Grass Moles

One of these days

It’s not going to annoy the shit out of me anymore. Today is not that day. As the saying goes, tomorrow’s not looking great either.

We’re still in July, right? Damn, this has been a long month, even though it hasn’t been a full month since our neighbors started doing…whatever they’re doing. They come outside in the late afternoon or early evening with their folding chairs (the kind you see everyone sitting in at soccer games), and they park their chairs along with their butts on the sidewalk for at least an hour, maybe more, right in front of our house. They don’t have a front lawn, opting for a circle driveway instead. There are flower beds and bushes in front of their driveway. So they sit on the sidewalk which is in front of their flower beds, which faces our home. They sit right in front of our large, front windows in front of our house too.

The Zoo

These are the only windows on our home where we don’t have some kind of covering because I enjoy the sunlight streaming in. David assures me this isn’t the case, but I feel like if I can see them outside, they can see everything going on inside. And it’s not like we’re doing anything inside that is wrong or anything…but I imagine this is what it feels like to be a lion trapped in a cage at the zoo. I don’t like that feeling at all.

The first time I became aware that our neighbors were doing this was when Ryan and I went outdoors the last week of June to de-vine the front of our house. Last February, we had a solid week of subfreezing temperatures. That cold snap damned near knocked out the entire power grid in Texas. Closer to home — okay, at home — we lost a couple of shrubs, and also the Asian Jasmine vines and the Boston Ivy that had managed to crawl their way up our two-story brick house. The Asian Jasmine was never supposed to do that in the first place, but it did and it was pretty and so we didn’t encourage it but neither did we discourage it.

But then the freeze killed both the Asian Jasmine and the Boston Ivy. We gave them ample chance to come back to life, but they didn’t. So I got tired of looking at dead vines attached to our front façade when everything else had greened up.

The Great Clean Up

So on a late June afternoon when it wasn’t deathly hot outside, Ryan and I took about 45 minutes (David eventually joined us) and we started yanking down vines. Then we used various implements of destruction to scrape the vines’ sucker-like attachments off the walls of our home — all while giving our neighbors across the street a front-row view to our Three Stooges-like antics. One of us (Ry) got hit in the head with one of the rakes. There was also an incident with the tall ladder (pinched finger, swear words, David). Lastly, I know I called the stubborn vines a few names that might have rhymed with grass moles and buns of stitches.

We were a little surprised to see our neighbors sitting across from us when we first came outside, but we did a quick wave to acknowledge their presence. We weren’t there to chitchat. They didn’t wave us to come over nor did they come to our yard. We, in turn, didn’t feel the need to invite them over or go over to them. Ry and I were there to do yardwork and cleanup.

I’m sure the neighbors were grateful we were out there, too, because they have to see our property every time they walk out their front door. I’m sure they would agree that our cleaned up property is a sure sight better than when it was an eyesore of dead shrubbery, leaves and vines. Unless you’re one of those creative-types that appreciates Mother Nature and the Grim Reaper working in tandem to give a house a more overgrown, downtrodden, eerie appearance, you can understand why I felt our entire street were at their windows (behind their curtains) cheering Ry and me on. Well, except for the children who live a few doors down. I think they were hoping we would leave our house alone until it became hardcore, haunted house perfection, preferably through Halloween. Sorry, kiddos.

Dogs on Duty

So the front of our house is…better.

But then the next day, Buddy and Iggy started barking their heads off at the front window and were not leaving when, presumably, whoever was walking down the sidewalk should have clearly moved on. The dogs go crazy whenever people walking along the sidewalk venture close to our house. Then the people are out of eyesight and earshot and the dogs settle down. This happens too many times to count every. single. day. I’ve learned to tune most of their barking out. Now and again, there’s a different quality to the madness that warrants my going to see what’s happening.

So after several minutes of ensuing insanity by the dogs without let up, I was like, what the hell is going on? Well, our neighbors had set up shop, again, and were sitting in front of our house (on their side of the street.) Just sitting. As if our house were a giant movie screen and they were there to check out the latest feature film.


I mentioned it to David who joined me at the window when he too heard the dogs. “What’s up with John and Gracie?”

David said, “Hell if I know. Why don’t you go ask them?”

Me: “I’m not going to ask them.”

