I have lived next door to "Janet" for 15 years
and have always considered her one of my good friends. I have often run errands for her
and always feed her menagerie of pets when she goes out of town, which is quite often.
There have also been many times I have made special trips to the store for medicine or
other things when she hasn't felt well. The following story is what changes all that!
(Meaning that she is on her own from now on!)
I had just had major surgery a week earlier, my husband had gone back to work and I
hadn't been released to drive yet. My 2-year-old son started wanting some French fries,
and seeing as how that was about all he'd eat, I was in a fix! I called Janet and asked
her if she was getting out later and if so, would she go get my son some fries. She said,
"Don't you have any potatoes so you can just fry him some?" When I recovered
from my speechlessness, I informed her that every night the previous week there had been
people bringing us food, as I wasn't up to cooking yet. Then she said that no, she wasn't
getting out, but if she did, she'd let me know.
Less than an hour later I looked outside and her car was gone! She was still gone
several hours later when I went to bed. Now, I wasn't asking her to drive across town, I
was asking her to go less than a mile down the street to the closest fast-food place! This
was the first (and last, I might add) time I had EVER asked her to do anything for me and
she refused! All this after not even checking on me after my surgery! This is not a feeble
old woman I'm talking about either. She is just lazy and expects everybody to do things
for her all the time, but she's not about to do anything for anybody else! A couple of
weeks after this, she had the nerve to send her son over to get my husband because a light
in her kitchen shorted out! My good-hearted husband went over there anyway, even though he
is also very aggravated with her! I can hardly wait until the next time she asks me to do
something! Needless to say, my son never got his French fries that night!
Now, now! Retaliation in kind will get you thrown into
This isn't precisely a rude neighbor story -- it's just a weird one.
It belongs rightfully to my choir teacher -- I'll call her "Erin".
Erin and her boyfriend "Ray" recently moved here from Canada -- it's her
first year working as a teacher in my small Midwest US town. They're just out of college
and they live in an inexpensive apartment near the high school. Pretty much the situation
you'd expect -- except for the upstairs neighbor.
One night, as Erin was home alone, she heard a tremendous thudding and thumping above
her. She didn't knock on the ceiling, as she's rather quiet and polite most times; she
just waited it out, worrying a little about just what was going on up there. It was pure
luck that she happened to glance out the window when the sofa went by.
Yes, you heard me right. The sofa. The upstairs tenant had somehow managed to shove her
sofa across the apartment, onto the balcony, and over the railing. It fell three stories,
past Erin sitting shocked in her living room, and landed on the ground, right side up but
much worse for wear.
Of course, Erin ran upstairs to check if the lady was all right -- once she got up her
courage. She'd never met the woman, so she was a bit apprehensive. Turns out the lady was
about five-foot-two, in her sixties, just a tiny little thing -- God only knows how she
managed that sofa. Maybe she had a hunk around somewhere.
Later that month, Erin and Ray awoke to an incessant flushing noise and a drip coming
from their ceiling -- it was leaking, and their first thought was of the lady upstairs.
Erin went up again to check. This time she found the apartment literally flooded -- there
were two or three inches of standing water that trickled under the door and came out in a
little wave as the lady opened her door. She was wearing fuzzy bedroom slippers that were
absolutely soaked, but she seemed unperturbed. "My toilet's broken," she said
complacently. She took Erin into the bathroom to show her, and there was a pipe loosened
behind the toilet that somehow was gushing water. The lady pushed the flush handle, as she
had no doubt done hundreds of times already, and more water came pouring out onto the
floor. Erin tried to get her to stop, but it was of no use -- the lady was bound and
determined that if she flushed it enough it'd somehow magically fix itself.
Erin did complain to the landlord, but nothing came of it -- it was cheap housing,
after all, and there wasn't much the landlord could do. At present the lady is still
living there, above the apartment. neighbors0226-01
I've got a friend who pitched a sofa from her third floor
apartment recently. Wave to the nice people, Dana!
A few years ago a friend of mine, "Mike" and his girlfriend "Liz"
had decided to move in together. They decided to give up their apartments and move into a
new larger place along with Liz's 19-year-old daughter, "Tina". I hadn't heard
from Mike for several months but he calls me on a Saturday afternoon around 1:00 PM and
asks me if I can give him a hand moving a few boxes onto his rental truck. Since I had
nothing else planned for the day and he lived near by I agreed to help.
When I arrived he explains that he has a large group of people coming the next day to
move the majority of their stuff butt he just had to move about 15 or 20 boxes that
afternoon. Well it turns out that 20 boxes are really about 40 and none of them are
packed. Now I have no problem helping someone move but since he knew he was moving months
before and had done nothing to prepare for it I felt it was not my place to pack his
possessions. As he packed the boxes I would carry them quite a distance to the truck.
Because he wasn't actually carrying any of these boxes he didn't exactly pack them light.
He also made a point to explain to me that he didn't want to spend the extra $5.00 to rent
the wheel dolly padlocked in the back of the truck - but then again he wasn't carrying the
boxes, I was.
Finally the boxes were all loaded into the truck. Everything this guy owned fit into
boxes - he had zero furniture despite having lived in this apartment for number of years
and earning a good living. I was about to leave when he asked me to drive him to the truck
rental firm to pick up his car but first we would have to drop the rental truck off at his
girl friends apartment.
Arriving at Liz's apartment Mike quickly forgets about picking up his car and asks if I
can give him a hand loading a few things of hers just to make things go a little faster
the next day. Thinking that his girlfriend would be slightly more organized I agreed - I
was wrong. As we are walking in one of Liz's male friends arrives and is enlisted to help
When we walk into the apartment we are met by Liz and her 19 year old daughter Tina.
