When people ask if there were any nasty surprises as we started to rip things out, I say yes, there was one. But it wasn't anything like 5 layers of drywall or an unexpected supporting wall. Worse, actually. Something that is far more difficult to change.
We have a nasty neighbour.
In fact, he is the nasty neighbour, the stereotypical grumpy old man, known by everyone in the neighbourhood.
So far, our interaction with him is minimal, but very unpleasant.The Husband was emptying a bin of demo waste into our dumpster when the neighbour approached him.
"You're dog is digging in my property," he said. He started to walk away, but growled over his shoulder, "Fix it."
The Husband told me what he said when he came in. I headed with Mocha to the backyard. Had she found another hole in the fence, other than the one we had already blocked, and gotten into his backyard?
I stepped outside and he was right there, leaning over the fence, yelling at me.
"Your dog has been digging holes here on my property," he said, pointing to a thin strip of sandy ground right next to his back shed on our side of the fence. "Right here. This is mine. You don't let your dog dig there. You fix it! Fix it! I don't touch you property, so you don't touch mine."
I'll admit. I didn't react well. I snapped back. I was snarky. I'm not proud of it. I filled the holes and complained a little too loudly about the miserable neighbour to the Husband. Almost immediately, I regretted it.
See, we have to be careful. We're trying to get through a pretty big reno here. We might be a little noisy. A little messy. If this guy decides to get his nose out of joint, he could probably make our lives pretty tough while we try to get this all done. And, on top of that, we have to live next to him for as long as we own the house. We have to smile, say hello, keep our dog off his property and respect his space. But once we've got the time and the money, there is a solid fence going up, high enough that he can't even see into our back yard.
We hear a good fence makes good neighbours.
(Just a note to anyone who might drop by to visit or help us out ever: make sure you park a good 3 feet from his driveway. Today, we witnessed one of his infamous habits of calling the parking enforcement guys when a car was parked with the bumper mere inches over the top of the dip of his driveway -- apparently there's a bylaw that you must be at least 3 feet from the start of driveway opening. Some friendly neighbours warned us about this and now we've seen it!)