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  • What I always do

  •   I always say this, but this week really was a whirlwind. From day one it has been non-stop, and I won't lie, anxiety starts to creep in whenever I feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, God is with me every step of the way, calming my heart as He guides me and answers my prayers.

    Let's start with last Sunday, February 21. We set out for Orlando because it was close to both my son and daughter-in-law, and not too far from where we were going to look at houses. We left home at 1:00 pm and arrived at our hotel at around 4:30 pm. We were pretty tired at that point, since we'd gotten up early and driven straight up, so we just stayed in the hotel. I'd made pizza for lunch and brought whatever was left over so we had that for dinner, then went to bed early because we were going to see the first house at 9:30 am. At around 4:00 am my Ring doorbell app went off. As I suspected, my neighbor had called in a noise complaint. This is the third time he calls the police complaining about noise whenever there's no one in the house, and I've figured out why he does it. We haven't slept in our house since January 26. We come to the house during the day, then leave around 10:00 pm and sleep at my daughter's house. He can hear the garage door open and close because my garage is attached to and directly in front of his unit. Whenever he doesn't hear the garage door open and close, he assumes it's because I'm still at home, so to annoy me he calls in a false report to the police. Little does he know that I turn around and call the police, letting them know that no one is home. Rather than hurting me, he ends up hurting himself because it cements the fact that he's lying just to be spiteful. I let the police know that we wouldn't be home till Wednesday so they could keep an eye out.

    We were out bright and early Monday morning since my daughter-in-law was joining us for the day. I was so happy she agreed to come; we had some fun and good bonding moments. Day one we were in Lake County, a beautiful area of Central Florida where the town of Mount Dora is located. Most of the state of Florida is flatland, but Mount Dora is famous for having lots of hills (the Mount in the name is a bit of an exaggeration, LOL). I could just drive through there everyday to see all the natural beauty. We saw five homes, but the first one was the one that stole my heart. It was perfectly situated, not too big but not small, on a nice piece of land with a firepit in the back, very well maintained and nicely decorated. After seeing all the houses I decided to act fast and put an offer on this house. Sadly, I wasn't fast enough. The owner, who was also the realtor, really wanted to accept my offer, but she'd already countered an early offer and they accepted. I was so heartbroken! But then I remembered that God is the one choosing my house, not me. If this wasn't the one for us, I'd wait until He pointed me in the right direction.

    And He did just that. The next day we were in Volusia County and we saw six different houses. Some were definite no's, some were maybe's, but one stood out from the crowd. Both my son E and my daughter-in-law raved over and over about the house, and while I still liked the one we lost more, I had to admit this house was not only super cute but fit our needs entirely. It was built in 2014 so it's very new, yet the neighborhood is established. That was something I had to consider whenever we looked at new construction; brand new homes have all the bells and whistles, but you can't find out anything about the neighborhood, and after my experience here I don't want to take any chances. This house is about 1500 square feet, slightly smaller than where we live now but laid out so well that the rooms are actually bigger. There's no formal dining or living room which is fine with me; we had both in our old house and they rarely got used. With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a two car garage with plenty of storage, and a quarter of an acre of land (to keep the neighbors close but not too close), it was all we needed and then some. The only issue I had was the smell. The owners have two very large Great Danes plus a cat, and the house smells of animals. Like, kitty litter. Whenever I mentioned it to my realtor, she said we could ask them to do a professional cleaning of the house, especially the floors since they're all tile and the grout looked pretty dirty. I decided to go ahead with an offer and see if they'd accept my terms. 

    There was one bigger issue, though. The owners of this house are having a house built. They have 3 small children along with all the pets, and they are bursting at the seams. Their new house is set to be completed by the second or third week of April. This would mean us staying with my daughter for over a month. So we negotiated terms and dates. I gave them two options: we could drop the price by $1,000 and they would have to be out of the house no later than April 23, or we could close on the 23rd and then do a lease back whereas they pay me $100/day for every day they stay in the house after the 23rd, and they have to be out no later than May 1. They decided to go with both. The price was dropped, they agreed to pay if they have to stay, and Thursday afternoon the contract was signed. Y'all, we are buying a house in Central Florida that is actually cheaper than what I paid for the condo where I'm living now! This is definitely God working His miracles as only He can! I'm so thankful for His provision!