David: “Well, you’re the one who wants to know.”

Me: “Not really. I just can’t imagine going through this with the dogs every day. Can you?”

David: “No. I really can’t.”


I walked away from our window after moving the dogs along. And so this became a thing every day with the neighbors and our dogs and then my making the dogs move away from the windows. About a week later, David told me he was outside and saw John sitting — by himself this time. They got to talking. According to David, our neighbors have a new dog and John and Gracie discovered their dog is very strong and too much to handle, so they can’t walk it. Instead, they’re now sitting with it out front.

Me: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. That’s why you have a back yard. For your dogs to go wild in. Why don’t they sit in their back yard? And where’s the dog? I didn’t notice a dog. Is it invisible?”

David: “I saw the dog. Not much to see, though. It’s about the size of Buddy. White. Fluffy. Doesn’t really do much but sit there. I don’t know about their back yard. Maybe they don’t have one. Don’t they have a swimming pool?”

Me: “They don’t. I was over there a few years ago. They wanted to show me the landscaping they’d done. I mean it’s nice enough, nothing to really brag about though. Their back yard’s about the size of ours. No pool. So they plan on sitting in front of our house every freaking day from now on?”

David: “Why does that bother you so much?”

Me: “Because it feels like they’re staring at us. I hate being stared at.”

David: “But that’s not what they’re doing.” David looked out the window. “Okay, well, maybe it does look like that. Why don’t you go and tell them that it bothers you?”

Me: “Because —

  1. They clearly don’t give a shit what we think or they wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
  2. What they’re doing isn’t illegal so I can’t force them to stop.
  3. I’m not interested in getting into an argument or creating problems with any of our neighbors.
  4. I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of knowing that they’re bothering me.
  5. And you realize these are the neighborhood gossips, right? They have the dirt on everyone. So when I look out and they’re talking with other neighbors and they’re all looking at our house while they’re talking, it’s just…unnerving. It makes me wonder what they’re saying and if it’s about us. I don’t care if they’re talking about us behind our backs, but in front of us? That’s just rude and tacky. But again, I’m not giving them the satisfaction of thinking that I care or that I even know they’re out there on a daily basis.”

David: “Well, there’s nothing you can do about it unless you want to put some kind of window treatment up.”

Me: “I know that and no, that’s not happening.”

David: “Well, stop bitching about it then. There’s nothing I can do about it!”

Me: “Fine.”

David: “Good talk,” he said walking out of the room.

Me: “Grass mole,” I said walking in a different direction.



Time is on my side

Like I said, one of these days…well, one of these days it’s going to be too hot for John and Gracie to sit out there. I hope they discover this on the day after they’ve burnt to a crisp.

But until then, I’m hoping that one of these days it won’t bother me whether they’re there or not. And maybe not today, but one of these days maybe I’ll even grab one of our chairs and go outside with a few bottles of water and sit with them (not on a hot day, though.) I’ll be neighborly and catch up on the gossip on our street and the rest of the neighborhood. I guarantee you, these people know EVERYTHING. Maybe I’ll even take Buddy with me and he can socialize with their dog. But that’s not today. Today, I’m just going to write about them.

SO TAKE THAT, JOHN AND GRACIE! *raising my clenched fist toward their house*



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30 thoughts on “Grass Moles”

  1. OMG!! Mona I’m dying over here! I’m at work and I’m laughing my ass off over here! Okay it’s funny not funny, but I love your use of Grass mole and Buns of Stitches…I think I’ll start using that here at work. As for your creepy neighbors, what the fudge? Did you see what I did there? lol. Seriously, sitting out there just staring at your front window, creepy AF. I’d sit out there in front of my house staring back, but that’s just me. Using their dog as an excuse to be total creepers isn’t okay, like get your dog a freaking treadmill already! I love the Rolling Stones song Paint It Black, maybe that should apply to your neighbors. Painting them black I mean not your window…lol.

    • Huntress,
      I see what you did there! I’m all about the punny euphemisms. One of these days, this story and what our neighbors across the street are doing will be much funnier, I hope. It’s like so many people I know who have always been relatively quiet and “normal” — for some reason they’ve lost their freakin’ minds over the past month or two in ways that I’d never think they could! More than anything, I want to moon John and Gracie. I missed out on “mooning” as a teenager. Never too late? No, I better not. Bad me, bad, bad, me! Big hug to you, Mona

  2. Maybe you guys are more entertaining than you think. You certainly make me laugh. I loved the parting comment to David.

