219 - Living next door to a pervert

I mentioned this in answer to TS' comment on my previous post and thought I would elaborate on it. At NASA when something goes wrong we have something we call "Lessons Learned" (maybe it's even a universal phrase)... this is my Lessons Learned moment.

Shortly after my ex-husband moved out of our house, a windstorm blew through town and knocked down the fence between our house and our neighbor's. A day or two afterward, I happened to be in my back yard, and since there was no longer a fence, the neighbor saw me and came to talk about it. He said he didn't want to pry, but it looked like my husband and I were separated and I could probably use some help with the fence. I told him yeah, we were getting divorced. He said if we split the materials, he'd put the fence up.


A few days later he saw me in the front yard and offered to edge my yard whenever he edged his... 'it's just a couple of extra steps down the sidewalk... it's no trouble.' Double score.

After the fence went up, I baked the nice man a cheesecake.

Mom and dad had been bugging me, 'You're living alone, you really should have a gun. We can get you one if you want one.' I said, 'Bah. Gun, schmun, I don't need it, that's silly.' My mindset was 'nothing ever happens to me... it all happens to other people... you can't live your life in fear.'

Fast forward to a couple of months later.

The neighbors across the street were having a garage sale. My friend Debra, who was going to move in with me so I could afford to keep the house, and I mosied over to see what they had, and to introduce ourselves... I don't linger outside the house so I rarely meet my neighbors... When we got there they immediately said, 'We need to talk to you about something.' I thought, 'Crap. I know I need to mow my lawn but I don't have a lawnmower at the moment...' So I started to apologize and they said no... that's not what they needed to tell me. They asked me how much I knew about the history of my house. I said I didn't know anything. They said, "We've noticed that Don has been spending a lot of time around the fence, and there are a few things we think you should know..."


They proceeded to tell me that the woman who owned the house previous to the people I bought it from was a woman about my age, recently divorced, attractive. She used to come home and find muddy footprints inside the house, by the back window. Once she went on vacation and came home to find her underwear all over her bed. There were a couple more scenarios. Eventually somehow she figured out that it was the nice man who repaired my fence.

It was hard to know if this was true, or if they just didn't like this guy. I think the police were involved at some point, but I never found the records.

My ex was good enough to, after hearing the story, come over and investigate the fence. I hadn't told my parent's yet. Part of the old fence had remained standing so we only replaced the part that had fallen... sure enough... on that old part was this little wooden mechanism that, when turned, allowed him to pop two of the boards off and come through into my yard... He knocked the mechanism off and loudly nailed the board into place. After my ex pounded those nails in, Don never looked me in the eye again. He'd been caught and he knew it... My ex actually paid for one of the storm doors because he wanted me to be safe. My ex is a good man, we just weren't right for each other...

I got storm doors for the front and back doors. I replaced the blinds in my bedroom. Up until that point, the blinds in my bedroom were two smaller blinds with a gap in the middle, rather than one long blind that actually fit the window. That's what was there when we moved in... we never changed them... until after all this came to light... no one's supposed to be in your backyard looking in at you... This is when I started going into debt. I hadn't yet decided to get the gun or the alarm system because I didn't want to seem paranoid... the guy knew that I knew, and that was enough.

At this point in my life I was working 10 am to 7 pm. I got home around 8 pm. It was dark. Any bumps or weird noises were attributed to my cat. Not more than a week later, me and the cat are snuggled up in bed and I hear something fall. I shut and lock the bedroom door, I grab a screwdriver and the phone and pull the covers up to my chin and trembled. Next day I look around to see what fell. I had a few decorative bottles lined up on the kitchen windowsill. Perfectly flat windowsill with a window that slid from right to left. Only way I can figure that a bottle would fall (since my cat was with me) is that someone jacked with the window. That's when I called mom and dad and told them I wanted the gun. They brought a temporary one over until they could get me one of my own... it scared the crap out of me... it was my grandpa's, it had no safety... it's the kind you could drop and it would go off. I was glad when I got the replacement. I also decided it was time to get an alarm system.

Debra almost didn't move in with me -- ironically it wasn't because of the weirdo living next door -- it was because I was going to have a gun. I had to convince her that I knew how to use a gun (no lie) and that if it came down to it, I would make sure I knew where she was before I shot... I wasn't going to shoot her because she got up to have a midnight snack. Apparently she believed me because she moved in. (and one night I got to prove it... after the alarm system was installed, one of my cats rammed into the window hard enough to set the alarm off in the middle of the night (trying to get at a cat on the other side of the glass...)... I grabbed the gun, made sure Debra was behind me, and then investigated... think she was glad for the gun when she thought someone was breaking in).

