Author Topic: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)  (Read 4212 times)

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littlelauraj

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Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« on: December 12, 2007, 08:56:13 AM »
This is a little bit ranty, sorry! 

I live in the midwest, where we have been hammered repeatedly by snow storms dropping several inches of the white stuff at a time.  Last weekend we had a doozy-it was the wettest, heaviest snow I have ever tried to clear.  Then it sleeted and froze into a sheet of ice on top.  Then it snowed the next day.  You get the idea.

A couple of months ago we bought a new snowblower.  We have a fairly long, steep driveway, and we knew our old blower wasn't going to make it through the season.  We bought early so we could get one on sale and still have our pick of bells and whistles, like a headlight.  Trust me, we have moved more snow in the dark than in the daylight.

We also happen to live in the kind of neighborhood where people help each other.  It's not unusual to see the same three guys (one of them my husband) helping to dig out someone else's mailbox, especially if that other person is elderly, etc.  We are also very close with the next door neighbors and lend things back and forth a lot.  William is the kind of guy that returns things in better condition, filled with gas, etc.  He is usually one of those guys helping the neighbor.  We used to be somewhat close with another couple but their repeated use and abuse of our stuff is one reason we have limited contact with them now.  Dave always returns things broken and never replaces them.  You get the idea.  And no, he is not one of the guys you see out helping the elderly neighbor with her driveway.

So last weekend I sent dh out to clear at least part of the driveway while I got ready to go.  I needed to be at a friend's to take care of her cats while she was in the hospital.  William sees hubby out there and sheepishly comes over-the snow was too heavy and killed his decrepit snowblower, and could dh do the end of his driveway?  For those of you unfamiliar, the end of the driveway is usually the heaviest, most packed-down, deepest snow because the snowplow shoves it all in.  Dh finished just enough of our driveway for me to go and went next door to help William.  The whole time he's working, William is helping break stuff up and tidying up after the blower.  (He's a little anal retentive about it, but hey, it's his driveway!)  And Dave sees all of this and asks dh to help him with the end of *his* driveway.  Which dh does, because he's a nice guy.  Dave does actually help by also breaking up the heavy stuff, which is a Christmas miracle.

The problem is, and I expressed this to dh, is that while William will either repair or replace his snowblower as quickly as possible, Dave will see this as a free service and why should he buy a snowblower when the neighbor has that shiny new one?  And while William insisted on filling it up with gas to replace what was used, that never even occured to Dave.  And when dh came back to our house to finish (which took at least another hour to an hour and a half), William came and helped.  I helped, and I have a bad back.  Dave managed to wave at us when he drove by, and again five minutes later when he came home and went inside.

So since then we've had at least two or three more snowfalls.  Yesterday was another doozy and we got maybe four inches or so.  Dh went after it when he came home early.  William is still without a snowblower.  First he tried to repair the old one and found it was not possible to fix.  And everywhere that sells them is out of stock.  So dh helped him again, and again William helped back and filled the thing up with gas, even though we told him he doesn't have to.  And sure enough, when Dave came home he drove by and asked dh to clear out the end of his driveway again.  Dh said yes, and then watched as Dave slammed his car up over the snow, packing it in really well, and then went inside!

I told dh that next time he just has to say no.  I realize that it is easier said than done.  I mean, he's out there helping other neighbors and to say no is probably going to cause some small social problems.  But the alternative is to continue to be taken advantage of, and I hate to see my normally assertive husband let this yahoo walk all over him.  I told dh to tell him "I'm afraid that won't be possible".  Please join me in hoping that he actually says it.

sbtier

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2007, 09:46:36 AM »
And everywhere that sells them is out of stock.

Do you believe that or do you think he's making it up?  Tell him he can get order one by mail.  Even Amazon sells them!  Sounds like he's just a taker.  Hopefully, DH will stand up to him.

I'm in New England and we're having the every-other day storms but not as bad as you've had.

littlelauraj

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2007, 10:50:24 AM »
I should clarify that William is extremely picky about what he buys.  Only top of the line for him, so he is entirely unlikely to buy a store brand snowblower at Menard's rather than a John Deere brand-even though there isn't anyone in the area selling them.  Craftsman from Sears won't do as he has had problems with the brand in the past.  It takes him months of deliberating before he will actually buy something, and then he buys what I swear is the most expensive thing he can find.  For example, he wanted a digital camera a couple of years ago.  After months of deliberating, researching, and reading Consumer Reports, he bought an SLR for a couple of thousand dollars (because it was "their last camera ever") in order to take some snapshots.  I think that might be a little silly, but at least he didn't try to borrow my camera while he shopped.  Either way, this is the *nicer* neighbor we're talking about.  The other guy isn't even looking to buy his own snowblower.

Amazon sells snowblowers?  What in the heck is the shipping cost on that?

Oh, and if William does continue to not actually own his own snowblower, and it continues to snow, he'll just shovel the driveway himself.  He might ask for help with the end of his driveway, if he sees dh out doing ours, but he won't continue to ask to borrow ours just because he failed to plan well for the season.  I won't be surprised if he comes home from Christmas with his parent's old snowblower or something similar.

