A Room With A View

Last year, the empty lot next to us was sold. Not much happened for a long time, but suddenly one day in February, a whole whack of building machinery and guys in hardhats showed up and started leveling the ground.

“Weird,” I said to Ken. “They’re not digging out a basement.” And while that might not seem strange in some parts of the world, here in the area of Ontario where I live, it’s extremely uncommon to NOT have a basement, unless you have a cottage or a very old house like mine with only a partial, low-ceilinged horror movie basement and crawlspace.

A few days later, they started framing the structure. “Weird,” said Ken. “The front door looks like it’s about twenty feet in the air.” And while having a sky door might not seem strange in some parts of the galaxy, it’s extremely uncommon to NOT have a door that you can access from the ground. In fact, my house has 5 doors that are at ground-level.

So Ken and I watched with a combination of incredulity and amusement as the house next door began to grow. And grow. And grow, until it was over three stories tall. The lot itself is very tiny, and the house takes up most of it, and for our neighbours who live on the other side (who made the misfortunate error of selling the land to the Jolly Green Giant in the first place), it completely blocks out not only their view but all sunlight—the only thing they can see from their porch is the new house. And into it, because there are several windows that overlook their property. “Well,” I said to Ken rather smugly, “at least it’s not blocking our view to the corner. And we don’t have to worry about them watching over US because of all the beautiful tall trees along the property line.”

And then, the other morning, I got a message from Ken to call him as soon as possible. “What’s wrong?” I asked, concerned, because he never asks me to call him unless it’s something really important, like forgetting what’s on the grocery list. There was a distressed silence. Finally, he spoke. “I went over to the museum for a meeting this morning, and by the time I got back, all the trees were gone. ALL OF THEM.”

“WHAT THE F*CK??!!” I yelled. “ALL OF THEM?!”

Apparently, all the trees on the lot line except the maple at the corner were technically on the new owners’ property by about two inches, so they took it upon themselves to bring in a cutting crew and took them all down in a matter of two hours. According to one of the construction workers that Ken spoke to, the new owners want to put in a pool and the trees blocked their view and created too much shade and this is what I look at now when I’m on my front porch or in my yard:

They wanted a view, huh? Well, I hope they like naked, middle-aged humour writers.

In other news, the new literary magazine is going very well (although it’s keeping me super-busy), and I’ve had a lot of awesome submissions. But I’m always on the lookout for more (hint hint)…

63 thoughts on “A Room With A View

  1. Howling omg at the image of you standing in the window naked with a cup of coffee merrily waving away to the new neighbors. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that one. You made my morning. I always look forward to your posts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How nice of them to put in a community pool for you and the neighbours on the other side to use. If they’re taking down the trees the least they could do is let you use the pool. And if they have a problem with you using it the worst they can do is yell at you because by the time it would take them to climb down from their front door you would be long gone.
    Unless they’re planning to extend a diving board out from the front door. It seems somewhat inconvenient and I don’t know how they plan to get in, but, anyway, if they don’t want their neighbours using the pool they should put it in the basement.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I actually gasped when I read that they had taken down your trees, what sort of people are they that don’t even bother to communicate with there new neighbours. Keep us updated 😡😤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Before we moved to our present house, we had built a house on a beautiful, wooded lot. There was an empty lot next door that the builders told us no one could build on because their house would be flooded, so the trees would stay, but the neighbor behind us decided to buy the lot and turn it into a baseball field for his kids–knocking out all of the trees and letting the kids bat baseballs–which were nearly aimed at our kitchen windows. I don’t understand why people would take out perfectly good trees. We put up a stained glass window sheet that was really just a giant sticker of a stained glass window, but it looked real, and we liked it–we still got light from that side of the house, and we didn’t have to see the naked yard.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Omg….that would totes fucking piss me off. They got rid of some beautiful, not to mention older trees for a damned pool? And what for, a pool they may only use once in a while. You should take a dip every so often when you can, especially when they aren’t home. And baked at that!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Time to start investing in plastic Christmas yard art that you leave out all year. Or… since you are a horror writer… Halloween yard art! Or, even better… Plant sequoias two inches (a foot) within your property line. They grow really fast.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That is so devastating regarding the trees. I know you can’t make up for the loss of the trees, but is there any action you can take against the neighbours for taking the trees down without permission? You might check in with the city on permits and things. If they didn’t have a permit to take them down, that’s one way to take action against the neighbours. Many times, the right permits aren’t in order and they hire unlicensed crews to remove trees if they don’t have the right permits etc. (I know an architect/engineer.) That started happening in Florida…people who moved there from out of state would illegally chop down old oak trees…like hundreds of years old oak trees. It was devastating. The older neighbourhood I lived in finally fell to that property-line-to-property-line epidemic…with old-style Florida homes going back to the 1800s getting ripped out for concrete monstrosities. Again, I am so, so sorry for you guys about the lovely trees.

