Monday, April 20, 2015

Neighbor Drama

I think we are the most hated people on the block. Seriously. Even more than the red rental house whose occupants have included a creepy guy who strolled around chatting with neighbors and you couldn't get rid of him to save your life, a ghetto-looking family who sat on their front porch to have loud cell phone conversations and let their yappy anklebiter dogs roam the neighborhood and crap in everyone else's yard, or the current residents: young, sketchy-looking guys that play music too loud and speed loud motorcycles up and down the street and that my daughter swears she saw making a drug deal one night.

I'm not overly outgoing. One of my best friends was truly friends with all her neighbors and had them over frequently. I'm not really that type. Hospitality has never been my strong suit. However, we chat with several of our neighbors when we see them, wave at them often, my son plays across the street with the neighbors' grandkids, and I've taken Christmas goodies to several of the neighbors. I even do something gluten-free for the elderly couple next door because i know he has celiac's disease. She's always very nice and friendly to all of us. Her husband has never spoken to us, however, and won't even look our way so we can wave. My son likes to give her May baskets and they've given him little gifts and yummies. The neighbors on the other side are close to our age and are a blended family, as well. He did us a favor, helping with a fence, and in exchange, I said I'd do a free family portrait session for them. That was at least two years ago--I reminded them a couple of times and then let it go. She called me once to ask if I would be willing to babysit their new baby when she went back to work, but she ended up finding someone else before I'd had time to think about it.

A couple of summers back, our basement flooded 5 or 6 times between a clogged sump pump, a broken sump pump, 24 hours without power after a storm, and then just leaking through cracks in the foundation. We lost a lot of belongings. My pictures were stored down there and many were ruined. I lost a couple of bags of clothes and about 75% of my scrapbook paper and lots of keepsakes. I had old books, some nearly 100 years old, that had to be thrown out. The kids lost some toys and dress up clothes. We were hauling things upstairs and laying out blankets and stuffed animals to dry in the back yard. We brought up furniture and bags of ruined items to go to the trash. The clean up was slow since we kept having reoccurrences and life moves on whether you have a disaster or not.  We got a notice from the city that we were in violation of city code, that we couldn't store things outside. One of the neighbor's had complained. We suspected it was the elderly couple because they were the only ones that had a good view of the debris. Thanks for kicking us while we are down. Incidentally, a few months ago, their basement flooded (sewer line issues) and their yard had to be bulldozed and the dirt was dumped in our side yard. The foreman came to the door to make sure it was ok. Rather than being spiteful, I said I understood completely seeing how our basement had flooded multiple times the year before.

My daughters ride the bus with the other neighbors' sons and they were telling us how the boys tell them how their dad criticizes how often we mow our lawn all the time. This from the guy who mows at 8-9pm at night outside my kids' windows when they're going to bed or plays music in the garage by their windows late or whose dogs stand 3 feet from our bedroom window and bark incessantly.

Last week, my husband got a new lawn tractor and mowed for the first time this season. Just learning the new mower, he accidentally sprayed some grass into the elderly neighbors' yard. He apologized to the lady but she started complaining about our dandelions and how it's our fault they have a few dandelions in their yard and that we have the worst yard on the block. My husband has seeded multiple times but the grass is horrible. I used to spray the dandelions but they got too out of hand for spot treating. Between not having the money for unimportant things like grass and not having the time between karate, drama, orchestra, volleyball, scholar bowl, church, babysitting, etc. and having major family issues like court custody battles and my son being hospitalized twice, the lawn is the last thing on my list of priorities. If it bothers the neighbors so much, they can pay for weed and seed and do it themselves. I don't have the time nor do I care about something as insignificant as the grass. Walk a mile in my shoes, then complain. My husband spoke to a lawn company about spraying and reseeding now that he sold the family farm. Maybe then they will be happy.  But, probably not.

Today we were supposed to have our driveway widened. The concrete guys came out and started digging and setting up forms. But "a neighbor" called the city and they came out and demanded a building permit so the guys had to stop and go down to city hall. It took so much time, they couldn't pour the concrete today. But at least the permit is posted now. And whoever complained gets to deal with the mess another day, including a pile of rocks in the street, which I'm surprised they haven't called the police about yet.

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