Neither of them say hello in response to my greeting - Liz does manage a little nod. As
nothing is packed here either we start moving furniture out to the truck. The whole time
Liz and Tina are sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and smoking. Eventually we fill
the truck and I'm again asked to drop Mike off at the truck rental firm. But he wants to
drop the truck off at the new apartment first. We arrive at the new apartment only to be
met by two others friends who have come by to see the new apartment. One of the friends
"Diana" suggests that we empty the truck to make it easier the next day. Since
everyone else was willing I was put on the spot and agreed to help. So Liz, Tina and Diana
all head up the 3 floors to the new apartment - empty handed.
While the men are unloading the truck the three women are discussing where they will
put things, what curtains they need etc. At around 6:00 PM the truck is empty and Diana
suggest we all go back and load up for tomorrow. Again, since everyone else was willing I
agreed. Back at Liz's apartment we start loading furniture again. Liz and Diana talk about
putting stuff in the storage locker at the new place but they need a padlock. So Liz,
Diana and Tina head to Sears to buy a lock. They come back an hour later having bought the
lock and done a little clothes shopping while they were there. It's now about 7:30 PM and
there has been no talk of stopping for supper. Around here it's usual that if you ask
friends to help you move you provide some sort of fast food around meal times - chicken,
pizza etc and beverages. I've been helping these people for over 6 hours and I haven't
been even offered a glass of water.
At one point Tina comes into the living room, sits down on the sofa, puts her feet up
on the coffee table and starts watching TV. I couldn't believe it! Not only had this girl
not lifted a finger to help but this was just too much. One of the other people helping
came into the living room and asked me what was next - I looked at the girl and then at
the TV - the choice was obvious. I went over unplugged the TV and we carried it out to the
truck. Next to go were the sofa and the coffee table leaving her no where to sit.
Around 9:00 PM I had enough so I made an excuse to leave. I had been helping these
people move for the past 8 hours, hadn't been fed or offered a beverage (not even water)
and two of the people being moved hadn't helped. When I told them I was leaving Mike said
"OK" - no "thanks for helping" - nothing. I heard from a mutual friend
that they had a large apartment warming party the next week but apparently I wasn't
invited. To this day I have never been thanked for helping out. Mike and Liz split up a
few months later and I have no idea who helped them move but it sure wasn't me.
This is just a small addition I'd like to submit- an invitation to a baby shower that
was placed in our mailbox one day a year or so ago. I was so nonplussed by it that I
actually kept it for a few weeks to show friends. The invitation was printed on a full
size sheet of bright orange paper and tri-folded before being slipped into our mailbox. I
assume they went down the street and just put one in everyone's box.
The invitation started out saying that the sender was offering the opportunity for a
chance to get to know my neighbors. I thought "how nice" since my husband and I
had lived in that house for a couple years and had yet to meet many of them. As I read
further down the page, I saw that the event was a baby shower for "Beth" and I
was instructed to bring a shower gift and a food dish to pass. The shower was given by
"Amy" and "Nancy". I have no idea who any of these women are. The
address for the shower was a house down the street from us. Needless to say, since the
invitation was given anonymously, I felt no obligation to send my regrets. What's your
opinion? Was this just misguided or plain tacky?
Tacky. A person never asks the guests to cater a function
they are hosting. It would have been better to have a community potluck to meet the
neighbors separately from the baby shower.
I live in the Midwest and I wonder if it is common for the common person to be
inundated with invitations to come to someone's home to purchase items.
Last spring, I received an invitation to a an all-female gathering at a former
colleague of mine. The invitation just stated that they wanted me to come to a gathering
that "would be a chance to toss out the old and ring in the new". I thought the
invitation was to debut a new enclosed porch and deck that she and her sister had just
added to the home that the older sister owns. It having been an unusually harsh winter in
which I had just finished a challenging graduate class, I was looking forward to an
evening of relaxing on their new porch and chatting about old times. I asked the hostesses
if I could bring anything and they told me absolutely not.
When I arrived, I immediately spotted a table in the corner that had about two dozen
candles in various sizes and shapes and holders. All for sale. The representative from the
candle company handed me a brochure and a pencil so that I could list my "faves"
before we got started. Plus, one of the sisters sold Mary Kay and she was peddling her
wares that night as well.
Well, the candles were horribly overpriced and they did not appeal to me anyway. I
could tell that about half of the guests--there were about fifteen in all-were totally
unprepared for the evening of commerce. A couple of people had not brought any money or
even their purses with them. The rest of the guests had apparently been ready for the
evening because they were prepared to buy. The candle representative kept trying to get
the guests to book parties of their own--I would never dream of inviting someone to my
home and then ambushing them with a request to buy.
The worst part about the whole evening was that one of the sisters is an avid sports
fan so she didn't bother to turn off ESPN during the gathering. The sisters have a rather
large screen television in their living room so this kind of overshadowed everything. She
did, however, turn the sound down to a low rumble. Also, towards the end of the evening,
the hostesses announced that if we wanted anything to eat that we would have to stick
around a while because the mini-quiches and pizza rolls were still frozen. They announced
laughingly that this was a tip that they had learned from one of the representatives of an
herbal supplement company whose products they had pushed at a home party at Christmastime.
Hungry people stick around to eat and they buy more! Oh well, I did buy an undereye
concealer from the sister who sold makeup because I did need one. But I won't go back to
any gatherings at their house anytime soon.
By the way, in a two month period last year, I got invited to a clothing party, two
home decorating parties, a country decor party, a basket party, and a jewelry party. Don't
people just visit anymore? Neighbors0226-01
Miss Jeanne has a special place in Etiquette Hell for people who
only invite her to their houses for the purpose of extracting cash from her.
person entertains people as guests in their home, they should recoil in horror at the
thought of inviting people to a party in which they will receive some form of benefit
either in cash or hostess gifts.