    We came back home Wednesday afternoon, and we've been packing ever since. The church graciously provided over 20 boxes for us to use which was an immense blessing.


    These have already been filled up and I still need more, so I ordered some off of Amazon. So far I've boxed up all my home decor so the house looks bare. Next I'll be packing up the kitchen and bathrooms. Then next week the pods arrive. I've asked for help from the church to load up the pods as well. This church has some of the most generous and giving people on the planet, and I'm so thankful for each and every one of them. 

    The tile removal began on Friday. After letting the association know that my lawyer would be only to happy to sue, the board voted to pay for the removal. That was a huge relief; I didn't want the tiles taken out, so of course I didn't want to pay to have it done. I was sure any damage to the man downstairs was not because of my tiles but they were insistent. So the tiles are gone, and over half of the grout and mortar is gone too. This is what it looks like.





    Absolutely nowhere is there any sign of water damage, cracks, or anywhere that water could have leaked to the unit downstairs. I'm positive that any water coming into his house is from his kitchen bay window and not my balcony or my tiles, but there's nothing I can do at this point. The tiles are gone. They'll be coming back to finish the work this week and I'll be one step closer to leaving.

    Having to do all this moving work is stressful, not to mention tiring. It's also bittersweet; I really do like this house, the community, the city...it's just the one neighbor that has ruined it so bad that I can't stay here anymore. But I know that God has a plan, and this was just a stepping stone on my way to wherever it is that He's prepared for me (Jeremiah 29:11). The countdown has begun!

    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2021

    Another Update

     I'm currently in Central Florida getting ready to look at homes. But let's go back some.

    After the mold inspection report I prayed for us to hear quickly one way or another. Within a couple of days the answer came: they found some mold, but not black mold. Here in Florida it's not unusual to find mold, what with the high humidity we have, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. However, the buyer didn't walk away from the sale. Instead, he asked for a price decrease. Considering he'd offered above asking price, what he was offering was what I expected to house to sell for. I decided to accept, but my realtor went the extra mile. She told the buyer this would be the final price, regardless of what the appraisal came in for. He accepted. I praise God because things are moving along, not because of me but because of Him. 

    My daughter and son-in-law went to Disney World for the Valentine's Day weekend, and my son E and I stayed at her house dog-sitting. The neighbor called in noise complaints that weekend. Twice. I called the precinct at 4:00 in the morning because I saw on my Ring video when the police officer came by my door. I asked why an officer was there, and when the dispatcher told me about the noise complaint, I told her no one was home. She had the officer call me at that hour so I could explain that we were away for the weekend. He made a note of it but that was it. That week he was blasting his television again, and I called the police yet again. He was given a citation, and the officer almost begged me to press charges. Instead I asked the officer to give him a warning. A final warning. If it happens again, I will have no other choice but to file charges for harassment. It's not what I want to do, but it will be what I have to do. 

    At times I've wondered if this is the right course of action. Selling after just a year and a half, packing up my life and getting ready for another move...but whenever the harassment continues and intensifies, when he accuses me and calls the police when I'm not even home, I know it's the only option.

    So here I am, for the next three days, fixing to see houses and praying that God will lead me to the one He has for us. He's brought me this far. I trust He will do what only He can do. 

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2021

    House Update

    Good morning y'all! So much has been going on I didn't realize I hadn't posted any of it. Let me try and backtrack so I can remember everything from the past couple of weeks.

    Inspection was done quickly. Contract was signed on Friday January 29 and the inspection was the following Tuesday. The inspector took about two hours. The report was ready by Friday, and most of the things on the report were minor. The only troubling issue was the possibility of mold. Now, it's not uncommon to find some amounts of mold in older homes here in Florida, due to the heat and humidity. But it still made me weary. My realtor had already explained to me that, more than likely, the appraisal wouldn't be coming in at the higher price the buyer offered. He'd offered a higher price to secure that no one else would get the house, then he would find ways to negotiate it down. We both felt that's what he was doing with now. 

