My neighbor behind our home caused a bit of a stir this morning for my son – and later on in the day, for us – as his hired workmen demolished the back fence separating our two properties starting sometime after at 8AM. We must just have left this morning when they started. Our grandchildren had spent the night while their parents had gone away for a day (date), and we had intended to take the children to breakfast before going to a local kid’s playground center aptly named “Funbelievable”.
After playing with slides, balls, and clambering around for a couple hours, we returned home to find Hispanic workmen trenching away at our rear property line, a huge pile of debris where the fence had once stood, and my neighbor’s Iraqi mother looking after the guys. As I speak fairly passable Spanish, even when caught off guard, I just asked the men to be careful of my plants. After several irritated minutes, I was reminded by another neighbor that I had not been asked to share in the cost of the fence that he was replacing. For the twenty-some years I have lived here, that fence had always been part of that adjoining property, and I had been slow to install one of my own when the Iraqi family moved in a few years ago. Starting in 2019, neighbors on three sides had all started improvements including fence and concrete work, artificial turf and such, and in 2021, I contracted long-overdue improvements. However, with the pandemic, vinyl fencing was unavailable- unless we had it installed by the local supplier (at a premium). With a limit to our budget, the backyard decision was to put in California native shrubs, which when mature, would be the privacy we needed to back up our neighbor’s possible new fence. The part of this whole affair that makes me feel a bit sad is that there were no Dexter nor Comet to keep an eye on the work.