Monday, August 27, 2012

Hormonal Moments? Maybe, Maybe Not

Guess what?  I'm back.  Once again I have let way too much time pass since the last time I posted.  I honestly don't mean to and as of last night I made the decision to recommit to my blog.  When I started this blog last year, it was one of my favorite places to escape.  I'd put the kids to bed, grab a glass of wine, pop in my headphones, and type away.

Someone recently emailed me writing that they enjoyed reading my blog (when I actually post) and thought it great that life looked fairly stress free.  Happy moments, busy life, and interesting DIY projects seemed to take up my days not leaving a whole lot of room for drama or unhappiness.  Well, let me assure you that is not always the case and when I started this blog I made a decision to try and leave that mess off the computer screen.  My goal was to allow my family and distant friends to keep up with us if they wished.  Other military families know that sometimes once you move you lose touch.  It's not that you don't care about each other anymore, but life just takes over and we are doing all we can just to keep up.  Often times, keeping up doesn't include long distant phone conversations.  Thankfully there is Facebook but a more detailed glimpse is sometimes nice.  I also wanted to use this blog as a way to document moments that my children can one day go back and read.

Every now and then something comes along and I wonder if I should let it go or if maybe, just maybe, I should write about it.  I've thought long and hard about a Facebook issue I recently went through and I debated with myself over whether or not I should document it.  What's that you say?  Facebook drama at the age of 29? Yes.

And yes I am going to write about it because I will one day want my kids to read this post.  I do honestly feel that my children can learn something from this or at the least, understand they are not alone and that people, regardless of age, can be nasty on social networking sites.

~~~~If you prefer comments and vocabulary that are PG-13, than I would skip this post altogether.  What can I say?  I'm pregnant, hormonal, and tend to skip over niceties when my family and I are talked about negatively on Facebook.

Are you ready?  For those of you who wonder about the shitty, annoying things that happen in my life, here you go.

My husband and I originally planned to live on base when he received his orders to Tampa, FL.  I've never experienced base life and MacDill Air Force Base is really a beautiful place with their newer housing developments being the picture perfect poster of what base life should look like.  Of course crap rarely works out in a picture perfect way, and when it was time for us to move the Air Force issued some moving freeze.  No one was moving in base housing and no one was moving out.  I was forced to find a house, a good neighborhood, a decent school system, all within reasonable driving distance from the base with nothing more than the ole' trusty internet.  So I did what a lot of military people do and I turned to  You simply plug in your state, your base, and VOILA!  I found a house in Riverview, FL fitting all the requirements I listed above.  The pictures showed a pretty decent house and the property manager described it as very well kept, extremely clean, with the rear of the house and master bedroom having a view of the water. There was an extra bonus that the rent covered lawn maintenance.  My husband travels a lot and with 2 kids, 2 cats, a household to run, laundry to do, cooking to do, school, and a business to run........let me reiterate that lawn maintenance is included in the rent.

Well hot damn! I hit the jackpot! It couldn't get any better than this, right?  Right.  I mean it.  The pictures and description were the best things about the property we now call home.

We couldn't even start unpacking right away because we had to clean out all of the closets and cabinets. There were dried, crusty gobs and dust balls the size of my cats all up in there. You could even tell where the previous family kept their garbage can due to the old food that was left splattered on the walls and the floor. I'm gagging as I rehash the memory.

However, trying to keep with a glass half full mentality, I told myself the cleaning would be worth it especially if I opened the blinds for a view of the sunshine and water. The kids and I had gotten into town the previous night and hadn't seen the view yet. Imagine my surprise when I opened the blinds to this view.


A drainage pond. Absolutely stunning I tell you. The hits didn't stop there. The walls throughout the house were so filthy that the property manager had to hire someone to come and clean them. It took the poor woman over 5 1/2 hours and I know she was only paid $70.

My husband walked outside one day to an HOA person taking pictures of our property. It truly is creepy when people take pictures of where you live without giving an explanation. Maybe I watch too much Lifetime or maybe I'm a little more cautious now that I have children of my own. The HOA man told my husband the sod needed to be replaced and the owner had 30 days to do so. After 30 days, the HOA would charge the property owner $100/day until the problem was rectified. Of course we immediately contacted the property manager to tell her and she said someone would be out soon to lay new sod. Thankfully it was the previous tenant who killed the grass and the cost would not come out of our pocket.