    • Aaawww, thanks Barbara! I think. So this was the blog post that was supposed to go out last week, but got kicked to the side. Thanks for reading and for all your wisdom! You are much appreciated! Hugs, Mona

  3. OMG that is so f*cking creepy and annoying. Atlas would be the same–he hates when people go by the house and it would be even worse if they were just sitting there. You should hire people to keep walking by and making them move their chairs. What a bizarre scenario!

    • Suzanne,
      If it weren’t right in front of my windows, I probably wouldn’t care. And they’ve always been incredibly nice neighbors. But there’s a line, ya know? I like your idea of having people walking by and making them move their chairs. I ran it by David and he said, “John and Gracie would end up gathering those people around them and then we’d have a ton of people sitting in front of our windows.” If I thought I could get away with it, I’d start charging admission, which probably makes me even creepier, I suppose! Can I just borrow Atlas? Between Atlas, Ig and Buddy, I’m sure they’d make everyone scatter! Or they’d make friends and become best buds with everyone. Bud and Iggy’s bark is far worse than their bite! Yep, I’ll have to think about this a little more.
      Thanks for your suggestions, my friend! Hugs to you and Atlas, Mona

  4. OK, a few things here:

    1. I’m stealing “grass mole” for sure!
    2. You remember Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched? Your story immediately made me think of her. Creepy.
    3. When I used to actually live in a house, Michelle would complain about all the spider webs. I would just tell her we were decorating early for Halloween.
    4. Sorry I haven’t been by lately. Turns out trying to be a writer and doing a “regular” job at the same time takes a lot of hours out of the day.

    • Hey Lee,
      I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ve been on your site and read and watched and was freaking amazed by all you’ve accomplished and how much fun you’ve had on the AT. (I couldn’t walk even a mile, but I’m so jealous!) I think I fell asleep while writing a response in my head. Sorry it wasn’t a real one. Please have “grass mole.” My 30-year-old daughter likes me better when I say that than when I scream out “Moldy Holes,” though, which apparently gives her a whole new set of visuals that freak her out. Oops. It’s an evolved word play of Holy Moley. I wish we just had a few spider webs. Ryan, unfortunately hates spiders and takes care of any webs he comes across. BTW, as I’m writing this, David just came in the door and informed me our neighbors are back outside. *sigh* It was so good to talk with you! I promise (can’t tell you when), I will be back on your site. Probably not today, but hopefully by Friday and no later than Saturday! Love everything you write and video! Congratulations on the new book! Just keep doing what your doing, my friend, and visit when you can! Mona

  5. This kinda reminds me of a situation we had to endure when I was still living with my folks 13 years ago. For 31 years, I lived right across the street from a chemical plant… never seemed odd to me to view giant metal buildings, huge white tanks and big plumes of smoke rising into the sky from our front yard. You get used to it…

    Anyway, one of the plant’s six gates was directly across the street… one which was bolted closed and not used except for special situations. However, when the plant decided to fix some stuff up, they apparently weren’t using the “correct” laborers, because for several weeks, we had to put up with a picketer in a lawn chair sitting in front of the gate with a sign reading about how unfair the situation was to his union. He’d be there pretty much all day, and he’d always park in front of our house while my Mom was at work. Why they picked that gate rather than the one at the corner that was actually used is beyond me…. but I assure you having a stranger who might know the people who offed Jimmy Hoffa sitting in front of your house for 10 hours and taking your good parking spot was really unnerving and annoying!

