I'm pretty upset about this right and I could use some advice.
DH and I have owned our home on a fairly working-class suburban street for eight years. When we moved in, I was pregnant with our oldest son. Our home is rather plain, but works for us, and was owned by the same couple for the entire 50 years or so of its existance. (They were in their 90s and finally had to go to assisted living.) Nice house, nice yard, no real landscaping, etc., which was fine with us.
We noticed that our neigbors on either side tended to like landscaping, etc. Conversations with them revealed that they were both retired couples, still relatively young. They seemed nice enough, although without much in common with us.
It didn't take long for us to realize that one neighbor in particular was a little ... obsessed. He mowed his lawn two or three times a week. A leaf would barely touch it. (We used to joke about the "leaf-blower wars" in the neighborhood.) The landscaping was very nice. (A relative was in the business.)
We take care of our lawn, in our opinion. It gets mowed before it gets shaggy, nowhere near twice a week. The bushes get trimmed, the leaves get raked, etc. There are things we'd like to do that we don't get to, but our lives ... and our priorities are very different from his.
Things seemed OK until just after DS2 was born, four years ago. Neighbor lit into DH as he went out to go to work one evening, talking about how irresponsible and lazy we were because the lawn had gotten just a tiny bit shaggy. In our defense, we had a newborn who NEVER slept and was very high maintenance, a toddler with special needs and DH had only been able to take a tiny bit of time off work. The lawn was barely on our radar. We were amazed and upset, but chalked it up to maybe he'd had a bad day or something. Things quieted again until ...
This week, neighbor lit into DH again. He said some very awful things, and threated to call the cops on us. Why?
There are leaves in our backyard. Oh, the humanity.
A gutter on our garage needed to be fixed. (True. It was fixed two days later.)
Our awnings apparently need to be painted.
We didn't mow our lawn for three months this summer. This is true. We had a drought. That lawn wasn't growing. When DH told him that, Neighbor got angrier and said we should have been watering it so it needed cutting. (honestly, we consider that a true waste of water in a drought time.)
He doesn't like that our garbage tote isn't in our garage.
We're lazy, awful people and everyone around us hates us.
When DS told me, I was in tears. I can't stand the thought of that.
But our lives are very different from his. We both work full time jobs (separate shifts so there's always someone with the kids) and freelance on the side. DH and I see each other perhaps for an hour a day (when we wedge in dinner). We have one son with special needs who requires a lot of time. We're tired all the time and exhausted part of the time. We barely get any family time.
The lawn and non-serious house details are NOT a priority.
We don't know what to do about this. I'm still brokenhearted. DH is so angry I'm worried about him. He says we shouldn't bow down to the whims of a petty little man with his priorities so out of whack. And frankly, we're both alarmed by the fact that he apparently spends so much time watching our home!
I think we should do the things we were planning on doing anyway (when we got the time), such as raking the leaves, a few other tiny things, etc. ... then call the police non-emergency line and ask someone to come by and tell them exactly what's going on, making sure that if Neighbor calls, there's clearly no question that there's nothing wrong with our home. (We already looked up the ordinance. Our grass never even gets to half the height required for the town to take action.)
But I'm still upset. I don't know what to do. We're never going to have things the way neighbor wants them. He's obsessed by his lawn and it's just a chore to us.
And I wish I knew if it's true that everyone hates us. Since this happened I've reverted to the picked-on shy high schooler I used to be and I'm heartbroken. I grew up on a street surrounded by neighbors I loved. I wanted that for my boys.
Any advice appreciated. I can provide more details if anyone wants. I'm so upset I'm sure I'm not too clear. (Note that I may not get to respond immediately.