**Trigger warnings still stand: If you’re easily bothered by things such as suicide, rape, child abuse, animal neglect, sex trafficking, narcissist behavior, and maybe some other related topics, you should skip these posts. It’s not my regular happy-go-lucky sort of deal. Previous posts here: (1/10) (2/10)**
Once we were caught up to speed it all made sense why he parked his truck on our place. We were a bit surprised that we didn’t know anything about getting a neighbor until we were meeting the guy. I had been in close contact with the owner selling that uphill parcel. Neither he, nor my realtor, mentioned anything about it.
It turns out it was a fast sale. It was owner carry so there were no realtors involved. Inside of a week, Hawg saw the property, signed contracts for it started building roads to it. While our sale process took the better part of two months to close on. We both closed on the same weekend though, him the day before us.
It didn’t bother us at the time
Hawg told us that he parked his dump truck there since he couldn’t get it up hill all the way. He made no apologies nor offers to move it. End of the story and that’s just where he’s going to park his truck now. It put a damper on our first night on our new property but he seemed nice enough. It turns out those impositions are just a part of who he was as a person. By itself, it’s not a problem, but it definitely added up and ended up crossing a lot of boundaries over time.
For the time being, in true Macy form, I found the good in it (I mean at least he’s friendly!), and we made a new plan. We went and parked our camper by the pond and spent the night fishing instead of how we initially expected to. We had only planned on staying the one night anyway, so we didn’t want to make a big deal about it. In the morning we drove back to Boise for the summer.
We didn’t actually plan on moving up to Moscow for a couple years. We planned on moving the tiny house up that fall, instead of keeping it stored in Boise (we were in the heart of our legal issues and had received our code violation notice and so we were not allowed to live in it). Then, the next spring (2020) we’d find a builder and hire the barn built so we could start transitioning ourselves north. We had planned on doing some major work on James’s Boise house so we didn’t intend on moving to Moscow until summer 2021 or 2022.
That fall we moved the tiny house
We found a mover for the tiny house that fall as planned. He (Jason) did an awesome job moving it regardless of the house wanting to fall apart on him. It was Hawg who rescued us though, when the semi couldn’t get it up the hill all the way. He willingly used his time, excavator and tractor to help maneuver the house around and into place. This was only the second time we met him. I still have no idea what we would have done without his help.
At this point, he lived alone in an RV on his uphill property while he got it ready to build his house. He had gotten his roads in and no longer used our place to park his dump truck, though he has always had something stored on our property. Even right now, his excavator is at the corner of our driveway and has been for a year and a half. He was also setting up off-grid power and water. We took different routes but he was a good guy to bounce ideas off of and we both made better power systems because of our conversations.
He seemed like a genuine guy who was capable. He had a girlfriend in town that we heard would eventually move out. She had a young daughter. We hadn’t met them though. The kids were excited to have a kid neighbor. Hawg owned his own snow removal company and a contracting business. He generously declared that we will never have to plow our road. He was going into winter and his work was taking a downturn. We chatted about our barn build. He came off as very capable and willing. By a stroke of luck, we hired him to build it over winter instead of waiting for the next spring. Our intention was to help him out, too. He was looking at a couple of slow months of construction before snow flew. We’re glad we hired him because we could not have afforded the material costs the next spring.
He started the barn
We bought all of the materials for the barn, put it in his hands to get building, and went back to Boise for the winter. We kept in close communication about the project and made plans to come back in spring 2020 to check in.
He was actively going through a divorce with his ex wife when he moved up the hill. He would regularly ask for advances on our payments because ‘his ex was taking everything he had’. We rarely complied as we needed our checkpoints completed before we could pay. After all, we didn’t really know him and, if he stopped working we had to have enough left to hire someone else to complete the job.
Through these talks and conversations, he told us in no unclear terms that the place he bough uphill was ‘his’ place. He bought it and set up the contracts in that way very intentionally. That way, if he married again, his wife would have no claims to it in a divorce. This tidbit becomes important later.
He treated us well, I think because he couldn’t avoid us if something went sour. I have since uncovered many lawsuits against him and his company though. He wasn’t the most honest businessperson. When times got tough with the pandemic it appears he hung several families out to dry.
Covid hit. We opted to set aside those Boise projects and just head up to Moscow to start those plans early. By the time we got back in spring, he had moved a mobile home up the hill to his place, made a lot of progress on his own doings and moved his girlfriend (now fiancé) and her 10 year old daughter in up the hill.
