As I’ve said before, I do love my neighborhood.  However, recent events have made me very frustrated, and left me in a position of little control.

A while ago, the house that we share a driveway with was abandoned and subsequently repossessed by the bank.  Since that time, a handful of realtors, handymen, and potential renters/buyers have been wandering around, blocking my driveway, and trying to sell me and Jewish Friend property.

That’s not a problem, so much as it is a bit strange and annoying at times.

With the abandonment of the house comes the abandonment of the yard.  The property lines for the abandoned house are very strange in that the yard closest to my house, the one that looks like my yard, actually belongs to the abandoned house.  This is the big yard that recently had the fence run into.  Since the fence has been run into, the gate does not work, and that wide open space is apparently a giant neon sign to the kids in my neighborhood “hey, make this yard your new hangout space.”

Because this yard is right next to my house, naturally, so are these kids.  I mentioned to my landlady a while ago, that it makes me very uncomfortable to have so many people (adults have taken to cutting through the yard as well to save the extra 10 steps it would take to go around the corner) right outside my window.  I stand at the sink doing dishes, and boom, there’s a stranger right in front of me.

“It’s not my fence,” landlady said, “I don’t see why I should have to pay to fix it.”

In her eyes, people are taking over the yard because they know the house in abandoned.  In my eyes, they didn’t start doing this until the gate went missing, and if the realtors can’t figure out the property line, why would she assume a bunch of 8 to 12-year-olds could?

The other night, I was talking to my brother on the phone and I heard scuffling and whispering sounds coming from the yard.  I pulled the curtain back to find about six kids, hanging out, listening to me talk on the phone.  Since they have been spending more and more time there, they have gotten more and more comfortable, and I keep half expecting to find them in my living room once it starts getting colder out.

Something must be done, and I will do it myself.

First, I took the garbage can and placed it in the space where the fence gate is supposed to be.  Within a day someone had moved it aside– clearly my message was not received.

Second, I took the detached bit of gate, and leaned it up against the rest of the fence, then pushed the garbage can against it to hold it in place.  Within a day, someone had figured out that you could still open it from the other side, and (I think) kicked in the door to the potting shed just to spite me.  So now I know that they are a determined lot.

My new course of action has been to take a length of wire, and length of chain, and my recently acquired gunlock and secure the fence in place that way.  If they are very determined, they can unwind the wire, but I made it as complicated and annoying as possible to do, or they can get tools and cut both the wire and chain.  If that happens, I guess I will go buy thicker chain (though I don’t really want to spend money on this situation any more than landlady does– but I would rather not get robbed), or perhaps take a page from the ACME handbook, and sprinkle a lot of tacks along the sidewalk.

I’m not giving up. 

This is them hanging out on my front steps and atttempting to climb my fire escape.  I wasn’t just being an alarmist when I said they are getting too familiar.  Damn kids.

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