Fences and Neighbors, December 26th, 2019
Officer M of the local police department, knocked on our front door
at about 2 PM today. It was a bright sunny day with a high of 60F. A
very pleasant day it was, but it didn’t start out that way.
It was cold this morning when I went out to my old Jeep Grand
Wagoneer to warm it up so I could go get coffee and croissants for
breakfast. As the Jeep was warming up, I swept the back patio
cleaning up the leaves from our latest storm.
As I came back into our carport, there was the Galumphing Man in
my carport on our property. He had ambushed me again.
Ahh, the Galumphing Man is Trombone B’s brother-in-law. The GM
is a big man who walks like he owns the town. He has a huge belly
and is an engineer. He lives with B’s sister down in Redwood City.
The Galumphing Man and B’s sister (D) come up to our town every
weekend or two to check up their house a block up the street on
Alley Two. They also check up on B, who is about 76 or so and has
Asperger’s or some other mental affliction.
You’ve all read my stories about Trombone B. I like the guy. But his
brother-in-law… not so much. B’s sister D is also very kind and nice.
“Why?” The Galumphing Man says to me in the carport this
morning. (He is of course talking about the fence we had
constructed last Monday on the south side of our property between
our house and his?
“More privacy.” I answer.
“Well, it is too high. It can only be 6’ tall with some lattice work on
top. I’m complaining to the city.”
“See you at the city… asshole!” I say.
Then I get in my Jeep and start backing out the driveway, but I can’t
leave it at that….
So I get out of the Jeep and say, “Your wheely bins have been on our
“No they haven’t”
“Yes, they often cross the property line and every time you drag
them across our driveway you don’t respect our property rights.”
He had no reply to this.
I got in the Jeep and left.
So, then at 2 PM there is officer M at our door. I was kinda expecting
it. The Galumphing Man is the type who refuses to lose an argument
no matter how in the wrong they are.
“So, the dick called the police.” I say to Officer M.
“A property owner called us and complained about your new fence.”
Officer M and I descend the front steps and go down to the front
sidewalk. Officer M is huge. He’s 6’6, bright brown eyes, in good
shape, about 225 pounds of pure muscle, and he’s deeply tanned.
“I did notice that the other fences on your property are the same
height.” Officer M.
“Yes. They’ve all been installed by R & R Fencing. We asked them to
install this fence to be just like the others.”
“Well, the homeowner complained that it can only be 6 feet high
with four feet of lattice at the top.”
And then I went into my spiel….
“Well, I’m not a fencing expert. We just asked the R & R Fencing
company to copy fences already installed here. This property owner
didn’t even give you his name?”
“No. He just called in the complaint. It was anonymous.”
“Well, the property owner doesn’t even live here. He lives in
Redwood City. He and his wife come up every other weekend to
check up on their property up the street and the brother of the wife.
The brother’s name is Barry S. and he has Asperger’s or some other
disorder. He’s never here anymore either. He might sleep in the blue
shack one night a month. He sleeps up the street at his sister’s
house up there on Alley Two. It’s the house with the white GMC
truck in front of it.
B has problems, but I’ve helped him out over the years. I’ve driven
him to the dentist and band practice. I’ve fixed his toilet and smoke
B’s sister and brother-in-law don’t take care of him. They just
dumped him on the neighborhood to deal with.
I went into his house once and it was the strangest thing. B had an
island of books this big (I use my arms to describe a 4’ square) five
feet high in that living room (I point at the picture window of the
blue shack) and he had books piled up to the ceiling.
When I went into his kitchen, there were twenty bowls of cereal
lined up with spoons next to them ready for breakfasts.
B used to play his trombone at all hours of the night. He’d wake us
up at 2 AM.”
“Was he any good?” Officer M asked.
“No!” (It was here that Officer M laughed… an encouraging sign). “B
plays in that band on the square sometimes. That band of old guys.
Fortunately now he lives up the street at his sister’s house and plays
his trombone there.
And the wheely bins he would drag across our driveway at all hours
of the day and night. B has no sense of time. (I said this in a kind
Also, I mean, look at this shack! They don’t maintain the property.
They don’t even live there. No one lives there. I mean, look at it!”
And I move us to the south so we can gaze at the blue shack behind
our new fence.
“Well, I’m not gonna cite you.” Officer M says. “I’ll tell the Code
Enforcement Officer all of this and let him decide.”
“Fine by me, officer. R & R Fencing guarantees their work and they’ll
fix it if necessary. We will abide by whatever the Code Enforcement
Then the damnedest thing happens. Officer Mason smiles at me and
puts out his hand, a very big hand, to shake; and he damn near
crushes my fingers and palm in his very very strong grip. And it was
a long 5 second handshake.
I go inside and talk to my wife about what has transpired and then
within a minute we hear the mail come to the front door, so I open
it and there, across the street, is Galumphing Man talking to Officer
The GM had driven down the block in his SUV to plead his case no
doubt. He must have been observing my five minute conversation
with Officer M.
Well, not sure what happened between the Galumphing Man and
Officer M, but it was over in 45 seconds.
So…. now we wait for the edict of the Code Enforcement Officer
(who is part time and part of the police department.)
I think Officer M will spread the story of the Galumphing Man,
Trombone B, and D, around the police department causing much
We can’t see how the city decides against us, people who live in our
town and maintain our property; and for people who live in
Redwood City and DON’T maintain their property, let alone their
mentally challenged relative.
But in the world today… who knows?
What’s important is standing up for yourself. Don’t let the bastards
push you around or get you down. Fight!