A couple of years after I sold the house, Don ended up on the local news. A family member had accused him of molesting them... a nephew I think, and they had found kiddie porn on his computer. It doesn't surprise me... he had a meek Asian wife who was probably a mailorder bride, we hardly ever saw her outside the house... no telling how he treated her behind closed doors. And I knew about the fence...

I baked that bastard a cheesecake...

The point of all this is to say, don't be complacent and assume everyone is who they seem to be. When I first met Don, he went out of his way to be nice to me at a vulnerable time in my life. I would never have suspected him of anything sinister. Don't be arrogant and assume nothing bad can happen to you, don't assume that everyone has your best interests at heart (but don't be paranoid either)... I managed to avoid the worst of what the previous woman endured, but I wonder if the neighbors across the street had kept their mouths shut, if I would have come home to muddy footprints and my underwear on the bed.

I'm glad I never found out.


  1. Wow! That would have freaked me out after hearing about the muddy footprints. I'd have gotten a gun too, and made sure he saw it when I brought it home. There are so many weirdos in their world. I'm so thankful I have some wonderful neighbors who do take care of things for me and are not perverts.

    You are right it is a good idea not to take people at face value, especially during a vulnerable time. There are many ways to find out about their backgrounds but we all want to be polite and trusting. Everyone should read this.

  2. Creepy. I hope "Don" is no longer nearby. Smart move with the gun. Me, I'd shoot the bastard if he came anywhere near my backyard.

  3. Boy that was a bit unsettling... I'm sure glad you have a good head on your shoulders. Many people would have put off the neighbors comments as just neighbors not getting along... Glad you have the gun and glad you know how to use it...

  4. What the hell...
    I don't blame you for being a little paranoid of noises outside. If I lived next to a perv like that, I'd sure keep a gun in the house.

  5. They are everywhere! No neighborhood is safe.

  6. That S.O.B.! Sorry that happened to you but glad you took steps to protect yourself!

    That's a hard lesson that I've had to teach BOTH my daughters over the years... (they both are sooo trusting! TOO TRUSTING at times!!!)
    "don't assume that everyone has your best interests at heart" HOW TRUE! Especially in today's World!

    Thanks for sharing that with us Kristy!



  7. Wow. What a story that was. Whole time I was praying that you sold the house since you probably owned it with your ex, Don since moved out or got arrested...or all the above.

    Fortunately it was all the above. Don got busted but is he in jail?

    Man that sucks. Why the hell would some dude be that fucking creepy is beyond me. Just buy tons of porn and leave well enough alone.

    just sayin

  8. This is a great post and a great story. Good for you for not being afraid to take care of yourself.
    You sure have interesting stories to tell!

  9. Wow, that is so scary! There are a lot of bad people in the world, and sadly things aren't the way they used to be. Sucks for the good people in the world.

  10. Ian - I don't know what happened to him. I actually didn't see the news story, Debra told me about it. If he was guilty I'm sure he's in jail be ass-raped by his fellow inmates... they usually don't take kindly to people who hurt children.

  11. Wow. That is scary. I mean, really scary. I am soooo glad that nothing happened to you and you were not harmed in any way. Phew.

    I was scared when I read that you had a gun. And then that all went away. You very obviously know what you are doing and you know what? It's up to you to protect yourself and take charge of your own safety, so good for you!

    I can't say again how glad I am that nothing horrible happened to you. So glad!

  12. Wow that really goes to show you never know the people that live around you. Being a father of a 6 year old, going on 16, girl. Things like this make me want to lock her in her room until shes 30 and a college graduate. I would have gone to the police after hearing that story and your ex finding the "mechanism" he had in place to easily get into your yard!

    Thankfully you moved out and he got busted and hopefully gets what he deserves. Great post.

    My Thoughts

  13. Your post gave me the creeps. I have goosebumps. The only thing I can think of to say is: OH MY GAWD!! I'm really freaked out, because this is like a criminal minds story. The kind of thing that happens on tv, to other people. Damn I'm so GLAD that you never ever found him in your house. *SHUDDER*

  14. Scary situation. Glad your ex was around to help.

  15. Kato - I'm glad I never had to use the gun on him. It's one thing to have it in my possession and shoot at targets... shooting at someone else... I'm always going to doubt myself... should I wait, should I shoot? But if it comes down to it, I'll shoot.

    Jerry - Welcome! I didn't think there was enough evidence. The mechanism was old, he could have made some lame excuse and unless the cops saw him go through I doubt they would have done anything. In the end it worked out I guess.

    Sarah - I used to worry that he put a camera in the house... Hopefully he didn't.

    Copyboy - Welcome! I'm glad he was there, too. He certainly didn't have to be...

  16. It really makes you wonder sometimes.... Are we supposed to question everybody's intentions? How do we know who are the good guys anymore?

    It's so scary to think that if your neighbors had not spoken to you, you wouldn't have found that mechanism.... Well, we're glad you're safe now!