Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, April 30, 2012

Send in the Ducks

Here’s another lesson on the trials of communal living and the on-going saga of the Tattooed Lady.

People who don’t have to live near her think she’s a nice lady.  If they lived near her or had to deal with her, they’d be cured of their ignorance.  Rent one of your homes to her (please!) and then see how nice you think she is.  The Tattooed Lady bullied me into not feeding a couple of starving cats or she’d call the board of health.  Then she bullied me into removing plants in my own garden that she insisted were weeds, although they weren’t; they were wildflowers and wanted me to separate my irises when they’re doing just fine.  Then it was the common water faucet; she wanted access to it.  That I couldn’t deny; those are the roles.

“I don’t see a single bud!” she claimed.  A week later, there was a sea of irises, thanks to the prematurely warm weather.

Meanwhile, she keeps garbage cans and other junk outside her back door.  She insisted that I’d let her dog loose when I hadn’t.  She’s been harassing other neighbors as well.  The neighbors above her, she insists, make a lot of noise going up and down the stairs.  Their dog is ruining the front lawn, she complains, even while her own dog is ruining the back, which she seldom has a collar on and never uses a leash with because of her disability.  And this is a big dog.  She insists the dog minds her, but it doesn’t.

And so it goes, on and on.  Now she wants my birdfeeder removed.  She and her lawyer were complaining on Saturday to the head groundskeeper that it’s attracting bears and snamkes (not in the nearly 20 years I’ve been here).  The mice were a problem, it’s true; until they made a nest in my car and met a horrific, squeaky death one morning.  Well, at least they’re no longer a problem.  Meanwhile, she continues to smoke two packs a day outside on her porch, which I was told she’s allowed to do, and probably smokes four inside, judging by the stench emanating from her windows and into my own.

But the rules are for the rest of us, not the Tattooed Lady.  Early in the Spring, she started inviting the mallard ducks up from the river.  According to the by-laws, that’s a big no-no, although it was no problem with me, personally.  When she asked me if it was wrong, I told her, although by then I already had the incriminating photo of her feeding them.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

As it happens, however, the ducks are solving the problem of the scattered birdseed.  I emptied out a number of window boxes which I can no longer afford to fill with expensive annuals from Home Depot, and set them under the bird feeder to catch the excess because I don’t want mice bothering my upstairs neighbor, who is a good neighbor.

I don’t have many true joys in live, but feeding the birds is one of them.  I asked God if feeding the birds was such a mortal sin.  His answer was to send a flock of ducks – drakes – to deal with the scattered bird seed.  The only obstacle to a complete, thorough clean-up is the Tattooed Lady’s own dog, who naturally barks at the ducks.

There’s also been a to-do about planting tubulars along the top of the riverbank.  Gardening is not my specialty; these plants came from my mother’s garden.  She assured me they would hold in the soil.  The TL, however, insists that this sensitive area must serve as a dog run for her dog, who loosens the soil with her paws instead of holding it in.  She successfully killed all the plants, allowing the dog over there, so this spring, having more time on my hands, I replaced all these plants.

The Tattooed Lady’s solution to this problem was to send the dog down the embankment to dig up the flowers.  The whole neighborhood heard her.  But Mom must have had me plant something disagreeable to dogs.  While she happily dug at the plants, the dog decided this was no longer a prime location for doing one’s business.  The Tattooed Lady yelled at the dog and even hit her until the pooch fled into the nearby parking lot (could that be another bad reason for having a dog you can’t control?) and did it there.

It was pretty funny, really.  The TL was bagging the metal pan with the scooper, but to no avail.  What a racket.  What a mess.  Finally, she hit the dog with the scooper and the last I could hear, she was hitting the dog inside her unit (I could hear it yelping).

What goes in must come out, and what goes around, comes around.  Mom said I should plant plastic plants and flowers from now on.


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