Monday, March 25, 2013

Love your neighbors as yourself has never been quite so literal.

I figured that this could be a post all by itself, but I have to tell you...our neighbors? What a first week in our house it was! So push up a chair, sit a spell, and listen to an entirely funny story if you have the time. I promise you, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. I wanted to record it so that it's a funny story for over the years of our first week in the house. Check back later this week for a post with some pics covering our weekend.

We moved into our new home in an established neighborhood outside of Memphis almost three weekends ago. It's an older neighborhood full of trees, varying one and two-story homes, and quiet coves. We were charmed by the walkability of the area to shops, grocery stores, and parks. In two minutes, I can be just about anywhere by car, and most of the shops are about a 2 mile walk from our house. (Sound crazy? Remember, I'm a runner so I don't mind a 1-2 mile walk for some ice cream.) We also fell in love with the respective location to our jobs. It is an older part of town, and it is known for having older people living here. However, younger folks are slowly coming in and revitalizing the neighborhood and renovating the houses back to their former glory. The schools in this area are top notch, so that was a big draw for us.

At any rate, on the second night we were living in the house, a car pulled up in the cove with an older couple who rolled down their window. In all likelihood, they were trying to be nice, introduce themselves, and welcome us to the neighborhood. However, they went about it in an interesting manner.

Old couple: Welcome to the neighborhood!
Us: Why thanks!
Old couple: So, are you renting or buying this house?
Us: Um...we bought it.
Old couple: Thank goodness! We are so tired of renters!
Us: Nope, nope, we bought it.
Old couple: Well, welcome to the neighborhood!
Us: Thanks. So more oddities were exchanged between the two of us which also included, but was not limited to:

Old couple: I'm so glad you got them to do something about that rotten attic window. I've called Mr. F for years as I watched it rot away.

What I thought, but didn't say:
Seriously? You called a landlord on a rotten window that you didn't own?

Old couple: When you were negotiating, why didn't you have them do anything about all the rotten wood on the outside of the house. I hope you are going to do something about that.

What I thought, but didn't say:
Seriously? Who are you people, and why are you bugging me about my house?

That was Day 1 of neighbor visits.  Day 2 of neighbor visits brought "the neighborhood watchdog" (as quoted by the first couple from the day before) by our home. This is where it gets a bit more bizzarre. "Mildred" (as we will lovingly call her) actually lives two house down from us. However, when I first met Mildred, she was coming out from behind my next door neighbor's backyard into our driveway. Did you read that? She was coming out from behind the backyard of someone else's house. I, of course, thought that she was our next door neighbor. I mean, she was coming out from behind the backyard of our next door neighbor's house! It's totally normal for the neighbor two doors down to appear from the backyard in your driveway from a house that isn't theirs.

Was I out in my garage? Oh, nope. I was actually with my mother-in-law backing down the driveway in my car trying to leave.

Apparently, she was on an agenda because she flagged us down. Not just a little wave, but Mildred flagged us down and followed us down the driveway until I got out of the car.

First, she went on to introduce herself, and she gave us some phone numbers of all the neighbors. (Ok, that's really nice of her. It is.)  Then she proceeded to tell me that my recycling can was full of garbage. The city of ______ does not accept garbage in a recycling can. Also, trash day is on Thursdays, and she'd be glad to come help me with my trash. Also, there is a major drainage issue with our driveway that we will probably have to address. She's actually cleaned out the French drain on more than one occasion, but it was up to us now. Also, welcome to the neighborhood! Dealing with Mr. F (the landlord) was quite the task. We are so glad to be rid of him.

I realize she is trying to be nice, but why do you know what is in my recycling can? Also, why did you come around the neighbor's backyard that isn't even yours to accost me in my driveway as I'm leaving?

Now, if you are still with me and reading this story...bless you. I'm telling you, it gets better. Am I the only one who thinks this is all slightly strange and/or borderline rude??

Day three of neighbor visits came as our actual next door neighbor (who we'll lovingly call Soldierette) came to the house. She sure did know how to make an entrance because Soldierette didn't wait for us to be out in our yard. No, sir. She came over the day after trash day in the evening, and she rang the doorbell multiple times. Not once, but multiple times.

When I finally opened up the door (because I'm pretty sure if I don't answer the first time it isn't an invitation to keep reringing my bell), I was greeted with a sour expression.

Me (holding the door partially open and partially closed so as not to invite her inside): Hello.
Soldierette: Hello. Welcome to the neighborhood. My name is Soldierette, and I live next door.
Me: Nice to meet you!
Soldierette: I'm not really sure if you noticed, but yesterday? Your garbage can was on my grass.
Me: Oh.
Soldierette: In fact, I don't really want to be that neighbor, but I must tell you that technically you were on my property line.
Me: Oh. I see.
Soldierette: It has taken me ten years to get the grass to come in, so I really can't have you ruining it.
Me: Oh, well, you know...the other side of our driveway is quite a hill, so I wanted our garbage can somewhere flat.
Soldierette: Sometimes the claw from the truck digs up my grass. I want you to put your can on the other side next time.
Me: Well, you know, I haven't made any firm decisions on where to place my trashcans, but I will take that under consideration.
Soldierette: Also, did you buy this house?
Me: Yes, we did.
Soldierette: You realize there is still a for sale sign in the front yard.
Me: Well, ma'am, I don't really have much to do with the removal of another company's sign. (I'm starting to get really irritated by this point.)
Soldierette: Oh, I just figured you knew. Also?
Me (with an edge in my voice I'm sure): Yes?
Soldierette: There is a drainage problem between our driveways.
Me: I'm aware.
Soldierette: You'll probably need to fix it.
Me: Thank you. We will work on things as we see fit. Thanks for making me aware.
Soldierette: I also want you to know that the renters left their trash cans out where we could all see them. As you know, no one likes to look at another person's garbage. Perhaps you can keep it in the garage?
Me: We have a baby which means diapers. I highly doubt I'll keep the garbage in the garage. We'll make that decision about our trash cans later when we are actually unpacked. Thanks for your opinion, though.
Soldierette: Ok, well...nice to meet you then.
Me: Nice to meet you, too.

The nerve. Can you believe that? Anyway, it was funny and annoying at the same time.


  1. Wow! Good luck with those neighbors!

    1. They have been very quiet since first making their presence known. We're hopeful it stays that way!!

  2. goodness-sorry you are having neighbor issues!!

    1. It's ok, I'm not really sure what the deal is! Oh, well. =(