Well, we found this rather funny, but don't know if anyone else will.
My fiancé and I live in a townhouse, with neighbors on one side and the open park area
on the other. Pretty decent sized place. I had two dogs when we moved in together. He had
two dogs. Along the line, we took in my sisters two dogs when she was getting out of a
nasty relationship and they have stayed with us since then. The elderly dog died soon
after moving in with us, but she was almost 18 y/o. So five dogs. All rescued sighthounds.
All are actually very quiet and reserved dogs. Had neighbors across the "street"
from us not realize we had 5 dogs in our place until they came over one night. Yes,
landlord does know about all the dogs, and doesn't care. Our complex is very pet friendly,
if the pets are well behaved and clean, our landlord looks the other way on the
"rule" about two pets per apartment.
Two places down, the couple there have a pair of very lovely, well behaved dogs. Mixed
breeds, very sweet, very calm, not problems at all. There are quite a few other dogs in
our area, some tiny little types, some big Mastiff types, and just about everything in
between. Until last year, all were very lovely, polite, well mannered dogs.
Last year, a couple moved in next to us. With the hounds from hell. Noisy, untrained,
rotten dogs. As my FI or I frequently walk all of our dogs together now, it's known we
have 5 dogs. I repeat, they are mostly quiet.
One of them does get a bit fussy if someone isn't home after she is in her crate for 8
hours, but that's it. They get baths as needed. They are fully housebroken. The landlord
knows about them all, has met them all and doesn't have a problem with them. Well, unless
you count the fact meeting our dogs lead him to getting a pair of dogs from the same
The neighbors repeatedly complained about our dogs. The dogs made too much noise. The
dogs smelled. The dogs were marking the wall between our places. They couldn't walk their
dogs if ours were out, as our dogs tried to attack their dogs. We later found out this was
being directed towards ALL people in the area.
The problem? This was how their dogs acted. Thankfully, due to their complaints, the
landlord would check the problem out. They were evicted three months after they moved in.
All the people who complaints were about are still here, with the same dogs.
Up until about seven or eight years ago, we lived next door to a very nice couple with
two small sons. They couldn't afford to do any repairs to their house, which was old and
desperately needed them, but they were friendly and polite and we never had a problem with
Not long after they moved away, an old man in his seventies moved in next door. We live
in a small town of just over two thousand people, where everyone knows everyone else and
doors are usually unlocked, even at night. This man, whom I'll call John, used to live in
New York City.
Now, to give you some idea of where the problems started, I have to give you some idea
of the set-up of our neighborhood. We live along a busy main road at the edge of town,
right across the street from the park. There is a road that branches off the main road not
far down from our own home in a T, and another road that meets up with it parallel to the
main road. Basically, it's a capital H, with the upper left part being a dirt driveway
that's an extension of the road and stretches behind our homes. At the intersection lives
another man, then John, then us.
From the very beginning, John was a problem. First off, the man never spoke to anyone,
save the man at the corner. He had no friends or family, as far as we could tell, and made
no attempt to rectify that. Another thing that we didn't even notice for a while was that
he would take the battery out of his car (which he parked in the back driveway) at night
and replace it when he used the car. Not unusual, I imagine, for a big city, but this is a
small town with virtually no crime.
Umm, explain to me why desiring to
be a loner (which hurts no one) and taking his battery out of his car is problematic?
Being weird is not necessarily an etiquette faux pas.
The biggest problem lie with the property lines. Apparently, the man who had sold John
his house had told him that his property line extended to the house on the other side of
the dirt driveway -- including that home's meticulously kept lawn. But the big thing was
the driveway. He didn't want anyone parking on it, or even walking near it. The problem
is, it's city property, so he has no say. Every year, when my mother would throw a huge
party for the summer fireworks display across the street, he would both yell at people who
dared to walk or park on the driveway or take pictures of them doing it, when it was
perfectly alright for them to do so.
Our family, at the time, had four cars -- the family car, my father's pickup, a
convertible, and my personal car. Since we didn't have much room in the front driveway, I
parked in the back driveway. At first, John would ask me politely to make sure my car
wasn't parked too close to his, and I obliged. But then came the letter.
Were you hogging more than your fair share of the communal
driveway, by any chance?
My father received an "anonymous" letter which contained statements about
things that only my father and John knew. It referred to John as a decorated and respected
war veteran who was a part of his local NYC American Legion. (What it didn't mention was
that no one at the local AL in our town has heard of him, and at the time, he'd been here
for about six or seven years.) It then went on to say that if I did not find somewhere
else to park my car ("off his property"), he was going to sell his house to a
black family from Brooklyn. He wrote it as if it were a threat, saying that white people
expected better, and apparently, he expected us to cower in fear that a black family would
bring down property values in the neighborhood. He also had a problem with the property
lines, which were skewed slightly due to the position of his house. Because, of course,
that was all our fault. He said in the letter that black people were used to skewed
property lines (huh?) and white people, of course, expected better.
What gets me was that he thought bringing in a black family would bring down property
values. In the seven years he had lived there, the man had done not one iota of
improvement on his home. His porch was (and still is) supported by a stack of bricks on
either side, and his roof looks as if it's tiled with toast. Meanwhile, my father -- a
contractor -- has added a two-car, two-story garage with a game room, wrap-around porch,
gazebo, and a driveway to our house. If anything, his house already is bringing our
property values down.
In any event, my father declared a war. He printed up as many copies of the letter as
possible and took them to everyone. Every neighbor for three or four blocks, the police,
our lawyer, everyone. There was hardly anyone in town who hadn't seen it and been shocked
That was classless and petty and
certainly an overblown reaction.
My parents also took out a loan and put up a fence they couldn't afford. (Why this
antisocial jerk couldn't build his own fence, I'll never know.) Wait a minute...they can afford
to add a 2 story, 2 car garage with game
room, wrap-around porch, gazebo and driveway but not a fence?
