I’m not wealthy, but I do have 2 houses – one I live in and one I own.
I live in the house I grew up in with my mother. I moved back in 2012 following the death of my father. I had been living in the house I own for 3 years when that happened. I still own it, and currently it sits empty as I’m reluctant to rent it and I don’t want to sell it.
My mother’s house is on a reverse mortgage, so after she’s gone I’ll be moving back into my house. In the meantime, I go there regularly. I do my laundry there every 2 weeks (long story) and in the summer I walk there from work to eat lunch on weekdays. A couple of times a year my best friend comes up and we stay there.
It’s a great house. I keep the lawn and the flower beds up as best I can and I keep the inside clean. It’s pretty small, but it’s perfect for me and I love it. I look forward to living in it again.
Last year, just before Halloween, I got new neighbors next door. They’re renting. I rented for most of my life, so I’m reluctant to judge anyone based on that, but so far they’ve been a disappointment. I don’t know them, and have only spoken to them a couple of times, briefly, as one of us was coming or going. They’re an older couple, and I’m sure they’re nice people, doing the best they can, but like many people I encounter lately, they’re inconsiderate of those around them. They’re hardly ever there when I’m there, so it makes it hard.
The first thing that happened was that they gave their plow guy the wrong address and he plowed my driveway. Okay, not the end of the world, even though he gouged my lawn in several places. I don’t have my drive plowed for that very reason, and because it’s expensive for the little bit I’m there in the winter. But mistakes happen, so okay. They sent their grandson over to apologize one day when I was there. Whatever.
Then the plow guy started plowing their drive, but pushing the snow onto my lawn. I wanted to say something to them about it, but I was never there when they were, so I let that go, too. Yesterday I was over at the house raking and mowing and discovered that he gouged that part of the lawn pretty badly, too. Lovely.
At some point this winter I noticed snowmobile tracks in the snow in my backyard and saw 2 snowmobiles parked in their backyard. Hmmm. Yesterday I found a 2′ x 2′ patch of dug up lawn and tracks through the rest of the lawn that lead over to their house.
Strike 3. YOU’RE OUT!
So now I have to think of the best way to deal with this. I hate to leave a note on their door, but as they’re never there, I think that’s the only option. I’ll be nice, but I need to make it clear that my property is off-limits. Period.
What gets me is that I have to tell people who should know better that it’s not okay to destroy my lawn. What’s up with that? I don’t know my neighbors’ name or anything about them, really. I hope they don’t have guns. I hope they don’t retaliate. I hate that I have to think that way. It makes my little Aquarian heart sad. But there it is. I hate confrontation, but I can’t let this go on. Apparently it’s not obvious to them that it’s not okay to wreck my place.
I get that people are not always good neighbors. After all, there is that saying that “fences make good neighbors,” and we don’t make up adages for things that happen infrequently. I’ve lived a lot of places and I’ve had less than perfect neighbors before. I’m tempted to think this is a new thing, but I know it’s not, though I do think it’s getting worse. Courtesy in our society is breaking down, in my opinion, and that’s hard to take sometimes.
I’m not naive, but I am an optimist, and my heart gets broken easily sometimes. This is one of those times. I feel disrespected and treated as if I don’t matter, and that’s a real hot button for me. The difference for me now is that I intend to let these people know that it’s not okay to treat me that way. I wouldn’t have done that even a few years ago, because I thought I didn’t matter.
They’ll either stop or they won’t, and if they won’t I’ll have to think about what to do next. But right now this feels like a win already – just standing up for myself is a victory, for which I’m very grateful. I have no control over the outcome, but taking action to try to stop someone from hurting me is better than doing nothing. Also, knowing that I’ve reached a place where I’m able to respond, rather than retaliate is satisfying, too.
Baby steps, but I’m getting there. Thank goodness.