Construction on our barn didn’t go as fast and we (or Hawg) expected. I think it was a bigger job than he had anticipated. And there were unforeseen emergencies that happened on the properties, mostly flooding from new drainage issues, etc. Legitimate stumbling blocks that required immediate attention, not only for Hawg’s benefit, but for ours. He handled them, but there was still several months of work left to do on our barn when we came up in the middle of March. Originally, construction was to be done by December 2019.
Sometime between that fall and the next spring, the dogs moved up also. At a point there were 14 dogs, but there has been a rotating door on them. Initially there were 5, then they had two litters of puppies. They kept some of those. One died. They gave away one of the momma dogs because the other dogs kept attacking her. Then there were more puppies. For most of the time we’ve lived here they have had the same five plus a couple others coming and going. All of the dogs thought we were living at their place. They didn’t like it.
For the dogs, property lines were a little blurry.
They were always on our property when Hawg was building the barn. They loved swimming in our pond and I hear they regularly did that while we were away. Surely they assumed it was their territory. We were the unwelcome intruders.
They would bark and nip at us, constantly. After dark they would come downhill to our house and literally surround the tiny house, barking. They would bark all night, they pooped everywhere and peed all over our stuff (regularly our drinking water tote, gross!). They got in fights with Denver and would run into our house if the doors were open and snarf down Denver’s food. Denver was so happy about dog neighbors until he saw them gobble down his food. Then he was over it. They knew no limits and none of this bothered Hawg. They would do all of this in plain sight and he never corrected them. Often it would make him chuckle.
That was the first boundary I had to outline: The dogs can’t come down here anymore.
Not one day went by that they weren’t here though. Not one. It was frustrating. We sent many annoying texts to call them back and hoped it would come to an end as soon as the barn was completed.
The barn got completed
He and his son did a great job building out the barn. Especially considering they were running a different business and Hawg was setting up his own homestead simultaneously. They didn’t always want to follow the plans but that’s not too weird for a contractor. James and I were savvy enough to make sure they did.
It was the start of the pandemic, we weren’t interacting much with other people. He wasn’t either. In person we started being a lot more chatty. He admitted to making plenty of ‘big’ mistakes in his past while also being careful to not tell us anything about what those related to. He ended up making a couple comments that caught my attention though.
Once he got defensive that I knew his legal name as ‘only his enemies call him that’ (my realtor had told me). His business was Hawg’s Home Improvement, I had assumed it was just a nickname until that reaction. In my experience, people who use alternate names are usually trying to hide something.
Another comment was showing interest in ‘what kind’ of school we were looking at using the barn for, and then losing interest entirely when we said one for adults. I knew it was only a certain class of criminal who had to be aware of school locations. That caused me to Google him. It was also not a huge surprise because he had already fessed up to having a sketchy past fueled by alcohol, drugs and the condition of being young and stupid. It would have been better if he would have told us outright though. He was hanging out with us, with our kids and us, near daily at a point.
Indeed he did have a history to hide, but it was a tall order to expect it to stay hidden. He had already spend years in prison for sexual assault of a minor. He had a LONG list of ex-wives who were big mad at him. And he was currently on parole with some pretty heavy restrictions. His parole officer somehow didn’t catch that he never updated his sex offender registry with his new address. He maintained an address in town as his dwelling. We now know that was his mothers place.
After we pieced it all together and had some big talks with our kids about ‘tricky people’. We told Miles and Hazel how we think Hawg might be a tricky person. And that likely his girlfriend is, too. She gave me some STRONG creeps the first time I interacted with her (more on that soon…).
Miles and Hazel were so excited to have a neighbor kid to play with, then sad to learn they won’t ever be allowed to go play at her house. Our focus was on them not ever being alone with either him or her and how they could avoid it. We gave them things they can do and say if they ever felt uncomfortable and assured them we will always keep a close eye on them, too. It was not the learning lessons we hoped to teach our kids at 4 and 6 years old, but life hands you situations.
Education never hurt anyone, but pedophiles do…
Still, he seemed remorseful for his past decisions, even if not direct or forthcoming. We put some hard lines between us when we found out. His parole ended Dec. 2020 and we both assumed some wild behaviors might start back up then and we needed to be aware of it. We opted to not bring up the discussion, instead, waiting to see if he did on his own.
I would say we had a decent enough relationship with him and he was a helpful neighbor. We just endeavored to keep space between us. We DID become concerned immediately about the little girl and considered calling in a check on her then. At the time, her mother seemed a far bigger threat than Hawg was.
After all that has happened, I still hold that opinion.