But it doesn't stop there. A few weeks after we put up the fence, I came home from
shopping to find John scrubbing his side of the fence with a dirty toilet brush. The fence
is six inches back on our property -- he can't touch it. Errr. no. Not quite. Most states have a
statute that makes both owners equally responsible for repair and maintenance of boundary
fences between two properties regardless of who paid to have it installed.
So I tattled to my mother. Brat.
My mother, who's got a wicked temper, stomped outside and demanded that he stop.
Another petty reaction that is out of proportion to the offense. He
threw down the brush, stomped towards his house, and yelled out, "Wait until I go to
Harrisburg!" Who the hell in Harrisburg was going to care about him and his
ridiculous obsession with his property lines?
My father talked to him later and got him to admit that he wrote the letter. (He
badgered it out of him after John claimed that he'd received a handwritten copy of it and
typed it up to remove the REALLY bad stuff. Yeah, okay.) He also made a big deal about his
being a WWII veteran and deserving more respect. My mother, who'd been eavesdropping from
inside our house, stomped out and shouted, "I don't care if you're the f*$#ing
President!" Finally, my disgusted father said, "Look, don't talk to my wife,
don't talk to my kids, or I'll call the cops for harassment." So, he
hasn't spoken to us since then. Thank God.
One of the potential hazards of
nominating someone to Etiquette Hell is that Miss Jeanne might deem you to be even more
deserving of a permanent residence in her fiery dungeons than the subject of the story
submission. It's rare but it happens. "John" gets Level 3 in Ehell
and this family gets level 5.
Several years ago I lived in an apartment complex that was a sort of Ground Zero for
all of the young semi-punk-but-gainfully-employed (basically, grad students and computer
folk with weird haircuts) in my area. The superintendent of the place was pretty nutty -
she used to sunbathe topless in front of my friend Christian's apartment. He didn't have a
nice grassy area out there - his door opened on the parking lot and she marked off a
parking space with cones all summer so she could use it to sunbathe in. Right outside his
It was never easy to get anything repaired there, and it got a lot harder after the
super got her number changed to an unlisted number. You could knock on the door all you
liked - the TV would be blaring and you could hear her chattering to her daughter, but she
My friend Christian was on the rocks with a girl he'd been dating - who wound up
moving in to the apartment right next door to me with a roommate. I tried to make nice,
being as I was his good friend, but she didn't particularly like the fact that Christian's
best friend was female. She would watch through her peephole to see if he was coming to
visit - for hours - and throw open the door to catch him if he was coming in. She would
sit in the dark for hours so he would have no sign that she was at her place. After a
while I wound up going down to his place. Ironically, if she was so worried about his
fidelity, she should have looked closer to home - he was sleeping with her roommate.
(Chris is a good friend, but I'd never date him...)
Meanwhile, her roommate tried to accuse my (male) roommate of date rape - not legally,
just among the circle of people we knew. It would have been more believable if I hadn't
been in the room at the time she said it happened.
A couple of years later, I got REALLY bored and searched for her name on the Web. I
found a story she'd written. Her "story" was transcriptions of my personal
conversations and phone conversations, with the framing device of her listening with a
glass pressed against the wall. Chris patched things up with her. They got married and she
took the story off the web. I was kind of sad about that - her "story" was a
more thorough chronicle of my life than my diary.
We live on nearly two acres, have two dogs and four cats. I like animals, but I keep
them for their usefulness. Living next to a field all four cats are useful mousers, and
the dogs are good security. Most of our neighbors have quite a bit of property and are a
good distance away from us, except for one neighbors house, which was originally
built as a mother-in-law to our own, then sold. So when someone "anonymously"
reported us to the humane society for having too many animals (all were fixed and dogs
were licensed) we had little doubt over who it was. (Their landlord wont let them
We licensed the cats, and the Humane Society said technically the limit on pets was
four, but they were just thrilled someone was taking so many animals all fixed and
licensed, so they werent going to say anything about it. We continued being civil
and hoped that was the end of it. We didnt hear any more until I found a sickly
stray I was trying to nurse back to health before finding a home. (The wife neighbor
offered to try to find it a home and I told her it was my intention to get it healthier
first so they knew it wasnt a permanent addition to our household.) Soon afterward
however, I came home and happened to look over to our neighbors front porch to see a
box on it labeled in black marker "Cat for Shelter". Cat was rescued for the day
but disappeared soon afterward, and because it was sickly, probably killed as soon as it
reached the shelter. Neighbors0811-01
My story is about my upstairs neighbors (I live on the first floor of a 2-floor
apartment building). "Herbert" and "Myrtle" are about 75 years old,
and they are two of the rudest, most unclassy people I've ever come across. I have tried
to be patient with them because they're old and frail (not that that's any excuse for
being rude), but man, is it hard.
Anyway, ever since I have moved in, I've noticed that there has been a steadily
increasing amount of garbage in the flowerbeds under my windows-cotton swabs, cotton
balls, tissues, even eggshells. Well, silly me, I couldn't figure out where this stuff was
coming from--it was a total mystery.
However, one day I was talking to my landlord (who I get along with very well) and he
told me that one of the other tenants had complained that she had seen "Herbert"
throwing his garbage out the windows and it had been landing in the flowerbeds! The
landlord then told me that when he confronted "Herbert" about it,
"Herbert" had blamed it on ME and said he'd actually seen me throwing eggshells
out the window! I would never, ever do that in a million years and I must have looked
totally indignant because the landlord hurriedly assured me that he didn't believe it was
me for a minute and that he knew that "Herbert" was the real culprit. Man, those
people upstairs drive me nuts. Thanks for letting me vent!
