Neigbor War!

There are many types of neighbors. There are the mysterious ones whose lawn is always mowed, their garbage can appears on the correct day, and their lights pop on at night, but we never actually see them.

Some are loud or perhaps oblivious to the local norms aboutcaring for their property, while others are annoyingly particular and opinionated regarding their property and expect everyone else to meet their perfectionist expectations.

We lived next door to a perfectionist, and during the six years during when we shared a common border, we were always at war. Dad and I referred to him as “The Admiral,” because it was alleged that he was, in fact, a retired admiral, but I have never been able to verify this assertion.

He was annoyed that our driveway was not lined with what is called “Belgium-block curbs,” and he was angered because Dad never bagged the grass when he mowed it. He had the nerve to yell at Dad one Father’s Day because it was not manicured to his level of precision.

In retaliation, I indicated to his landscaper that the property line was not the driveway, so he could no longer mow up to the pavement. That instruction resulted in a very high area of grass between our two houses, and I told Dad I wanted to plant a border of nice big sunflower plants among the tall grass.

You may recall a tree along the curb that belonged to us, but The Admiral took possession of it and bordered it with bricks. I encouraged the three of you to remove his bricks and create a nice arrangement of rocks, which were not at all pretty to look at but made me smile because I knew it annoyed him.

He fired back by turning on his sprinkler, timed to coincide with your parade to and from the bus stop each morning and afternoon. He allowed his dog poop to accumulate for a week before disposing of it.

Then he planted a row of evergreens along the property line on a raised bed of dirt and railroad ties. This caused a huge flood in our backyard, so Dad attached a hose and pump to a tree and pumped the water back into his yard. That evening a policeman knocked on our door and asked us what we were doing with the hose, and Dad responded, “I am just allowing the water to continue on it natural path.” The officer shook his head and left, knowing that what The Admiral had done was wrong.

Thus it continued, day after day, week after week, year after year, until a “for sale” sign finally was spotted on his lawn. The war was final ended! Our new neighbor turned out to be my dear friend Margaret, who was literally a friend to her end.

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Nosy Neighbors

Jamie has moved into a new place, and today she mentioned that she had just met one of her neighbors. That comment got me thinking about some of our former neighbors.

We met our first neighbors while choosing our floor covering and bathroom tiles. They were arguing, which did not give us a warm and fuzzy first impression. We later learned that the man of the house was an attorney, who just loved suing everyone, including our builder. Dad and I decided to maintain a polite, but distant relationship with them.

After we moved into our house, Mrs. Next-Door-Neighbor and I were having a casual phone conversation, which touched on a moving van located on the street. After I rhetorically asked if they had children, she responded by saying, “Wait, I will get my binoculars.” That was the moment that I knew I had to watch what I did.

When I became pregnant with Kelly, I recalled a story Grandma relayed to me about the nosey neighbor on her street. She was expecting me and was determined to keep the news a secret from Mrs. Nosey Pants, so whenever she left her house, no matter how warm it may have been (Remember that I was born in June), Grandma threw on a long winter coat. She was successful in maintaining the deception, and her neighbor was shocked when Grandma was sited taking me for a walk in my baby carriage.

I was inspired, so I decided to repeat history. Luckily, Kelly was born in December, which made the charade simple.

Those were not our only colorful neighbors. In fact, our next house introduced me to a man who made binocular lady look tame in comparison. Stay tuned for more.