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5:42 a.m. - 2002-04-25


SCENE: Our hero is in the middle of trimming the bushes in the front of the house when his wife pulls into the driveway with their young son in tow. As is customary now that the weather is warm, the son is removed from his car seat and allowed to toddle to the back yard to play, which never fails to prompt Nosy Assed Neighbor to come outside and talk baby talk to him while waiting for one or both of his parents to come near her so she can spout off her insane ramblings that are usually uttered by people being led to the gas chamber. We join the show already in progress.

NOSY ASSED NEIGHBOR (NAN): "Uncle Bob, I spoke to my realtor today and his views of selling a house are completely different from your realtor's views."

ME: (sighs) "And what are those views?"

NAN: "He says that you should completely fix up your house when you're trying to sell it. Because you're competing against not only other houses in your neighborhood, but also brand new houses being built."

ME: (sighs)"I know, NAN. That's why we're doing everything we can to fix the house up. The inside is immaculate. I've just finished trimming the bushes, edging the yard and weedeating. We're having the wood around the house replaced and we're painting the outside. I don't know what else we can do."

NAN: "You NEED to replace your roof."

(Okay ... I don't know what stopped me. Maybe it's the fear of going to prison for strangling the woman to death in her back yard in broad daylight and having to deal with serial killers who would just snicker and then sodomize me with a mop handle when I told them I killed a woman for nagging me about my roof. I'm going to chalk it up to that for the time being.)

ME: "Our roof was replaced in 1989. It's almost 13 years old. How old's your roof?"

NAN: (swallows and then mumbles) "17 years old."

ME: (laughing hysterically and then looking at her roof for the very first time. Her roof is in much worse shape than ours could ever be)"You mean to tell me that your roof is 17 years old and you've been harping on us to get a new one?"

NAN: "You need to get a new one if you're going to sell your house. That's what my realtor said."

ME: "I'm not sinking $10,000 into this house in order to sell it. If that's the case, we'll just stay here."

NAN: "Whatever."

(At this point, Susie walks out and takes over putting up with NAN's shit for me. She later tells me that she could tell NAN had said something that sent me over the top as I looked highly pissed.)

And you know...for the sake of ranting now...I'm going to stop this little "scenario" deal and let you know some facts.

NAN is looking to sell her house too now. That's NOT cool. You don't want two houses next door to each other for sale. She said she was going to wait a year before trying to sell hers. Now she's changed her mind because she found a house she loves and we've really opened her eyes to getting the hell out of this neighborhood.

She's going to have a helluva time selling it though. Tee hee.

Her house smells like a cross between wet dog and mothballs. I haven't been in there in a year or two, but it always had a distinct mothball smell to it. It's much cleaner than our home, but she has a maid come over and do all her housework for her even though she's retired and sits at home all day and she doesn't really own anything.

She pays some guy to come take care of her yard. So her front yard is immaculate, whereas mine looks looks like I've been the one mowing it. And that's not really a good thing because I hate yardwork.

And then...there are her dogs.

Millie and Billie (not their real names) are rambunctious dogs who bark CONSTANTLY. This is great when they're serving as watch dogs. I can guarantee you nobody will ever try to break into either of our homes because those dogs bark at ANYONE who is a stranger.

On the flipside of that, we cannot have anyone over to our home and entertain them outside. You cannot hear each other talk as these dogs howl and snarl at anyone who they've never seen before.

Now then ... our neighborhood is predominantly black. With the exception of a cluster of eight or so houses in my section of the street, the rest of the street are homes owned by black people.

We figure we're going to sell the house to black people.

Black people in the south...not ALL of them...but most of them...are terrified of dogs. That's not a racist statement, it's a fact.

So last night, after NAN has given us her daily thoughts on our roof, I go inside to shower.

As I'm undressing, I look out the front window and see a car stopped in front of our house. A black female realtor and an elderly black couple in her car.

Hallelujah! They're looking at the house!!

Ohmigod!! They're pulling in the driveway!!

I hurry up and put my clothes back on and frantically clean up the bedroom.

...I hear the rotten fucking dogs next door howl and snarl.

I look out the window. I clearly see the elderly black woman in the back seat point at the dogs. She has her arm over the front seat and is pointing DIRECTLY at the dogs and is shaking her head "no" emphatically.

I freak out.

I go running outside with my car keys in my hand, trying desperately to think of something in my car to "retrieve" so it looks like I just casually happened to be outside when they were spooked by the dogs and I can reassure them that the dogs are behind the fence and won't get out and bark at them face to knee or pee on them or whatever the hell it is that scares them so much.

But it's too late. The people have already pulled out of the driveway and are getting ready to pass our house by.

I give them a smile and a casual wave.

They smile and wave back.

...And then pull away.

I've played this scene out over and over in my head about a hundred times in the last 12 hours.

There's nothing else they could have been pointing at EXCEPT the nosy assed neighbor's dogs.

Unless they have a fear of large pine trees. That's the only other thing they could have seen.

I'm pissed.

IF...IF...IF...those damned dogs keep us from selling this house ... well hell...there's not much I can do about it.

Susie saw it too. She's not as pissed as I am because she's much more easy going and has her blood pressure well under control.


Livid, baby.

I told Susie maybe NAN NEEDS to sell her house first. So that we can then sell our home.

The only problem??

If I think selling OUR house with those dogs yapping and snarling is hard is it going to be for HER to sell her home when the people have to deal with her dogs?

I feel sure she'll board her dogs or take them somewhere else when she's ready to sell.

Naturally, we can't even ask her to put her dogs inside while we try to sell ours. I asked her to put her dogs inside a few years ago when we had our yard sale so they wouldn't scare customers off. She said she couldn't do that because her dogs were "outside dogs" and it would be unfair to them.



Heaven forbid we do something crazy like bring a dog inside a house.

We'll just let your dogs stay outside, barking non-stop at people so the people won't stay around nearly as long and actually BUY OUR CRAP.

Since she has no husband (she's divorced...ran the guy off by nagging him away) or children or family to speak of, she has her two precious muddy, yapping dogs.

And those dogs take priority over everything and everyone else in the neighborhood.

I dunno.

I just know I'll be glad as hell to get away from her.

And don't think I don't know that fixing up your house needs to be done to sell it.

I KNOW this.

However, our realtor's train of thought is...fix as little as possible and then when people look at it and say "We'd really like a new roof", we say "Well, would you BUY the house if we put a new roof on it? Is that all you want?" and they say "Yes. A new roof would help seal the deal" THENNNNNNNNNNN we either put a new roof on the house or take a few grand off the price of the house so that they can put a new roof on it.

But not before. Because we just don't have the money to do major work on the house like that.

Oh...we would have the money.

If a certain fucking bitch mother in law hadn't scammed us out of it.

But trust me...the roof doesn't look bad. In fact, it looks pretty damned good.

...Compared to Nosy Assed Neighbor's roof anyway.

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