    • EVIL SQUIRREL!!!!!!
      Oh my gosh, I’ve missed you! I love checking your site out, especially on Mondays cuz you have all the groovy music. And your picketer story, right here! That’s a fantastic story, which makes writing what feeble things I write so worth it! Just so I can hear stories like this! Glad you made it through so you could tell the tale. You didn’t happen to moon the picketer, did you? I’m seriously thinking about doing this to my neighbors. What do you think? Hehehe! Mona

  6. Holy crap! That would drive me insane, too! It would seriously feel like they could see inside, even though they probably can’t. On the bright side, they probably won’t do this during the winter months! Maybe their dog will mellow out and learn to walk on a leash like normal dogs do. Lol. Grass mole. Oh, that’s great! 😀

    • Deb,
      I’ve missed you bunches! You ALWAYS make me laugh. I will be back on your blog asap. Probably won’t happen until the weekend though. David thinks our windows act like a “mirror” so they don’t really see us, but they can see themselves. I’m not so sure about that. Even so, what a crazy thing to do, right? Sit in front of something that acts like a mirror…if that’s what’s happening? Also, what is the purpose of sitting in the front with their dog? Does this actually mellow their already mellow dog out? It sure isn’t getting any exercise. Isn’t that why we walk our dogs, for the exercise? Totally weird. If I weren’t so busy…well, damn. I’m just going to have to make time and go out there and sit with them. Just don’t know when. Glad you like “grass mole,” my friend! A big hug to you! Mona

  7. First – it’s weird; particularly since this a relatively new activity on their part. Second, have someone stand inside in the room where they are facing; you go outside and see what you can see. That may give you peace of mind or freak you out. If it freaks you out that they CAN see inside then you need to come up with something to make them think twice about looking in. Third, they can’t control a small, fluffy dog?! (Ok, that may be true…I did know a small, fluffy dog that was INSANE!). Fourth, no matter how pretty it is please do not plant any kind of vine in your yard – only in a pot (I speak from experience here – it will never go away completely and will pop up in the most unexpected places).

    • Hey Gigi,
      I’m thinking about mooning them. I have a wide moon, too! I think I’d figure out pdq whether they can see in or not after that! What do you think? Their dog isn’t so small. It’s probably 50-60 pounds or so. It’s not getting any exercise, so I have no idea what’s going on. I will find out. Maybe this weekend. Whenever I do, I’ll update everyone. So maybe I won’t moon them just yet…because that would just be awkward trying to talk to them afterward. Or I could gaslight them and claim I have no idea what they’re talking about! Ha! Have you ever mooned anyone? How long do I keep my pants down, especially since I’m not in a car driving by? Wish I’d talked to you about the vine situation ten plus years ago. I like the look to the house when everything’s trimmed up. But that damned Boston Ivy (we also have it in the back) is trying to take over EVERYTHING! So, your ex-juniper bush…is that like a vine? A big hug to you my friend, Mona

      • Hi Mona – I have no idea what the mooning etiquette might be, unfortunately. 😉
        No, juniper is more like an evergreen, woody ground cover. Although, it does kind of slowly creep. The vine I’m fighting over here is a morning glory. They are SO pretty but will strangle anything it climbs on and is very invasive – I could strangle the previous owner for putting it in.

        • Gigi,
          You do know that you’ve answered the question posed by Oasis a couple of decades ago, right? We now have the story on the morning glory! LOL. Darn, I was hoping you’d know mooning etiquette. I wonder where I can find that? Off to Google. M

  8. I say bullshit to windows acting like mirrors. I mean, maybe sometimes, but not when you’re bending over or sneezing or eating a whole donut in one bite (or doing all three like I just did). Maybe be over-accommodating somehow. I was in a grocery store once, ate a couple of grapes, and the owner came up to me and said, loud af, “would you like a drink with that?” You could always ask them if their chairs are comfy enough or if they’d rather plunk their fucking couch there.

    • Hey Sherry,
      Well that just comes across as…hostile but soooo true and funny as hell. I LIKE IT!!!!! Also, I’m almost finished with my reading. So incredibly sad so far! My heart is breaking! Anyway, I’ve got to get back to stuff so I can finish reading tonight! Thanks for the opportunity, my friend! Mona

  9. Mona ,
    I feel for you. What rude neighbors and oddball at that.
    You should go out and ask them why they don’t enjoy their backyard . Better yet get your lawn chairs , sit and stare right back at them.

