He wasn’t the kind of guy who took serious letters from the city lightly. In fact, things like that made him feel quite anxious. He was a “dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’” kind of guy.
So when he was told to lower the fence he’d put up to keep his dog safe, he made sure his revenge against the busybody neighbor who complained was well and truly above board. She would be furious.
Jason Windus loved his dog. The Santa Rosa removal man would do anything to keep him safe, so spared no expense erecting a strong fence to keep the pooch from escaping the yard and running into traffic.
But one nosy neighbor didn’t see things his way. In fact, she had an entirely different set of priorities.
One morning, Jason found an ominous letter from the city in his mailbox. Jason was a businessman. He was very careful to file his taxes correctly and adhere to every business regulation to the letter of the law – precisely to avoid unnerving mail like this landing on his doorstep.
Jason took a large swig of coffee and opened the envelope.
The letter informed Jason of an anonymous resident who had complained about his fence infringing zoning laws because it was too high and “blocked a suburban corner.”
Jason had been instructed to cut the fence down to a maximum of 36 inches or face prosecution. But he’d only just put the fence up! It was expensive and necessary for the protection of his dog. Why would someone go out of their way to make his life so difficult?
“It was very serious. They made me freak out,” said Jason of the intimidating letter. Not only was he out of pocket for a fence that would need to be taken down, but he also now had to pay to lower it or face several penalties.
“They were going to fine me every day it wasn’t taken down,” said Jason. But perhaps there was something he could do to take the sting out of his predicament.
Working as a mover, Jason had come across a lot of weird stuff over the years. One of which happened to be a chainsaw.
He was certain he knew who it was that had complained to the city about his perfectly inoffensive fence, because she complained about everything. And he knew just what to do.
Jason had a storage locker where he kept a lot of the things he’d been allowed to take home over the many years he’d helped people and businesses move.
He took out the chainsaw, which a friend had agreed to use to cut the fence down to regulation size for him. But then he noticed something in the back – and he couldn’t stop laughing.
Jason carefully loaded the chainsaw into his truck and set about a plan that would make his neighbor regret ever having called the city with her pointless complaint.
It was risky and controversial, but he did his due diligence, so there was absolutely nothing she could do even if she wanted to. He was almost happy she’d complained and couldn’t wait to see her reaction.
After preparing everything, Jason sat in his yard – which now had a clear view of the street after he was forced to lower his fence – and waited patiently for the neighbor to drive by.
He spotted her truck pulling around the corner. The way she looked at him and what he had done was enough to know she was the one responsible. Jason smiled and waved at the incredulous busybody and her jaw fell open.
Jason locked eyes with the neighbor as she drove past, dumbfounded. She stared at the disrobed mannequins that Jason couldn’t bring himself to throw out after helping a clothing store move premises a few years back.
“I was going to use them for target practice,” Jason said, before coming up with a much better purpose for them. But that wasn’t the end of his interactions with the neighbors.
For Easter, Jason positioned the mannequins in accordance with social distancing rules – including protective masks and seasonal bunny ears.
“Makes the place more interesting,” said one resident, who couldn’t wait to see what Jason would come up with to entertain the neighborhood next.
After the pandemic sparked widespread preventative measures to curb the spread of the virus, Jason continued to show his fellow residents where he stood on the matter of masks and social distancing by placing the mannequins six feet apart from each other.
“Social distancing. Even a dummy can do it,” Jason explained. “It’s a thank you to first responders, police, doctors, nurses, people who work in grocery stores.” But what did the neighbors think?
“I think they set a good example for all of us,” said Gloria Mosenberg.
Not only did Jason create a humorous reminder of why we all need to practice good sense during the pandemic, but he seemingly hasn’t broken any laws either, despite the cheekiness of his display. In fact, Jason was eventually forced to submit a complaint to the city himself.
Jason lodged a formal complaint with the city, claiming the lower fence now posed a security risk after he woke one morning to find someone had jumped into his yard and stolen two of the mannequins.
With no response from the city, Jason had no choice but to remove his display to keep his property safe from intruders. But this wasn’t over.
Seeing as his other more friendly neighbors enjoyed the installation so much, he decided to bring his garden party guests back for an encore.
After purchasing a couple of replacement mannequins online, Jason continued to arrange the dummies to entertain the neighborhood – and it’s earned him quite the reputation among residents as word of his unusual yard spread.
“Oh, the mannequin guy!” exclaimed Donna Bourdet when asked what she thought of Jason’s funny protest. “I really am proud we have them. It’s good to have eclectic people in the neighborhood.”
So despite thinking he’d cause a stir, Jason’s mannequins ended up making him the talk of the town. But what did the woman who complained have to say about it all?
Displayed in pride of place next to the mannequins is a large sign that reads, “Reserved seat for the nosey neighbor that complained about my fence to the city.”
“They wanted me to tear down my fence to see inside my yard, and now they get to,” Jason pointed out. But did the neighbor take him up on his hospitable offer?
Sadly not. Not yet anyway. But Jason has gone to greater lengths to woo the woman who has caused him so much grief.
The creative homeowner arranged his mannequins in a romantic display for Valentine’s Day, but sadly still no appearance from the disgruntled resident. And that’s not the only holiday Jason has celebrated with a dummy display.
Refusing to let the popular Irish holiday go without a proper celebration, Jason decked out his yard in a fanfare of green decor for St Patrick’s Day.
At this point, it looked like the woman who complained was never going to show her face, but it seemed a shame to put the mannequins back into storage. So, Jason pulled out a pencil and paper.
With some help from a few friends, Jason totally redesigned his yard and built some new flower beds around the mannequins to show they were here to stay.
How would you feel if you had to drive past Jason’s risque display every day? Too much, or a creative response to a problem that didn’t exist in the first place?