Is there anything worse than having a “Nightmare Neighbor”? I can think of one thing – being one! For any of you who might read my blog regularly, this topic might not seem to fit the norm of MoniqueKnowsRealEstate.com where most of my posts are topical issues about real estate stats, design ideas, & buyer or seller tips. A recent confrontation with a neighbor of my own prompted this article.
A typical Michigan Spring means anything goes. This year was no different with random snow flurries, cold temps, and a whole lot of rain. The rain played the instigator in my Nightmare Neighbor scene. My yard is just over an acre. It is quite long and narrow, with the house being situated about half the distance back. Last year I had a professional landscaping service do my weekly lawn maintenance. This year however, because my college daughter was going to be home and the fact I have 4 investment properties to maintain – I thought it would be a perfect time to get a rider and give my daughter a little extra cash. It so happened I had a client whose home I had for sale was moving out of the area and I purchased her mower. I brought it home, was able to get the front yard mowed, but the back was way too wet. A week passed, I had to get that back mowed! I went out to discover that my “new” used mower was broken. Ugh!! I couldn’t get anyone out right away to repair it and the landscaping company had already started their new season of routes and couldn’t fit me in.
The next weekend I took an entire Sunday off of work (which is a real rare thing) so I could spend the day mowing, weed-whacking, planting flowers and my vegetable garden. I was super excited because I love to work outdoors. I had gone to Lowe’s the previous Friday to purchase a new John Deere and it was to be delivered on Sunday. Let’s just say they had to make 3 deliveries on Sunday but I did end up with my mower. I hopped on with a smile on my face a vroomed right out to the back yard. I made it just around the back corner when I noticed a neighbor waving his arms frantically. I thought there was an emergency so I stopped and shut the mower down. He began screaming at me. What a disrespectful neighbor I was to have that long grass, my dandelions were blowing in his yard, my trees dropped sticks in his yard, I had a dead tree that needed to be cut… Which then escalated into “all the neighbors hate you” and a train of yells, shouts of obscenities, and criticisms which had absolutely nothing to do with the back part of my lawn being long. I was dumbfounded. I really just wanted to run, hide, and cry. Who was this person? What on earth prompted such rage? Never before in the almost 3 years I’ve lived there has my lawn been overdue for a cut – ever.
I thought about it long and hard. It was easy to decide my neighbor was a “Nightmare”. Who would get so crazy about a lawn? And why, I thought, if he had an issue – didn’t he just say something to me. Back came memories of growing up in a farming community, where when something needed to be done like a barn raising, a fencepost, or even a wedding reception – the neighbors all came! We were all friends or at least very friendly. We knew each other. I reckon if our lawn suddenly looked shabby – someone would have shown up with a casserole – on their lawnmower – dropped it off and cut the grass knowing something had to be wrong. That’s the life I grew up with.
What’s my point in sharing this story? Certainly not to trash my neighbor. I think however, that we need to remember “the old days” and apply them to today. Do you know your neighbors? You should. I imagine if I knew this neighbor a little bit better, he may have approached me that my dandelion seeds were bothering him. Or I may have known that something crazy was going on in his life that caused him to be extra stressed. Most of all though, it made me stop and think about what my neighbors might think. Just because it doesn’t bother me to have a random dandelion in my backyard doesn’t mean my neighbor doesn’t despise it. When I set my trash out on to the street on the day before trash pick-up, my neighbor might think it is horrible. When I drive my lawn tractor around the trees that are along the property line, which means the blade is facing out and it blows a bit of grass in their yard, I might think it is ok – they have a 5 acre yard after all and how else am I going to go around the tree closely? They might think it is rude. So, the crux of it all is as with many things; communication. Talk to your neighbors, ask them what they think. Find out what’s important to them, even though you might think it is ridiculous. Gee, kind of sounds like any relationship, right? And, I think a nice plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies goes a long way! Make your neighborhood a special place to be. 🙂
Thanks for reading my story – Feel free to check out my other blog posts, videos, and website for all kinds of real estate information – They’re all available on my website. http://www.homesofmidmichigan.com