Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Neighbors

Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, a moving truck just pulled up next door. Please Lord, that the new neighbors may not be cretins.

This will be our third set of neighbors in that house. The first guy was some sort of postal worker with the night shift, which should clue you in on his sociability factor. He had two little boys and a wife I never saw. The little boys occasionally played on a swing set that their caring father had placed on a bed of crushed bricks. When they fell off the rings onto their heads a few times I stopped seeing them outside. The dad liked to blow off some night shift steam by driving one of those large remote-controlled cars in the road outside my bedroom window. At 6am. (Never with his little boys, mind you.) After waking up several Saturday dawns to the sound of a rinky-dink motor whining and buzzing on all the juice a couple of 9 volts could muster, I staggered outside, squinty, disheveled and irate, to tell him what I thought of his hobby.

Postal Boy was replaced by a family whose wife came to be referred to as "The Ballbuster" by their other neighbors. Right after The Ballbuster turned up she had Mr. Ballbuster knock out a section of their fence so that their hound could be emptied directly from their kitchen door into our side yard to enhance our landscape and get into scraps with our aging dog.

The Ballbuster had three tiny children, and she kept the family on a strict schedule. Children were up at 5:30am, no naps permitted, and in bed at 6pm. Mr. Ballbuster was sent out to mow the lawn at 6am on Sundays (noticing a marital trend here), and the tiny children were sent outside during Phartacus' naptime to scream beneath his nursery window and regale me with questions about exactly what I was doing in my own yard during these brief interludes. The Ballbuster wandered into our backyard a time or two to ask why Phartacus' hair was so long and why he was already two years old and not potty trained a year ago like all her tiny children had been.

Eventually Mr. Ballbuster tired of such domestic bliss, and after months of listening to The Ballbuster sit on her porch bellowing into her cell phone about all Mr. Ballbuster's shortcomings while her tiny children roamed my yard and toddled out into the street, the happy couple went their separate ways. Mercifully, The Ballbuster left the house and took the hound, and the tiny children appeared every other weekend. Mr. Ballbuster bought a Harley, a brain bucket, and a black leather vest, and took up with Crystal the blonde brick house. Now Crystal and Mr. Ballbuster are due to wed, and their combined five children require more space than the house next door can provide.

I haven't even gotten into the other neighbors. Yes, I've mentioned a bit about Neighbor In Swim Trunks From Two Sizes Ago's curdling above-ground pool and outdoor aesthetic, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You've yet to hear about Creepetta and The Hamburglar, Burgundy Brenda Rae, or The Lawn Troll. Suffice it to say, years of unfortunate experiences have made me extremely wary of what's coming down the pike next. In the naivete' of early homeownership, I was somehow friendly enough to give off the impression that I enjoy watching children with no advance warning or expectation of reciprocity, and don't mind at all if you hack branches off our trees or take down our boundary fence without asking.

So I need to decide -- and fast -- what kind of first impression to make with the new neighbors. Do I take over a goody and introduce myself? Probably should. Can I do it in a way that says, "I'm friendly, but don't even think about messing with my fence, sending your kid over every single time I step out the door, blasting classic rock music on your outdoor boombox even when you're not home, borrowing our mower and returning it without the bearing that keeps the axel in place, breaking our expensive rake and replacing it with the cheapest one you can find, not offering to replace or even thanking us for sawing your child out of our toddler's plastic swing after repeatedly warning her she was too big to get in it, or shooting out our sliding door with an air rifle and sending over an alkie with the DTs unannounced to discuss a special method of replacing only one door pane, and only after we had to send the sheriff to your door because you wouldn't own up?" I think I definitely need to try.


  1. This is hilarious! I laughed so hard I lost my breath. I'm sorry about your misfortune. I tend to be a "hi" neighbor and never get too friendly w/ those that live around me. That and a 6 ft. deteriorating backyard privacy fence helps immensely. ;)

  2. We live in an apartment complex that is running at low occupancy, thanks to their simply terrible construction. When people come into the office they are frequently shown apartments in our building. Our neighbor experiences have been so bad (drug-dealing couple that had loud sex on their balcony in the middle of the afternoon whose drug customers often knocked on my door by accident, once telling my (then) 7-year old daughter "I'm here for some weed, man"; drunken insane couple who argue loudly in the parking lot, often after running into my dining room wall with their car; etc, etc) that I do everything I can do discourage people from actually wanting an apartment near me ('people' being the young single military guys, college students, and other young, single people). This usually involves lots of kiddie toys strewn around, corny Winnie the Pooh window clings, and a box for a karaoke machine sitting in one of my patio chairs. Nothing deters like karaoke. Or at least, the idea of living near someone who enjoys home karaoke.

  3. Goodness. I don't blame you for setting the scene. Our yard is strewn with various objects that make it clear there are children living here (tire swing, zip line, plastic slide, nerf blasters, etc.) and Mr. Ballbuster's house had been on the market for long enough that I began to wonder whether its not selling was due to the thought of having us for neighbors. The people who bought the house have one small boy, so possibly they looked over here and thought, "Bingo! I know just where to send Johnny when I want to check out of parenting for a few hours!"
    I shouldn't be so negative, I know, but something about me seems to suggest that I love entertaining small children. I honestly can't imagine why, as I never wear applique sweaters with scarecrows or Santas on them, don't bake, and can usually be heard for blocks around when fed up with Phartacus and Slappy's antics. But there you are.