Monday, March 19, 2007

Won't you be my neighbor?

No, really. Seriously. Will you?

Because my neighbors? Sweet Lord.

We moved to Tennessee in 2004 and bought a house that we had seen exactly one time. We came for a visit, found the house, called the builder and made an offer.

Yeah, I know. Not the smartest move we’ve ever made. Oh, it’s smart in some ways, I suppose. It’s in a good school district and only a few miles from the school. It was a great bargain. We were able to buy it directly from the builder so we had no real estate agent to pay commission to. When we sell (and oh please God let that be very, very soon) the house we’ll make a nice profit. It’s near parks, playgrounds, and walking trails. It’s near shopping centers, grocery stores, and “The Wal-Mart” is even right up the road. (The new one! Or so people like to tell me. Since I didn’t live here before, I was unaware of the old one.)

And really? It’s a cute house. It really is. It has a big front porch. It’s a really pretty brown color. And it has three bedrooms, which was my only drop-dead requirement at the time. (I have since learned that having a massive amount of closet space is a requirement since I have a husband who hangs on to every single piece of clothing he’s ever owned, ever. But I digress.)

Jason claims that living on the end of a dead-end street is a big plus, but actually? It’s not. Because everyone uses our yard for their parking lot and/or turn around place. The ice cream truck will come down our street and get stuck in our yard and has made huge, really ugly holes in the yard and ruined our grass. We’ve repeatedly asked her not to do it, but she won’t stop. It’s not like it’s the public street we’re asking her not to use. It’s our YARD. She doesn’t even have a boss we can call and complain to, because she owns the freaking truck. I’ve really considered putting big metal spikes in the ground, but that just might be mean. Also, it would probably pop her tires and then she’d want to come in and use my phone and since I’m a generous person I’d probably let her and she might stab me with a sharpened popsicle stick or something for popping her tires in the first place. And, frankly? I just can’t take that chance. People rely on me to pay the mortgage and cook dinner and crap like that.

There are also a lot of children on our street. Since I have two children, this also probably seems like it would be a big plus. Again, it’s not. Because I make my children, you know, BEHAVE and ACT RIGHT. And apparently that’s not a requirement for living on my street.

A few days after we moved in, we were accosted by the family who lived across the street. By accosted I mean I opened my door at 7am to take my children to school and there were two children, dressed in pajamas, on my porch playing with my children’s outdoor toys. I asked what they were doing and they looked at me as though I had sprouted three heads and said, “Playing!” (I mean, DUH!) I asked them why they weren’t getting ready for school and they advised me that their mom and dad were still asleep. I sent them home and told myself that this was a rare, weird occurrence and that I would see the mother later that day and explain what had happened and she would probably be really embarrassed and it would never happen again.

But yeah. Not so much.

I saw the mother later and she seemed friendly enough, in a crackwhorish kind of way. I explained to her that her children were on my front porch when I went outside at 7am. She said nothing. I said they had told me she and her spouse were still asleep and she was like, “Yeah. We were.” Okay. She then advised me that the people who live catty-corner from our house (and directly next door to her) were disgusting, dirty, nasty people who tried to look at her little girl while she was in the bathtub. She said, “We had to put curtains up!” I declined to tell her that I thought curtains were probably a good idea anyway, or at least blinds, because you don’t need the entire neighborhood seeing your business. But whatever.

I then met the people who actually live in the house she was referring to. One is a woman who is in approximately her 50’s and the other person living in her house is her father, who is quite old. They told me they had to put up a fence around their property after living there for over 40 years without incident because the kids who lived in that house were coming over and stealing their things, wrecking their flowers, and writing on the side of their house with magic markers.


About two days later our whole family was outside together. My husband was building a receptacle for our trash bins. The trash trucks come on Monday and we had bought two large cans to sit by the curb. We had observed that every single week trash was strewn all over our road by large, roaming dogs (we later found out these dogs actually belonged to residents of our street who did not bother to put collars or leashes or anything on them…fancy. They also don’t spay or neuter. Because it makes the dogs lazy. Sigh) so we decided to build a wooden receptacle that would hold the bins. We also put bungee cords over the top so that animals couldn’t get the lids off.

