Neighbors From Hell …

by Anonymous

Do you like your neighbors?  Apparently there is a link “between having good neighbors and a healthier heart”.

Maybe your neighbors are not the friendliest, but at least they don’t take advantage and quietly buy part of your property after a mix-up with property taxes.

Woman whose home straddles two states loses half the property in tax mix-up and discovers her life coach neighbor has snapped it up for $275 and will only give it back for $35,000

Then you have the case of the Michigan man who had his neighbor’s house demolished after secretively switching address signs.

Most of my neighbors are wonderful, but there’s the one whose kid stole some precious items from us and then blamed it on another neighborhood kid.  And then we have the feuding neighbors who have a spite fence between their properties, and the guy who tried to bribe the housing inspector so he could illegally rent out part of his house.

Do you love or hate your neighbors?  What good or bad neighbor stories do you have?  Are you a good neighbor?

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122 thoughts on “Neighbors From Hell …

  1. I don’t think we’ve ever had a problem. The closest we got was someone moved in and started leaving things in the trash chute room. If it can’t fit in the chute you need to bring it downstairs. I don’t know what they were thinking.

    I left a bitchy note and they never did it again. So, all’s well that ends well.

  2. My neighbors on the whole are awesome. They’re raising nice kids, they offer to get your mail when you’re out of town, bring over dinner when you’ve had a baby, etc. However we have one neighbor on the other side (single mom, moved here after divorce) and her kids have been a bit more challenging. The son has asperbergers, the daughter has something, and they’ve been a little trying. They’re nice kids and it’s gotten way better than when they first moved in, but we’ve had to deal with the boy just barging into our house without knocking if we happen to leave a door unlocked, ringing our doorbell before 7:30 a.m. on the weekends and a few weeks ago he brought over a can of blue house paint and put hand prints all over my walkway. I try to make allowances but the mom is just a little loopy.

  3. When in-laws bought their current house, they removed the spite fence that the previous owner had erected to block the neighbors’ water views. The guy was a pretty big a$$hole. He was a small time builder who had made a small fortune in the real estate boom, and promptly lost everything in the bust. The house was very near foreclosure when in-laws bought it. When they sent us the listing, the garage photo had a Dodge Viper. He’d also owned a cigarette boat. Basically, they were the “wrong kind of white people” and they’d come in, torn down the old 1920’s vacation cottage, and built a 5k sf beach house in its place. Then got to fighting with various neighbors, which led to the spite fence.

    So everyone was thrilled that his business failed and he was in trouble with the bank. When my in-laws bought, they quickly realized they needed to tread lightly. They’re in THE prime lot in the community. They’re immediately surrounded by newish 3k sf houses (lawyers, lobbyists, and political journalists/cable news contributors), and beyond that is a much wider mix of real estate styles.

    My in-laws were the right candidates to tread lightly. Everyone knew they had bought the house in cash, but…WTF?…they drove a regular old minivan and a small little Highlander. Polite and soft-spoken, friendly. And they took the fence down immediately. People very openly told me about these impressions when I’d take the kids to the playground.

    Then they made a donation to the community association to do some needed repairs on the community pier, and to update the playground. When the time came around that they wanted to put in their own private pier, there were no formal objections.

    We’re the smallest house on our own little cul-de-sac. Everyone has kids except the couple immediately next door. We haven’t had a problem with them, personally, but she’s kind of a Cuban hot-head. We went out to dinner with them twice, both times with a third couple. At one point, when a different neighbor installed a swing set, she said that it was much too visible from the road, and she started an unsuccessful petition to have it removed. She stopped me when I was walking with my kids and asked me if I would sign the petition. I politely refused, just saying that the swing set didn’t bother me, and I wasn’t willing to alienate people whom I would be living next to for possibly the next 30 years or so. She responded that they didn’t spend $X on a house to have to “look at something so ghetto.”

    We didn’t happen to socialize after that, but DW did email her about the bobcat so that she would be careful with their dog, and she thanked her very profusely for doing so. A few weeks ago, DW saw someone taking pictures of their property, so she sent her a text just to alert her. She called DW back and said not to tell anyone, but they’re moving for her DH’s job. The photographer is their agent. She didn’t want anyone knowing that she was living their alone while her DH has already relocated. They’re going out West, and DW mentioned that we want to take a vacation to the big parks. She said, “Well you always have a place to stay if you want to visit…” and then kind of realized mid-sentence that it seemed like a silly invite since we’ve never even been in their house once in the years that they lived next door. So that’s that. No real complaints, but nothing great, either. I’m optimistic about whomever decides to buy it.

