Home > Communication, Parenting, Safety > Farewell, scary neighbors!

Farewell, scary neighbors!

Last summer, a neighbor called me a crazy bitch for denying him access–no matter how minor–to my son, prompting me to write this post about how I’m raising my son.

Something like this

About that …

His girlfriend told me I needed to be more understanding because he was abused as a child, lonely, had had some drinks, and only did this once every six months or so. I made myself very clear when telling her what I thought about that.

Those neighbors moved a few months ago. They took with them their special brand of neighborliness. I immediately felt safer and more comfortable in my home. I wondered who my family’s new neighbors would be, and hoped they’d be more reasonable.

I was excited to meet the youngish working couple who moved in. I was even more excited to see them taking out the trash for everyone on the lot soon afterward; we were going to have real neighbors! My husband, Anthony, would round things out by taking in everyone’s bins as often as his work schedule permitted.

A couple of weeks ago, the husband saw Anthony out on the lawn and approached him. He hoped to park his car in our driveway while he was away.

Anthony immediately said no. Explaining it to me, he said he just did not want to go there after our experiences with our prior neighbors, especially not this early into being neighbors. I said a hearty thank you, because everything we do now shapes expectations about what we will or won’t do in the future. That kind of clear, immediate boundary setting will do wonders to avoid the kind of competitive boundary-pushing our old neighbors engaged in. 

The day after Anthony relayed the story to me, I found two of three lot garbage bins at the kerb. My garbage bin was exactly where it usually rests next to my garage. “Wow!” I murmured while pulling into the driveway. “You sure showed us we were wrong to say no!” The next evening, two of three bins went back in before my husband could get to them. The third, my bin, remained where Anthony had placed it at the kerb for pick-up.

I remained amused foremost, grateful second. It’s good to know early who’s kind out of kindness, and who’s kind only because they expect to get something very particular in return. I’ll be polite, but won’t waste much of my limited time or energy on the latter, because I remain uninterested in anyone’s “nice” seal of approval.

Am I still smiling? You betcha. I’ll take petulant over scary any day!

  1. September 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Hopes high, hopes dashed.
    And yes, petulant is better than scary – but I don’t like the overtones of ‘entitled’ your new neighbour (and I use the word loosely) is giving off.

    • September 10, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Ditto! But the good news is that since the first word they heard is “no,” they won’t come to us every day expecting a “yes” to their each and every new demand as our old neighbors did. It was kinda amazing how they tried selling us one sob story after another about why their misfortunes were our problems to cure.

      It’s sad that we weren’t given a chance this time around to grow into the kind of situation where we would be happy to share our driveway in certain circumstances. Even so, it’s good to dash that kind of entitled thinking immediately! Their wants/needs are not our responsibilities to meet. No way, no how. We can barely keep on top of our own, y’know? 🙂

  2. September 10, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    It’s not good when you have bad neighbours. The guy definitely sounds small-minded, if he’s so ungenerous as to wreak revenge by such petty omission. I guess you’ll find out longer term. My wife and I had an experience with some exceptionally awful neighbours, a few years ago. The – er – highlight was when one of them illegally parked their car over our drive-way and obstructed it. We were going out, but when I went to politely ask if they would move it, they threatened to beat me up – as in, actively moved to do it, the one making the threat had to be held back by another one. It wasn’t a good experience overall. In the end, we moved house.

  3. September 11, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Petulance is incredible. I have neighbors that range from idiotic to hermits I never see. I am happy not to see them in most cases.

  4. September 11, 2014 at 5:40 am

    It’s good that Anthony established boundaries with them. Chances are if he’d given in, they would have taken advantage, especially if they’re being petty now. At least they’re not scary! 🙂

  5. September 11, 2014 at 7:21 am

    We had neighbors and, weirdly, their story also involved garbage bins. As in out on the street, all the time, overflowing and unsightly. Their house was like the Pig Pen of garbage. It was scattered around the bins, stacked up against the bins, and all over the lawn, driveway and the portion of the street in front of their house. We didn’t interact with them much, just a friendly wave whenever it seemed appropriate. They had other problems, too, but I won’t enumerate them here. Then, the other day, an 18-wheeler truck pulled up in front of their house. Could it be? Yes! Movers were taking stuff out of the house and putting in the truck. Just like that they were gone. What are the odds? The most annoying neighbors had split.

    Within a few hours a small nice car with out of state plates was sitting in the drive. We haven’t heard a peep or seen them yet, but hopes are high. I calculate 50% odds they’ll be an improvement. 🙂

  6. September 11, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I’m very blessed to have great neighbors. This weekend we had to mow – and Mr. T (my 16 yr old son) will mow and I’ll do the weed eater – but Mr. T was out all day for cheer and the yard couldn’t wait any longer – and we wouldn’t be home or available… long story short, I had to do it.
    I couldn’t start the mower. I don’t have the upper body mojo (yet). So, I popped my head over the fence where the neighbor was working in his backyard and asked if he could come over and start it before he went inside – he dropped what he was doing and came right over!
    Good for you and your boundaries – I’m a big believer in them, too!

  7. September 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Amazing that people don’t know how to be nice just to be nice!

  8. September 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I’m impressed with your ability to see the situation for what it is… and for refusing to let it eat away at you. Good for you for knowing what you stand for and not apologizing for taking care of yourself and your family!

  9. September 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Your old neighbors WERE scary – I just read your post, wow!
    It’s funny that people don’t realize the extent of their words or their actions. You can almost be certain, though, that if anyone acted the same way towards them, the situation would be totally different.
    So why is it that people are so quick to do to other what they would never let others do to them? I wonder.

  10. September 15, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Isn’t it funny how people soon “give themselves away” – what’s really inside people doesn’t take all that long to come out. I’m sorry that your neighbor is a baby who likes to throw silly tantrums, but at least they aren’t a-holes like my backyard buddy who purposely annoys everyone in the ‘hood as if he lives in the wilderness. I’m looking forward to moving since he doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere real soon. My only new house requirement has become an inability to SEE my neighbors! lol


  11. September 18, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Isn’t that just something? But, I agree, this is small potatoes compared to what you had to deal with before. We now have some troublemakers living across from us, and I choose to spend my time praying for them, being mindful of who they are, protective over my home and my kiddo, yet not willing to let their presence change how I live my life (meaning, I’m not letting them scare me or bully me into hiding). It seems to be handling itself, with the authorities and management involved, so I just keep moving forward! Love ya, Deb! XOXO

  12. October 2, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Wow – amazing how petty and rude some neighbors can be (your neighbor, not you). Good for you for setting clear boundaries – that is important and will prevent many other problems down the road. I also take in my neighbor’s trash cans for her without saying a word, because she is elderly. I also share fruit from our fruit trees with our neighbors. We all have to live together – how much nicer it is when people can go out of their way to truly be kind to and help each other. You are making very appropriate and healthy choices, and I applaud you. Always do what feels right to you.

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