COVID Crankiness

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Dear Edda,

I need some advice. For many years, I have worked from my home office. I live in a very quiet residential area. However, in recent months, due to COVID, there are many more people around during the weekdays, including children.

The next-door neighbors have small children who are really loud when they’re outside. The vacation rental on the other side has been busy since the summer, and people on vacation just don’t seem to care what time or day it is.

To add insult to injury, I have recently been catching a random cat using my backyard as a litter box. I know this is unrelated, but I’m ready to crack. Please help.


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Dear Cranky,

You are not alone. We have all had to adapt to a lot of very uncomfortable changes lately, for sure. For instance, I never realized that a neighbor of mine is a burgeoning opera singer. Yes, really; you can’t make that up.

However, I have had to make myself understand that we are all being forced into the same lifeboat, and that the opera singer and the working parents who are suddenly forced to stay at home and homeschool kids who would rather be with their friends are every bit as inconvenienced as we are.

The vacation rental? I got nuthin. What are they thinking? They should go home and stay there.

As for the cat, I’m just going to point out that cats don’t like being squirted with water from the hose. Before we hear from cat lovers who think this is mean, remember that cats are waterproof. And if it is your cat who is pooping in your neighbor’s yard, tell your cat to follow the advice for the vacation renters.


Edda is not a medical professional but a local lady who loves to give out advice, even when it's not asked of her. Submit your question to for Edda to answer.

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PamSB Nov 07, 2020 06:21 PM
COVID Crankiness

Google "How to keep cat from using yard as litter box" and you will get lots of solutions.

pstarSR Nov 07, 2020 06:27 PM
COVID Crankiness

So, remove the kids? Dont allow people to function during the day? Because you are home now....... wow. Edda did a great job. But if the writer needs more input. Take a breathe, its not that bad.

Getoffmylawn Nov 07, 2020 09:34 PM
COVID Crankiness

Good set of earplugs calming music in background and a realistic goal as to what you want to achieve.

shorebird Nov 07, 2020 10:11 PM
COVID Crankiness

Get a white noise machine.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 07, 2020 10:54 PM
COVID Crankiness

Noise cancelling headphones are nice, if you can afford them. I have both Bose over-ear QC35 and in-ear QC20 noise cancelling headphones. I'm not sure about their competitors, but I find them well made and very comfortable to wear for very long periods. They're really idea for lower-pitched sounds, such as an airplane engines, so random shrieking of kids will be attenuated but not totally eliminated. Normally I use them to listen to music at a very low level, and combined with the noise cancelling that completely eliminates all other sounds.

jak Nov 08, 2020 07:47 AM
COVID Crankiness

If you live in a city, you have to contend with neighbors. If you don’t want to contend with neighbors, then move to a rural area.

a-1604893095 Nov 08, 2020 07:38 PM
COVID Crankiness

Yup. Sometimes it's even a good idea to talk to them!

Bird Nov 08, 2020 10:03 AM
COVID Crankiness

Since we're all neighbors in this small town of Santa Barbara, how do you get politicians to remove their signage? As public "servants" they should know, must know the Municipal Code relating to their jobs. Signs are: MC 22:70. First District councilmember A. Gutierrez has left a sign up on Mason / Soledad since the election _last_ November. (It's 1 ft within a resident's property but, still, a political sign). Newly-reelected Gallardo illegally posted signs high up on public palm trees, so high we can't (illegally) remove them. What to do, Edda, besides grind teeth as we daily walk by?

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 08, 2020 01:29 PM
COVID Crankiness

BIRD: I've always felt that politicians should be required to pay a huge deposit before they're allowed to put up signs. If they remove their signs they get the money back, otherwise it's forfeited and used to hire someone to clean up the mess.