    He ordered a mold inspection report, stating that his mother had mold in her house and it had turned into a major problem that he wanted to avoid. This inspection was done on Tuesday February 9. We got the results yesterday. Yes, there's small amounts of mold, but not black mold which would be a real problem. He said he also found some water damage though no current leaks. So it wasn't the best news, but it wasn't the worst either.

    At the same time this was going on, I was going back and forth with the association. There are tiles on my balcony that, according to the association, are not allowed and are causing leaks in the unit downstairs, where my harassing neighbor lives. They want me to have them removed at my expense. I told them if they need to remove them they can but at their own expense. I've read and reviewed the bylaws and nowhere does it state that tiles are not allowed on balconies. Whenever I bought my home the tiles were already there; the previous owner put them in. It got pretty ugly on Monday when the association emailed me stating that would I please let them take out the tiles, so as to appease the neighbor. I was so angry I could scream! They have ignored my complaints but now want me to have work done to "appease" my abuser?! I felt disrespected and insulted, and I let them know it. Then they told me if I didn't do it the new buyer would have to. Now I also felt threatened and let them know that too!

    I spoke to my realtor about it, and she said she would handle it. We agreed to offer the buyer a credit towards doing whatever he wanted to do on the balcony in the future, but that the tiles would have to come out to do repairs in the neighbor's home. This was the day before the mold report came in. So the buyer, using this to his advantage, asked for a pretty big price reduction, that at first had me sick to my stomach. But as I sat down and looked at the numbers, I realized that his new offer was within the parameters that we'd hoped to sell the home for anyway. It's probably what the house will appraise for, so I'm not out any money. My realtor and I agreed that we would accept his counter-offer on the condition that this price would hold firm regardless of what the appraisal comes in at. In other words, if the appraisal comes in $1000 less than his offer, he can't ask for a price adjustment, and likewise if it come in higher I can't ask for more money. I feel like this is fair and I'm hoping he will accept.

    If you read my last post you know about the stalking and harassment I've been enduring from my neighbor. Just yesterday I spoke to the officer in charge of my case. I was happy to hear that the neighbor had indeed been served the noise violation though, as I told him, the noise hasn't fully stopped. It's not as loud or as frequent but he still plays his music and tv loud enough for me to hear. The only difference is that I'm not always there to hear it. I told him that since the day of the last episode I no longer sleep in my home. He sounded sad to hear it but I also told him my home is under contract and I plan to leave the area. He wanted to know if he should close the case but I said no. Until everything is complete I want to keep open the option to file charges against him; if for any reason my home doesn't sell, I don't want to continue sleeping in my daughter's house. I hope it doesn't come to that but if it's necessary I will do whatever I have to in order to keep myself and my son safe.

    We haven't gone to Central Florida yet. My son E is finishing up an economics class this coming week, and if the buyer accepts our terms on the house sale then God willing we will be heading up next weekend. This weekend we're staying at my daughter's house. She and her husband are spending the long weekend at Disney World and we get to dog sit for her in her house. It's like our own little vacation!  The appraisal is scheduled for Wednesday morning; once that's done, I can begin packing in earnest. I've already reserved the pod containers so I have to be ready when the day comes, which will be in less than a month. 

    All this has caused lots of anxiety. Between the harassment, stalking, selling, prepping, inspections...it all takes a toll. I've lost 15 pounds in the last 6 months without even trying. I'm praying that the Lord would give me peace help me to stay strong. I know He is in control and that I'm not alone in this. I will trust in my God, for He holds the future in His hands.

     

    MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2021

    The Week In Review

    It's February 1st and I'm still trying to recuperate from last week. Hold on tight. It's a doozy.

    Monday January 25 my realtor came over and took pictures of the house. We had a nice visit; she hadn't been back to the house in a year. I became a bit sad as she was complimenting everything I'd done to the house. I've decorated and made my house a cozy home and it seemed unfair that I should have to leave it through no fault of my own. I actually started to question if this was the right decision.

