Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm the ratter.

This post might be worthy for “Blog Action Day” – a discussion on the environment, but I missed it. I was busy doing something else last night.

Someone has been making me stew for the past few days. It takes a lot to make me stew because I’d describe myself as non-confrontational and peaceful, who rarely judges anyone too harshly. My virtues, if you call them virtues, are being compromised. Please stay with me.

While the region is having life sucked out of it during the worst drought in history, we are painfully watching the effects. I’m not going to give stats here. They can be found on the evening world news.


A part of Lake Norman is shown above at eight feet below normal. We visited our ex-next door neighbors and saw their view of the lake.


Another one bites the dust. The majority of us are taking this water shortage seriously and conserve.


Irrigation systems are shut off and sprinklers are packed away.

It was 85 degrees yesterday. The gardens are now stretched to the limit. Combine this drought, with the deep freeze we had in April, to conclude it’s been a rough year for trees and plant life.


I’m a busy person like everyone else, but I spent a total of at least ninety minutes on the phone last night with Charlotte 311 to report a water restriction violation across the street. When he brought the power washer out to clean his meticulous driveway, I called again, to confirm my report was registered! The city will investigate by visiting the residence, imposing a hefty fine, and monitoring the water usage of those who violate. And it’s fair. If I can live with filthy windows and dirt that blankets the outdoors, let him eat it. I used to like the family enough to wave and small talk with them.

The arrogant and self-righteous man has spent four or five days power washing his castle, twice the size of my home, because wants to sell it. I regret that I didn’t call on day one to stop it. I'm suspicious as to why his grass is green...


Is he entitled to rob tap water from those who can’t afford to buy bottled water next April when there’s none left?


Hey neighbor, that landscape retaining wall is disgustingly dirty! You must clean it (and risk not being able to flush your toilet in a few months).

A few young neighborhood children came to play with his little boy. His back deck, probably the size of a tennis court, was being power washed. Over the noise of the machine, I heard a little boy comment, “Noah, your Dad can’t do that. There’s a water restriction.” Good boy.

Am I enjoying the revenge? No. Well, maybe a little.

We need to protect ourselves and other life forms who depend on us. We could lose so much. There is no room for selfishness.






I wish I wasn’t the ratter but somebody had to do it. If necessary, I'll call again, dammit.


Anonymous said...

I heard on NPR that some areas the water guy will actually turn off the guys water until he pays the fine! Guess when you have money you think you can do anything you want! good for your reporting him! BTW: Love all your photos!

Susie said...

I think you're well within your rights to report such a blatant violation. One might say it's even an obligation to blow the whistle on this guy.
I'm guessing the fine probably won't be much of a deterrent to his behavior. Some people think their money talks very loud..

dmmgmfm said...

I'd have done it too Mary. Please keep us posted!

Annie in Austin said...

Oh Mary! We've been sympathizing with you for months, and now it's even in our headlines - your horrible drought was the main story in the Austin newspaper this morning.

As I read the article, the thought came in my mind, "Mary should call the cops on that neighbor... green grass is not okay there anymore."

I got goosebumps just now, reading that you actually did it. Wow.

While I might consider taking a shower outside so the water could irrigate a favorite tree, there's something obscene about powerwashing anything under such circumstances. What a turkey.

Your admiring fan,

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Carol Michel said...

You did the absolute right thing. I saw a bit on the evening news about the drought you are in. It's worse than I thought!

The good news... sounds like this guy is going to sell his house and move. Good riddance to him. The bad news? He probably doesn't care about the fines, I hope they are A LOT!

Sending thoughts and prayers for rain for you!
Carol at May Dreams Gardens

NatureWoman said...

I'm mad for you Mary. Good work on your part. The guy is obviously clueless as to what is going on in this country overall. Money can't buy water that doesn't exist anywhere anymore once it's all used up, just for fools like this, and other things I won't get into here. I live next to what would seem like an unlimited supply of water, yet I get pissed when my neighbor does useless crap like this. You go, Mary!

Unknown said...

Grrrr! I'm glad you turned him in. What a disrespectful dork. I would like to bottle up some rain and send it your way.

