Dear Amy: My husband and I recently bought a house.
Our new next-door neighbor had been close friends with the man who had owned our house for 30 years.
This neighbor was used to trespassing on our property all the time.
We do not want this.
During home renovations, whenever we had workers at our house, he would come over and tell them how HE wanted the work done.
We stopped this by telling the workers not to pay attention to him and giving the workers very specific directions about how WE wanted the work done. We instructed them to ask him to leave the property. He did not like this.
This morning I saw him (through a window) trespass onto our property and spray industrial-strength weed killer onto our grass (which does not have weeds).
We have relatives, friends and pets who because of health issues cannot be near weed killer.
I told him to get off my property. He said I was rude. I am ready to go to the police the next time he trespasses.
This person is an intrusive bully and a sneak.
How do you handle someone who does not get the message to stay off our property?
-- Upset Homeowners
Dear Upset: Your neighbor might be experiencing cognitive changes, brain illness or decline. The weed killer episode is one clue that all might not be well with him, mainly because it seems irrational and -- random.
Either that, or he is -- as you claim -- an intrusive bully (or possibly both).
A fence clearly delineating your property line would be a good investment. You should also consider installing a (relatively inexpensive) outdoor security camera.
Your neighbor calling you "rude" is a small price to pay, as long as things don't escalate. Perhaps your "rudeness" will keep him off of your property.
Remember that he has 30 years of behavior to undo. If he continues to trespass, you may have to follow through and get the police involved.
Dear Amy: I have a "port wine stain" birthmark, about the size of your fist, on the back of my thigh. Since it's covered by clothing 90 percent of the time, (and since I'm 68 years old and well past obsessing over having a pageant-ready swimsuit bod,) it's rarely a problem for me -- or anyone else.
However, I'm about to go on a beach vacation, where I expect to put on a swimsuit and have some water-related fun.
Here's my problem: How can I respond to the eeeewww-level comments from people seeing my birthmark for the first time?
Friend: "(Gasp!) What happened to your leg?"
Me: "Oh, it's just a birthmark."
Friend: "Are you SURE?"
I'm hoping you can supply me with some responses that will not seem rude or overly sensitive, but will reinforce the wisdom of refraining from ANY form of comment on a person's body. (Except, "You look great!")
-- Not Stained
Dear Not Stained: You have been dealing with this your whole life, and you are in a better position than I to cope with these comments, rebuff them or respond to them.
I agree that any comment about your birthmark, certainly along the "eeeewwww" spectrum, is not welcome, but this mark is on the back of your thigh. Some people -- fearing that it might be a recent bruise, injury or sign of illness -- might assume that you cannot/have never seen it.
Yes, I agree that you should respond: "Oh, it's a birthmark. Don't worry about it. I've had it my whole life."
If someone presses you on this and you want to mess with them, you can respond, "Oh, did I say it's a birthmark? I mean it's a tattoo."
Dear Amy: Your response to "Upset" was altogether out of line. All she (or he) asked was why you devoted so much space to a community (LGBTQ), which comprises only 1.7 percent of the American population.
This person deserved a straightforward answer instead of your onslaught of condescension -- and, by the way, I have a gay niece whom I helped raise.
In the future, please do your part to maintain civility in these public controversies.
-- Also Upset
Dear Also: I don't perceive questions from or regarding gay relationships as being controversial. Nor do I see my answer to "Upset," quoted here, as being rude or condescending:
"People are people, and human relationships have resonance far beyond a person's sexuality. If you can't recognize fellowship, then you're not trying hard enough."
You might ask your niece how she feels about this.