Author Topic: The neighbor (long)  (Read 8092 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

elephantschild

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1485
The neighbor (long)
« on: November 04, 2012, 12:14:06 PM »
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.
"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
-- "Just So Stories," Rudyard Kipling

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 12:17:45 PM »
I'm assuming you don't have any regulations in your neighborhood for how the maintain your home & your lawn, right?  If so, then this guy has no business commenting on your home at all.  Next time he says something, commit the smaller rudeness of interrupting in order to inform him that if he continues to harass your family this way, YOU will be calling the cops on HIM.

I would also suggest that if you have someone in the neighborhood that you do interact with well and feel some friendship with, consult them on what is happening.  Make sure that your place isn't actually an eyesore (I seriously doubt it is, but might as well confirm) and see if this is par for the course as far as your angry neighbor is concerned.  That way at least your other neighbors might hear your side of things and contain the anger to the one older neighbor.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 12:19:41 PM by NyaChan »

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12768
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 12:35:33 PM »
When DS told me, I was in tears. I can't stand the thought of that.

Quote
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!

Well there's your problem: You care what this idiot thinks. Examine why and that will help you decide to ignore him. Just because he says that "everybody hates you" doesn't make it true. I doubt very, very much that anybody but him "hates" you. He's obsessed and you aren't conforming to his obsession. Unless he takes any kind of physical action (like going onto your property), just ignore him. Feel free to walk away from his rants -- neither you nor your DH have any obligation to listen to a nutcase yell at you. Be the cat.*

Other than being angry, your DH is right; you have no reason to bow down to this guy. He has no real power over you, except for the power that you're currently granting him. Take that power away. You're in the right, he's in the wrong.

On the "I'll call the cops" my response would be "be my guest." That, or even "Here, let me call them for you," then I'd report him for making threats (use the non-emergency number for that one.) There's no way in the world that a police department would take any kind of action against you if he reported you for having leaves in your back yard. They'd get a good laugh out of it, but nothing more. (Like NyaChan, I'm assuming that you don't have extremely strict maintenance regulations in your area, either civil or HOA.)

* There's an analogy that I've used here in the past. Outside of my window is a tree where a squirrel lives. My indoor cats like to sit in the window and the squirrel goes absolutely nuts, chattering at them for hours. The cats don't even blink. This guy is nothing more than a chattering squirrel. Be the cat.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

SPuck

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 967
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 12:41:18 PM »
Well there's your problem: You care what this idiot thinks.

This. Your all adults here. He shouldn't be yelling at you like that, but he us going to anyway and the best defense is to not listen. Next time he starts, just leave him standing. If he makes a move to follow you or rants on the edge of your property after you leave, all the cops.

Lorelei_Evil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1993
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 12:43:15 PM »
Great post, Art.  POD.


lkdrymom

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 969
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 12:50:56 PM »
I really feel for you. I had neighbors like this when I lived in Pennsylvania. The true problem was we were not the previous neighbor. The older woman next door was the neighborhood bully. To her face others would agree with her rants but behind her back no one liked her but were to afraid to stand up to her as they did not want to be her target. I was her target, nothing I did was right. She turned other people who were nice to me against me. It was pure hell living there. Wish I had some advise....I had to move.

siamesecat2965

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8578
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 01:09:36 PM »
Well there's your problem: You care what this idiot thinks.

This. Your all adults here. He shouldn't be yelling at you like that, but he us going to anyway and the best defense is to not listen. Next time he starts, just leave him standing. If he makes a move to follow you or rants on the edge of your property after you leave, all the cops.

Exactly.  As long as you have no HOA or town rules you're breaking, too bad if he doesn't like the fact you don't spend every waking hour on your yard. don't worry about what HE thinks.  And if he calls the police to report you have leaves in your backyard, let him! if they even bother coming out, they'll quickly let him know its none of his beeswax, and to butt out.