The lawn guys came out, who are the sons of the property manager, laid the sod and left. They left their wheel barrows in the backyard, they left large piles of dirt in the road, they left pieces of sod overlapping onto the driveway and they left extra pieces of sod on the sidewalk. It took 3 weeks of me calling and emailing on a daily basis for the guys to come back out and clean up their mess. After clean up, they set the timer on the sprinklers.

Our first water bill after the sod was laid was $480. I am not joking, I am not laughing. We had to pay out of pocket and were then credited $380 towards our next month's rent. But still! We are a budget conscience family and pulling that kind of money at the last minute without touching savings is a bitch. Supposedly the lawn guys came back out and readjusted the timer on the sprinklers.

Our next month's water bill

Again, yes again, I contacted the property manager to let her know. She said she would send the lawn guys, her family members, back out to the house to check for leaks and would investigate with Hillsborough County Water about the excessive bill. 2 days before our bill was due I still had not heard anything from the property manager (PM from here on out). I called the water company, gave them the number of sprinkler zones, the number of times they ran a day and for how long they ran. The water company calculated the water usage at 148,000 gallons of water for the month. The water bill was correct. Funny how it only took me 10 minutes to investigate yet it was taking the PM over 3 weeks. 3 days after our bill was due, the PM cut us a check for everything but $100. Not exactly fair considering I had to pay a bill late.

 Things have calmed down a bit but we still have our fair share of problems living in this house. Let me give you a quick rundown of the rest.

 #1. The baseboards and doors are disgusting. They are stained from years of neglect and can only be salvaged with a new coat of paint. I am currently using my own money and time to fix this.  Thankfully I love to paint.

 #2. The grout in this house used to be an off white but is now black in most places. I have tried every cleaner out there and nothing works. No matter how many times I clean the floor, black grout just looks and feels dirty. I have used my own money and time and have slowly been repainting the grout. So far I have completed the laundry room, master bathroom, and the guest bathroom.

 #3. The house is painted with the cheap builder's grade paint that comes off anytime I wipe a wall. Not to mention the bathrooms are powder blue and lavender. I seriously get scared every time I turn the light on. I recently received permission to paint and can't wait to get started. Expenses will be out of my pocket but I'm OK with that. Being that this is our home for the next few years, I would like it to look as nice as possible even if that means footing some of the cost.

 #4. Lawn maintenance. What? Shouldn't that be included in the rent? Yes, but the people never show up. The grass, which is living and growing according to HOA standards, is often knee high. The tree branches hang so low that they're dropping ants onto our cars. It's frustrating, but I refuse to cut the grass or trees. Our hard earned money pays for this service and I would rather have the owner receive complaints from the HOA than do it myself. Remember, this isn't a service we found, it was provided to us by the PM. It was one of the biggest selling points when it came to this property.

Now let me explain the crappy ass way in which this rental property played a part in some even more crappy ass Facebook behavior performed by our almost 50 year old neighbors.  Let me also add, that we used to get along with these people and that they were aware of all the issues we were having with the PM.  She, the neighbor, even tried to help me out by sending the property owner an email about all of these problems.

A couple of weeks ago the grass was once again about mid calf length.  I had been calling and complaining to the PM but I kept getting the same response.  "You're next on the list.  The guys should be there sometime this week".  The only thing to do was wait.  Late one evening, I settled down with my ginger tea to go through my email.  I stumbled across an email notification of an updated status and it was from my neighbor across the street.

"trash goes in trash cans, lawn mowers are for cutting grass, hedge trimmers are for trimming hedges.  what is wrong with people today. I was talking to another neighbor about it also"

I can't say who the trash was for but it could have been anyone.  It was trash day and some houses have to put bags beside their full trash bins.  The lawn statement however was about my family.  I seriously started seeing red.  Some may say that it's the pregnancy hormones and I do believe they played a part but it's also more than that.  I very much believe in the art of speaking one on one, face to face.  I feel even more strongly about speaking face to face when it's about a situation/issue/problem that needs to be resolved.  Tone, emotion, and feeling get lost in the world of html and things like "......." can be open to all sorts of interpretation.  I often read ...... after a word as sarcasm where as many others view it as contemplating your next thought or as your statement being so profound that it needs no completion.

To further discuss my family with others without speaking to me or my husband is disrespectful, rude, and not necessary.  We keep to ourselves but would gladly answer any questions and hand over any PM contact information if someone asked for it.