Good manners forced me to sell my house and move to a rural area because of the
hovering neighbor, that lived next door. I just couldn't tell them to get lost - I was a
19 year old kid with my first little house and they were in their early 40's - they just
didn't know when to allow us some privacy, and all I had ever learned was to always be
polite - especially to my elders. They were afterall my elders.
I was home with my baby while my husband worked and would anticipate their arrival
easily 3 times daily that typically began at 8:00 a.m. I suppose they felt I would be
lonely if they didn't come to visit - and since shift work and early retirement allowed
them to be home all day - why not spend the day together - right??? Not..../
Last year, now 31, I purchased now my 4th home in a mature neighborhood in Toronto with
a nice sized lot, backing onto parkland. The hunt for this home took 3 years; as I was
determined to live with a certain level of privacy. The back of our home is an open window
to trees and acres of green land, which was the selling feature of the house. I refuse to
speak to the neighbors other than a friendly hello for which my husband thinks is a riot
because I love meeting new people, love to socialize and adore entertaining.
Then we met the "Smith's", I immediately share with them my fear of
attachment to neighbors and my need for privacy - "just call me before you come over
and I will always do the same". A little bit of idle chit-chat in the park with these
neighbors that live a few streets over, very slowly led to dinner and somehow a weekend at
their cottage etc. Following which they continued to invite us to share in their time,
basically whenever we are free. Fortunately, September and October has been action packed
with 5 showers and 4 weddings. My husband and I love each other and enjoy spending time
together on our own, as hard as that may be for some people to understand. Unfortunately
these people are relentless. They've come up at our door with a homemade pie while we are
preparing dinner. What does one do in this situation? The polite thing to do is invite
them to stay right? Well, this is the 3rd pie this month....I'm losing my mind.
Some people would give their eye teeth for neighbors like this.
Perhaps if you had reciprocated the dinner and weekend visit to their cottage, they
wouldn't be making such blatant hints with their aptly timed gift of pie.
the comments from forum members about this story!
It all began when me and my partner, lets call him Nigel, and his best friend, we'll
call him Roger, and his girlfriend, we'll call her Katherine moved in together.
Katherine had just finished her degree and didn't really want to move back with her
parents, so she asked if we would all go in for a house share to cut costs. Nigel and
myself discussed the pros and cons together, and decided that we would discuss it with
them, and if they were willing to draw up some plans then we would go ahead.
The first thing Roger kept saying was "we must keep everything very clean and
tidy, there is no way we can stand a mess!" obviously Nigel and myself were more than
willing to agree to this! Katherine continually made the point that the communal areas,
i.e. the lounge, bathroom and kitchen would have to be kept clean as she could not bare
mess and dirt. We all agreed to this and a house was found and a moving date set. One week
before the moving date Roger announced that he would not be around for the afternoon as he
was going to have to sit in at his Mum's house and wait for a furniture delivery.
Katherine then announced that she would not be there all day as she had managed to get a
job waitressing for the day. Nigel and I were naturally flabbergasted as we were expected
to handle the move alone, and ensure their things were moved in, and their bedroom was
The day came, and we set to work on a really hot summer day. Roger disappeared as soon
as the clock struck noon, and we were left to get this dirty house into some sort of
After sweating away all day, Katherine and Roger turned up at 6pm and announced
that they were too tired to do anything, and settled in front of the TV for the evening.
They drank our wine and beer, and went to bed and had a loud argument into the early hours
of the morning.
Nigel and myself got up early the next morning as we both had college and work the next
day and wanted the house in some sort of order. We set to making the lounge comfortable,
and began wondering were all the furniture was that Katherine and Roger had promised. i.e.
we were to get the sofa and chairs, they were to get the dinning table etc. We had up-held
our part of the bargain, but they hadn't come through. We had also brought all the little
things which add up to a lot, like a kitchen bin, and the first toilet rolls, pasta and
coffee and tea. All the cleaning equipment and it had come to quite lot of money. They
still hadn't paid their half, but had tucked into the food, and made a real dent in the
coffee. At about midday they emerged from their room and announced they were going out for
they rest of the day, and we could leave what we wanted them to do, and they would do it
later. Nigel and myself did not want to leave it as it was a tip, and we wanted to be able
to relax, and so we finished off the house. It was a good thing we didn't wait as they
didn't come back till nearly midnight and I couldn't see them starting at that time!
As the months went by, we had a house warming b-b-q, I spent the whole day preparing
salads and party food, while Katherine was out. She arrived home twenty minutes before the
party was to start, and accepted graciously the praise that was heaped on her from her
family for all the hard work that she had gone through to lay on such a spread!!(all the
time they were glaring at me!!)
As the party drew to a close, Roger's Dad was a little worse for the drink, and decided
to kick my stereo across the garden and tried to feed my rabbit to the local cat! I was
not happy, and found that Roger's family were not good at apologizing either!!
Roger's car was off the road from the day we moved in, and so they relied on us to give
them lifts if they needed to go anywhere. We generally chauffeured them to wherever they
wanted to go, and didn't ask them for fuel costs. Then after a few months of this it was
my birthday, and so we asked Katherine if she could get her Mum's car for the evening, as
neither me or Nigel wanted to drive. She agreed and drove us to a neighboring town to a
nightclub, on the way she calmly asked us for fuel money with her hand out-stretched!!!!!
It was after this that we decided we could no longer live with them, as they still
hadn't paid us for the cleaning items and other bits and pieces that we had paid out for.