PitMix Nov 09, 2020 07:07 AM
COVID Crankiness

Conspiracy theory says that candidate signs posted illegally are put up by their opponents to make them bad.

biguglystick Nov 08, 2020 11:20 AM
COVID Crankiness

Sorry, but I side with the OP. I'd get a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones like the others have suggested. Noisy people are rude.

a-1604868528 Nov 08, 2020 12:48 PM
COVID Crankiness

Alas noise cancelling headphones do nothing for screeching kids including closed doors and windows. That irritation from hell has no kryptonite. I'm wondering if a porn soundtrack full blast pointed back at them would demur them to some degree but the passive aggressivity of it demurs me.

sacjon Nov 08, 2020 05:36 PM
COVID Crankiness

12:48 - Blasting porn at children? WTH kind of monster are you? Jeezus, some of you people blow me away. If anyone did something like that to my kids, I'd sue their house out from under them.

a-1604888967 Nov 08, 2020 06:29 PM
COVID Crankiness

SACJON... hah, I see it would have the desired effect!! Children haven't a clue what the sounds mean but it would shock the parents to scurry the children indoors. Instant gratification.

sacjon Nov 08, 2020 12:23 PM
COVID Crankiness

You should tell your neighbors to keep their kids inside while you're working. How dare these young children be outside making joyful sounds while they're stuck home as well. Maybe you should go outside and make grouchy sounds to deter them?

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 08, 2020 01:39 PM
COVID Crankiness

SACJON: Joyful sounds to parents' ears, maybe not so joyful to others, particularly if their in the middle of a Zoom meeting presentation. It's tough now that many of us are forced to use our homes as offices. I've had meetings disrupted by screaming children, leaf blowers and garbage trucks. This was during the heatwave, and I was forced to shut my windows a suffer the heat so that my mic didn't pick up all those sounds. It's frustrating and if you've every experienced this you'd understand.

sacjon Nov 08, 2020 05:28 PM
COVID Crankiness

CHEM - Yeah, sometimes you hear things from outside when you live in a city. I'm sure your co-workers understand your plight, I know mine do.

ZeroHawk Nov 09, 2020 09:45 AM
COVID Crankiness

@ Sac LOL! :D that was the best answer possible :D

sbarbarian Nov 08, 2020 03:24 PM
COVID Crankiness

If you live within the city limits, ANY cat off its owner's property is considered "feral." Doesn't matter if it has a collar/chip/ can get a live trap from animal control ($40 deposit, I think) and they will come pick both up.

sacjon Nov 08, 2020 05:27 PM
COVID Crankiness

SBARBARIAN - you'd trap your neighbors cat and send it to the pound? Good golly, I'm glad I don't live near someone like that.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 08, 2020 06:21 PM
COVID Crankiness

SACJON: I believe there are some counties in the US where it's legal to shoot feral cats. Trapping doesn't sound all that bad in comparison.

a-1604892528 Nov 08, 2020 07:28 PM
COVID Crankiness

It's stray, just like a dog. "Feral" is a determination made through behavioral assessment. A house cat can appear "feral" if very stressed by its experience being brought to a shelter, whether it's trapped or not.
Just like dogs, it's a good practice to ask around your neighborhood or confine the cat and bring it in yourself, as you would a stray dog. Yes, it happens. Please take these normal steps prior to renting or buying a HavAHeat trap. Please call the stray county shelter for advice. Do they still rent traps?
Me? I run after one in my yard, yelling and clapping my hands, maybe tossing stones or ground cover at it. It's one cat I see maybe once a year. I chase it because my indoor cats tend to get upset at cats on the other side of a screen or glass door.

a-1604892770 Nov 08, 2020 07:32 PM
COVID Crankiness

How the animal is handled depends on the policies of the municipal agency. Cities and counties have different policies about things like rental and pickup. Another reason it's a good idea to consult with them first.
SB City Animal Control (division of Police Dept.) 963-1513

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
963-1513 - Phone message only. NEED I REPEAT THAT? **MESSAGES ONLY**
For emergencies after hours, call the Santa Barbara Police Department at 882-8900
For animal control issues outside of the City limit, contact the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter at 681-5285. They are located at 5473 Overpass Road (next door to Humane Society).

a-1604892936 Nov 08, 2020 07:35 PM
COVID Crankiness

People have. Usually very frustrated people. I can see doing it -- but only the 3rd or 4th time, after doing all I could to find the owner and take it up with them, possibly using animal control as a mediator. I too own cats and have lived with them before I could fully walk.

