Wow, just wow

After all the work we’ve been doing and my last 2 posts reflecting that AND Shawn busting his ass finishing up the hillside, THIS anonymous note appeared in our mailbox:

My first reaction was “what an asshole!” what the heck? I had just arrived home and Shawn was still down the hill hoeing and raking. I debated whether to even show it to him but I eventually went down, told him he should be sitting down for this and handed him the note. “Honey, someone doesn’t like your hardware”, was all I could muster. (Okay, that sounded weird). I could see the look of utter confusion on his face, much like mine. First of all, the posts are wood, only the bolts are metal and they are galvanized steel with a matte finish so they do not give off that much shine to begin with. Over the years they will rust.
But, being that I am Canadian and we are internationally known for being so damn nice the paranoid part of me worried that our bolts were reflecting all over Napa taking eyes out with laser beams of light and causing quite a sensation. So I immediately got in the car with my husband and we drove all over the lower neighborhood looking to see if our hillside was lit up like a Christmas tree in the afternoon sun.
First, we started in downtown. We could not see a thing, even the retaining wall. So we drove around the streets below our hill. The streets that are closest to the cliff face would not be able to see the hillside. I took this picture from a few streets back, where the posts are visible. The bolts were a little reflective, but are so miniscule, you can barely notice as we have so many trees.


The only way someone would know the details of the retaining wall (as in the note) would be if they were looking through binoculars. Yes. Creepy.
After spending all this time and money restoring the property, clearing the oleander, ivy, the rotting railway ties  and everything else out of that fire hazard of a downslope,  bringing back the +150 year old old oaks to health working in conjunction with an arborist, I’m just floored that someone would write this….
Give me your thoughts – someone with too much time on their hands?

(I should mention that the Young Ridge Winery, on the ridge directly across valley from us has a 20 foot tall happy face that lights up every night and can be seen all over the Napa Valley. Just sayin’.)



Welcome to The Napa Project, where I write about our five year remodel of a mid century home in Napa, California.

20 thoughts on “Wow, just wow

    1. I came to the same conclusion and I would if I knew who it was! Perhaps since they enjoy looking at our hillside through binoculars so much, I should leave a message by the bolts….

  1. Just found your website, very nice. The taste police must be trying to fill their quota. I’m amazed at all the great work you have done to your place. As an architect I can understand your reaction.

  2. I would have the same responses in the same order. First, what is wrong with this idiot, and (when I could see straight) second, could there actually be a problem? Since you’ve confirmed your first thought that there is in fact no possible way that you are creating a problem, the person must be, let’s say, in error. Could the doofus have mistaken your property for some other place? I guess I am like you in that it’s hard to let go of something so preposterous without finding some explanation for it. But you have to know that your home and property does stand out – as an example of dedication to authenticity as well as really hard work – so maybe it’s just someone who doesn’t like to see such things.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Katrina! No, they could not have mistaken it for another place. We are the only property up here that has been working on our back slope at the moment. They had enough time on their hands to find out which house it was, drive or walk up (we have a lot of walkers on our street as it dead ends at a fire road and loops to the streets below) and leave a note in our mailbox. Obviously someone who would have preferred it stayed the overgrown fire hazard jungle that it was.

  3. Now that you’ve driven around to make sure you’re not blinding the neighbors, I’d go back to the “what an asshole” assessment. Some people just like to complain.

    1. You made me LAUGH OUT LOUD, Dana! Good plan. God knows what they are going to do when Bottlerock blasts their eardrums for 5 days! Complain to the noise police?

  4. Personally, I’d temporarily add a bunch of *very* brightly colored pinwheels, reflectors, highly-polished strips of metal, etc. to the landscape for a little while just to screw with them. Tee-hee. Give ’em a bit of perspective as to what is obnoxiously shiny and what truly isn’t.

    1. Damn, anonymous person, I like your style!! I was thinking of putting up a bullseye, to go along with the ‘shooting range’ theme. But then I worried someone would actually try shooting at it. I may go with your idea! Thanks for visiting!

  5. I’m sorry to inform you and this is really hard to say…..but it looks like you have an evil troll in your neighborhood. It’s not hopeless, just wait a few days until someone else puts up something shiny and that should provide a new distraction….

  6. Someone seriously needs to get a life. I would have had the same reaction as you. And I thought Californians were supposed to be laid back!

  7. Hey, I am late to this conversation. HAHA. Read this article. Same exact thing only all these idiots complained about solar panels. Seriously? Get a freaking life. This house sits at the end of our street and the rich people put solar panels all down the side of a cliff, that they owned, with permission from the California Coastal Commission. The rich people below, didn’t like the rich people above’s solar panels. Your story reminds me of this but without the press coverage. My husband and I were laughing. We hope more of the rich people blanket the hill with solar panels. If you find your annoying neighbor send her this link and tell her she got lucky.

    1. Thanks for the article! That’s interesting, because we did investigate putting solar panels on the roof! Frankly, to be done correctly, it was extremely expensive and would have taken 15-20 years to recoup the cost – so we axed the idea. I also was concerned about the glare!
      A lot of this green home technology is still a rich persons game (but hey, I’m starting my own compost pile!). Reminds me of the AIA home tour we went on in Marin, one home had their own water treatment plant and it also collected rainwater. It cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. But they can be greener than all their friends 😉

  8. Really enjoying your blog and great comments on this post. I wonder if the perp follows your blog? If so, you’ve done yourself and them a service by sharing the incident. You WILL laugh about this one day when you and Shawn are sitting by your cozy fire enjoying an afterdinner drink and reminiscing about the remodel. Btw, I use to be the manager of an author who wrote a best seller called, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, How to Bring out the Best in People at their Worst. ( It’s a great book. Cheers~

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