Unknown said...

Mary you had every right to do what you did.

We are all with you on this. Why should others suffer and sacrifice when clearly he doesn't care about anybody but himself. Especially since your drought is on national news.

Big hugs to Mary

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm proud of you May!! You did the right thing. Hurray for the little neighbor boy who mentioned the wrong-doing too.

Wishing rain for you.

KGMom said...

Rat away, Mary--to my thunderous applause. Nothing makes me more upset than watching people in my neighborhood watering lawns when we have drought restrictions on--they haven't happened here yet this year, but we are inching closer.
Sometimes I really wonder about people in our country who are so thoughtless, self-centered and TOTALLY oblivious to the world around them!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
We saw the story on NBC Nightly News tonight about tipsters to water abuse in the Atlanta area. I'm glad you turned that moron in! (This post takes me back to Donna's WWRP post back in June.)

I told my spousal unit at supper that I wish there was some way we could build a huge pipeline to the SE US and have all of the rain we don't need any more of coming down to you guys.

LauraHinNJ said...

Since everyone told you already that you did the right thing - and I agree - I'll play devil's advocate!

How do you manage your pond with the water restrictions?

A few summer's ago we were on restrictions here with outside watering, but I kept my pond topped off (guiltily) - and only added water on every other appointed day. I was always afraid I'd get a ticket for doing it, though.

Washing driveways is just ridicilous - under any circumstances!

JeanMac said...

What gets me is why do we hesitate to confront him/her or call in? They would probably be first in line if other way around!
Good for you, Mary.
Unless it's too confrontational, let him see you taking pics and if he inquires, tell him it's for his file at the water dept. - they want proof of him. Better not, he's prob a hothead!

Chrissie said...

Your words and photo sequence are very poignant, Mary. I just want to cry sometimes that people can be so selfish.

Mary said...

Laura, we are allowed to top off water features/ponds, *only* if they have fish in them. I'm safe, so far. Even if the rules change, I'd sneak a garden hose in there to keep everything alive.

Jean, good question. I decided to call 311 instead of confronting him because my questions wouldn't stop him. Authorities can. I wanted to ask him casually if water restrictions were lifted but I'm chicken.

possumlady said...

Good for you Mary. No one likes to tattle but these are desperate times. We only have voluntary water restrictions for outside watering here. So, I've bitten the bullet and stopped watering my sorry looking dogwood. The only thing I've kept up is flushing out and refilling my birdbath every day. When I get home from work there is hardly any water left and it is so dirty. The birdies still need to drink and bathe.

Peg Silloway said...

You go, girl! If we don't speak up when we see something wrong, we lose a bit of our own self-respect. Keep up the good fight.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I am so proud of you! We must speak up, we absolutely must! You are a defender of the flora and fauna. This person, for what ever reason, is disregarding the efforts of your community to conserve water. His behavior is not acceptable. Bad karma for him too!
Good for you!
Speaking up is part of being a responsible enviromentalist. We have been quiet for too long.

cestoady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cestoady said...

Let us set the record straight --you are not a "ratter" but a responsible citizen who cares about protecting one of the most valuable resources we have -- the water supply.

"Ratter" is a derogatory term with some moral overtones, applied to someone who has violated a code of loyalty. It might be used to label a person on a kid's ball team who, when the whole team is confronted and asked , "Who hit the ball through my window ??",tells( or ratts on) who did the dirty deed. In this case there is a question of loyalty and it is arguable as to whether one should identify who did it -- opinions vary. From any point of view,your case is VERY DIFFERENT -- there is no moral obligation to protect that man-- you owe nothing to that law breaker !! He certainly is not on your team. In my opinion, you are no more a "ratter" than the person who reports smoke coming from a neighbor's house and calls 911.

So do not label yourself a "ratter" for having done the RIGHT THING !! I some ways, Mary, you are a mini-hero ,in the true sense of the word, for reporting that ignorant, self -possessed, selfish man, and for acting so decisively to protect such a valuable resource.

I salute you.

10/17/2007 2:11 PM

Heidi said...

