • July 1, 2009 at 10:43 am

I hate to move. Especially in the summer! The worse. I am such a creature of habit that I will get all out of bent out of shape having to make a new routine. So much new to get used to, sounds like you’re doing geat though.

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Diana • July 1, 2009 at 11:25 am

I use to live in an apartment exactly like yours, on the ground floor with a green belt (I think that’s what they called it) right outside my slider doors.

Same thing, strangers staring at me as I sat at the dining table. It was weird, but finally I got to where I’d just smile and wave at them. That would usually make the kids take off running. :)

And the noise from the upstairs, even quiet little old ladies, took some getting use to. But I was young and single and I loved that little apartment. And I’m sure you’re loving yours too.

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Dyan • July 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

Make sure you have a charley bar on your back door if it’s a sliding door! Be safe!

No way would I ever live on the ground floor again. I never felt like I had any privacy!

And they should really make people who live above others take a test or something to make sure they understand how loud they actually are!

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Jean • July 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Definitely get a bar on your sliding door – you never know about people these days (unfortunately). When I moved into my house from a 2nd floor condo, I slept on the couch for a week (bedroom was upstairs) b/c of paranoia & strange sounds. Now there are days and/or nights that one of the doors doesn’t get locked before I go to bed/leave for work!

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Quix • July 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm

We had one of those areas in my college apartments. I guess it wasn’t as weird since I shared with 4 other people, but I can see how unsettling people wandering in *your* area would be if you didn’t already have a bunch of people around you.

And oddly enough I have ALWAYS moved during the summer, even though I remember (usually after giving my notice) how awful it is to move in the heat!

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Julie • July 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Such is the joy of living beneath someone else. I have a townhome with a broken mesh fence in the back yard that it seemed the whole neighborhood would go thru. I decided be passive aggressive and instead of yelling, planted climbing rose bushes in front of the fence breaks. Believe me traffic stopped pretty quickly. Perhaps you could plant roses – either in containers or in the yard? Flip-flop boy would have to stop then…….unless he’s cute and you don’t want him to stop?

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cindy • July 1, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Did you say “our”?!!! Do you have something to tell us?!

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Merry • July 2, 2009 at 1:17 am

@K – I think that everybody-in-everyone-else’s-yard thing is common in the midwest or east. It’s not so common on the west coast.

My neighbor in California wanted to get rid of our mutual fence so it would be more like his childhood home. When I pointed out that that would mean my dog could visit him any time, he wasn’t quite so keen on the idea.

Don’t people back east have dogs?

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fd • July 2, 2009 at 3:27 am

@cindy – well caught! dammit you’re right.

PQ?? may we please join your neighbours and trample some more on your privacy?

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Braveheart • July 2, 2009 at 8:11 am

@fd – the cats???

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tiredthighs • July 2, 2009 at 10:13 am

@cindy – that’s not the first time she has used “our” in regards to the new apartment. I have been checking comments and waiting for some sort of announcement. Maybe it will never come?!

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Mom Taxi Julie • July 2, 2009 at 2:17 pm

No walking around naked with the drapes open for you I guess ;o)

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Meg • July 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Congrats on the completed move! Next time that guy walks by you should burst out of your sliding glass door and yell “BuGabugabuga!” ^_^

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Kim • July 2, 2009 at 9:40 pm

When I lived in my apartment, I had this GROSS guy with a huge, hairy stomach that was always shirtless whenever he went outside, living right next to me. He would play his music SO LOUD. He made the room that SHOULD have been his bedroom, his office, which shared the wall to MY bedroom. He mounted speakers on the wall and he would work all night and I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a nightmare it was. I complained to the landlord and it would change for a few days. I swear he hated me, but I don’t know why. About the noises you’re getting used to – we got a new fridge a few months ago that has an ice maker. Nobody told me the knocking noises it would make before the ice SLAMS down into the little box!! Good luck in your new place, it sounds like you’re enjoying it :)

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Lyn • July 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I am far too old (at 39) to put up with people walking past my windows and creeping me out. Too paranoid too, I guess. Which is why our main living quarters and my bedroom is on the second floor of our HOUSE. I swear if I was on the main floor, I couldn’t sleep at night with the windows open because I have irrational fears of whackos cutting through the screen and harming me. But now I worry about how the heck a woman my size would squeeze through a window and jump to the ground if there was a fire. Hmmm.

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Sarah • July 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm

“..Then the cats would attack.”

If they do, you should film it. That would be HILARIOUS to see!

“Man walks into living room, mauled by cats”

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Pam • July 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm

the ice maker noise…ah, music to my ears. when it doesn’t go off for a day or so, my partner starts making mountains out of mole hills and is sure it is broke. when it finally starts up again…ah, better than listenin’ to complainin’.

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Lynn Haraldson-Bering • July 5, 2009 at 7:36 am

Better Int’l Clogging Championship practice than sex marathons. Trust me on this one ;)

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Kalyn • July 5, 2009 at 10:42 am

If you have a yard, you’ll have to try growing some veggies and herbs (maybe next summer!) Then you’ll have to figure out how to keep people from walking on them!

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Cori • July 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm

The only reason to be in other peoples backyard is if their dog has to “go”. BeWARE

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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