Yesterday, I recorded one of the last stipulated judgments of my career as a boundary dispute attorney. The woman seated at the recorder’s desk was pleasant enough.

When she asked what it was that I was recording, I told her that it was likely the last judgment I would ever record from an adverse possession case.

Then as so often happens, she related to me the story of her own case. Except in this instance, the parties were smart enough to get together and each pay for half of a survey before they went ahead with the work … which in her case involved paving just up to – but not beyond – what they both recognized to be the boundary line.

She then related that her neighbor moved away, but now she has a new neighbor with whom she has an even better relationship. While I was working, I had never heard of this type of miracle.

Then another miracle occurred.

I took the now recorded judgment to the assessor’s office so that in addition to clearly having the court ordered boundary adjustment identified in the chain of title, the parties would be properly taxed going forward.

As an aside, this is a step that many attorneys who don’t regularly engage themselves in boundary disputes fail to realize needs to occur. Best practice is to indicate that this is to occur in the proposed order.

Now, I suspect that there is a possibility that the county (and perhaps the city if also having jurisdiction) could baulk if not named in the lawsuit, but the likelihood of any authority at the county getting so exercised that they want to challenge such a ruling asymptotically approaches zero. Yet, for attorneys that seek to absolutely smote all risk, by all means name the county as a defendant.

Returning to the miracle at the assessor’s office. I presented my recorded judgment to a clerk who went to speak with someone in the abstract department, and then it happened.

Another clerk came out and offered me some water. Rather dumbfounded by such a pleasant offering, I gladly accepted. She brought me a bottle of water!

I overheard this clerk mention to another that she may or may not be coming in today, but certainly would not on Friday.

Now, in the generally cautious to negative frame of mind I had normally occupied while doing my boundary dispute work, I can see myself attributing all of this to a pleasant, albeit lazy, government worker.

But, after I received word from the first clerk that all was well and went to leave, I saw that this generous soul was on her way out too.

We exchanged holiday well wishes and I noted that I had overheard that she had an extended holiday.

Without falling into sorrow, she shared that it wouldn’t be an extended holiday for her, but rather the funeral of an uncle – the last of that generation.

So my question is this: “How is it that some people can continue through life with a positive attitude even in the face of life’s ultimate misery …

Whereas others seek out misery in the face of life’s ultimate joy?”

Having good relationships with your family, your friends, your co-workers, and your neighbors is a choice.

A choice that people must make for themselves even when the outside experiences which occur as a result of the neighbors is not positive.

After a decade of repeatedly attempting – sometimes spectacularly successfully and at other times just as spectacularly unsuccessful – to cross the chasm from negativity to positivity, I finally realize that I increasingly risk being “up the creek without a paddle.”

The water sure isn’t pure there!

Better to find headwaters where the water is pure and bottle and preserve it instead. Cheers!

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