  4. Our neighbors are mixed. Our street is not very long, but is very oddly shaped so that it has three zones. We are in the middle zone and our property adjoins only 3 others, rather than the typical 5. One is a couple who we have the most interaction with, the other is a couple with kids much older than ours and while friendly, we don’t have much interaction with. The third is really in another zone and while thier kids are in our age range, we don’t see much of them. Others in our zone include at/near retirement age couples – kids all moved out; an elderly widow; a young couple pregnant with their first child; a family that moved in about 6 months ago with their oldest and our youngest being about the same age – we speak, but no ture relationship yet; and another family with kids – one boy in our age range, but we got off on the wrong foot with their elderly agressive dog and our toddler.

    We do some things for the elderly widow when she isn’t home, like sweep/rake leaves, mow part of the yard, etc. She always wants to pay, so if she sees you she will chase you in her walker to pay you. We also sometimes leave some baked treats on her front porch from “your neighbor”.

    We haven’t had a problem neighbor in years. Knock on wood!

  5. No issues with our neighbors. We were the seventh house occupied in our neighborhood 25 yrs ago. One house out of all of them have turned over like 8 times; others, like ours, never. I used to be on the board of the (social) homeowners assn, so I still know a lot of people on the block. On one side their kids are older than ours, and they’ve all moved out. The other has kids the same ages/younger. We have in the past had dinners with them on the deck or once during a winter power outage all 11 of us were in our house for meals since we have a gas cooktop and we could cook out of the fridge/freezer and nothing spoiled.
    Across the street the couple is our age, no kids, and we only ever wave to them.

  6. We have no issues with our neighbors other than it’s really sad how few of htem we know. We’ve lived her for 15 years and there’s been some turnover, but we don’t know most of our neighbors more than a wave and hello in passing.

  7. Our neighbors are polite, sometimes friendly. No complaints, although I would like to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids and one that is more friendly. There is an elderly guy who lives near us and I worry about him when the power goes out or we have severe weather. He is a curmudgeon, but I feel like we should check in on him to make sure he is ok. But I am sure he would resent it.

  8. Our neighborhood situation is a little different. We have an orchard next to an almost finished subdivision. We have constant problems with trespass and theft. The most irritating was that we have a few cherry trees in the orchard. This year they were stripped and we got nothing. What makes people think they can walk onto someone’s property and take the fruits of their labor?

  9. winemama – Heard it on the radio. When you think about families in the spotlight (or even the fading spotlight), how is it that some manage to keep everyone on the up and up, and some just can’t?

  10. off topic – did you guys see that bristol palin is pregnant again?

    Is it me or did her post have a lot of God in it for someone who will have born two bastard children with two different guys?

  11. how is it that some manage to keep everyone on the up and up, and some just can’t?

    Who has been able to keep it on the up and up?

  12. “Who has been able to keep it on the up and up?”

    Bushes. Pretty remarkable, considering their size and length of time in the spotlight. McCain has a bunch of kids, couple in the military, no scandals. Obama girls are pretty buttoned-up, though still under 18. I would say Chelsea, but maybe it’s less impressive keeping an only child on the straight and narrow, and she’s probably just so horrified at her father’s behavior. I guess the Bidens would fail, since his son was kicked out of the Navy Reserve for drug use. Nothing from the Romneys–you might expect some trouble from at least one of five sons.

  13. I think it’s kinda cute. Now, with today’s Supreme Court decision it seems that the only person in the country who cannot get legally married is Bristol Palin.

  14. I love my neighborhood so much that I’m looking for a smaller house in the same subdivision. It’s a “planned residential” development that has homes from small 2-BR townhouses up to 3,000+ sq-ft houses on .5+ acre lots, and no unit can be rented for more than 2 consecutive years so it’s mostly owner-occupied & no undergrads. (I’m looking at 3 townhomes and one smaller house this weekend.) We have walking trails, playgrounds, and a soccer field. One of the best ways I’ve found to get to know my neighbors has been walking the dog. Sometimes, we never learn each others’ names, but we know them as “Muffin’s family” or “Lady’s mom.” The HOA sponsors social events on Halloween, July 4th, and a couple of summer evenings with barbecue and live music. We also banded together when a student housing developer wanted to build 800 bedrooms on the adjacent property. Using our diverse talents and backgrounds, we successfully convinced the town council that was not an appropriate site for what they wanted to build. One guy even did a full-fledged stormwater study!

