Sunday, November 09, 2008


Hello. I know I haven't written since the election. As you can imagine, I'm quite pleased. I just haven't been able to completely process the event. I tend to shut down.

Living 150 feet from the President Elect of the United States of America is very different from living 150 feet from a presidential candidate. We live within the perimeter, so our dry-cleaner has to have his van scanned and checked by bomb-sniffing dogs before he can deliver my shirts. One need carry identification at all times -- even when walking the dog -- because you never know when it will be requested of you.

The Secret Service is supposed to set up a command-center hotline so we can call to put expected guests "on the list". The problem is, they haven't set up that line and they don't have anyone assigned to keep the list. I'm having a bunch of people for Shabbat dinner on Friday -- they said I should make a list and give them several copies in advance. I wanted to ask them if this was the first time they had protected a President, but I didn't think it was prudent to mess with a guy who, while looking like Anderson Cooper, I knew to be a highly-trained killer.

All in all, I'm glad they are protecting President-Elect Obama, and, while I may grumble at the thoughtlessness which has accompanied their implementation, I won't complain if they go overboard. As long as the President-Elect is alive and safe, I'll grin and bear it.

So, what is upsetting?

We live in a 9-unit condo building. Two units recently changed hands. The unit above ours is now owned by a lovely couple and their 1 year-old son, and I am glad to have them around.

The other unit that sold is another story. It is another couple -- both from Sri Lanka, I believe -- and their 7-year-old daughter. I have known the mom for 10 years -- she teaches in the pre-school at Norbert's school. She is a genuinely pleasant person, and I like her very much.

Her husband may be one of the most disagreeable, ugly, rude, dismissive, hateful people I have come across. they have only lived in the building since September, but from the first moment I have disliked him.

The first time I met him, he came for an obligatory meeting with Myfanwe -- the president of the Condo Association -- which is required before a prospective owner can close on a unit. I, as you can imagine, brought out a pot of coffee and a plate of cookies as soon as I heard the bell. When I came into the room, he said, "I don't have time for this foolishness. I have somewhere to be. Let's get this over with."

NOBODY calls my cookies "foolishness".

Since early October, this man has been calling to argue over the heat. It isn't hot enough for him. He calls and leaves long, ugly messages on the voice mail. He calls during Shabbat to yell at me. Everyone gives him the same answer -- the heat is set at 71 degrees, none of the other units are cold -- in fact some of the units are too hot, there was never a complaint by the old unit-owner, and we can't raise the heat because one tenant isn't pleased. We already spend 40% of our association budget on heating.

Today I had to listen to a 30 minute argument he had with Myfanwe over the phone. It made me VERY upset. And I have to see him in the building. I don't know how to respond. I want to just be rude and ignore him, but I wasn't raised that way. Oh dear. What to do?


Sarah said...

That is not good that the Secret Service can't get it together the rest of the owners can't continue to go on with their lives.

The neighbor's hubby....there is unfortunately one in every building. Sigh. Good luck!!!

Leslie said...

With regard to the nasty neighbor: greeting him with a smile and much kindness will only serve to annoy him - so DO IT :)

With regard to the SS: You do not have to be nice to them. You should not spit at them or use the finger but you do not have to placate them. They are YOUR employees. If they cannot even get it together so you can have company in your own home for Shabbat, it's time to complain to the President Elect -- I assume you know someone who knows someone -- or via the newspapers. I have a feeling the Obamas would not like having their neighbors inconvenienced.

Anonymous said...


He called your cookies WHAT!?!?!?

Holy H, I don't know how you managed to refrain from tearing him a new one right then and there.

I used to have a neighbour like that who would post "wonderful" letters addressed to us in the lobby (written in black ink, so everyone could see it as they walked in). Seems she didn't much like my husband, so she decided to morph into a total c*nt (and I don't use that word lightly, so you can imagine how bad it got). Towards the end, I just started calling the landlord to report her every time we had an "encounter", because frankly, it was harassment. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable in your own home. And that includes the hallways leading into your home, your lobby, and your yard.

I wish I had a magic wand to wave, here. In the end, my solution was to move to the country, but that may not work for you...


blueyed wench said...

AAAH I'm jealous you are inconvenienced by the Secret Service.

Nuts to your neighbor. I see be politely cold.

Diane said...

Some people are just rude. I wouldn't take it personally. As for the heat I'd suggest sending him something in writing to say the heat for the building is 71 degrees. Stop calling because it's 71 degrees.

When he calls tell your wife to start the conversation by asking if the call concerns the heat. If he says yes she needs to tell him that it's already been discussed and there's nothing left to say. Have her wish him a nice day and hang up. He has no right to verbally abuse your wife since the coop rules are set by the group not one individual.

Look at it this way; at least you don't feel the need to knit him some nice cozy slippers. His loss because he's an ass.

soxanne said...

Perhaps the Secret Service could be sent over to deal with the difficult neighbor?


Anonymous said...

Your neighbor needs to buy a space heater or two. And a sweater.

Cheri said...

If 71 degrees isn't warm enough then the man should buy a space heater and a coat....and perhaps a new apartment somewhere else. And I agree with Diane, the heat has already been discussed and you (or Myfanwe) don't have to tolerate the abuse.

I hope that the Secret Service will have figured out what it is they're doing so that your guests have no problems coming to your house.