Ex is out of town...and his neighbors call me!

artamnesiaJuly 23, 2007

My husband and I divorced aboout ten years ago and I moved out of town. I recently moved back to his town, and bought a house a few streets from where he and I used to live (he still lives there). So far so good.

My move back to town coincided with his leaving the country for about a month and during this time, my youngest son has been going to his dad's house twice a day to tend to his animals.

A couple of weeks ago a big storm blew through town and brought down a wire outside of my ex's house and since then I've gotten dragged into a situation that just won't seem to go away. When my son first told me about the wire, I called the city police to let them know about it. The next day it was still down, so I called my ex and asked how he wanted to proceed. I called the phone company who said they would come out to take a look but since it wasn't in a public street, they might take 7 days to check it out. Meanwhile I started getting calls from his neighbors on both sides (not sure how they got my telepone number!) asking me what I was doing about it. Frankly, it's not my problem and I felt like I'd already been pretty generous with my time and energy in dealing with the problem but I let them know that Verizon was going to be coming out within the week.

After 7 days or so verizon showed up and determined that the line was actually the cable wire so one of his neighbors called the cable company and after a few days of tenacious calls, got them to come out and replace the wire to his house. That's a good neighbor and he owes her big time. Problem solved? You'd think so, but no!

Now, when my youngest goes over to his dad's house to take care of the animals he gets waylayed by the neighbor on the other side of the house and is questioned as to why he is coming over and not someone older. She's hassling him about the whole incident, claiming that the TV cable being out somehow was interfering with her 'lifeline' service (I've fallen and I can't get up), and she's taking responsibility for the resolution the issue (fine by me but not exactly accurate). She told him that he needs to have his mother give her a call. Bear in mind, she had already called me and then hung up on my husband when he declined to personally go to my ex's house and physically do something about this hanging wire.

I attempted to call her and tell her that she's not to speak to my son again (the kid is only 12), or call me with anything relating to my ex-husband's house. I looked up her number and called but I got a recording saying that her number was protected by some sort of 'ad-zap' service and to take her 'off my calling list'.

We still have a week to go before my ex returns. I've left him a couple messages but at this point I feel like an adult has to accompany my son now to do his chores at his dad's house so he doesn't come back in tears. This is nuts! Any advice?

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go with your son one day. while he is doing his business, go to her house and tell her in no uncertain terms that while you know she means well, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING THERE AND TO LEAVE YOU AND YOUR SON ALONE!!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 5:40PM
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Agree with the above poster. This is harassment and you should tell her that if she continues to speak with your son you will contact the police. This kind of thing can be very intimidating to a child, even a pre-teen. This is clearly NOT your responsibility and you should not get involved in case something else goes wrong. If you have this lady's phone number, you can have usually call the phone company to get directions on how to block calls from that number. DO not allow this woman to intimidate your son!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 6:32PM
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I would go over with your son and if anything is said tell her curtly that you are there only to care for the animals and nothing else.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 7:09PM
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Excellent suggestions. I especially like the one from cearab: she has *your* number blocked, so call the phone company and have *her* number blocked.

Also accompany your son the next time he goes over. Politely but firmly make sure the neighbors know that your son is pet-sittig for his father and that this arragement was approved by you. You have not agreed to take over and be responsible for your ex-husband's property while he is away.

Honestly, if these people can pick up the phone to call you, can they not just as easily call the phone company or the cable company themselves? It's not like you are your husband are in the business and have a truck and equipment to go around repairig wires.

I'm especially irked by the lady that claimed that it had to be fixed because it interferred with her life-line service. If her service was truley affected, then she should call the provider and they would send someone out. If it truely was a common cable that serviced more than one house, they would have fixed it. These companies always have easements that allow them to go onto property to repair their wiring and equipment, even if your ex-husband was not at home.

Be firm, but be polite. Your ex-husband has to live next to these people. Also suggest that he inform the neighbors and give them emergency contacts for when he is travelling. That would be someone besides you, unless you agree to it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 11:56AM
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Thanks for your advice and support. Last night we went with my son and talked to the neighbor while he did his chores. I tried to keep it as cordial as possible but it was difficult. She began to vent and rant almost immediately, but I did make it clear that she's not to talk to my son or contact me anymore. I tried to leave her my ex's cell phone number (which would be a local call for her) but this really incensed her. She's a senior and I think the whole concept of the cell phone was scary to her, so she lashed out. It was pretty nutty - she refused to accept his number and told me to take it out of her house. I ended up leaving it on a side table anyway. If she does decide to start dialing again maybe she'll try him instead of me.