  15. Milo, I’m not so sure about the Bushes. W had his alcohol problems. Jeb! was a pothead in high school (if not a small time dealer), Jenna and Barbara the younger were fairly wild, one or the other of the other Bush boys were involved up to his neck in the S&L scandal, Columba (Jeb!’s wife) has a little smuggling problem. Their daughter Nicole has a prescription drug problem.

  16. I just have to deal with living in a condo complex. We have the most isolated end unit, and the abutting unit and the one next to it are changing hands. By now we are the established residents, so if they bring any complaints about us we have seniority. We love little kids, and have encouraged in the past chalk on the sidewalk and kiddy pools on the grass in front of our unit, so as long as we don’t get a family with kids who are not properly supervised when we need to get the car out, we will be fine. The most likely buyers will be young couples, with or without small baby. Unit prices have increased 40% since the lows of 07-10, when we bought, and 15% since the 04-06 peak. Even after adding in our pricey bathroom upgrade and middle of the road kitchen refresh, we have a nice paper profit.

    The neighbors are fine, in general, but the other day we got a note from the management company with a photo saying we were backing a cars too far into our (secondary, non abutting) parking space and brushing up again a bush. There are older residents who worry about the plantings and how you fold your recycle boxes. We deliberately parked like that because of the little kids.

  17. But as far as Jenna and Barbara, underage drinking among college students is, well, I don’t know. Not such a big deal. It’s not the same as getting knocked up.

  18. Yeah, Milo. I’ll give Jenna and Barbara a pass.

    I think you are right about the damage control, but I think there have been real problems with all the Bush boys, covered over or not.

  19. Milo – Abortion is routine in most public families other than those who are public evangelicals or Catholics, and sometimes even then. And it took a confidentiality breach (unfair to the girls) and either a fair amount of money changing hands or a state employee who despises sanctimony or just the usual bureaucratic eff-up to get public documentation of the Josh D. scandal. Drug and DUIs don’t even register on the meter.

    “W” was a huge screw up as a young man. You just like the Bushes and forgive them their transgressions. Chelsea (with whom DD was acquainted in college) deserves credit for being a decent girl under the circumstances, and maybe her mom too deserves some credit, but you don’t like the Clintons and you can’t even praise the poor kid.

  20. What is the issue with Bristol? Is birth control not an option? Are the multiple kids from multiple fathers an intentional white trash class marker like a neck tattoo? Is she just being rebellious?

  21. Generally I think poor Bristol is just going to have to deal with life outcomes and I’d be inclined to leave her alone. In general I don’t support bashing on kids (the younger Bushes, Chelsea Clinton, the Obama girls, etc.) just because their parents are famous. But then Bristol did all those PSAs about teen pregnancy and uses her semi-public statements to be very judgmental about anyone not living up to a particular moral code. At this point I just want to say that she’s already broken several windows of her glass house & she should quit throwing stones before the whole structure falls down.

  22. Abortion is routine in most public families

    I would assume birth control would be even more common.

  23. On the original topic, those stories make me very glad for our neighbors! Demographics are such that there are kids around, but not a ton. Lots of folks here work, so we don’t have the environment where lots of people socialize together, which I sometimes wish we had. But there is a round-robin of the sharing of fruit from the trees, watching homes on vacations, signing for packages, greeting one another on the street, making food for someone injured, etc. that makes it a great place to live.

  24. “but you don’t like the Clintons and you can’t even praise the poor kid.”

    First of all, I gave her as much of a compliment as I can muster for that family. And she’s not a kid. And she’s not even a grown adult who shies away from the spotlight. She’s chosen to be a public figure on the campaign trail and in the media.

    Just like people get outraged about the Duggar hypocrisy, I find the Clinton hypocrisy infuriating.

  25. Well, Milo, I guess the Bushes are the right kind of white people and the Clintons are the wrong kind.

  26. I think for the Palins they view birth control as sinful. I guess it would be embarrassing for the abstinence ambassador to be seen buying it at the drug store.