    Liked by 1 person

      • The other neighbour complained but there are no height restrictions in our township, and they already had a minor variance to build a bigger footprint–wish we’d gone to that meeting two years ago, knowing what we know now, and protested it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m so sorry for the loss of your trees. Hopefully code enforcement might have some other options for you. Good luck in planting the black walnuts. I hadn’t heard that they could take out entire trees, I do know that they can only cut the tree back to the property line, but it still doesn’t seem right that they could take out whole trees.


    • Yes, I doubt they had a permit, and it’s shitty. We could file a complaint but that won’t bring the trees back. At least now we can replant any kind we like on our own property–the messier the better!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m afraid we’ve all got real estate horror stories. The most unfortunate part is that the entitled assholes who move in will think YOU are the problem and, given they have the $$$ to buy & build, will have the attorneys to lean into you if you so much as build the most meager of fences to block the noise, spectacle and glaring spotlights that will blaze all night — straight into your bedroom windows.

    It’s only going to get worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here, if they put in a pool, they have to put up a fence, so that’s something, and if they don’t, we can–there are no restrictions except that it can’t be more than 6 feet high. The whole thing is ridiculous, but luckily I have a lawyer in the family, a very good one, so I’m not too worried.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We had a beautiful lawn trees and flowers in CO. We were renting however from the city. One day I came home from work and my whole yard, my beautiful yard was piles of dirt. They were building in the property next to us duplexes but all of the sewer work went through our yard so our yard was completely ruined fences were taken down and not replaced so I couldn’t let our pet out anymore, and all beauty was ruined and huge dips in lawn and sodding. There was a business on the other side of us that came up and on that side was our driveway lined with beautiful trees. I woke up one morning to find it they were cutting them all down, every single one. The reason for it I have no idea you would think they would have some reason but nothing in the business changed no access to it nothing like that—why they wanted those trees down I don’t know but since we were renting we had no choice. It still makes me upset to think about it .

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • I would have thought so too, but it’s their yard, and I suppose they can do what they want with it. Big trees–that’s the plan, although it’s going to cost money we didn’t plan on having to spend. What a pain in the *ss.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This happened to me, too. My neighbor cut down the small copse behind his house, which screened us from a number of neighboring houses, and then sold the land so someone could build a McMansion with 11 steps up to the front door. One person lives in it, and she has planted fast-growing arborvitae so she can’t see my cottage, which are putting my garden into the shade. I can still see her enormous house, of course, because – it’s gigantic… Grrr

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Funny and not in a ha-ha way, but I guess in an ironic way, or maybe it’s just plain coincidence, but two weeks ago, I read a series of posts in Am I the Asshole (AITA) on Reddit about people cutting down and removing trees. Many of those people posting were offended by the ruthless removals and sought legal action — and won. ‘Course, this is ‘Merica, land of the law, etc. You guys in Canada have a whole different set of lumber when discussing law. But I’m saddened for you. Definitely get drunk and naked. Give ’em an eyeful. And use them in a horror story. That’ll show them. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I am blessed in that the view from our tenth-story apartment overlooks the treetops of an 1,100-acre city park, so I never have to worry about a high-rise going up across the street and obstructing the vista!

    Liked by 2 people

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