The worst of all this was their cleanliness, they had insisted that they could not live
in dirty messy conditions, and yet in the whole 6mths we stuck it out with them for they
didn't clean anything at all. They left the bathroom weekly clean to me, and the kitchen
and the lounge to me and Nigel. We were basically their unpaid cleaners! The only time
Katherine ever tried to clean the bathroom she used window-cleaner, which is obviously not
hygienic, and the kitchen cloth. After cleaning the toilet she put the cloth back in the
kitchen to wipe the sides with!!!! She would also use a floor cloth to wash up the dishes,
on the rare occasion that she would wash up. She would usually use all the plates (which
were mine!), and then leave them with food encrusted on them, so that Nigel and myself
could not have our dinner!!
We would also offer to cook for them, in the hopes that we wouldn't have to wash up
their plates before we could use them, they would take the most, eat it and then tuck into
a frozen dessert they had in the freezer without offering us any!!!
We decided to move out after two and a half months, and we saw through our contract
till 6 months were up. At the end of the 6 months we no longer speak, and we thanked god
every day that we didn't sign a years contract which is what we originally
All of this happened about 15 years ago. While in grad school I rented a house and
sublet the extra bedrooms. The first year my tenants were Bob and Laurence. Bob paid his
rent late, left the doors to the house wide open, flatly refused to rake leaves or shovel
snow, and cursed me and then threatened me with the police if I laid a finger on him (he
was half my size).
Laurence had male guests in her room for weeks at a time without so much as a
by-your-leave, left her dirty dishes and breadcrumbs strewn about the kitchen, got nasty
whenever I tried to get her to clean up after herself, and in general personified several
unkind stereotypes of the people of her native country. I stuck this out for a year for
purely financial reasons, then quietly made arrangements to replace them both. When
Laurence found out, she was shocked that I had betrayed our mutual "trust". Bob
simply replied that he wasn't going to pay his last month's rent, because that's
"what the security deposit was for".
After more arguing I got him to advance me enough money to cover his share of the final
utility payments. Once these two delightful people were gone, my new tenants moved in- Tim
and Kurt. Tim was neat and responsible, but a bit prissy and compelled to pass judgement
on everything I did. Kurt was a consummate slob, but easygoing, friendly, and considerate
of his housemates. At least, that's what I thought until a year later, when his rent
checks started bouncing. Kurt always apologized, had a plausible excuse, and promised to
repay- which he did with another rubber check. It was about this time that his car
disappeared. Kurt claimed that it was at his mother's house, but I found out later that
the bank had repossessed it.
Soon Kurt owed me about $900 in back rent. I talked to a lawyer who said she could get
a formal judgement against him to recover my money, and she set the legal wheels in
motion. (Note to self: next time, verify that the account is closed, take the returned
checks to the district attorney's office, and let them prosecute. No cost to you.)
Following my graduation I had to move out of state before my lease was up. I told Tim
and Kurt to find other apartments by the end date, and made arrangements for undergrads to
take over my lease. I told the undergrads about Kurt and warned them not to keep him on
once the new lease began. I actually made the trip back at the end of my lease to ensure
Kurt had moved out- but the undergrads had ignored my advice and taken him on as a sublet
to save themselves some money. So I left.
Surprise! Kurt tried to pay his rent with a rubber check. The undergrads responded with
an ultimatum- pay up in cash or get out. So late one night, Kurt got out- leaving an
incredible mess behind. The undergrads believed the cleanup costs should come out of MY
security deposit. Luckily, the landlord didn't agree. Kurt was also a no-show for the
judgement court date, so I got a $3000 judgement against him- which was worthless, since
no one knew where he was. A collection agency told me point blank: "you aren't going
to get your money". I did get something, though- the lawyer's bill for $400. I now
own a house of which, I am happy to say, I am the sole human occupant.
When I moved up to the DC area I was looking for the cheapest place possible in the
reasonable safe neighborhood. I found a four bedroom place to share with three other
girls, one being the "agent of the landlord". Tenets of the lease were odd (no
opposite sex guests are allowed to stay over unless they are from out of town or unsafe to
drive) but the rent was cheap so I over looked it, my boyfriend at the time was an out
of- towner so it was not an issue anyway.
The girl, the "agent" to whom we paid rent was a real piece of work. EH was
ultra right wing conservative, ultra Catholic and from the way she and her boyfriend
talked you'd think they were Pat Buchanan's best friend. There were problems with the
place; the WD combo had no hot water. EH immediately was suspicious that we were making it
up even when we showed her that it didn't work. "But it worked last week" she
said. Finally we got tired of perpetually being called liars when there were legitimate
problems with the house and asked her who owned the property. EH wouldn't tell us and
circumvented as best she could. I called the Tax Bureau and they informed me that her
parents (Mr. and Mrs. H, I put two and two together) owned the property. EH about took my
head off when I told her that we would call her parents to fix the problem if she
wouldn't. Eventually EH's parents sent her brother to fix the WD combo. Better than
nothing, I suppose.
Despite the "no boy" lease tenet, EH became pregnant by her in-town boyfriend
in August, right after the other three girls and myself had moved in. They threw together
a quickie wedding for early January with all the frills, with EH ignoring the fact that
she would not fit into her dress with all the time the planning was taking. We three
roommates (who at this point had enough of EH's insults and were just waiting for the
lease to expire) were invited to the wedding shower. We took one look at the registry list
(mattress set, gas grille, new bedroom suite, Wedgwood china and Mikasa Crystal) and
decided to have other things to do but politely declined, me especially since EH had made
it clear I wasn't invited to the wedding in Massachusetts (because the diocese here
wouldn't marry them in so short a period) but felt free to take any gift I would give.