    Tuesday morning my neighbor got up at 6:00 am and turned on the news. It wasn't extremely loud, just loud enough that I knew it was on. Suddenly, at 7:04 am, he turned the volume up full blast. I could hear CBS News blasting in my bedroom, hallway, kitchen, all the way into my living room. Then I heard his garage door. I was livid. I immediately called the police and reported what was going on. I got dressed quickly, then when I walked out into the living room I heard music. Not only was the tv on full blast but he also left his stereo on with a rap song on repeat. The song he was playing was absolutely vile; there were F-bombs being thrown left and right, and as my son said that wasn't even the worst of it. I went to his next door neighbor and asked her if she could hear the noise, and she confirmed that it could be heard in her house as well. I was so angry I was shaking.

    The police officer arrived about 30 minutes later. He couldn't believe the music was coming from the neighbor's house downstairs. He acknowledged that the music and television were beyond loud. I then showed him the Facebook message he sent me where he threatened to report me to child protective services because I was abusing my autistic son. E was standing behind him, and the officer asked him his name. Whenever the officer asked if he was autistic, it was noticeable by my son's face that it upset him. He quickly answered, "No sir, I am not." The police officer looked perplexed and went to his patrol car to look up the history on this gentleman. Next thing I knew there were two more patrol cars and police were in my home listening to all the noise and asking questions about the harassment that has been going on since I moved here.

    After two hours the police told me they wanted to go to the school where my neighbor works and serve him with a noise violation, but the principal of the school refused to have them do this while children were present. They explained that all they could do was give him a citation (which is $35) unless I wanted to file charges for stalking. At this point I was in tears. I was so upset and confused. I told them I'd speak to my lawyer and see what he recommended. 

    I could tell the officers wanted me to file charges; one of them said if I did he'd arrest my neighbor immediately and most likely he'd be suspended from his job. Sounds like the best scenario, right?  Not according to my attorney. What he explained to me is this: first off, there have been 44 complaints between my neighbor and myself in the last five months - 26 of those from me - and yet only now were they ready to issue the first citation. This citation could make the neighbor leave me alone, but more than likely it would make him mad. He's already shown himself to be vindictive and evil, so there's no telling what he might do if he is arrested and loses his job. He also explained that it was not likely that the judge would issue a restraining order since this neighbor can't be kicked out of his home. There would be an order for him to stay away from me, but would he abide by it? There's already an order for him to stay off my property, but it hasn't stopped him from harassing and stalking me. My attorney's advise was simple: Get out. Use the money I would have spent on court fees and get a nice air BNB and stay away. I've spent that night and every night since at my daughter's house.

     Here's what really convinced me that I need to leave this place. The officers told me they would wait for my neighbor in the school parking lot and serve him the citation there. At 2:30 pm I see three patrol cars in front of my house; clearly they hadn't gone to the school. They waited about a half hour and he didn't show up. About 5 - 10 minutes later, I was in my son's room talking to him when I glanced out the window and saw my neighbor walking into his house. His car wasn't there. I ran and called the police to report that he'd finally come home on foot, either leaving his car somewhere or after having been dropped off. We could hear him slamming doors left and right in his house. Before the police could arrive, he left and walked away. I'm sure he parked his car in another area of the community in a guest spot. He has cameras all around his house, so he probably sat in his car waiting for the police to leave so he could come back. He left with a messenger bag and didn't turn any of the noise off. 

    Wednesday E and I came back to the house and I realized he was home. At 12:30 he started playing music, though not so loud as he'd done before. I imagine he didn't go to work because he feared the police were gonna look for him there. I called the police and let them know he was home and playing music so they could add it to the existing police report. Did they come to serve him with the citation? No. To this day I don't know if they've been able to make contact with him. I feel let down because the abuse has been going on for so long and everyone knows about it but he continues to get away with it. Anyway, I began packing things like decor that I don't use on a regular basis, when my realtor called to let me know she had a couple of showings already scheduled. The listing had gone live late Tuesday night so to have showings that fast got my hopes up. Both were scheduled for the next day.

    Thursday afternoon my realtor called again. She was coming over earlier because now she had three showings. She lives about 45 minutes away from me so she tried to get all the showings back to back; this, she says, also helps get people who are interested to move quickly. I got the house ready and left her here to do her work. Thanks to my Ring video doorbell I could see the people who were coming to view the house, and I prayed God would send a man to buy my house. I don't want to sell to a woman; I don't wish this harassment and abuse on anyone. The last gentleman who came seemed very interested. After his realtor left he asked if he could take another look at the house. He asked my realtor not to show the house to anyone else because he was very interested. She told him she doesn't work like that; until she has something in writing she is obligated to continue to show the house. We both believed he was the most likely candidate to put in an offer.