ZeroHawk Nov 09, 2020 09:43 AM
COVID Crankiness

SBARBARIAN that is the most ridiculous thing i've heard today! Gold star for you! You're wrong. I'll just leave it at that. Also, they won't come pick it up, but maybe the police will pick you up for theft. How about not being a d*ck and looking at the phone number on the tag and call the owner? Because that's what most people without an attitude issue would do to their neighbor.

a-1604998292 Nov 10, 2020 12:51 AM
COVID Crankiness

Not wrong. SB city and county stray animal laws apply to both cats and dogs, and other animals.
It's also in the codes that cats shall be licensed.

City: 6.08.020 Animals Running at Large and Grazing Prohibited-Exception-Nuisance
A. ANIMALS AT LARGE. It is unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, to cause or permit or allow the same to stray or run, or in any other manner to be at large in or upon any unenclosed lot or place.

County: Sec. 7-11. - Generally.
(a)It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having custody and control of any animal to fail to keep such animal under restraint when such animal is in or upon any public or private property or area without the express permission of the owner or custodian of such property or area.

Basicinfo805 Nov 08, 2020 06:35 PM
COVID Crankiness

Just trap it and drop it off at the pound. I love cats and have one, but you don't let them crap out your neighbor's place. Personal responsibility.

PitMix Nov 09, 2020 07:08 AM
COVID Crankiness

Or rescue a dog and let it chase the cat away. Win, win, win.

ZeroHawk Nov 09, 2020 09:40 AM
COVID Crankiness

huh? cats roam, thats what they do, not all are indoor pets. that's just a weird statement. i have raccoons, opposums, skunks, 3 random cats that roam my yards at night. so what. they are animals and that's what they do. a cat turd isn't going to destroy your yard or your day....get a grip

ZeroHawk Nov 09, 2020 09:47 AM
COVID Crankiness

wow....a lot of crying going on here...over a cat pooping and some kids being kids? this is news?? LOL seriously folks...this isn't news. this is nothing other than someone being a whiner. gonna cry now that the cars on the 101 make noise? Or the sound of the waves is too loud? FFS

PitMix Nov 09, 2020 12:13 PM
COVID Crankiness

Different things bother different people. My professor neighbor is really upset over a little dog constantly barking across the street from us. I don't let my dogs bark, but in general barking bothers me less than it used to because I know why they are doing it. If you acknowledge that someone might be bothered by this, then I will acknowledge your pain if you ever post something that bothers you. Besides my posts.

sacjon Nov 09, 2020 01:13 PM
COVID Crankiness

ZERO - something about this town gives people that entitled feeling that they should never have to hear sounds they don't like. You're lucky in downtown, out hear in Goleta we wade through almost weekly complaints on Nextdoor every time a plane takes off too early or too loudly. The great thing about most sounds (barking, planes, kids playing) is that they are temporary. If kids playing or a plane flying is bothering you, go inside, close the doors/windows and ride it out. It will all be over soon.

pstarSR Nov 09, 2020 04:26 PM
COVID Crankiness

SAC I lived in the flight path for 2 years. literally 500 ft from the airport. I could wave to passengers landing from my balcony. I never cared about plane traffic. hell it stopped at like 9pm every night. and didnt start till like 8am. ( this is to the accuracy detectives) IF the airport operated before or after the times I listed. That means I DID NOT NOTICE till then. Its not that bad. why people complain about something they moved next to is beyond me.

a-1605068593 Nov 10, 2020 08:23 PM
COVID Crankiness

Of course it's not news! It's a (tongue in cheek) advice column in a home-grown website. Seriously, Zerohawk, ffs. :-)

a-1605068673 Nov 10, 2020 08:24 PM
COVID Crankiness

Thank you for reinforcing my belief that I was right to never join a Next Door!
I speak to most of my neighbors.

bosco Nov 09, 2020 01:20 PM
COVID Crankiness

Sorry, no sympathy here. Why does this need to be posted here? Sounds like life is continuing on outside your home. Deal with it or move to Montana.

PitMix Nov 10, 2020 07:33 AM
COVID Crankiness

Got you to post, didn't they! Clicks drive advertising. Goal accomplished.

a-1605068843 Nov 10, 2020 08:27 PM
COVID Crankiness

Yet understandable. Seems only natural disasters get readers to actually give money to Edhat.

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