Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome Back, Squatters

I may or may not have mentioned that my grandma passed away last fall. Her house has been sitting empty since the estate auction. It is currently listed with a real estate agent, and has a sign in the front yard. The #1 son is in charge of mowing the yard every other week.

Last October, my aunt caught a carload of men in the circle drive behind the house. She pulled up the long driveway and asked why they were there. At that time, the house was not for sale. The men said they were looking for a house to rent. My aunt told them in no uncertain terms that they needed to move along, that the house belonged to her mother-in-law, and was definitely not for rent, and what made them think it was, anyway? They stammered a bit about housing being hard to find in this area, and said, "Isn't this NotThisTown?" My aunt informed them that the town they were looking for was ten miles south. They got back into the car and left. My aunt called the police to come check out the house. The police found no signs of attempted entry, and said they would keep an eye on the comings and goings.

Today, on the way to my mom's house, I saw a silver car and truck in Grandma's driveway. Two days ago, my mom said she had seen a silver Expedition in the driveway. She wondered if my uncle was here from out-of-state, checking on the place.

On the way back home, I saw a white-haired old woman who looked like Colleen Dewhurst gone to seed, a gray-haired fifty-something woman, and a twenty-something man loitering around Grandma's front yard. I slowed and stared at them. They looked back at me. I called Enforcer H, who was no help, not intending to come to town and check it out. I backtracked to my aunt's yard, about a half-mile from Grandma's, to warn the #1 son that people were there, and he was not to mention that the house was sitting empty when he went to mow the yard.

Passing back by Grandma's, I saw that Man was now out back walking on the old railroad bed, and that Colleen and Fitty were sitting their plump, shorts-clad rumps on the stone picnic table in the back yard. There was now a silver car and a maroon Suburban blocking the circle drive. I pulled in. I tossed an envelope and pencil to The Pony, and told him to write down the license numbers. I pulled halfway around the circle drive, and put down T-Hoe's window.

"Are you all waiting for somebody?"

Colleen shook her white, unkempt mane. "No, no. Not at all."

"I passed by, and I'm wondering why you are here."

"Oh. We looked at the house." She made no move to leave. Man had now joined them at the picnic table.

"Well, my son is coming by to mow in a few minutes. I was just checking to see why somebody was in the yard."

"Are you the owner?"

"Yes. There shouldn't really be anybody up in here. That's why I'm checking." I did not feel the least bit guilty in this little lie. One-sixth of that house is mine.

By then, The Pony had gathered his information. I awkwardly backed my way off the circle drive to turn around. I made my way to the police station, about a half-mile the other direction. Of course nobody was there. They have business hours. 8:00 to 4:00 on weekdays. They did, however, have the dispatcher's number taped to the door. I tried to call my aunt for advice, but she didn't pick up her cell. I knew she wasn't home, because #1 had just been there mowing her yard. I called the dispatcher and asked for an officer to check out Grandma's house, because people had been there for 45 minutes with no sign of a real estate representative, and had not given me a good reason for squatting there.

Ten minutes later, the investigating officer called to report that nobody was there. Which was my wish all along. I thanked her, and said that anytime I saw somebody there, I was calling for an officer to investigate. She agreed that the story the squatters had given me sounded fishy. Another officer pulled into the police station lot, and asked if I was OK. I told him that I had just called about checking out a trespasser, and gave him the license numbers.

Did I do the right thing? I would like to think so. Any real estate agent that I've ever dealt with did not leave me at the property unattended. Landlord H and I have stopped to look at properties, but that takes five minutes of walking around the house, not plopping down on the picnic table partially obscured from street view. Who knows how long they had been there before I passed by the first time?

Every week the local paper has stories of two or three meth lab explosions. We even had a traveling meth lab abandoned on our gravel road a couple years ago. This IS Missouri, you know. It would be so easy for people to get up in there behind Grandma's house, and break into the garage/barn to do their business. Or maybe they could be dispensing drugs from the picnic table. Who knows. That's five different cars that have been up in there with no good explanation.

I call shenanigans.

My aunt called back. She was on her way home, and pulled into Grandma's driveway to check it out. She said everything looked all right, and paid #1 for her mow job, he having just arrived. We agreed that anytime somebody is there, we are calling for back-up.

Perhaps we should not be so bold as to confront these people ourselves.


knancy said...

Probably shouldn't confront by yourself unless you have a weapon. Of couse, I'm from West (by God) Virginia and have no qualms about defending my property. The least you should have is some good mace. However, Hillbilly that I am, I find a nice little pistol is always a good deterrent when I am out and about. At home I keep plenty of weapons and have been glad to have had them at times. I had two boxer dogs attack my little miniature dachsund one day and a baseball bat was very efficent in keeping them from tag teaming him until death (in my yard). Try wading into a three dog fight without a weapon! Although I was very tempted to shoot the blonde 90 pound bimbo who could not control her dogs that outweighed her 2:1 (mentally and physically).