    Friday at 8:30 am I got the call from my realtor. Just by the sound of her voice I knew it was good, but I didn't know how good. I got an offer above asking price! That was totally unexpected! I see God's hand all over this. Everything I asked for He did, then went above and beyond to show me that nothing is impossible for Him. I signed the paperwork Friday night. We are now officially under contract.

    The buyer has seven days to do the inspection so I'm anticipating that will be done this week. In the next couple of weeks I'm gonna have to head up to Central Florida to start looking at homes as well. Part of me is excited but another part of me is getting anxious about the whirlwind that is coming. Homes in Central Florida are being snatched up quick. As a cash buyer I have an advantage, but my cash is limited and homes start to get more expensive as sellers see more movement. I have faith that God will open the right doors for me and I trust in His timing. My problem is that I like to take things slow and think things through; I may not have a lot of time to do that. But we shall see. As the song says, 

    "I've seen You move, 

    You move the mountains, 

    and I believe I'll see You do it again." 

    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2021

    A Difficult Decision

    I haven't been posting as I'd promised myself I would because the last couple of weeks have been an absolute nightmare. It's also been a time of prayer and seeking the Lord's will. 

    I don't want to go into a long detailed explanation now; there's too much that needs to get done right now and I don't have the time for lengthy posts. Suffice it to say that the harassment has intensified. I've turned to my attorney for advise. He told me I have 3 options: 1 - I can file charges of stalking and harassment and have this neighbor arrested (this is the route the police want me to take); 2 - I can sue the neighbor and the HOA for intentional infliction of emotional distress and failure to enforce the association rules (making me the hero); or 3 - sell my home and get out ASAP. After discussing this with my attorney, my best friend, and my children, I've made the difficult decision to go with option 3. 

    I've tried through every possible means to resolve this problem amicably but my neighbor only gets worse. My attorney explained that with options 1 & 2, I would probably win a court case, a court order would be issued, but there's no guarantee he would abide by it. If anything, his behavior shows he wouldn't, and I would be in court every month trying to force him to obey the court order. I don't have the desire to go through all that, nor do my children want it for me. 

    I have prayed and prayed asking the Lord for guidance and clarity. He has shut every door, so that the only clear option is selling and leaving. It's not what I expected nor wanted; I've made this a comfortable and pleasant home for my son and me. But God has other plans. 

    My home is now on the market, and it looks like the Lord is going to grant me what I've wanted for many years. I have a realtor looking for a home for us in Central Florida. I've wanted to move back to Central Florida for years, decades really. If that is the door God is opening, then I will obey and be thankful.

    That's it for now. I'm off to start packing. I'll try to post but life is on the fast track right now. Prayers appreciated.

    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2021

    Kitchen and Dining Room Makeovers

    Recently I posted about a change that I'd made in my dining room. Prior to Christmas, I had a media cabinet in the dining room serving as a buffet, except it's filled with DVD's and CD's. It looked like this:


     However, after Christmas I moved the baker's rack from the kitchen and put it in the dining room.


    I fitted it with my fancy dishes and some serving pieces, and I love the way it looks - plus, it makes more sense to have this in the dining room instead of a media cabinet. But you might be wondering why I took it out of the kitchen in the first place. The answer is this:


    What is this mess you ask? Why, it's a project! Actually, it's my Christmas gift from my daughter and son-in-law. They gave me a kitchen island! I'd told my daughter months before that I wanted a kitchen island because my kitchen, while comfortable and very pretty, doesn't have a whole lot of counter space. In my old house I had a peninsula that was about 8 or 9 feet long, so I had tons of food prep space. This kitchen is much smaller, with less counter space, so prepping food was a bit more challenging. I'd looked at some kitchen islands on Amazon and was considering building one from premade cabinets from Lowe's, when my wonderful daughter gave me this one. I couldn't wait to put it together! No really, I love putting furniture together and building stuff. I'm weird like that.


