“Hey you DUMB S#$t’S, get off of my F#$%ING LAWN!!!!” That is what I heard coming from the front of my house Wednesday afternoon.
It was like any other weekday afternoon, until it wasn’t. My children came home from school, did their homework, and headed outside to play. They ran around playing football, and Nerf gun wars. A couple of their neighborhood friends came over and joined in the fun. They were all having a fabulous time. I had checked on them several times, and they were all playing great together. The best part (for me), for once, I was not having to play referee.No one was left out, no one was crying, and I was thrilled.
Over the course of the hour, they had begun playing hide-and-go-seek, a game that we all played as children. Just like we did as children, they expanded their playing area from our front yard to several of our surrounding neighbor’s yards. They were not causing harm or damage to anyone’s property. They were just running around and hiding behind neighbor’s trees, bushes, and garbage cans. They were hiding behind anything and everything they could hide in and around.
Many of our neighbors had come in and out of their homes to tend to their own business. When seeing the kids playing (even on their property) they smiled, encouraged and showed no signs of being bothered. One of the neighbor ladies even brought the kids each a homemade cookie. I can honestly and objectively say that the kids were probably a little loud (but it was in the middle of the afternoon) but they were just having fun and not hurting anything.
As a parent, I would not stand for my kids damaging any ones else’s property. So I was acutely aware of what they were doing in the neighbor’s yards and did not see any harm in their actions.
Here the kids were running all around having a terrific time, when all of a sudden John (this is not his real name), the mean old man from next door comes storming out of his house. Screaming at the top of his lungs towards the children “Hey you DUMB S#$t’S, get off of my F#$%ING LAWN!!!!” I could not believe what I had heard. If it were not for the terror in the children’s eyes and their complete silence, I would have thought I was mistaken.
If he had stopped there, that would have been bad enough. However, he proceeded to scream at them with all sorts of language. Other than just wanting the kids to stay off of his property, he had no real reason to be after them. He could have easily come outside, interrupted their game and, asked them to stay off his property. But instead, John chose to use obscene language and swear at children. He even yelled “If you do it again I will tell your F#$%ING MOM!!!” Quite frankly, if he had a problem, the first thing he should have done is come and dealt with their F#$%ING MOM. I assure you I would not have tolerated him or his attitude.
However, by the time I gotten downstairs and out where the children were, he was slamming his front door behind him. Instead of being able to deal with John I had to spend the next several minutes explaining to children that I was not upset with them. That I was sorry that an “adult” had spoken in that manner to them. I then told them they need to stay far away from his yard, driveway and even sidewalk. There was no reason to give John any reason to come back outside. Although by this time they were all so frightened. John had ruined their fun and they no longer wanted to play outside. As a result, the neighbor kids went home and my four came inside.
I was furious, so much so, that I had to head inside myself rather than proceeding to his front door and tearing into him. I did not trust that I could remain calm enough to confront the man. I knew that if I was not able to stay calm I could possibly make the problem worse. So instead I went inside and waited for my husband to come home.
I will admit that the more I stewed on John’s actions the more contemplated egging his house and sending my favorite teenagers to T.P. his beloved trees and bushes (which again were not harmed by the kids in any way). Although, I suppose two wrongs don’t make a right.
I thought we had neighbor issues when, for six months, we had renters across the street that were dealing drugs. There were strange people in and out of that neighbors house all of the time and at all hours of the night. However, they were no intrusive in any way. They kept to themselves, and when we did see them in passing they were courteous and friendly. Not once did they ever say anything to my children or cause and direct issues for me. We just did not agree with what they were doing nor did we appreciate the late-night traffic they brought with them. But now, I am starting to think they weren’t bad at all compared to the nasty old man next door.
I am furious with what happened to my children on Wednesday, but I think there is a bigger issue at hand. It is so important to choose you neighbors wisely.
When you are in the market for a home, there are many factors to consider other than the house itself. Are the neighbors quiet? Is there junk in any of the neighbor’s yards? Observe your potential new homes surroundings, talk to the current neighbors, ask them how the neighborhood is and if they have any problems with anyone. Visit the home’s site at different times of the day to monitor traffic, noise and the people who come and go. The more you know prior to purchasing a new home the better off you will be.
If you are like me and you already own a home with a nasty neighbor, you may be stuck. I have been researching options for how to handle bad neighbors but everything I have read regarding bad neighbors talks about trash in yards and basic junk. So far I have not found options for handling the mean old man who lives next door.
Has anyone else had a situation with a nasty neighbor? If so, how did you handle it? Maybe your comments will give me some ideas on how to deal with John. I look forward to hearing your solutions to my nasty neighbor problem.