Virg

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 11:54:47 AM »
littlelaruaj wrote:

"I mean, he's out there helping other neighbors and to say no is probably going to cause some small social problems."

This is the key to saying no to Dave.  When your DH says no to Dave and Dave asks why he'll help William and not him, his response can be along the lines of "I help William as he works.  He doesn't ask me to do it for him and then go inside, like you did last time.  He pays for gas and offers repairs, unlike you.  When I finished with his driveway, he came over and put his shovel to mine, unlike you.  If you want a groundskeeper instead of a neighbor, you'll have to hire one."

Virg

Shortcake

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 11:58:36 AM »
littlelaruaj wrote:

"I mean, he's out there helping other neighbors and to say no is probably going to cause some small social problems."

This is the key to saying no to Dave.  When your DH says no to Dave and Dave asks why he'll help William and not him, his response can be along the lines of "I help William as he works.  He doesn't ask me to do it for him and then go inside, like you did last time.  He pays for gas and offers repairs, unlike you.  When I finished with his driveway, he came over and put his shovel to mine, unlike you.  If you want a groundskeeper instead of a neighbor, you'll have to hire one."

Virg

ITA with this response. This puts the responsiblity back on Dave.
"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana

Schmoopie3928

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 01:16:10 PM »
ITA, and hearing all of this makes me so glad I live in Atlanta! Although, feel free to send some percipitation our way!

Your DH is going to have to put his foot down, even though It's a very uncomfortable position to be in.

Wishing you the best and Wishing you Freedom from moochers this holiday season!

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2007, 01:31:23 PM »
littlelaruaj wrote:

"I mean, he's out there helping other neighbors and to say no is probably going to cause some small social problems."

This is the key to saying no to Dave.  When your DH says no to Dave and Dave asks why he'll help William and not him, his response can be along the lines of "I help William as he works.  He doesn't ask me to do it for him and then go inside, like you did last time.  He pays for gas and offers repairs, unlike you.  When I finished with his driveway, he came over and put his shovel to mine, unlike you.  If you want a groundskeeper instead of a neighbor, you'll have to hire one."

Virg

ITA with Virg, but if your hubby has problems saying no directly, and/or you want to preserve social relations, how about a 'yes with conditions' first? 

Have him start with one of these:
"I can do your driveway, but you'll have to break up the snow for me."
"Sure, if you'll help me finish off my driveway after I do the end of yours."
"Yes, but we wont have enough gas to finish ours, so if you spring for a tank (at X cost), I'd be happy to."

Hopefully after one/two of these, a precedent will be set and your neighbor will start offering to do one of the above items, and it will spill over to your neighborly relationship in general...

If it doesnt, THEN DH can progress to:
"Maybe next time - my back is killing me." (and no, you dont loan out the snowblower, sorry, [no explanation needed])
"Oh, I'm sorry, I actually wont have time to do your driveway after I finish up here." (do NOT explain why)

and if he STILL.doesnt.get.it, DH can finally say:

"I'm afraid that wont be possible"   ;)

Good luck!
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

littlelauraj

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2007, 03:22:22 PM »
Virg, I like your extremely direct style.  But I think dh is going to be more comfortable with rdge's yes with conditions approach, at least to begin with.  And I think it would work with Dave because our primary problem with him is that he is completely socially clueless.  It's like no one ever taught him how to live amongst other actual humans, and unfortunately his wife makes it worse.  Her theory is that if a neighbor has something and you don't, you should be able to borrow it at will.  She actually told me this.  The long list of borrowing stories from these two is hair raising. 

So I'll give dh the yes with conditions approach, to be escalated (if neccessary) to the example that Virg gave. 

MasterofSquirrels

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2007, 10:06:25 AM »
Quote
Do you believe that or do you think he's making it up?  Tell him he can get order one by mail.  Even Amazon sells them!  Sounds like he's just a taker.  Hopefully, DH will stand up to him.

i dunno about that... I live in the mountains in PA and well sometimes, places are just plain out.. i don't have a large home improvement store nearby..so if our small Sears or KMart doesn't have one, well we can't get one....and to have something like that shipped is more than a nusance, its extremely costly. So I don't think he's being lazy, I think logistically he can't get one, and since he did try to fix it, and did look for one, i would give at lease the good neighbor a pass, though i would think he should scour the stores to get one ASAP... they won't be out of stock forever.

littlelauraj

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Re: Here in the frozen north (long, sorry)
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2007, 10:55:24 AM »
MasterofSquirrels, I agree with what you said.  We have had snow again but the good neighbor was out of town, so no borrowing problems.  And the other guy didn't try to borrow the snowblower, which was strange and out of character.  But welcome, nonetheless!  I'm playing wait and see with the rest of the season-good neighbors will be home this weekend and I expect that he will come home from visiting with his parents with at least a used snowblower from them, if not a new one.