I have walked out onto my front porch to find people sitting on my steps during a quick rain as if they lived here instead of me!
- Move on MFs!
- But it's raining!
- Rain won't kill you, but I will for impersonating me as owner of this house!

We have a marathon every year here, and one year I went out to my front porch and saw a male runner taking a dump in my front yard next to the privacy fence! There is a gas station less than half a block away!

Sweet Gummi Mary give me strength. It was bad enough when I just wanted to kill a husband. Now I'm contemplating other ass holes. Wish there was a zap gun that would just zap annoying people that get in my space to another plane of existence....

Jennifer said...

I call shenanigans. Those folks are up to something.

Squatting is a huge problem anymore. A 2nd Cousin in California had squatters in her house.

They had it on the market.. moved to Idaho and the Realtors had not been keeping an eye on the property as contracted.

Folks moved in and acted as if they were comfy cozy..had broke a window to get in.. changed all the locks... fixed the window.. told neighbors they were leasing the house.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Thanks for reminding me not to move to West Virginia. I've already crossed Mississippi off my list, thanks to my old blog buddy Mommy Needs a Pill. That leaves 47 states in the running if I ever want to leave Methzouri.

If your marathoner had only crapped on the steps, it could be a deterrent to porch usurpers.

Gunrunner H has the armory. I am ignorant in the ways of the bullet dispensers. But I was ready to learn when that neighbor threatened to shoot Nosy H. And ready to learn my young 'un how to bring the heat as well. Unless maybe that means how to throw a fastball.

Shenanigans it is! Now I don't feel so guilty. Your tale of trespasser woe, coupled with that of knancy, has given me a wake-up call. Ring-a-ling-a-ling. That's the call.

"Hello? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? Things could go from bad to worse. Now is the time to smarten up, and think about protecting yourself and your property. You need a plan of action so that it becomes merely REACTION if the situation presents itself. This message has been brought to you by knancy and Jennifer. Have a good day."

Gosh. My interlopers seem tame compared to your scenarios. Maybe I could legally adopt them, and force them to live in the yard to deter hard-core intruders.

Mommy Needs a Xanax said...

Second attempt at a comment on this--

I don't blame you. If you're a big enough hawk about it, maybe the local junkies/squatters/whatever they ares will get the picture that it's not an easy place to go unnoticed.

We have 20 acres with 2 abandoned trailers on it. (They were hubby's family's and are now so old and broken down they won't hold together to be moved. We keep it classy.) We have had problem after problem. It's 50+ miles from us and in the middle of nowhere, so we don't know what's going on. My husband's aunt lives on the same road, and has notified us of shenanigans on a few occasions, but none of her tips were ever spot-on enough for the Sheriff to actually catch anyone. Funny how that went...we strongly suspect the squatters/meth heads were friends of her son's, and that he clued them in when she was onto them.

Hope your property sells fast and you won't have to worry about it much longer.

BTW Mississippi is a fine place to live. If you do decide to move, I know where you can find a trailer in the country. :P

Hillbilly Mom said...

As tempting as your offer may be, I'll stay out of Missifreakinsippi. Don't think I've forgotten my little basketball camp vacation there last summer. It was so hot, I needed a side trip to hell to cool off for a while.

Also, Arkansas is off my list. My trip to the Crater of Diamonds almost killed me with boredom. The Crater itself was fine. But I don't think they'd let me build a house in the middle of it, and if they did, some people might sit on my porch and piss me off.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

People are brave. Someone told me once that the easiest way to commit a crime was to be bold enough to act as if you are doing what you should be doing. We have more than our share of those travelers who stay without paying. They think nothing of taking advantage of the fact that we do have to sleep. When I have confronted the free loaders they become indignant .......... and I have been heard saying "they won't let me have a gun" on numerous occasions. I tend to be bold when pissed off and since they really won't let me have a gun I carry hornet spray on my golf cart and keep a can at the registration desk. You can blind your target at 20 feet, I will aim for the nose if they are wearing glasses. You would need to be close to use mace or a stun gun, but not hornet spray. Get a can to take with you. Come to think of it ...... might take one to work with you, too!

Hillbilly Mom said...

You are the epitome of cool, girl! I can picture you cruising around your kampground in your souped-up golf cart with the fancy radio, a double holster belt that you designed yourself holding two cans of hornet spray, ready to go all Clint Eastwood on those freeloaders.

I pity the fool who makes your day!