Friday, June 25, 2004

Bad Neighbors

I am so pissed off right now. I know that it's a turf thing, and I should probably let it go, but I am not happy.

We live next door to an apartment building in St. Paul. Toward the back of our lot, along the fence (on our side) with the apartment, are several young maple trees. The trunks are probably only four inches across. In the past, somebody related to this apartment building (either the property manager or the groundskeeping company) have cut branches off of these trees and thrown the branches into our yard. I think I called the property management company to complain (voicemail).

We are in the process of getting a new garage built in our backyard, right along where those maple trees are growing. When the crew was putting up the building, they had to trim some of the branches, which is understandable. It's also understandable that these people are carpenters, not landscapers, so the pruning looked pretty bad. I took the pruning saw and clippers and trimmed back the trees (the maple along the property line, as well as the big elm over the top of the garage). I went to town on those maples, cutting branches both sides of the trunk, and tidying things up nicely, if I do say so myself. We filled up the back of the truck with all of the branches for the county compost heap. It took me a good hour-and-a-half to do this on Monday afternoon, and I was under constant attack by mosquitoes.

Imagine my surprise when I went out this morning and saw that some of my maples had their tops cut off, and the branches were thrown over the fence into our yard. I was pissed off. The apartment's dumpster is literally ten feet away from these trees, but the branches were thrown over the fence into our yard. I called the property management company (got a voice mail again), and made my main points:

1. I am not happy, and this is not very neighborly.
2. We will be living next to each other for a long time, so I'd like to work this out.
3. Two things made me unhappy:
A. The trees were on my property, and they were cut without my permission.
B. The branches that were cut without my permission were thrown into my yard.
4. Please call me so we can figure this out.

That was the abridged version of what I was thinking. I thought I did a good job of being diplomatic. Here's the unabridged version:

Who did this, and in what capacity? Was it the groundskeepers, who just cut down everything green that grows? Was it the apartment manager, who thought he/she needed to show that some managing was getting done? Was it just some random tree-hating vandal?

What the hell is wrong with asking, "Hey neighbor, some of your branches are hanging over my parking lot. Do you mind cutting them down, or do you mind if I cut them down?

If you're going to cut branches off of my trees, dispose of them yourself. You did the dirty work, so don't expect me to clean up your mess. Or maybe the branches being thrown over are the equivalent of pissing on my property.

Either way, these trees that were cut were growing straight up, and on our side of the fence. When I was cutting on Monday, I make sure to take off all of the branches that went over the fence.

This could be interpreted as vandalism and dumping, if you wanted to look at it that way.


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