Ah…Acrimony…How I Have NOT Missed You

The front yard of Cottage West – I will add more plants now that I have a clean palette to work with.

I deal with others plainly – up front, honest – and I expect the same.

It doesn’t always happen, my approach is not always responded to in kind and I have long said, “That’s their problem, not mine.”

As I was trying to answer some questions for the Northeast Kansas City Historical Society this morning (Cottage West will be listed in their 2nd book), I clicked on Parcel Viewer. And as is a habit for me, I clicked on the 311 cases. For those of you who are not aware, this is where maintenance and property repair complaints show up.

I check these often. I do this so that I can keep abreast of any developing situations. There is usually a delay between a call coming in and the inspection. If I can get in there and fix what needs fixing, I avoid months of a complaint hanging out there on 311, long after it has been resolved.

In any case, I noticed the following:

Case Notes
Date: 06/28/2017
Summary: 311 update
Description:Citizen is complaining that this owner has covered the yard in mulch in an effort to not have to mow the property.

Date: 06/06/2017
Summary: 311 Update
Description:Citizen is reporting that the yard is not being mowed. There is overgrown grass on this property.

So, on the 6th I’m guessing that our friendly neighbor Dale wanted us to mow. But on the 28th someone was complaining about the mulch we had landscaped the yard with.

So in other words, mow it, but how dare you lay down mulch? Thank goodness I don’t live in an HOA!

The city apparently visited on the 8th and declined to write us up. Perhaps they have bigger fish to fry. I doubt they will object to landscaping either. In fact, they will probably wonder why more folks aren’t doing it. Anyone can have grass. It isn’t that hard. But a tasteful display of blooming perennials nestled in clean mulch? That’s some beauty there, folks.

So I figured I should check through ALL of the properties. I quickly found this listed for the front of our house:

Case History
Case ID: 2017066624
Date Submitted: 06/06/2017
Status: RESOL
Summary: Property Violations
Description: Citizen is reporting that this property has not been mowed. There are herbs growing in the ROW and the area is unkempt.

Oh no! Not that dreadful mint again!

This was probably also Dale. But maybe not. Not everyone likes flowers and plants. The city looked at it and declined to open a case, so I’d hazard a guess that improving the neighborhood and feeding the neighbors (our Vietnamese neighbor loves using our mint in her cooking) was fine with the city. Nevertheless, I plan on moving it. It will take several years because mint is notoriously hard to get rid of, but eventually, it will border ALL of my properties.

Perennials in front of Cottage West

Mint is great for keeping out vermin. Ants, mice, rats, they all hate the smell and avoid it. I have been threatening to plant a moat of it around my home for years and now I think it is well overdue. Plus it smells awesome when you keep it in line with the mower and everyone can have mint tea!

I moved on in my perusal of 311 case notes and found this one for the red house, now known as Cottage East, our newest addition:

Case Notes
Date: 06/28/2017
Summary: 311 update
Description:

Citizen who lives across the street wants the brush growning [sic] along the fence line to be cut down/removed.

Oh boy. Would this be the same neighbor who wanted the house? The same one who had calf-high grass on Saturday but just spent the last 2-3 days obsessing over every inch of the corner property with mower and weed whacker in hand? The timing between that and this complaint lodged yesterday is…interesting.

I can’t say this conclusively, and in the end, they have the right to complain about the properties around them however they wish, but it is a little disheartening and petty.

If their purpose is to improve the neighborhood, it is more than understandable, and I do hope that is what it is.

We are a little more concerned with making sure the house itself is shored up – the walls repaired, the roof and windows replaced. We don’t want meth heads breaking in and doing whatever they do there, but hey, if I need to spend a chunk of my weekend making sure every inch of our properties are in pristine condition, we can do that too.

Several companies are coming out to give us quotes on the issues at hand. I don’t want to slap a band-aid on it, because that never works. I want it done right and expect it to last a LONG time.

The newly mowed vacant lot on the left is one our neighbors are buying. We will be cleaning this easement up this weekend.

I can only hope that others would do what I would do in a situation like the one we were faced with in the aftermath of the property sale dispute. Take a moment to grieve, be angry, upset, or whatever about not getting their way – and then move on. It isn’t worth fighting over. It isn’t worth the feeling in your gut or heart to be resentful.

I’ll admit, my stress went zipping up again when I saw those reports. Just like I do when my renter calls me with an issue, I want to fix it RIGHT AWAY. But I also realize that killing myself to satisfy others is not in anyone’s best interest.

Well, maybe someone’s, but not MINE!

The properties will be repaired.

The landscaping will be done.

And eventually, I hope that my neighbors will stand down and recognize that I am not their enemy.

I can hope for it at least. None of us needs that kind of stress in our lives.

The east wall of the property. It may look intact from this angle, but this brick facade is also buckling and threatening to collapse. We will need to pull down the bricks and install Tyvek and siding ASAP.

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3 Responses to Ah…Acrimony…How I Have NOT Missed You

  1. Jim says:

    Not us. But we’re not the only people who live across the street.

    In fact, my plan, if we’re able to purchase that empty lot at the auction, was to work with you guys to get the chain link fence and posts out along with all the brush along it. Benefits all of us.

    • Jim says:

      Oh, and believe me when I say, I’m not crazy enough to cut all that shit with a weedeater. Had that been the only option, it would still be six obnoxious feet tall.

    • Christine says:

      Glad to hear it. I’m excited about your plans for the lot and the white house. This block is looking fantastic!

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