After the honeymoon, EH and her husband tried to move back into the house with us. We
three said no because roommate A was unwilling to move out of her room without her
grandmother's furniture (it wouldn't fit into any other room in the house so A took the
Master bedroom/bath, EH was kind enough to volunteer to use the furniture if A would move
into the glorified closet EH was in) leaving Roommate B and I to share a bathroom with EH
and hubby (who is notoriously messy, not to mention hit on all the roommates, I was his
"second favorite girl."). I can't tell you how happy I was to live by myself
after that. Neighbor0222-02
I had two awful neighbors - one above and one on the same floor. The one above walked
around so loudly, my roommate and I called her "Thumper". She also played the
worst music at all hours of the night very loudly. One night the music was so loud,
neither her or her two psycho dogs heard me knocking on the door to ask her to turn it
down, until I was literally pounding on the door. She also let her dogs off their leash,
even when others were outside, and they would charge you.
The neighbors next door were even worse. They grew pot near the stream next to our
apartment house, and of course smoked it. The woman once came home so drunk, she tried for
an hour to get into her apartment, before my roommate finally helped her out. We also had
to share a coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement. If we left a bottle of
detergent down there, it would disappear in a week. One day I found a small woman's shirt
that I didn't own with my clothes in the dryer. A few weeks later - a man's T-shirt. My
roommate and I realized that they were putting their laundry in with ours, but getting it
before the buzzer went off! We could never figure out why sometimes the dryer worked and
other times clothes were soaking wet. Now we know that they were taking their clothes out
and just not re-starting the dryer.
We lived with Thumper and the potheads for 8 months before deciding it was too much. We
found 2 guys who didn't care about the noise to sublet - who have had similar problems
including catching the pothead picking their lock.
This little incident happened to a very dear friend of mine. First I must first
say that we live a small town and almost everybody knows everybody but not quite.
My friend Sally had stopped in a little shop to pick up something but since she had
bought a few too many groceries at the market, decided that she would call her husband and
see if he would drive over and pick her up. Asking to use the phone in the little shop was
very easy and they told her to go ahead.
My friend Sally had never used a cordless phone before and when her answering machine
at home kicked in, she just placed the cordless back on the counter where it had
originally been. As she was leaving a customer was coming through the door. They exchanged
pleasantries and Sally headed home.
Later on that evening I went over to Sally's where she passed me the phone and said to
listen. Apparently after dialing her home earlier on that day she didn't know about
shutting the phone off and there on her answering machine was 4 minutes of conversation by
the two ladies discussing Sally's life. Neighbors0226-02
Back when I was in college, my dormitory was arranged on the "cluster"
system, 4 or 5 double rooms sharing a common lounge, balcony and bathroom. One of my
clustermates ("Peggy") somehow managed to be nine months pregnant for almost the
entire quarter! I mean she was *enormous, and near the end of the quarter her roommate
"Jill" was afraid she was going to give birth right there in the room!
Anyway, "Peggy" had a lot of male friends who visited and called frequently,
often at very odd hours. However, she would never answer the door or the phone, forcing
the rest of us to get up and answer for her. Once I took a phone call for her well after
midnight, and told the caller that "Peggy" was already in bed and I wasn't going
to wake her, please call back during the day. The next day "Peggy" chewed me out
royally for not waking her for her phone call.
After several more calls at horrendous hours (1-3:30 am!) "Jill" and my
roommate and I held a meeting and decided we weren't going to answer any more late-night
calls, that "Peggy" was going to have to haul her butt out of bed and answer the
phone herself. That very night the phone rang about 2:30 in the morning, and rang and rang
and rang. Most sensible people will give up after 10 or 15 rings, but this caller let it
keep on ringing - I lost count of how many rings before I finally heard the door open and
"Peggy" shuffle to the phone. My roommate and I *had* to eavesdrop, I'm afraid,
to find out what was so blasted important at that hour. What we heard from
"Peggy" was a series of "Uh-huh, uh-huh", then "Yeah.
G'bye." [click] We never knew if the lesson worked, because 2 days later the college
found out that "Peggy" wasn't attending *any* of her classes, and evicted her
from the dorm. 2 days after her eviction "Peggy" had her baby -- and had the
gall to invite us to a baby shower! Needless to say none of us attended.
As it so happens, my father is an executive in the construction industry. Over the
years, he's made friends with several co-workers, and sees them outside of work. They are
good friends of long-standing, and wonderful, well-mannered people.
On the occasion of my parents' purchase of a new house, he called in a favor from these
friends to help him with some odd jobs before the house could be ready. They helped out,
and my father invited them inside the garage for a beer, literally one apiece. So many
friends had shown up, he didn't have any more to offer, not having expected so much
generosity on their part. They were all thankful, not even expecting any refreshment. They
were just happy for his success, that he was able to move into a large, new house in an
As they were toasting, a police car pulled up. The officer stepped out, and told them
to all "move along so there isn't any trouble here." My father asked,
"What's the problem? This is my house." The officer stammered in
disbelief, "This-this, is your house?" pointing at my father.
"Yes, it is, and if I want to entertain my friends by having a beer on my own
property, I have every right to." The officer apologized, stating that they'd had
numerous complaints of drunk Mexicans making trouble at this house, from the neighbors.
How they could be "drunk" before they'd even started drinking still puzzles me.
So much for the welcome wagon - none of the neighboors would even look at my
parents the entire time they lived there. They now live in a much nicer neighborhood, away
from the "upscale" lifestyle. Neighbors0806-02
I was living in a fairly remote, hillbilly part of Pennsylvania, the kind of
town where some roads only exist if it's not raining, while I went to college. No big
deal, I had lived in the same area a few years before, only about three exits up the
highway. My husband and I both enjoyed the hiking, fishing and mountain biking in the
area, and we are far from being uppity city folks.
I must have had the world's most redneck neighbors, though. One woman on the corner
across from us had three daughters. One ran away from home, another was the town arsonist,
under house arrest for burning down a few buildings, and the youngest simply ran wild,
literally. Her name was Abby, and she was nine. Every night at precisely 6 p.m., the
mother would step onto the front porch and shriek, at the top of her lungs:
"AAAAAAAAABBIIIIIIEEEEEE! AAAAAAAABBIIIIIEEEE!" over and over. She must have had
the lung power of an opera singer, because she would go on for half an hour, barely taking
a breath. You could hear her six blocks away.