While my husband was building, I was sitting on our porch and the kids were in the yard, throwing a Frisbee around. Within fifteen minutes there were eleven children in our yard. Eleven. Not a parent in sight. I had met exactly one of the mothers. These parents did not have a clue if we are serial killers, if we are child molesters, liked Blue Grass music or anything. They just sent their children over to our house to play so they wouldn’t have to be bothered with them.

Immediately, I could see why they didn’t want to be bothered with them.

One boy (shockingly, the child of the mother I mentioned earlier) picked up a hammer and told me he was going to hit my car with it. I told him to put the hammer down immediately and he was NOT going to hit my car with it. He grabbed the hammer and ran toward my car, hitting the (rubber) bumper. I took him by the arm, took him to his house, and told his mother, who said, “Okay.”

His sister took my daughter’s bike and rode it up the street. I informed her (I might possibly have actually yelled this at her, causing two small children to flee to their own homes) that it was not her bike and she needed to get off of it immediately. She said, “But I like it.” I told her she had her own bike and she was not to ride my daughter’s bike anymore, especially without permission. She then went onto my porch. I told her to stay OFF the porch, as I had noticed some small nails that were still exposed and hadn’t had a chance to nail them in soundly. She came on the porch anyway, grabbed a pair of my daughter’s shoes, and ran off with them.

I, again, went to her house. I told her mother that she had stolen my daughter’s shoes and they were, in fact, currently on her feet.

She said, and I’m totally not kidding:

“I don’t know that they aren’t her shoes.”

I said, “Did you BUY her a pair of shoes like that?”

She said, “No.”

I asked, “Well then why would you think they were her shoes?”

She replied, “Well, I don’t know. Someone could have given them to her.”

I walked over to the little girl, took hold of her leg, and held her foot up so that the woman could see that I had written my own daughter’s name on the shoe (before you accuse me of being a freak…she had been at day camp that summer and writing her name on her things ensured she came home with them).

She was not impressed.

“How do I know that’s your daughter’s name?” she asked, clearly ignoring the fact that it wasn’t HER daughter’s name.

“I’m telling you it is,” I said.

“Well, how do I know that your daughter didn’t GIVE my daughter those shoes?” she queried, thinking she had found a loophole that would enable her daughter to keep those Hello Kitty sparkly sandals that didn’t even fit her feet.

“She didn’t,” I said. “Furthermore, she’s only five years old and she’s not allowed to make decisions about what she gives away. I’d like her shoes back now.”

Reluctantly, she made her daughter take off my daughter’s shoes and handed them over to me. As I was leaving, I heard her shout out the door,



The girl came BACK to my house almost immediately. She came up and sat on my porch, once again. I asked her, once again, to leave.

She got up and when she did, I could see that she had peed on my porch.



She was seven years old people! She wasn’t a toddler that had a wee-wee accident! She was in the second grade!

The next day? The mother came over and asked me if my daughter could join her Girl Scout troop. I politely declined. I didn’t tell her that I didn’t think she, a woman who changed live-in boyfriends as frequently as she changed her underwear and had knock-down drag out fights in the front yard with said boyfriends, would be an appropriate role-model for my daughter. Also? Since her own daughter was seven and couldn’t control her personal urination and somehow they live in some kind of alternate universe in which it is acceptable to pee on someone’s porch? I don’t think she’s a good role-model for any child, anywhere, at any time.

I just thought that would be overkill.

After a few months of finding the children in the street every day (literally, playing in the street) wearing only underwear when it was thirty degrees outside, I finally called Child Protective Services. Who did absolutely nothing. The woman from CPS? Was extremely incredulous that I had even called. As though this was common behavior and *I* was the crazy person. It was then that I began to wonder if I was crazy. That was also right about the time I started crying and hating to come home.

One day, the people were gone. Just gone. My neighbor told me that they had been stealing power (how you steal power, I just have no idea, but apparently they were) and hadn’t paid their rent in some time and in the middle of the night they packed up and were gone. Also? The current “dad” had broken into the house across the street (which is also a complete crackden and makes me wonder why poor people want to steal from other poor people, but I’m saving that whole tirade for my Presidential campaign) and he was in jail. Sweet.

