Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm not a lawyer because it's not creative.

This is what I told ma belle earlier today when we got the results of something I've been working on for a month. Her July project was Cirque, mine was a legal battle with my neighbours.

I would have made a good lawyer. I dislike bureaucracy and logistics though. As Aristotle said, "the law is reason unaffected by desire". I have a plethora of emotions - that's the artist in me. For that reason alone I would not have made a good lawyer, however, there does come a time when I'm able to hang up emotion and pursue reason. That's exactly what I have been doing the past month of my life.
I have neighbours, intelligent neighbours I thought. They both have master's degrees. When I found that out I assumed I could reason with them. Long story short we've had problems with them since we moved into this house. Overgrown trees on what we thought was the property line impacting our housing/foundation. Two years passed and they still didn't deal with our requests. Earlier this summer we put our request in writing. That got the ball moving, albeit very slowly. They responded when they wanted and always ended their letters with "we'll keep you updated" for which they didn't. Then again, there was nothing to update since they did nothing. In the meantime I became proficient in my city's by-laws and the law in general. It's amazing how much work it all took, but also amazing that I could do this all from home.
In that time "I" wasn't free from passion. I became upset when I first realized we were held hostage by them and their slow-as-molasses pace. This tactic in itself was upsetting since they know I'm palliative and all I wanted to do was to sit peacefully in my "palliative paradise" (an area that borders on their yard). Many times I thought of calling the media: they are both public figures and one works for a church. I prayed about my situation, made offerings. The entire time both sides kept "nice" but as a friend of mine once told me, nice isn't genuine. It's a cover and not a good one at that.
It was challenging trying to hand it over to the universe.  Somehow I managed to and kept doing the research and making the calls that needed to get done.
Today I received the results of my work: don't f*ck with! My apologies for the expletive however I always had this saying "don't f*ck with the billi*ns" (for anonymity I will only write the pronunciation of my name, not it's spelling). We may be stubborn, but my parents' didn't raise weak, ignorant, stupid people. I love all of us. We are all so bright and know how to get things done. (That's another post: another BBQ with my lovely siblings and in-laws siblings).

Today I stood in what's left of my not-so-private "palliative paradise" with my bitter-sweet victory: a few thousand dollars later, we know where our property is - all done legally and with dignity (no fighting, only requests and niceties, no reporters etc.). I wept because these people wasted a month of my life. Had they not stalled, worked with us, we could have gotten things done. In the beginning we made offers of co-paying, of collaborating knowing these things are always tough. We also knew that they don't have money (not like we have much either, but we could afford $200 for restringing their chain-link)

In the end, the work I did will not go to waste: we are still getting a fence in the next few weeks and we now know where our property is, forever. It's something I'm elated to leave ma belle.

Of course, I have already written a thank you letter to the surveyor's telling him what the line really means, expressing my gratitude for their professionalism. They would have received it regardless of the results. Sometimes people need to know that even though they're "just doing their job" it may mean the world to someone else.

A few months ago my doctor walked us through dealing with pain, and the real possibility of slowly suffocating to death. We didn't want to hear it but her philosophy was "prepare for the worst, hope for the best". That's what we did: prepared that the results of this survey would be costly and take control (ie privacy) out of our hands, or would work for us and give us room to build our own fence. That's exactly what happened in the end. And, we also found out that their fence was illegally constructed on our property by four inches.

Someone in program asked me once: do you want to be right or happy? Today I'm both.