Sunday, March 13, 2011

No smoking please!

Living in a condo association isn't always easy. We knew it would have some down falls: noisy neighbors, less privacy, and a lot less room than a two story home. But the price was right, it had what we needed, and we could see the beginning of our family growing right here, in this family friendly neighborhood. It felt felt like the perfect place for us and we were happy.

But that perfect happy feeling mellowed a bit when we noticed our new neighbors were funneling secondhand smoke through our back doors. At first it didn't fully bother us as it was just the two of us at the time, we were only engaged, and worked full time--So when the smoke hit we would passively shut the back doors, say a few inappropriate words, as if the neighbors could still hear us, and then let it go.

Six months later I was pregnant, the neighbor was laid off, and as my belly grew bigger so did his smoking habit. I became infuriated!

Enough was enough, it was time to make it stop! Thus our infuriation was quickly put to work researching our rights, only to find out that we didn't have any...

You can't smoke next to me at a restaurant but you can smoke it up all you want if you happen to be sharing a communal wall with me... How can this be, we thought? It made sense but we had never really thought about it before. Neither of us had grown up in a home where secondhand smoke was an issue, so we just assumed some how that the law would take care of it...

Fortunately, after a lot of research, we found some assistance through the Orange County Health Department. They couldn't enforce anything legally but they'd be there to help and support us if we needed to go to court. They also helped us find a way to file a complaint against our neighbor by arguing that the they were causing a serious decline in our quality of life, which was true! We couldn't enjoy our back patio, or the cool breeze in the evenings, because we had to keep the back windows and doors shut. We also had to frequently turn our air-conditioner on because our living room became a green room during the afternoon when it was left sealed off from the outside world.

It took some time, but the letter went through, the HOA filed a complaint, and the smoking went away... at least for a few days. When it came back we filed a second complaint and the landlord was then sent another letter, only this time a fine was included since the first warning was ignored. And it was just in time because we were a day shy of bringing bear home from the hospital.

Our neighbor was not happy with us, he yelled at my husband for causing problems with his landlord and then yelled out (for the whole neighborhood to hear) that the health concerns of secondhand smoke were a mere myth and complete propaganda by the media--Right then and there we began to understand why he sat out there day after day smoking in front of his own children.

It was hard to have such a clash between the people that lived right by us, whom we saw every day. But it also wasn't right for us to be forced to breath in the smoke! With the strength of becoming parents, we learned to buckle down, to no longer be passive; we were absolutely in NO way willing to wavier on this subject any longer. There are enough things to worry about in this world when it comes to my child, the last thing I need to worry about is having cancerous smoke pouring into my home.

It's been a year and a half since the smoking stopped, and the neighbors eventually moved out. And just as quickly as that year and a half went by, we now all of a sudden have new neighbors who live below. These new neighbors like to smoke, too--cigars and marijuana. The marijuana manages to make it's way up into our condo via the vent or the seems of the walls, and the awful smelling cigars blow in through our back doors, just like it did a year and a half ago. The neighbors currently don't care. Their land lord was sent a warning letter and the second letter is now on it's way. The marijuana is what is getting me the most because I want to call the police but at the same time I really don't want to have to go that far.

What else is there for me to do though? They don't give a hoot (or a puff...) about us, or my daughter, so why do I care even the littlest bit about them? Why does it bug me so much that we have to go through the HOA to get them to smoke somewhere away from the building? I shouldn't have to walk past any of my neighbors and not be able to say hello, I want to be the neighbor that's always kind-the one you always hope to live next to! But most of all, I don't want to keep sharing those negative feelings when we accidentally share a glance... a common vibe of "I wish you'd go away!"

I need to remind myself that no matter who these people are or what they do, my job is to protect my family.


I personally don't have anything against people who smoke, to be honest I smoked a little in college so I understand the appeal. But I grew up, I became concerned about my health, and when I graduated so did the smoking.  Never did I think that my first home would remind me of my first college apartment...


Oy! I'm just looking forward to when this is all behind us.


Bear's mom


9 comments:

  1. Cute new background layout!! Thanks for joining the Monday blog hop :)
    www.TheMcMommyDiaries.blogspot.com

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  2. I can't believe you had to go through the torture of second hand smoke - while you were pregnant! If it's marijuana, you can call the cops (I've worked with them so I know you can count on them regarding this matter) because it's illegal.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I'm a follower now and I hope you'll choose to do the same :)

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  4. I understand not being able to have the back of your house open. We rent our house and the basement is an apartment. Our landlord's father lives next door and they are constantly burning thing in the back yard. Last weekend it was a broken recliner! Why not just throw it away?

    Good luck.

    Thanks for linking up with Explore, Play and Learn's blog hop again this week.

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  5. Thanks for your comments! I will definitely be calling the police the next time I smell marijuana.

    You all have lovely blogs! I'm following you all and will continue to join your blog hops:)

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  6. Wow -- that is just insane! I am an ex-smoker and honestly if my neighbor had a concern with my smoking I would have accomodated in any way I could. I will never understand people who feel their right to do as they please far outweighs common courtesy and decency!

    At any rate... love your blog!
    Newest follower from the McHoppin’ Monday Hop-- please stop by and say hello! Would love if ya followed back!

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    http://cyn-thenutshell.blogspot.com/

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