Some equally fun people moved in after that. And I could go on for years about the stories these people have provided me, including them yelling at me what a fat-ass I am, and various calling the police stories.

I can’t wait to move.


Wendy said...

Man, I thought that I had it bad with roaming dogs crapping in my yard and getting into our trash! You definetly have it WAY worse! Those poor kids!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

How you've managed to hold onto your sanity this long is simply beyond me. I just about lost it over neighbours who played loud Spanish music at all hours. And that was it.

You poor girl! ~hugs~

I wish I lived closer so I could come kick some arse for you.

frannie said...

My neighborhood is nice--- and I bake cookies! You should move here!

Em said...

I'm just speechless. That's the lamest group of neighbors ever! Yes, I'll be your neighbor. And I swear I won't pee on your porch!

Anonymous said...

I don't even know what to say. I'm horrified. I loved the pic of your house and was all "Hey..Man of the house...let's buy Chick's house" and then I kept reading. Now? Ummmm.... not so much. Not even a Target across the street would make me want it.

I'm really sorry--move. Sell. Run. FAST!!

Stealing power? Interesting. The "mother" of the porch pee-pee girl? I'd have had fun exchanging words with her. People never cease to amaze me.


Anonymous said...

This is where I say..."OH for the love of God!" Nobody could make up some of that stuff. Peeing on someone's porch! We had some kid come in our garage and steal something off of our son's bike one time and he had the gall to come around and "show us his new thingamajig"! My husband and I let that little stinker have it! We roared at him and my husband took the thingamajig off the bike and put it back on our son's bike and then we forbid that kid to ever so much as step foot on our land, if he did, we were calling the cops, it was VERY clear to him what the consequences would be and we NEVER had any problems with him after that. I think his parents were crackheads and maybe we were too harsh on him, but we were sure he had stolen from the kids before and so, we had to make a statement and we did.

Alpha Dude said...

But when you are elected President, and move into that big white house, well....the neighborhood there is pretty raunchy.

I hope you find an awesome new place real soon.

My area is nice, but I think the commute might get to you after a while.

my4kids said...

Wow that is bad. I could tell you some stories though myself but usually have to do with stupid "Adult" neighbors. Such as the one who stole my cat for a day because he was outside and she thought that was mean. When she brought him back she had sprayed him with "cat calogne" probably to cover the smell in her own house (which is bad). The "calogne" or whatever caused Kenzie to have a horrible allergic reaction and almost had to go to the hospital. I posted about it and pictures last year.
Also my sis and bro in law "stole" electricity once to (we found out when they got caught). It's actually pretty easy though if your neighbor has an outside outlet. All you have to do is plug in a large extension cord to the right place in your house and get found out after the neighbor complains after several months of ginormous electric bills. Yes I have wonderful family members. I don't know if this is how your neighbors did it but it is one way. The story about the shoes? Oh yeah that is bad also peeing on the porch and hitting your car? Ya need to move......The house is cute though if it were somewhere else. Also CPS I've found it to be a joke so many times. Really its sad........

Anonymous said...

Ah, the stories your grandkids will get to hear when you're older. And they won't believe you, but it makes for funny anecdotes to tell their other friends.

"Guess what my Grandma said happened when she lived in Tennessee?"

Is pee on the porch less egregrious than pee on the couch?

Denise said...

SOUNDS like my life.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

I hadn't heard the hello kitty sandals story. How SAD! No, that woman does not sound like a good role model! Your house is pretty though. It's a shame it's surrounded by lunatics!!!!!!

Portrait of Peter said...

I found your "journal" to be really disturbing - how you kept your sanity - only a saint would know!!

As to the CPS attitude I am deeply angry at their failings. Sad we have a similar situation here in the UK too.

I sometimes feel we have so many agencies - when what is needed is just plain common-sense and the priority of "child-safety".

You do have my sympathy. I would hate to live in an environment like that.

Shanilie said...