And yes, CahpNC, my ex definitely should have had a house-sitter or at least a go-to person to handle his affairs while he was of town. A month is plenty of time for things to go wrong.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 11:38PM
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My mom has a life-alert thing & it's thru the phone lines, not the cable or satellite.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 2:17PM
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Yes gramma had one, it is through the phone lines. Unless she has VOIP phone or something, which is highly unlikely considering she is scared of cell phones... Perhaps this elderly neighbor has dementia or something. To overreact so severely is really weird... Hope your situation is improved now.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 4:37PM
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Truthfully? a 12 year old SHOULDN'T be going alone to a house that's been sitting empty. Wouldn't be the first time a place like that got robbed, or some vagrants found a way to move in--would you really want your son stumbling on that sort of thing alone? Or would your son know what to do inside if he arrived to find a pipe had burst, or a gas leak? He's too young to be expected to handle those kinds of things, however unlikely. Not to mention, no 12 year old should have to feel threatened by irrate neighbors. And what if one of the animals were sick or injured--that would be terrible for a child to have to cope with.

All things considered, I'd be going along with him, and would at least go to the door to make sure the house was safe for him to enter. And I'd definitely tell the ex to find a grown-up to handle the pets next time around.

Hope things have calmed down.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:56AM
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Geez Louise, 12 years old should be plenty mature enough to be taking care of pets, lawns, and swimming pools. I was doing so for snowbird neighbors (So-Fla), FOR CASH, at age 10-11, AND giving cranky, out-of-line retirees a major ration of lip and acid tongue to boot! Twelve is WAY too old to be "reduced to tears" by a demented old lady who is basically a stranger.

And I definitely was shown how to shut off the water, gas, and electricity to the whole house "in case of emergency"! Yep, age 10, power mower, caustic pool chemicals, big dogs, no problem, still got all my fingers. And if I knew I was in the right, and that my parents would back me up, I told out-of-line adults--of all ages--what was what! Basically, things an adolescent (i.e. adult-in-training) has to learn how to discern and handle.

Apologies in advance, but it sounds like separating your youngest son from his real father at age 2 has NOT been healthy for his development into a young MAN. Hopefully moving back within range of Dad will repair some of the damage. I pray it is so. (Triple apologies if Dad was a raving alky batterer or son is special-needs, but from what is printed here... )

You can't child-proof the world, but you can come close to world-proofing your children. Dad is a big ingredient. Best of luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: some details of The War Against Boys

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 1:22AM
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I think you might want to fight your 'man' war on a different forum - this one's about houses. So glad you were so macho at age 10 - not all kids are the same regardless of upbringing and some of us even like them to still be boys at 12, rather than toughies.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 5:42AM
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lucy, i think he is right on. kids today are never given any responsibilities and never learn to deal with anything. that is why so many 30 somethings are still at their parent's home or have just moved out. even then they cannot face the world. 12 is plenty old enough for him to tell teh old bat to kiss off.

at age 5 i was repairing cars with my grandfather at his service station. i used to pull the cars in onto the lift, raise them up and change the oil. at AGE 5. yes, he was watching me, but at the same time he was teaching me to be responsible and to pay attention to what i was doing. sadly, after he passed away my mom let me do what i wanted and tried to protect me in every way. this resulted in me growing up to be irresponsible in my early 20's. hd my grandfather not passed away, i would likely have been the person i am now more than 15 years ago.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 11:14AM
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If I had told 'the old bat' to 'kiss off' at age 12 or any other age, I would have been in huge trouble at home. That's nothing to do with responsibility, it's human decency and good manners. If you don't like what someone says to you on the street, just ignore them and keep going. If they accost you in some way, just don't react (if you're 12, they're possibly bonkers and you have to live in the neighborhood. If any child of mine talked rudely to an adult no matter what they had said, they'd be in trouble too. That's responsibility - not having the kind of big mouth and 'confidence' to use it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 2:22PM
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any "adult" that brings a child of mine to tears will be told to do more than kiss off, and i would not mind at all if my child were the one to tell them so. there is a difference in a child being a brat and saying this and a child WARNING A NUTCASE to leave them alone.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 4:28PM
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