Friday, May 11, 2012

There goes the neighborhood

When I was looking for a house 4 1/2 years ago, my dream was to find a place where I could bike to work in the heart of Washington DC but still live surrounded by trees, woods, nature, and wildlife. 

I found my house. It was bounded on the back by woods and on one side by an empty lot, which was split off from my house's property and put on the market separately by my house's previous owners.

The lot next door
My house is perfect. I've lived there all these years with my eccentric nudist Swiss dude and my succession of poorly trained, impulsive, loud foster dogs of widely varying dispositions, and no one has ever said a peep. Most of my neighbors are far enough away that they're not bothered by my menagerie, and the ones who are close are for the most part mellow, friendly animal lovers.

Among my greatest joys is the sanctuary and wildness, not to mention privacy, of my backyard, where I can garden, train dogs, sunbathe, and make noise in any state of dress or undress without fear of judgement or of imposing on neighbors who may have different values and interests. 

The property next door has been on the market all these years, and no one has bought it because it is narrow, steep, has several large trees that can't be removed per Takoma Park's tree regulations, and sports a cool asking price of $240,000.


Now, some people are looking at the property. They came over to talk to me when I was in the back with Fozzie the other day, planting an azalea and some blackberries. 

In the course of the conversation I realized that Our Worst Nightmare has a possibility of being realized in the property next door. 

No, the prospective buyer did not want to build a meth lab, a crack house, a brothel, or an adult video emporium. 

It's worse, way worse. 

The woman who spoke to me, who came with her two toddlers in tow, one of whom kept sticking her hands through my fence and ran away screaming when Fozzie barked once at the intrusion, wants to build a daycare. 

Not to be mean or to give the impression that I don't love kids, but I can't imagine anything more horrifying.

Anything more destructive to the peace and sanctuary of this little pocket of wildness, than the screams of dozens of little darlings as they scamper amok through these formerly wildlife-rich woods, or the disapproving glares of Takoma Park soccer moms every time I foster a new poorly socialized fireball, or fail to stop Fozzie from barreling into the backyard after a squirrel like a raging tornado of poor impulse control, or every time Florian steps onto the back porch for a smoke clad only in his dance belt.  

The good news is that the realtor says any proposed development of a commercial property would require special permits and hearings at which neighbors would be able to testify.

And while I welcome that opportunity, I also fear that the powers that be will not look sympathetically upon a pit bull rescuer and naked Swiss guy going up against people who are of course doing it all for the children

So in the hopes of obviating the need for me to testify, I'm considering various tactics for convincing the prospective buyers that they really don't want to put a daycare on that lot. Here are a few ideas:
  • Explosives. Imagine Florian and his son Quentin's delight when I lift the restrictions on rockets, firecrackers, and small thermonuclear devices in the back yard. Wildlife might not like it in the short term, but they'll thank me when buyers beat a hasty retreat.
  • Ditch the positive training, at least when people are looking at the property. Adopt a communication style with dogs and partner that relies heavily on confrontation and loud expletives.
  • Scrap metal, and old cars, left to molder, randomly scattered on sidewalk in front of my property and one next door.
  • More nudity.
What are YOUR favorite ideas for scaring off prospective buyers?


  1. First off this stinks. I so get where you are coming from, the last time I saw people looking at the neighbor's house, I went out and called the dogs.

    "Sampson, Delilah, Buddy, COME!" "Come on, Bruno, Vinnie, Brady, Buster, Gracie, Gunner!, come on puppies come on!" :-) That and I let the dogs out and let them go bark at the fence. :-)

  2. the plot! There that's simple then!

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx


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