Update on the "neighbors":
First, I think a couple of you make good points. Particularly the one who suggests that they are blasting music, and I'm thinking of bringing them baked goods, as well as the one about the possibility of loss in Haiti. And my thanks to the moderator for stifling the needless back and forth. On to the point of this blog: etiquette hell.
The extent to which they shun us is extreme. It's not just simple avoidant behavior. You know that cliché of a ball going over the fence, and the kid asking the neighbor to help by throwing the ball back, and he doesn't? That's happened. I had to ask if I could come over and get it, without any reply. So I came into his yard, via the alley, opening his chain link gate, retrieved the ball, and he never even acknowledged I existed.
I did finally have a break through moment. Friday around seven am, he was dragging a full keg up his sidewalk as I was walking to my car parked in front. Struck by the absurdity, I approached and said, "You know, I have a wheelbarrow in my back yard, if you need help." He looked at me and spoke! He said, "No, I got it."
Later that night, of course, they had a very loud party, seemingly for a child, as there was an inflatable bouncer/castle in their yard, and at one point an absurd children's party clown ala Bobcat Goldthwait's Shakes. The loud music (delivered by four, five-foot tall Marshall amps) started at two p.m., and only stopped for the party clown's karaoke and occasional announcements about photos of our neighbor and Snoop Dog being for sale.
Anyway, I fell asleep at eight after reading to my daughter. My wife told me the next morning that the music stopped suddenly at ten (otherwise she would have called the cops...again. Out town does have a sound nuisance law related to preventing the enjoyment of one's property, or something of the kind). Here's why:
The neighbor on the other side of our house, who always calls his cat in at night, couldn't find his cat, and knew his cat couldn't have heard him calling. So he went to see what the party was all about. As a joke, he said that they would have to turn the music down so his cat could hear him calling. His friends didn't get that he was joking, and turned the music down. About a half hour later, the obnoxious neighbor (who happens to be Haitian) did come over to apologize to him. He explained that he was joking, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot of understanding happening (my friendly neighbor's words...not mine).
Anyhow. From here on out I'm just calling the cops. I'm tired of having to explain to my six year old daughter why our neighbors don't like us. I'll be blunt from here on out.
Thanks everyone for your two cents. I'm chalking it up to their just being ********.