    • Hey Jan,
      IKR? This really is a weird situation. Not as weird as my dad’s situation…come to think of it, those people are his neighbors across the street as well. Coincidence? Also, can you imagine if you were sitting across someone’s house and it just blew up all of a sudden? I’d like to say that would never happen, but under the circumstances of the last couple of days…never say never! Mona

    • Boo,
      Are your neighbors as crazy as mine? It’s not really the heat I’m trying to escape at the moment! It’s actually been relatively mild (below temps) throughout most of July. Next week, though? Several 100 plus days are on their way. I love when it’s only 89 degrees! *sigh* In the meantime, I have to keep an eye on my dad and his shenanigans! Are you still heading to Houston in this heat and humidity? Ugh. Maybe wait until October when it’s still warm but not so freakin’ hot! M

  10. Grass mole…I LOVE it. I have called people mask holes when they conveniently forgot there was a order in effect but like that grass mole moniker even more. Sorry about the passing of your shrubbery…relatives of mine in the Lone Star state had garden casualties as well. RIP vines. Because you never know how somebody will react to direct confrontation, maybe just casually pull up a chair with a pair of field glasses and stare at their house front and act like you’re talking to the FBI about them on a cell phone-maybe then they’ll get a clue? Then again gossips probably never do. Ruddy grass moles!

    • Hey Tails (or is it okay to call you Monica? It is Monica, isn’t it?),
      Glad “grass moles” works for you. However, I think “mask holes” is so fitting in the context you refer! LOVE THAT! And I’m thankful that we got to enjoy our shrubbery and vines for as long as we did. Yes, may they RIP. Thanks for the suggestion on what to do about my neighbors. I’m truly hoping that the 100 plus degree temps starting tomorrow will discourage their…outdoor lounging. No one should be out in 100 plus degree heat unless they are sipping cocktails by the pool and dipping a toe or ten in the water to cool down! As far as I know, our front yard offers none of those enticements. And the backyard only offers a water hose. *sigh* Thanks for stopping in and please do so whenever you can! Hugs, Mona

  11. There’s only one solution for neighbors like that. You have to replace that window with a giant mirror. That way when they stare…. they only see themselves. It’s either that, or run endless episodes of Jersey Shore and Honey Boo Boo on a big screen TV. No one can stare at that for hours on end.

    • Hey River,
      I’m delighted to say that I’ve never watched Honey Boo Boo or The Jersey Shore…and never plan to either. However, I love your suggestion. That would be so deliciously evil. Bwahahhaaa! The only thing about the mirrors is that I’m afraid with the intense southern sun, we’d be setting everything ablaze. PS You shouldn’t have any other problems with getting my site to accept your comments. It means a lot to me that you stopped by and said hello! 🙂 Mona

  12. I was certain it was going to turn out John and Gracie were sitting out there because your whole Three Stooges routine while cleaning the yard was so entertaining they were hoping for more. Like you said they’re the neighborhood gossips with dirt on everybody so I’m sure they got a real kick out of seeing you and Ryan get dirty. And David who joined you eventually. We’re gonna call him Shemp now, aren’t we? In a similar vein I just keep wanting to call your neighbors George and Gracie, and I can see them out there in their lawn chairs, one in a dress, the other smoking a cigar. Gracie would be the one with the cigar, of course.

    • Christopher,
      I noticed that neither John nor Gracie have been out today. Saw John walking out of his house yesterday with white fluffy and chair in tow at 3 PM, as I was leaving to run an errand. Yesterday was our first 100 degree plus day (actual temp.) We’re supposed to have the same today and a few more days this week. Can’t say that I’m surprised that they’ve decided to stay indoors. Yea, David would make a fine Shemp even though Ry is definitely Curly. I’m probably the meanest Stooge. 😎

  13. You crack me up Mona! Sorry about your weird neighbors. I’d feel the same way if I was in your shoes. But I gotta say I’m concerned about their dog. He’s too strong and they can’t manage to walk him? Geez Louise! Maybe instead of sitting in your front yard they ought to be spending time going to a trainer. Or at the very least, let the dog run free in their back yard.

    • Hey Rhonda,
      So for nigh on thirty years, John and Gracie have been the epitome of “good neighbors.” I think the pandemic made them crack. As I suspected, the heat has driven them indoors; although there were a couple of days when it was fairly nice and the chair, dog and John came back out. Gracie doesn’t seem to come out anymore. And three days ago, I saw John walking their fluffy a couple of doors down. Sooo, progress? That’s my hope, anyway. Thanks for stopping by, Rhonda! You don’t know how much you’re appreciated! Mona


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