I was angry but I went to bed hoping that a good night's rest would ease my anger.  It usually does especially when it's fired by irrational, raging hormones.  However, the next morning I was still a little upset.  I just kept thinking about this neighbor who not only discussed my family with others but also felt the need to post about us on a social networking site.  So I made the decision to do what I do best.  A younger generation might call me crazy because I don't feel the need to hunker behind a firewall but a more mature generation might call me old fashioned.

I decided to walk across the cul de sac and ask if there was anything we needed to discuss.

 It has nothing to do with being confrontational or rude; it's just how I roll.  I prefer to be in a social setting where vocal tones, inflections, and facial expressions can be up front and clear.  This is something I took away as a former teacher.  I hated email/phone conferences and preferred to meet one on one. It removes any guesswork and most misinterpretations leaving you with a better understanding, possible solution, and maybe a better rapport to with whom you are speaking.

*Names have been changed*

I walked over to the neighbor's and *Tim was in the garage so I asked if we could talk.  He said sure and I told him I had a question about his wife's post on Facebook.  I told him that I saw she was bashing the neighbors about their trash, lawn, and hedges and that I wanted to make sure the lawn comment wasn't about us.  That's when I saw it. The brief, downward shifting of the eyes as he said, "Oh no! Those comments weren't about you.  They were about someone else!"  I let the comment fall into silence as we both looked out into the cul de sac and at the mostly well manicured lawns.......except for mine which was a hot freaking mess.  My reply, "Are you sure?  I'd be more than happy to give you the phone number to our PM.  You could even complain to the HOA,  maybe that would help our PM get on the ball.  She doesn't listen to us.  I'm only asking that you and your wife please don't discuss me and family with other neighbors or on Facebook.  We don't discuss you and your business so please don't talk about us.  It's tacky."

I know, I know, I could have left out the last phrase but my blood was starting to boil after catching him in a lie. He's your burly, working on cars, cutting the grass, tinker in the garage kinda man so I was surprised by his next statement. "Ummmm, do you want to go get my wife?"

Really.  I've dealt with this type of guy before and they are not my cup of tea.  Ladies with strong, independent personalities, you know the type I'm talking about.  The ones whose testicles have yet to descend.  Can't stand them, they are the worst.  I really want to think that his quick exit was due to my bad ass, gangsta-ness oozing from my pores.  I mean, I can see how he could easily mistake the map coordinates on my wrist as being the locale of my previous jail cell but somehow, my blonde hair, oversized white sunglasses, purple dress, and blossoming preggo belly have me believing otherwise.

He simply hadn't grown a pair yet.

That and it was obvious he wasn't used to someone stepping from behind the privacy setting, from behind the computer, from behind the walls of their house and calling him and his wife out on their frequent teenage like behavior.

He disappeared inside and *Malificent, his wife, walked out.  She was chugging a Monster energy drink and looking everywhere but at me.   I asked her the same question, she said no and then quickly turned the subject to how over grown another neighbor's back yard had become.  Here's the creepy thing.  You can't see their backyard from the street and she wasn't exactly friends with them.  She then switched topics and started talking about another neighbor's financial problems which was none of my business.  I stopped her, told her that my family and I had somewhere to be and to please in the future refrain from discussing me and my family.  I walked home and thought everything was over.

Instead of voicing his concern to me while I was standing in his driveway, 40 something year old Tim walked inside, sat down at his computer.......and yes, he Facebooked.

Had a great weekend. Spent time with good friends, Malificent and I had our pictures taken today and started my school work. One thing that pissed me off was a neighbor thinking Malificent was talking about her yard on FB. What do I say to that, "get over it and stop making excuses for yourself". 

To which, Malificent posted,

"My husband has such a great way with words! I love you!"

Most people at this point would say get over it.  It's only Facebook, don't take it so seriously, and let it go.

In the past I probably would have let it go but now that I am a mother I tend to view things differently.  As a former teacher, I tend to view things differently.  Face to face interaction is a dying art and along with it the etiquette we use to conduct ourselves appropriately.  In person, we usually think before we speak but because it's Facebook or Twitter there's apparently no need and I am F.E.D up with it. As a teacher I was taught that if the way in which I communicate with my students isn't working than I should try something else.  Well, I tried one on one but this couple apparently only communicates via social networking sites.

So that's what I would do too.

