Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sunday morning in the garden ...

Midsummer madness.

I heard something next door - something loud - rustling of bushes and foliage, grunts and groans.  I looked out.  Mommie dearest next door was gardening.  My window was open so I called out to her, thinking she might take her rampage to the front yard where a little wren had her nest in the ivy, on the fence.  She growled, "What?!"

"Oh - hi!"  I said smiling.  "I just wanted you to know there is a little nest up front in the ivy - just in case you'll be working up there."  She kept flaying the vegetation.

A bit later I thought I'd go out to survey the damage - because I could smell Bonide.  I saw the ivy looped over the fence, dangling down on my side like wilted lettuce.  I said - "You know, if you need to remove overgrowth on your property, that's fine, but my fence is on my property and so is the ivy."

She sputtered and yelled and was so angry I thought she'd lose it.  I said I was concerned she had so much anger and said if only you could see your face - and she screamed 'shut up, shut up.'

I felt kind of mad, but felt really bad - kind of shaken actually.  So I decided to remove all the vines on her side of the fence - hoping to avoid her spraying them with weed killer the way she had in the past.  I raked up what fell on her side and did my best to make it neat.  Engleman Ivy is invasive, no doubt, but it is the classic vine to use on fences and looks like a hedge.  On my side, it still looks fine - unfortunately, on her side it looks like wood and cyclone fencing.  I simply cleaned it exactly the way she did when she ripped it off her side of the fence in the backyard and flipped it over on my side - only I actually trimmed it. Later I overheard her husband talking to her - I don't think he liked how it looked on their side.

I feel sorry for the woman.  She's exhibited erratic behavior many times in the past.  Dancing and singing in the yard, waving as if we were the best of friends - and then snap - she'd go crazy like today or just ignore me, not even returning a greeting.  It was only today that I realized she may be bi-polar or have some other mental disorder.  The family is very reclusive, they are estranged from their own families, and they seem to have few, if any friends.  I like the husband - we know people in common and he's an airline steward.  He's very nice.  He seems a bit beaten down at times, but he is often gone for long periods as well - which may be a relief for him.

In 2011 - around the beginning of June,
she sprayed the ivy on my fence and almost
killed it out.  They like to use chemicals.
Herbicides cause cancer - especially in women.
Click here for an interesting article on
the use of glyphosate.

Anyway, I hope to avoid any other confrontation and will try from now on to trim the fence and not have any over-growth effect their landscape.  Tomorrow I have to remove some lilacs that overhang their garage - I removed low growth that touched their garage today.  It was an issue once before, so I'm thinking it could become an issue once again.

I just don't understand the hostility - although it has pretty much been this way for at least 23 years.

I've shoveled snow for them, was always friendly, and even gave them a baby gift for their first child.  He was a twin but his brother died in infancy.  After that - the friendliness stopped - except during what may have been her more manic periods when she would talk your ear off.  Sometimes she exhibited symptoms, that in retrospect could be an indication of mania, as I mentioned, she would dance and sing really loudly in the yard - almost as if she were performing on stage.  Perhaps menopause has complicated if not intensified her condition.  She is usually very quiet and subdued - which could be symptomatic of depression, although controlled by medication?  I don't know, of course.  Other times she looks angry and her face is distorted.  When I'm out mowing or gardening I notice her drive into the alley or sometimes walking down the street, and she usually looks very angry.  (I have a corner lot.)

If she is bi-polar, then I don't feel so badly or take the behavior personally - my gut reaction is to take it personally, yet analyzing from the bi-polar POV helps me understand that the behavior may stem from her 'condition'.  I've often felt sorry for her - as well as her kids.  (My mother had undiagnosed mental problems.)

I hope to avoid complicating her existence, and would love to apologize, but I think it would only make things worse.  She's unpredictable and the behavior is unsettling.  I post this as a way to document the incident and if by chance she reads it, perhaps she will understand how exaggerated her behavior is.

In the meantime, I can only leave her to heaven and avoid upsetting her.

After all, I just live here.

Song for this post here.


  1. Prayers for your safety. She may be bipolar. Apologizing may make matters worse. Let it pass. Her mood has probably already changed and her mind will be on other things. (My first husband had bipolar disorder, so this isn't an amateur talking.)

    1. I decided to let it pass and let it go - apologizing or saying anything would indeed make matters worse. It was a welcome discovery to realize she may have some sort of disorder and not to hold it against her. I discovered online some mention of the conflict and she sounds paranoid as well. She mentions she had her sons 'spy' to see when it was safe to go for a walk. She imagines I watch her - but the lots we live on are adjacent, and one cannot help but notice if someone is outside.

      I think it is safer to just 'shut up' and avoid encounter - yesterday's behavior was a real wake up call.

  2. I remember when she sprayed it because the picture made me gasp.

    Terry - are you sure that's ivy? It looks more like Virginia Creeper.

    1. Here it is called Engleman Ivy - but I guess it's the same thing. It's used locally for chain link fence and does creep - I pull it up from the lawn and garden beds as it spreads. It's just part of my lawn care. I will try to be more diligent and pull it back from their side of the fence. The new herbicide she has is especially designed for Engleman/Virginia Creeper. Which is why I pulled stuff up off their side yesterday. Trying to be a better neighbor.

    2. Well maybe in Minneapolis they called it that, but in St.Paul it was Virginia Creeper. We had it growing all over the front of our house on St.Clair. I have a one growing in one of my gardens and I have no idea of where it came from.

  3. Terry, neighbor relations can be difficult. If you fear apologizing aren't you concerned she may read your post? Seems a risky action and not going to promote neighborly peace.

    1. I'm simply documenting the incident and trying to understand it. I'll just continue to mind my own business. Unfortunately, she has talked to others in the neighborhood as if I'm some sort of nuisance - and she has posted online. I'm not sure she knows I'm online, but if she does she can read what I would otherwise say to her.

      I'm not afraid of her - but I don't want to be responsible for her flipping out.

    2. I wouldn't think she would have any reason to know you even have a blog.

      And if being a nuisance means you probably have the best kept and loveliest house in the neighborhood, well then - you are a nuisance.

    3. Haha! Thanks Adrienne.


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