Old Ladie

I was so nervous going to the Comission meeting last night. Mike and I dressed up a tad bit to look like upstanding young citizens and arrived 20 minutes early in case it was a "first come, first served" type situation. Turns out, we were last on the Determination of Applicability list, but still, that only meant we would be there until 7:30 when Notices of Intent started.

It was good to observe some other people plead their cases - all were approved with minor stipulations. That made me feel good. The comission was fair, nice, and reasonable. They moved efficiently from case to case. Then it was our turn.

We got up and I described the project - house lifting, fieldstone foundation is in disrepair, yada yada yada. They listened. The conservation lady, Heidi, gave her site report and agreed that the job was reasonable, only requesting we set up haybales and a silt wall. Reasonable requests that we expected. We agreed to that.

Then, this crochety older pudgy woman got up and said she had some concerns that the fill would be dumped out back and adversely effect her mother's backyard and water well. She said we cut brush in her mother's yard and continued to cut even after they told us not to - to the point where they had to pay a surveyer (which cost oh so much money) to re-mark the property. She complained about the tires and other trash in our yard.

I felt dizzy. I was going to faint. I sat down. I saw all our hard work, money, and time swirling away. I felt like crying.

When we first bought the house, Mike had accidentally trimmed in their backyard, having been mis-informed about where the property line was. He had apologized at that time - he told this to the comission members. We again apologized to the woman at the meeting and asked her why she had not come to us sooner with this concern. I offered to pay her for the surveyer. She had nothing to say to that - no apology of her own for being such a bitch.

We then explained that dirt that would not be used as fill would be taken away. A condition that we had not planned on, but that we were willing to meet considering how pissed off this lady was.

As for the tires, we explained, we inherited them with the house. They were expensive to get rid of and so that was why we hadn't done so already. The comission was surprised, Heidi remembered the tires from when they did the septic. The previous owner was supposed to have disposed of them. We were surprised at that, but we promised that since they were a concern to this stupid woman, we would dispose of them. We also said that one of our neighbors had tires too. The comission asked about how many -

At that moment, our neighbor Sal stepped forward. He and our other neighbor Dana had been sitting in the back of the room the entire time to support us. I felt ready to cry again, this time for joy and thankfulness. Sal introduced himself and explained that previous owners had built a retaining wall out of tires to hold the hill. If his tires were removed, his yard would go with it. He confirmed everything we said. I could have died, I was so happy for his support, and for Dana's.

The old ladie just sat there with her arms crossed in opposition. She was still angry, I could sense it. But what more could she say? The cutting of brush was in no way related to this job, plus it happened a year ago, plus it was way more than 200' from the wetlands and did in no way fall under the comission's duristiction.

The comission granted us permission to work. We had to put in the haybales and silt fense, get rid of the tires, and remove leftover fill once the job was completed. I was releaved, but at the same time hurt, angry, and offended by this woman who spoke so fervrently about our character and who tried so desperately to hurt us in this case.

I also felt silly for nearly passing out on what, I'm sure, the comission saw as a routine matter. It's just that we've waited so long - gone through so much, spent so much money and worked so hard and lived without conviniences just so we could afford this basement - to improve the house we have loved and worked so hard for. That woman had no idea what passion was. Only hate for such a small matter.

I rushed out of there, feeling the tears hot in my eyes. I felt silly for crying. But all this was going through my head at once, I was overwhelmed. I had wanted to give this woman a check right there and then for her surveyer fee, but at that moment I could not face her. I didn't want to appear weak and silly.

Outside Dana and Sal met us to express their congradulations, promising that we'd have a little party as soon as everything was finished. We thanked them. I felt even stupider for crying in front of them, but at least they knew how long we'd waited and how bad we wanted this.

I'm glad the hearing is over. I'm scared this woman will try to appeal - but then again, what grounds does she have to stand on? Right now I have to focus on the work at hand. Getting the concrete floor out of the mudroom, tearing down the chimney, making the disconnections, disposing of the tires. And tomorrow I'm taking Mike to the Anderson's house, where we will gladly and sweetly write them a check and kiss their feet to try and get them off our backs.

Mike tried to tell me that not everyone is going to like me, no matter what I do. Well, I'm too nice not to try. I don't like when people don't like me. I feel like there's something wrong with me and I need to apologize for my own faults. I know that's silly. But I'll worry if I don't try.


Shauna said...

You know what? In our experience, when you move to a new town, you immediately get somebody's back up. Remember that it's not your problem, it's theirs. There's always some busybeetch in the picture, probably whining because she's jealous she can't get stuff done over at her own place. Some people are resistant to change, and are twisted enough to think that throwing roadblocks up in front of someone else is going to pacify them. It won't.
I get this feeling your 'nice' neighbours already have this one's number, anyway.
Don't sweat the small stuff (or small people). Your project is going to rock right along regardless.

kitrainia said...

Thanks - I appreciate your support. You're probably right, there's at least one or two people in every place who like to make things difficult. I'm starting to feel better now that I've written everything out.