The younger me would have jumped right into typing, fingers trying to keep up unsuccessfully with my flow of thoughts.  I would have slammed the "enter" key without proof reading and deep down would have yelled, "Ha! Take that!"

Oh but not the older me.  At the ripe old age of 29 I've grown a little more calculated when going up against assholes such as these.  I opened up Microsoft Word, typed my thoughts, completed a spell/grammar check, saved my work, and waited.  I waited to see if my anger would subside, to see if some little voice inside my head would tell me not to post my comment on Facebook.  Neither one happened so instead I waited until 12am, until I knew she would be asleep and that my comment would rest comfortable on her Facebook wall without being immediately deleted.  I should also add that I posted my comment in sections were multiple people had posted so that they too would get an email notification showing my comment.  Here it is:

I usually try to be a better person but have had it with you two. You have no job, nothing better to do except sit in your driveway, in a lawn chair, for 4 hours a day, and stare down the street waiting for something to complain about. You do nothing but talk shit about Jackie (our neighbor) and how you don't like her because "she is just f*n weird". You call the cops so that they sit at the end of the street and try to catch our neighbor speeding instead of walking over and discussing it with him. You walk underneath people's trees to make sure they are at regulation height on a weekly basis. You walk slowly around people's property and check to make sure their tags on their cars have not expired. You actually have to get super close to people's cars to see the dates which is a little creepy in my opinion. When I asked why you turned someone in for expired tags, you stated that "you just don't like them." You have gossiped to everyone that will listen about Nicole (who is just a teenager) and her family's financial issues which I'm sure her mom told to you in confidence, and you recently just bitched about how the new neighbors didn’t introduce themselves. Yeah, technically we should be introducing ourselves to them but whatev. You also started talking shit about how some guy named Scott didn’t keep up with the yard before he moved and now the new neighbors have to move into a mess. These are the actions and gossiping of a downright nasty, hateful, full-of-time-to-waste type of person. Your husband is now also talking about me and my family on Facebook and we have done not a damn thing to you but walk over and make sure that a post of yours was not about my family. True adults and neighbors talk in person (which is what I tried to do) not bash each other on Facebook. I tried but now I know that I'm not exactly dealing with your typical, mature, late in their 40s couple. Your husband states that I make excuses for myself? Once again gossiping about my family on Facebook….. When the neighbor behind you called the HOA on your dogs recently, you had nothing but excuses for yourselves over and over again. I truly feel bad for people like you. Your gossiping and vindictive attitude towards everyone on this street shows just how lacking your life is in fulfillment and true happiness. And yes we all saw you walking down the street with your camera snapping pictures for the HOA this morning. Pretty lousy that you two CHOSE to start your SUREXCITATION SUNDAY with an activity like that. This post is pretty disgusting behavior, I'll be the first to admit, but child's play when I reread all the shit that YOU do on a DAILY basis. Very much a long shot but please stop talking about me and my family on Facebook.

Posting this was finally enough for me.  I said what I had to and in the only form of communication this couple understands.  The incident happened back in May and I still feel no regrets regarding my actions.  Everything I wrote was the truth.  Her everyday actions as a human being are more damning to her character than any lie I could ever put the effort into making up.

So why am I sharing this with you?  Well, it's more for my kids really.  One day Matthew, Nicholas, and unborn baby #3 will come up to me and ask if they can have a Facebook page and like the rest of us they will one day experience the nastiness of social networking behavior.  I can even see how the conversation will play itself out.  I'll use Matthew, my oldest, as the example.  My middle child, Nicholas, will probably be the one starting the nasty behavior which is going to be a whole different "thang".

Matthew:  (sigh)
Me:  Sweetheart, what's wrong.
Matthew: You wouldn't understand, mom.
Me: Try me.
Matthew: I'm telling you, you wouldn't understand. It has to do with stupid Facebook.
Me: Why, what's going on?
Matthew: Some people are saying stupid things about me on Facebook and it sucks.
Me: Oh. Honey, I understand and it's an awful thing for people to do.
Matthew: (Insert sarcastic tone here) Right.....You probably didn't even have Facebook when you were my age.
Me:  You're right I didn't but people don't have to be in high school to be nasty on Facebook.
Matthew:  What do you mean?
Me:  Want to read about some people who were half of 100 doing the same thing?
Matthew:  I guess.........What were they trash talking about?
Me:  Mowed grass, honey.  Mowed grass......



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