Your DH is quite right.  he is being petty, and don't feel you have to conform to HIS clearly unreasonable standards.  I'm very blunt, and if someone tried that with me, they'd get quite an earful!

kherbert05

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10192
    • Trees downed in my yard by Ike and the clean up
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2012, 01:25:36 PM »
The everyone else hates you is a common bully tactic - ignore it. Don't let him force you into being a shut in. Reach out to the nice people in the neighborhood.
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2012, 01:30:41 PM »
     I live in the same area as you,,, check the local laws about the garbage, there may be a by law about it being visible.  There is in my town, we had to construct a "fence" to hid it from the neighbors ( read a partial wall just so it would not be seen from the street. And if you need someone local to hang out with, PM me. :)
      Other than that - don't worry about the jerk. Call the police if he continues with his threats.

elephantschild

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1485
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2012, 01:55:34 PM »
Thank you.

You're right; I do care. I've come a long way from the days when I constantly worried about what people thought of me, but I didn't want to raise my boys in this kind of atmosphere. That's what bothers me, I guess. I adored my neighbors when I was little.

Our place is certainly no eyesore. It's a solid, unassuming, little 1950s house, but we like it that way. :)  There are some little things we could do, but with time (and until recently, money) being what they were, we couldn't get to everything. We've actually got a few projects in the works now, but neighbor has no way of knowing that. They're not for him.

I think we're good on the tote, snowdragon, but I'm going to look into it. (It looks like the law is "behind front building line." It is.) I'd like to move it into the garage anyway, but DH is bound and determined not to look like we're afraid of Neighbor.  ::)
"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
-- "Just So Stories," Rudyard Kipling

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5815
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 02:34:15 PM »
Art nailed it!

If this loony neighbor gets in your (or your DH's) face again I might call the police non-emergency number and see if they can help me. Maybe they'll have a talk with him along the lines of "Sir, you can't go around screaming threats at people because they don't mow and rake twice a week. Knock it off." I'm not an advocate of calling in the cops every time things get uncomfortable, I know they're terribly busy, but if this man escalates you'll have a legit reason to be concerned and that's what the police are there for.

You didn't ask, but I'm offering some hugs. I'm sorry he kicked you at a time you were already down.

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5486
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 02:36:44 PM »
As others said invite him to call to the cops. Call the cops yourself ( non emergency) or the city. Talk to your other neighbors, cry to your other neighbors. I PROMISE they do not hate you and do not care about slightly shaggy lawn.
I would actually talk to his wife.

It is not required, but you can check the bylaws, print them out and give them to your neighbor.

General rule: There are people whose opinions you should care about ( your spouse on parenting and money, your best friend on how the jeans fit, your good boss on how your work is). If you listen to these people ypu have good kids, finances on the same page, good looking pants and a raise. Then there are people who you shouldn't. There are people who want your money and time for things that make them happy. Nigerian scammers, pushy coworkers selling their kids fundraising stuff, strangers judging your parenting and neighbors judging your lawn. Listening to them and doing what they want will actively make your life more miserable.

Please realise that now is a good time to listen to us, to listen to your husband and realise your priorities are in the right place.

I would be sooooo tempted to move in a rusted old truck on blocks and some old washing machines so he would actually have something to complain about.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 03:08:47 PM by Deetee »

magician5

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3449
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 03:02:45 PM »
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{/quote]

That is, from any objective viewpoint, impossible. Don't let yourself be bullied - and that's exactly what this is.
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

SPuck

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 967
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 03:23:52 PM »
You're right; I do care. I've come a long way from the days when I constantly worried about what people thought of me, but I didn't want to raise my boys in this kind of atmosphere. That's what bothers me, I guess. I adored my neighbors when I was little.

Look at it this way. You might only remember the good neighbors because your parents did a good job at keeping the crazy ones away from you when you were young. I know I wasn't aware of my neighborhood drunk until I was older and aloud to travel around on my own because he wouldn't rant when adults were around.

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8505
Re: The neighbor (long)
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2012, 03:52:11 PM »
You do realize that this man is Not A Nice Person? He's a cranky old man, and you shouldn't spend two seconds worrying about what he said. Go back and re-read Art's post, several times if you need to.

My brother and SIL's first baby was in NICU for six months. They spent all day, every day, as much as possible at the hospital, coming home late at night to get some sleep. My brother didn't mow the lawn for months, because the neighbors on either side mowed it when they mowed their own lawns--without asking, without wanting anything in return. That's what a great neighbor does. A good neighbor notices the grass getting taller, but doesn't complain, because they know the family is stretched really thin.

So your house and lawn don't meet some strict standard this cranky old man has in his head. Maybe he should move to a place with an HOA, with lots of rules he can run around enforcing.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn