I have strange neighbors.
I’m sure we all have strange neighbors, now that I think on it, however I think at times, mine are truly extraordinary.
The ones on the left hand side, that is. The ones on the left are a female cop and her military-slash-karate-instructor husband. Oh, and their daughter that likes to have underage parties whenever mom and dad are out of town. That’s a blog for a different day, however. My neighbors on the left hand side make me feel safer, chiefly because of the noticeable cop car parked in the driveway most of the time.
My neighbors on the right hand side, though…they’re a whole different story.
For those of you that have already been to the 2N Casa of Loooooooooooove, you probably are already familiar with the terrifying shrieks and screams that issue from next door on a regular basis. For those of you that haven’t…let’s just say that the mother, daughter, son, AND father that live there all possess an astonishingly strong set of lungs.
Let me back up. When I first moved in, the house next door appeared to be deserted. Two stories tall, light brown with dark brown trim, and an attached garage whose door is on its last legs, with blankets obscuring all the windows and years’ worth of junk accumulated on the front porch. It was a daunting sight.
A few months into my residency in the Casa of Looooove, it appeared that the next door house was, in fact, occupied – by an elderly gentleman who started having heart attacks or some other medical emergency on a fairly regular basis. The reason I know he was an elderly gentleman is that I could regularly hear the aforementioned astonishing lungs screaming “Grandpa” whenever they came to visit and he took longer than usual to answer the door; and the reason I know he had medical emergencies is that at least once a week a fire truck would come screaming up the street to park itself outside the front of his house. Due to the length of the firetrucks, that meant they were also partially in front of my house.
At any rate, eventually the geezer died or was carted off to an old folks’ home….which is when my current neighbors (his relations, I can only assume, since the house never went on the market) moved in.
In the months since, I have been an unwilling audience to more shouted orders, arguments, and “conversations” than I can even count. It appears that no time is a bad time for yelling from the front yard to the back yard, from the porch into the great unknown, or for yelling at the top of ones lungs at any time, really.
Through various conversations with the mom, dad, and kids, I have gathered that the mom and dad work at the local food bank. At some point, the dad or another man living there must have been some sort of semi driver, because the first I knew that there was actually someone living in the abandoned house next door was that there was the huge semi truck parked in front of their house (again, by extension, my house), running at 3:00 in the morning, at least five nights out of every seven. I would usually wake up to the sound of the engine starting, followed by the sound of the engine continuing to run for at least another thirty minutes, usually followed by screaming fights that ended with the guy either coming inside, or being run off the property by some hysterical female. Generally accompanied by assorted curses and swear words. I am assuming this was the mom.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard what a semi engine combined with a knock down drag out fight sounds like at 3:00 AM, but let me assure you that it’s an experience I gladly would have sacrificed for a good night’s sleep.
At any rate, what we have today is a little boy, 6, a girl, about 11 or 12, a mom, and dad.
My first actual interface with this family consisted of encountering the boy (we’ll call him Toad) and his little friend in my front yard.
Now, I hate to be the Uptight Next Door Neighbor Bitch, but just because there’s no fence between my property and theirs doesn’t mean that my front yard (and all my plants!!) are theirs to play in. That being said, I tried to relax and not worry but eventually I saw them playing on the rock wall (still unfinished) in the front yard. At this point, I was really getting agitated – and try as I might, I couldn’t stop visions of children tumbling down the rocky slope, into the street, and getting pulverized. As entertaining as that sounded at the moment, I knew I needed to stop it. So I did.
Five minutes afterward, I was folding laundry at the BACK of my house, and who should appear but Toad and his little buddy, playing on my back deck. Which, by the way, IS separated from their yard by a fence.
This being too much, I promptly marched outside and let them know that they needed to go home, and marched back inside. I answer the back door five minutes later to Toad asking for candy, and the friend digging up the thyme plants in my patio.
As you can imagine, this was too much. I hustled them back home ASAP. Without any candy.
My first encounter with the girl (we’ll call her Drill Sergeant) was strictly auditory. She has got the most impressive lungs of the group. For months I’ve been hearing her bawl out orders to her younger brother and thought it was her mom. It wasn’t until Toad wandered over to pet the Dogs one day and she came looking for him that I realized this loud, obnoxious yell was coming from the daughter. Not that the mom is anything to sneeze at – I heard her yesterday yelling at the kids to stay off the porch and I swear my eardrums rang for hours after.
The father is the one that told me they work at the food bank, when he gave me a pack of unopened cinnamon rolls. I wondered for a while whether he was making nice or whether he thought I was starving…or maybe they were drugged. I don’t know, I didn’t eat them.
At any rate, so the Kid is with me all week and while the weather has been absolutely fantastic, he’s been inside playing video games the whole time. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, Toad and DS were in the front yard (of their house, thankfully) spraying each other with the hose. Kid asked if he could go play with them, and then I was stuck.
Do I tell him no, I don’t want him associating with the neighbors next door? Or do I encourage him to make friends? Can I rein in the Uptight Next Door Neighbor Bitch tendencies long enough for him to expand his social circle?
With major encouragement from 1N, I decided to give it a shot.
In retrospect, it’s been a good thing. Right now the kids are out riding bikes and having fun in the sun, and I am in here writing this blog in the peace and quiet. My plants are still mostly intact. I am, however, short one entire roll of toilet paper that somehow “unrolled itself” all over the bathroom floor, and my ears are still ringing from the hours all three spent banging on the Kid’s drum set he got for Christmas.
And, I have no Otter Pops left.
A small price to pay, I think, if the Kid can make new friends. As long as they don’t pass on their foghorn-imitation skills, I suppose.