Gurr....I can't imagine the insanity! Peeing on your porch. I know some very intelligent 7 year olds and they wouldn't do that unless they were told to.....or just being plain bad. and to keep coming over afterwards. That mom needs to get a hold of her children. They run all around not even knowing where/what they are doing. You kept your cool, that's a good thing...and not giving the shoes back crazy. What does she see proof of identification with a birth certificate. Seriously, you have a little girl. Anyway, you have a beautiful house. I am sure it will sell quickly. Hopefully your next neighbors are better. I feel for you and I hope you can move SOON!

Anonymous said...

I will never complain about my neighbors here after reading this.

Happy Working Mom said...

Your house is adorable!

However, having bad neighbors can make any house crappy to live in. I feel so badly for you...I can't even believe the stories that you told us! I hope you get to move soon!

Patiently waiting said...

Oh my Lord! That is awful. I have dealt with bad neighbors before, but not to that extent. The house we lived in previously was a dead end street loaded with kids. One day I counted fifteen children in my yard not including my own!!! Some people just have no common courtesy.

Anonymous said...

I have a wonderful neighborhood! Come live by me!

Amy W said...

Dear God.

I would totally be your neighbor.

And just for the record, I like Blue Grass music and have had a kid recently pee on my house. Because his mom was too lazy to walk him inside.

dennis said...


Anonymous said...

Here in England, we are a big fan of fences. And walls. And prickly hedges. They go around your front garden so you know exactly where you have to mow and where your neighbour's lawn begins, and they stop people from reversing onto your lawn (sweet lord) and stray children from running all over it and dogs from doing huge poos on it.

Of course, when I say to my husband that when we live in the US I STILL want a big high fence, stone wall or hedge he tells me that the neighbourhood will refer to me as the crazy lady, and that children will avoid our house on Halloween. Pfft. If I could have a moat and drawbridge, I would.

Anonymous said...

I think I might need to sue you for jaw fixing surgery, because my mouth dropped open so wide reading all your stories that I can't seem to close it again.

I don't know which story is worse. The pee story? The shoe story? The hammer story?

So many good ones, so little time.

If it doesn't sell, maybe you could torch the place for insurance money? ;)

Anonymous said...

Holy crap. That's all I have to say.

Beth said...

This is my very first visit to your blog...all I have to say is "WHOA!"

Please move, you can move in with me, just MOVE! HURRY!

P.S. I'll vote for you when you run for president.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

OMG, I am speechless! Speechless! What in the hell? What kind of person raises their kids that way? That is awful!!! I don't think I would have had the patience you had with them. You're a better woman than I!

Unknown said...

The next time she pulls that big ole' ice cream truck into your yard you take a picture with the time and date stamp on it and you take it right into the police precinct and you say that you tried to resolve it peacefully, but honestly!

Okay, I know - big bluff coming from the girl whose family doesn't even talk nice, but...tire RUTS in the yard. PEE on the PORCH! I had to sign a complaint, but I got Priscilla and Heidi (the yappy weiner dogs that pooped on my front walk every night) locked up for a couple of nights and they haven't crapped since...on my front walk that is.

I seriously promise never to complain about my sidewalk parkers ever again!

Thanks for letting me know I'm not horrible...I like the new pix, too!

Mel said...

OMG! No wonder you want new neighbors. I completely get the parent thing because I teach those kids once they finally make it to school in yesterday's clothes and 30 minutes late. I definitely see another house in your future with big closets and normal neighbors!

SJINCO said...

Whoa. And I thought I had bad neighbors. You poor woman. Your poor family.

I say move next door to me! Really, it would be awesome!

Cute house by the way, I love it :)

Lisa said...

HOLY CRAP. We live in an awesome 'hood. But there is ONE family. And we have stories. But wow. Not like yours. That's scarey. What's even scarier is those kinds of women? Seem to be as fertile as all get out.

Amy's Blah, Blah, Blogging said...

Unbelievable! The peeing part particularly! It's just unbelievable. Boy, thanks for making me feel like the kid who hit my 6 month old for touching her own toy that he was holding is actually not half bad!

monsters' momma said...

I will never complain about my neighbors again...ever. Hope you get to move soon!