Good for you Mary! We're not under any restrictions here, but I still get ticked off looking at all the neighbors and neighborhoods with green grass. We're in a mediterranean climate... lawns just are not acceptable. I feel they are only appropriate in the East where they usually get lots of rain. No one needs grass to have a pretty yard.

And that guy power washing is an idiot... I hope his fines and his water bill amount to more than he MIGHT gain on the sale of the house. I don't think it will bring up the cost much though. It might even keep the house on the market longer because people might not want to buy something that is so obviously maintenance heavy in such times.

Larry said...

He was wrong for using so much water under those circumstances.I understand why you did what you had to do.

Julie Zickefoose said...


This is why the Lord made thunderbolts out of the blue.

BAM! Fffffrrtt!!

You're wise not to confront him. He knows he's wrong and would probably get ugly with you. Testosterone is a weird, weird chemical. I hope the water police turn his tap off and give him a couple of days to think about it.

Mary said...


Thanks for your "atta girls". Good news: On the night I called, he had not finished power washing the driveway and I expected him to finish last night. He didn't. Maybe the water police nailed him good. I'm feeling ruthless right now.

And, I'm hearing reports of red-breasted nuthatches all over the area. Hmmmph. Not here! I might need take a day off from work and SIT outside with high hopes. There's a peregrin falcon uptown, too. I need a day off.

Mary said...

cestoady, your comment is so eloquent and right. Thanks! I agree with you.

cestoady said...

Mary,you are welcome.

Susan Gets Native said...

*Jumping up and down with joy and pride in Mary, our crusader for all things natural*
Freakin' A, Mary!
Damn skippy, Mary!
So sorry you have an asshole for a nieghbor. Probably kicks puppies and pulls the wings off flies.
I could explode, I am so happy at what you did!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You had to do it. How could you sleep at night if you hadn't? How can he sleep at night?? And green grass too!!! He is a greedy person. I hope they hit him in the pocketbook doubly by turning off his water a day or two. That will hurt 'im. He would no doubt have to go to a hotel and pay for a shower.

Alyssa said...

I agree that we all have the obligation, no the duty, to report such things as you have. Getting involved is the correct things to do. This jerk deserves all that he gets. He obviously thinks he's above the law because he has some money. Ugh, those types make me sick. Good for you!!!

Mary said...

Hi Lisa,

You are welcome here. Thanks for visiting.

dguzman said...

OH.MY.GOD--I too would've lost it when he brought out the power washer. What a *&^%$*#(@ jerk! I'm proud of you for calling the authorities on him; you're no rat, you're a conscientious soul who knows right from wrong! I'm beaming with pride in you right now, so much so that the tears are welling up in my eyes. You GO, Mary. We're (central PA) supposed to get rain on and off for the next couple of days; wish it was headed your way.

I loved your photos, and especially that fish with his little mouth open at the bottom of the pond photo. Cutie!

I hope you get some RBNU soon; I finally saw one in my yard the other day--lifer!

Dorothy said...

You go girl!! I'm so proud of you Mary, for turning in this rear-end!
I hope there is a way you can find out if they turned off his water or how much he was fined. Selfish people like this idiot make me see red! I hope his house sells fast so that you don't have to put up with him and his stupid tricks.

Melsie14 said...

Some people just don't care. They don't take things like this serious enough to care. And if the house is dirty when he's trying to sell who cares!! People have to expect that with the restrictions. I'm glad that you reported him. Why should you have to pay for his actions later? I'm also glad that you got photos of it!! They were nice to see as I was reading!!

We're on opposite ends of the water scale here. Our lakes were up at least 5 feet. Where we go we only had half of the beach left this year! High water levels everywhere! Hope you get some moisture soon!

Anonymous said...

Mary, you did right. I watched some news on the weather channel about droughts in your part of the country and hope y'all get some rain soon.

LostRoses said...

Bringing up the rear on this one, but you go, Mary! Good for you.

smilnsigh said...

Good for you! This jerk is STEALING!

Yes, stealing water. For his power washer and etc.!!!!

Pardon me but there is only one thing to say to this, and it is... "WTF?!?"

Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn it!

P.S. Feel free to delete this comment. It might offend some of your readers. :-(