If Abby did not respond to her mother's bellow, the performance would be repeated at 9
p.m. At 2 a.m., when the child chose to return home, she would be berated for all the
world to hear, for such offenses as putting the dirty clothes in the wrong hamper. When
the social worker showed up to find out why the arsonist hadn't shown up for her court
date, the entire neighborhood was informed that "that little b**** got herself
knocked up and run off." Thanks for the update, lady!
But wait, there's more. One house up the street from us was Ms. I've Never Seen A Book
Before. My husband and I have an extensive library, and as we moved in, we carried
numerous boxes of books into the house, along with a relatively small collection of
furniture, since I was still in college. We had the necessities: bed, kitchen table, sofa,
a few chairs, tons of bookshelves of course. And, as we were moving, we didn't exactly
wear designer suits or dresses to carry boxes around--jeans and T-shirts seemed
appropriate attire for that task, or so I thought.
Our landlord called us the next day, distraught. It seems the neighbor-lady didn't know
what was in all those boxes (clearly marked, "Books-Biochemistry,"
"Books-American History" etc. in three-inch-high letters), wasn't sure if we
were both men or both women or what, but in any case decided that we must be drug peddler
hippies looking to ruin the neighborhood (as if that was possible), and she had drawn this
conclusion from 1. our many boxes, which could only contain a drug lab 2. our lack of
furniture and 3. my small, C-cup bra size. She called the landlord's mother (not him, his
mother) and told her she'd better get, and I quote, "those dirty fag hippies outta
the neighborhood yer son is rentin' to" or she'd call the cops, and explained her
line of reasoning.
The landlord instructed his mother to simply hang up on future calls, but sure enough,
not much later, a police officer did indeed show up at the door. He asked politely if
everything was all right. I said it was, he looked vaguely around the living room and said
a neighbor had called saying "strange people" were creating a disturbance,
breaking into a house. I replied that it was our house, he could confirm it with the
landlord if he liked, he said that wasn't necessary and went back to more important tasks,
like keeping the community safe from arsonists. We later heard her on her front porch,
loudly discussing our "offenses" with another neighbor: Other guy: "Well,
they in college--seems like I saw books in there when we took the kids
trickertreatin'." Rude Neighbor: "Nonsense. Who would ever have so many books?
No one needs that many. Besides, license plate says Ohio. Why would anyone from Ohio move
here?" Yes, I confess, Ohio is indeed a cultural Mecca. George Voinovich has been
trying to keep it a secret, but...
The coup de grace came two years later when we were moving out. My landlord's wife had
slowly become battier and nuttier, although she seemed at first to be a nice enough lady,
and we had initially been good friends. She gradually began calling me and fussing on the
phone for 2-4 hours every day, at a time when I was spending 100 hours per week at school
doing research and working for the university. None of her conversations were particularly
important, civilization-changing issues: her favorite subjects were the exact color and
consistency of her dog's feces and what her parrot had said that day. I tried often to
say, graciously, "I'm so sorry I have to let you go, but I've got an awful lot of
work to do, and I have to go back to school," to no avail.
Finally, when we moved to another state, we decided that since no amount of polite
explanations seemed to do the trick, we would simply not give the landlord our new phone
number, only an address to write to. We heard from her exactly once, a year and a half
later, via e-mail, berating us for not giving out our new phone number and announcing she
did not want to be friends with me anymore, despite the many times I had e-mailed her
personal notes asking after her mother's health, mailed Christmas cards and condolence
cards when I heard through mutual friends that her aunt had died. I'm sure there are nice,
polite people in that particular corner of coal country. I just never met them.
Everyone I have ever told this story to is absolutely appalled, but I think it is
funny. I would like to preface this by saying that I am a well-educated young woman in my
20's who wears nice clothes, works several jobs while going to grad school, and tries to
be active in my community. No one, so far as I know, has ever found fault in my personal
appearance, hygiene, conversation skills, etc.
I live on the nicest street in an old town which has recently seen a flux of wealthy
yuppies invading the town. I live in an old house that my parents bought years ago and
fixed up and handed down to me. My parents weren't very rich, and neither am I, so it was
a slow process and even though the house is beautiful, it is obvious that we have not
spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on landscaping, like many of our neighbors do. A
couple bought the house next door to us for about twice what it was worth (according to a
realtor friend of mine), and then found out that the sills were sinking, so put in another
$700,000 or so. Needless to say, after shelling out almost a million dollars for their
Arcadian paradise, they were not happy to be living next door to some twenty-somethings
who (shock horror) mowed their own lawn instead of paying a gardener to do it. The wife
seemed nice, and always smiled and waved from her back yard and I never really thought
much about them.
Then, one day, there was a horrible car accident in front of my house, and all of the
neighbors ran on to the street because it was so noisy. It was the first time I had seen
the husband next door. Although a morbid situation, I walked up to him and introduced
myself and my male roommate (a mechanic), trying to be as friendly as possible. The man
stared at me as though I am speaking a foreign language, then stared at my roommate, then
stared back at me. Then he said, slowly, "Rent or own?" I was shocked, and
sputter something incoherent about "owning" but before I could get more than a
sentence out, he turned around and walked back into his house.
In 5 years of living there, those are the only three words he has said to me, and I
swear I have seen him pull his children into the house when I go into my back yard. (I
realize this is a little long, feel free to edit and to correct anything you want. I doubt
it is worth anyone contacting me for a news program, so I'll say sure if someone wants to
interview me about the horrible social problem of people with too much money for their own
good, I'll be happy to make my views known.) neighbors1010-02
Page Last Updated May 15, 2007