    I was surprised at how easy this island was to put together. If you're interested, this is the Home Styles Liberty Kitchen Cart with Wood Top from Amazon. It's available in black or white; mine, as you can see, is white. It's pretty solid and well made.


    I meant to take more pictures putting it together, but once I get in the zone I forget about those things. It didn't take me very long to assemble; not counting pauses to eat or take care of other things, it probably took me 1 - 1 1/2 hours. I only had my son help me twice - once to turn it over, and then again whenever I put the top on because it was too heavy for me alone. Otherwise it was really easy and the instructions were clear.


    I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of storage space in this cabinet. I'm especially glad that it has three drawers, since my kitchen only has two drawers. That, in my opinion, was a design flaw by the previous owner whenever she remodeled the kitchen. Two small drawers in a kitchen aren't enough storage for silverware and cooking utensils, let alone anything else that could go in a kitchen drawer. This island gives me plenty of space so that I have things close at hand whenever I'm cooking.

    Of course, what I mostly wanted this island for was counter space, and this one didn't disappoint.


    On the back of the island is a flap of wood. It can be kept down this was to save space. Then, whenever I need more counter space,


    it can be extended out! It almost doubles the counter space, which is wonderful!

    I put it in the kitchen right after Christmas but before I'd taken down all the Christmas decor. It was a bit tight and too cluttered for me, which is why I took down my Christmas decor a little earlier than usual.


    Before I put the baker's rack in the dining room I moved whatever I could into the island to see how it would fit. 


    I got so much stuff in there without having it crowded. I've moved some things out and put other things inside since this picture was taken, based on my needs, but it still fits everything comfortably. Once I moved the baker's rack to the dining room, I decided on what I wanted to do next.


    Originally I'd intended to put up floating shelves above the island for storage, but once I realized how well everything fit in the island I decided against it. I didn't want to put up shelves just to put random items up that had no use, other than to collect dust. Instead, I shopped my house for decor for this area.


    I got this Gather sign from Kirkland's years ago on clearance. I had it over the bookshelf in the office, but I decided it would look better here. I also put the clock that was here previously just above it, and I really like the way it looks.

    And, in case anyone's wondering, the media cabinet found its way into my bedroom.


    I don't have a tv in my bedroom, nor do I want one, but I like how this fills in this spot. I love this media cabinet and didn't want to get rid of it, so I knew I would find a place for it. 

    So I guess it's really three rooms that got a mini makeover! Just wait, there's more to come. 

    TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2021

    The Week In Review

    The past week has been a such whirlwind that my head is still spinning. Let's get right into it.

    January 3 began with a police visit at 2:00 am. I was sound asleep whenever the doorbell rang, and the officer asked if everything was okay because they'd received "multiple" calls about fighting. The only people in the house are me and my son E, and we don't fight with each other in our sleep. I told him that there weren't "multiple" people complaining, just one person complaining over and over. The officer said he knew the history and left it at that, but my sleep was disturbed the rest of the night. I was not happy.

    Imagine then my surprise when the police came to my door yet again, this time at 12:15 in the afternoon with the strangest request. My neighbor called them and asked if they would do a mediation, because he didn't want any more problems with me. He admitted to them that he played loud music and would leave both the music and the tv on all day to annoy me. I was originally hesitant, but the officer said she and her partner would be present, and since he was "extending the olive branch" I should give him a chance. I reluctantly agreed, telling her that I didn't trust him. She told me they weren't there to hash out the past but to try and find a way to move past it and have peace.

    At first everything seemed legit. He said he wanted us to get along and not have any more problems. He said he had done things wrong but he wanted to stop. I told him I wished him nothing bad, that I didn't care if he played music or watched television so long as I didn't have to hear it, and that I was willing to forgive and move forward. There was one thing I would not do, however. I would not lie and say that I was banging on his ceiling or causing any of the noise that he insisted I was doing because I wasn't doing it. I even said to him that if I'd done it on purpose to annoy him I'd have no problem admitting it to his face, but I hadn't done it. That upset him. He pulled out sheets of paper where he'd written when I'd supposedly made all the noise but the officer told him to put it away. She reminded him that the intention was not to go over what had been done but how to move forward. I said that maybe the problem was the plumbing; I'd had to run out of the shower twice because the police were at my door, so maybe the shower was making the noise. He said no, it's not the plumbing. I asked that we try an experiment: one officer in his house, one in mine, and we'd try to figure out where the noise was coming from. His answer was, "This is ridiculous, she refuses to admit anything," so that once again the officer had to tell him that wasn't what they'd agreed to. 

