Monday, June 18, 2012

Neighbors...who wants 'em?

I am excited to participate in Teachers Write virtual writing camp hosted by author Kate Messner. If you haven't heard about it, check it out! Join in! 

Random word generator gave me the word: neighbor

What a loaded word for me. What is a neighbor? The official Merriam-Webster definition: one living or located near another. Well there's my problem. I always thought the definition included something about kindness, common sense, and friendship. 

Observe. To our right is the widow who forcibly removed the family that was involved in the lease-purchase of her home. Wouldn't have really mattered to us except for that family contained our son's best friend. Plus this lady is known to bring lawsuits against anyone who crosses her (I should probably delete this paragraph). We steer clear of her and her 2 yappy dogs (one of which bit me once). 

To our left is basically a vacant home. A couple years ago the owner had to leave for 9 months to work in Afganistan (non-military...I'm not bashing a noble and brave serviceman here). He left his 21 year old son and 19 year old daughter in charge of the home. Suddenly it was as if we were living next door to a nightclub. We frequently called the police due to the noise coming from that house at all hours of the night. When the father finally returned he ended up kicking out his son and the daughter ran off and got married, so now when daddy goes overseas the house is empty. And quiet, thank goodness. 

A few doors down is the home we refer to as "The Orphanage" because there are several children living there with minimal, competent adult supervision. The older ones can sometimes be seen sunbathing on the roof. They raise mastiffs which occasionally escape the cramped back deck where they live and crap and bark. They also enjoy four-wheelers and ride them without helmets or worry through the protected creek that runs behind our neighborhood. 

Across the street is the house that our good friends lived in. After living here almost 5 years I finally got the nerve to take our kids across the street to play with their kids. Soon we were spending Saturdays together, sharing dinners & drinks, and having a fantastic time. Work took them to Texas and they leased their home to another family that I'm sure is lovely, however...

New family across the street began allowing their dachshunds to wander around the neighborhood and use other yards as they saw fit. Of course our lawsuit-happy neighbor marched right over and warned them that she would call animal control. What's worse is that these people have five or six drivers living under one roof and they all have cars that they park. in. the. street. If you're a city-dweller where people always park in the street that's cool, but this is a big ol' neighborhood where everyone has a 2 car garage and nice, long drive way. We also have rules that clearly state 'vehicles shall not be parked on the street overnight'. But whatev....rules schmules.

Sure, there are nice, decent people living on the street. They mow their lawns, go to church, roll out their garbage containers, and go to bed at job-holding hours. But what about neighbors who are also friends? Growing up my parents never had neighbors who were also close friends. Neither did my husband's family. So maybe hubby and I are just not skilled in developing those relationships. 

Now that I've had a taste of it, I want it back. I want to live near people who have children close in age to our children. People who hang out in their yards, grill out on weekends, and enjoy a good adult beverage. People who you can count on to check and make sure you're garage is closed and water your houseplants. 

Or maybe we need to move to a place where we don't have any neighbors at all. I'd prefer no neighbors to bad ones. 

My reflection on this post: This was difficult to write and left me feeling cranky and completely worn out. The writing is passable, but in hammering these feelings out I realized how sad I am about the state of our neighborhood and how trapped we are in this situation. If only we could wave a magic wand and be in the house of our dreams surrounded by friends and family. 


  1. This post definitely hit home for me!

    I've got a nasty, nasty neighbor posing as a friend, and its the WORST feeling. I feel trapped in my own home! I can't go outside for fear of being caught in a 40 minute conversation about her trust fund while she criticizes the way I cut my bushes and doesn't pick up after her obnoxious dogs.

    Unfortunately, she's also on the Board for the HOA and she acts like she's the POTUS. She TOLD me that she's going to be a bridesmaid in my wedding (I'm not even engaged), and then threatened to fine me if I rented my place out to move in with my boyfriend.

    Sorry, that was probably WAY too much information, but all that to say this--I feel your pain, and I hope that you find yourself surrounded by wonderful neighbors again soon...

  2. Thank you, Heather! I appreciate the sympathy. Seriously, I feel like I'm looking the stinkin' gift horse in the mouth. We have a great house with a nice piece of property...and yet...the neighbors are nutty!! Surely, I'm not asking too much to be satisfied with my property IN ADDITION to having pleasant human beings nearby??