Blake’s Advice Column
I’ve had it up to here with my crabby next-door neighbor. She grows vegetables in her garden — squash and pumpkins at this time of year. Our properties are separated by a wire fence. A few days ago, a friend of mine brought her two grandsons, who are 4 and 6, for a visit. They were excited to find a pumpkin in my yard that weighed about 10 pounds and managed to get it into my house because they wanted to make a jack-o’-lantern. No sooner did I reach for the phone to tell my neighbor what they had done than she came banging at my door accusing the boys of theft! To make peace, I handed the pumpkin to her with my apologies. This morning I noticed two pumpkins have tendrils that have crept through the fence and are now growing on my property. More than one person has told me, “They’re on your property, so they belong to you.” Another has said that if my tree grows over her property, she has the right to trim the branches. Ergo: I get to keep the pumpkins. I think a fair solution is to keep one pumpkin and give her the other. But “Crabby Cathy” might have other ideas. Before this gets ugly again, what do you say?
From Charleston, West Virginia
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I strongly believe that next door neighbors should go out of their way to avoid friction and get along. I also believe that having a neighbor who is as loony as yours, you should go out of your way to make their lives a living hell. Ok, consider some of these options. Tell her if another pumpkin grows on your land, you will demand that she pays half of your property taxes. If she refuses to, then tell her if she comes in your yard and tries to remove any pumpkins, you will treat her the same way the U.S. treats terrorists in the Middle east that are caught planting roadside bombs. Or, you can create a contract that names her as a sharecropper, which was really popular at the end of the Civil War. If she refuses to sign it, spread rumors that she is lobbying to have slavery reinstated, and that she also believes the 13 colonies acted improperly by rebelling against King George. And this might work. If she thinks it’s ok to grow things in your yard, you should do the same to hers, by tossing on her land thousands of marijuana seeds, even though it’s illegal in your state. After you contact the DEA, she won’t hassle you for at least 5 to 10 years. But if you really want to make a dramatic statement, wait until Halloween night, and have someone dress up as Michael Meyers knock on her door delivering the pumpkins that grew on your property. And then have him swing at her neck with a butcher’s knife, intentionally missing her throat by inches, which will probably cause her to faint. Keep in mind, whoever you get to portray the famous killer, make sure he knows CPR so he can perform it on your neighbor to revive her… or not. I hope this helps.