Neighbor Problems Part 2
I was just reading an old thread- new to neighborhood, neighbor problems- that reached its 150 post limit. I wanted to share a story from our old neighborhood that was in line with the OPs story, so this is a continuation of that thread.
We moved into a brand new neighborhood in 1999. We were the first family to move in on our street with two junior high school aged kids. It was a small town and people were friendly. As our new neighbors started to move in, we met them and noted how we would relate to them. Yards were nicely kept and there were basically no problems. Early on though, I realized that since we had no curbs or sidewalks on our lots, they would eventually become a tempting area for cars to be parked on our grass and sprinkler heads. And let me just clear up the rules of our HOA... overnight parking on streets was strictly prohibited. But, I figured when the newness of the neighborhood wore off, we might start having problems with street parking- and we eventually did. I was very happy we planted a row of dwarf yaupons next to the street. They met the HOA height requirement and they provided a detterent to those who parked across our front yard. There were several times someone tried to mow them down... a yaupon is pretty much indestructible. Running over one will scratch your paint. Parking up against them on a consistent basis is also not good. And all that would do, and did absolutely no harm to anyone who was the occasional overflow parker.
One of the last families to move in on our street was a couple who were about to have their first baby. The husband was about 15 years older than the wife, and she harangued him loudly in front of everyone, but they seemed nice enough. We noticed they were different when we saw ambulances coming to the house on a regular basis. At first, the nearby neighbors were concerned for the new mother, but we quickly learned that the ambulances were called on a regular basis for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the couple, but their visiting parents. It became rather bizarre that we became accustomed to blinking lights in front of the house every few weeks because the woman's father had an "attack" frequently when he came to visit. Oh, well.
Years passed. They had two boys. She continued to nag him in front of us all, but everybody began to like him on account of his good nature. He was "that" guy, the one you leave your key with when you go on vacation. But, there was just something a little off...
We were right across the street from him and our driveways ran pretty much straight in a line. He would, as routine, back his truck out of his drive completely into ours, to turn onto the street. The street was plenty wide and this was not a necessary maneuver. Oh well.
Then, one year, he decided he was going to landscape. So he employed some DIY and attached a chain to his car bumper to pull a large pine tree down. A really large tree.
I think his brother was living there at the time, and he took to parking his truck overnight in front of our house. Oh well.
As the boys grew up, the guy would play catch with them in our driveway. Mind now, that our teens had just become of driving age. We had a very long driveway and usually it was fine, but many times he seemed oblivious to our needing to get out to go somewhere. Always a friendly smile and wave. Oh well.
We learned through all the ambulance business that they were the close relatives of a fireman. That was really cool when the fire engine would show up in front of the house for a visit... and I am serious here. We really liked that. What was a little disturbing however, was when he shot roman candles in the street towards our house in violation of both city law and HOA rules. Everybody loved him though... free spirit he was.
Somebody reported him though. He always suspected it was us, but it wasn't. At this point I suspected something was amiss, and although his behavior was increasingly strange, our lots were big and we just wrote it off.
We first tried to sell our house in 2006, just at the beginning of the downturn in our area. Our neighbor lamented the loss of such good neighbors as ourselves, and promptly got a trailer full of mulch which he permanently parked in his driveway for the duration of our first sales attempt. By the time our listing had expired, there was vegetation growing out of the stuff on that trailer. The most bizarre thing about that 6 months was that they befriended some new " down the street" neighbors who for some reason, gave US the stink-eye whenever they saw us. Maybe cookouts in the backyard were passe' that summer we first tried to sell the house... but he would entertain the new friends on a picnic table perched in front of the mulch trailer. Now, keep in mind, this is a very nice, new upscale neighborhood. That was the only time I was moved to call the city to ask if what he was doing was against city ordinances and they said it was a gray area because it was landscaping materials. Nothing says "buy my house" like an eyesore right across the street. And the accompanying mess of cars parked on the street because they can' t use their garage due to the permanent pile of rot in the driveway. Oh well.
6 years pass. The house has been up for sale at least 3 times. The market is depressed now. The mulch pile is gone. She is still yelling at him in the front yard. The new neighbor buddies are now avoiding them like the plague, and the wife finds out that he has gotten them in debt up to their eyeballs. All of a sudden, there is a FOR SALE sign in front of their house because they are divorcing. She moves back home to mother. He frequents the house late at night where a process server finds him and blocks him in the driveway. Not a man to be impeded in that fashion, he just shifts gear and makes a beeline across his next door neighbor's nicely cared for lawn.
It takes everyone a few days to realize that had been a really screwed up situation for a very long time. Our house sold BTW, right after he rolled out.