    One of the officers asked if I would be willing to exchange phone numbers with the neighbor so that if there were noises or anything we could communicate with each other. I was not willing to, but my son E said he would. They exchanged numbers, then the officers agreed to split up and see where the noise was coming from. The results were inconclusive; while it was true that if someone walks across the laminate floors with shoes on it can be heard in his house, it doesn't explain why he hears the sound when no one is walking on the floors. Neither the shower nor the toilet could be heard in his home. I told the officers we would do our best to keep the noise down to nothing whenever he was home and we'd see where it went from there.

    The next three days were wonderful. There was no noise, no police, no complaints. My son and I tiptoed around and made every effort to keep the noise levels low. I was cautiously optimistic. Little did I know how quickly the honeymoon would be over.

    Thursday January 7 my son received a text message from the neighbor at 5:00am asking if I was upset because he'd turned off his fan. My son came to my room and asked me if I was okay. I was asleep and said yes. He asked if I'd heard the neighbor turn off his fan. I told him I couldn't hear his fan on or off because I was sleeping. My son texted him back and went to sleep.

    Around 10:00am my son looked at his phone and realized the neighbor had sent multiple text messages stating that he'd thought we could work things out, that he couldn't do his teaching job if he didn't get any sleep, so on and so forth. My son texted him and apologized for not getting back, but explained that we were both sleeping and weren't making any noise. He sent a barrage of text messages saying that he had a new recording method that the officer had recommended and that he now had proof of all the loud noises we were making. He said he would start calling the police daily so that they could begin to issue tickets for noise violations. My son told him he was sorry that there were noises but they weren't being done by us and left it at that.

    I called the officer he mentioned and found out he'd tried to get her to come and "do something" the day before. She told him that there was no criminal activity so there was nothing she could do. She suggested he record the noise but that was pretty much it. I told her I was going to buy myself a video camera to record myself at night while I slept to show that the accusations were false. While we both agreed that I shouldn't have to go to those extremes, I could see no other way. I ordered the video cam. That night my son went to visit friends and stayed over their house, and I stayed with my daughter because I didn't want to stay home by myself.

    Saturday afternoon my son received more text messages, this time with threats. He sent pictures of some recording apparatus and stated that he would be downloading all the noise going on and was forwarding it to the Department of Children Services. I was absolutely livid! My son was beside himself. He told me, "This man is the lowest of the low. He's despicable." I took my son's phone and answered the man that we would be following the officer's recommendation and blocking his number, since he clearly had no intention of fixing any problems and insisted on continuing his harassment of me and my son who is 21 years old and not a child. Communication with him ended immediately.

    I could hardly think straight at that point because I was so angry. I began asking my friends to pray for me. We went to church that night and I asked for prayer there as well. It helped immensely to lay this at the Lord's feet and ask for guidance.

    The next day I called the police and made a formal complaint. The officer I spoke to let me know that it is in the history that this man admitted to the noise he made and that he did it to annoy me, which is to my advantage. It's intentional infliction of emotional distress. I sent a long email to another attorney friend and I'm waiting to hear from him. The first lawyer I turned to told me he was busy with a court case and would get back to me. That was over a month ago and I don't feel like waiting any longer. If this friend of ours doesn't get back to me soon I will seek another attorney. 

    This has gone beyond simply being an annoying neighbor; this is defamation of character, harassment, and abuse. I've found out since then that he did something similar to the previous owner. Whenever she began complaining of his noise he said she was an alcoholic, which was a lie. I'm shocked at how a person, a school teacher no less, can be so filled with evil. 

    I'm thankful that God is with me. I still pray daily for this neighbor in hopes that God will do a miracle in his life, but I'm also preparing to prove my innocence and stand against the lies and falsehoods. God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love, and a strong mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I will stand up for the truth, clothed in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray with me and for me. I appreciate it more than you know.      

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