Thinking Out Loud

August 14, 2014

Oh Crappy Day

Constitution Oak, a live oak at the junction between the Pea River and the Choctawhatchee River  in Geneva, Alabama. It is believed to be among the largest and oldest live oaks in the state. [Photo: Wikipedia Commons]

You may remember this tree from the review of Mark Hall’s Thrive book we did a few months ago. Constitution Oak, a live oak at the junction between the Pea River and the Choctawhatchee River in Geneva, Alabama. It is believed to be among the largest and oldest live oaks in the state. [Photo: Wikipedia Commons]

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. Not compared to some things people we know are dealing with. Perspective.

But still, it was not a great day. I was going to call this short post, “I Live Next Door to the Devil.” It’s true. He was away for several months, but last night he returned home from holidays.

Today after lunch, he started yelling at me across the fence. He doesn’t like our trees overhanging his property. Actually he doesn’t like trees at all. Any trees. Over the past few years, he’s cut down all the trees on his property. A nice silver birch. A beautiful blue spruce. Several smaller ones. Even small shrubs.

He told me, “If you want to live in the country go live in the country.”

He hates nature.

The owner of a local tree service, before he passed away told me that a mature tree can add at least $1,000 per tree to your property values. But that was almost two decades ago. I’m guessing that $3,000 to $5,000 might even be realistic. They bring birds, and squirrels which bring music and entertainment.

I told him that we did, in fact thin out the foliage while he was away. But this is not the type of person you reason with.

He told me that he was going to take his chainsaw to them. I said, “Fine; cut down anything that’s over the property line.”

But then I had a change of heart. I rounded up the troops and all four of us descended on his side yard and back yard and did major surgery on the trees ourselves. We had a hedge-clipper going, two saws and were raking up everything as we went.

All this of course, looking over my shoulder the whole time. The guy is so mentally unstable I figured any minute he might decide we were trespassing.

This guy is a major case of anger management issues. We live in a constant tension of never knowing where he’s going to strike next.

We have no backyard. The side yard on our corner lot needs a bit of privacy. The trees provide that for us, something another neighbor affirmed when I spoke with him later in the afternoon.

We love trees. He hates trees. He really hates trees.

What an insane thing to argue over. 

Or perhaps he just hates us.

Pray for us.


Postscript: We had a rather strange chain-smoking neighbor when we lived in our apartment in Toronto. I recently asked God why we were forced to spend the last 25 years living next door to bad neighbors after already dealing with this in Toronto and I very distinctly heard God say, “Because anybody else would have killed them by now.” I laughed when God said that, and I think I saw Him smile.



  1. Are you sure you don’t live next door to our neighbor? He has pretty much the same reaction to any of our greenery that even BEGINS to approach his property…

    … and don’t get me started on the blue streak of cussing and cursing that comes over the fence when I fire up my charcoal BBQ grill…


    EGR personalities, both of them (EGR = Extra Grace Required)

    Comment by Robert Martin — August 14, 2014 @ 10:27 am

  2. Hello, Paul! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like:

    Comment by Rick Blaine — August 14, 2014 @ 11:44 am

    • I get the Speakeasy emails all the time. I think it’s a great promotional platform, and I wrote about on my book industry blog. Unfortunately, I’m also a print snob, and not being located in the continental USA therefore poses a problem, since they only service the US in print. There was an exception however, and I did appreciate the Wm. Paul Young book. Also working in the industry, I tend to review books that the average bookseller can easily access at a reasonable trade discount. Sometimes the indy-published books don’t have that capacity.

      Keep the emails coming, though.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — August 14, 2014 @ 5:50 pm

  3. Dogs. Barky, little WTP dogs (W.hat’s T.he P.oint?). So far, we’ve enjoyed very few of these in the sleepy seniors-infused community, but just the other day, I heard a little toy somethin’ or other yapping for over an hour straight.

    Am SOOOOoooo tempted to go to the owner and say, “You know, it’s the oddest thing. Whenever we’ve moved into a neighbourhood with little yappy dogs that aren’t being managed by their ignorant owners, the little gaffers have gone missing!” Can’t for the life of us figure it out … ”

    Sorry Paul that you’re going through this – yes, any other neighbour would have been deleterious to misery-man’s welfare over the fence there. Now that you’ve cut down the foliage on his side, bake the nicest cake you can for them and say – “Hey, I really hope that helps your situation. In the meantime, enjoy our finest and no, there’s no hemlock in it. Just cake!” ;-)

    Comment by Flagrant Regard — August 14, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

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