  27. I guess it would be embarrassing for the abstinence ambassador to be seen buying it at the drug store.

    More embarrassing than two bastard grandchildren? Fool me one shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  28. My neighbors were up in Kennebunkport a few summers ago and George and Barbara Bush were dining at the same restaurant. The husband is a huge Bush fan and asked for an autograph through the SS. So my neighbors were allowed a short audience and my neighbor (the wife) says George Bush managed to grab her butt during their very short conversation.

  29. Chelsea Clinton is an adult involved in policy now. But as a teen? Seems funny to compare the Bush children in college with thirty-ish Chelsea Clinton as a frame of reference.

  30. I seriously doubt the Palins have a problem with contraception. Virtually no 21st century Evangelicals do, except for rare groups like the Duggars. And you can spot them from a mile away with the way they dress and retreat pretty much entirely from the world. The Palins don’t fit that mold at all.

  31. Totally agree with SWVA about walking the dog and meeting people. We’ve lived in our house for 22 years. Most of our neighbors are nice, decent people. We hosted a blizzard party this past winter and 30 neighbors showed up.

    Our next door neighbor is an oddball. He screams at his dogs (you GD aunt replace the a with a c), he’s been arrested for punching a woman that he got into a car accident with, he’s called the police on us when we renovated our house, he hangs no trespassing signs all over his property. You get the picture. We just planted 8′ arbor vitaes (sp?) to block our view of his yard. The original buffer was destroyed when Sandy hit.

    Our kids pet sit for a lot of our neighbors. There’s been some turnover lately, older folks selling to younger couples.

  32. PTM – You may have heard about the man who was shot by a neighbor over a dog a week or so ago down in your neck of the woods. We know the victim’s family. Tragic.

  33. I don’t even know what religion she is, but I know many Catholics still have a problem with the pill (and also many don’t)

  34. “I guess the Bushes are the right kind of white people and the Clintons are the wrong kind.”

    That’s a “Stuff White People Like” reference, and it would be the total opposite. Martha’s Vineyard vs. Crawford.

  35. I also only know the dogs’ names, not the neighbors. And since I no longer have a dog, I don’t see the neighbor-dogs much anymore. We’re on pleasant terms with the next-door-neighbors, a couple who have been here as long as we have, but we don’t have much in common so it’s limited to front-yard chitchat. The other next-door-neighbors have been there a couple of years and have cute small children, but I barely know them at all.

  36. We have several families with kids for neighbors. It has made for a great neighborhood for our kids because they have quite a few neighborhood friends. Some of my neighbors are close to other neighbors so they tend to socialize and two families take vacations together. There is also reciprocal pet sitting done. There are houses with older couples who have raised their kids but continue to live in the neighborhood. If we go on vacation and trash bins are out, someone will put them in. I have mentioned that there are quite a few SAHMs, so there is usually one adult home during the day. Interaction is as much or as little as you want, everyone is very polite.

  37. Ginger & ATM,

    I wonder if there is a clinical diagnosis for those guys? I remember being a kid and visiting my grandparents in their retirement community and my ball went into the next guys yard and he called the cops. I think I was 5.

  38. Right, the Catholic Church is opposed to contraception (though we are allowed to use modern forms of natural family planning that can be 99% effective) but most Evangelicals are ok with any form birth control as long as it doesn’t cause abortions. The Palins are Evangelical, not Catholic.

    I’m pretty annoyed with Bristol. It seems like she doesn’t actually believe the party line on abstinence and such, but she’s gone along with being pushed into a spokesperson role for it. Probably because it’s better money than she could make from anything else. I seriously doubt she believes what she preaches, and we know she doesn’t practice it. Like many politicians, I guess.

  39. ATM– That’s just horrible.

    Rhett–I’m no therapist, but that’s way beyond interfering with day to day life. That’s a clinical level of *something*.

  40. ” I seriously doubt she believes what she preaches, and we know she doesn’t practice it. Like many politicians, I guess.”

    yep

  41. Rio – The Palins are just a disaster. Sarah might have been able to hold on to some credibility if she hadn’t simply resigned as governor for no reason other than the fact that she could make a lot more money as a Fox contributor.

  42. Seriously the Clintons, Palins, Bushes, etc. remind me of everything wrong with American politics. I need to cut back on how much I read because it’s making me way too cynical for anyone under 65.

  43. We’ve lived in our neighborhood for 7 years. We’ve watched a turnover start (and continue in earnest). Most were retirees, or near-retirement selling to upgrade/downgrade/get the hell out of dodge. Incomers have been very nice – one house is a little weird, but maybe it’s just that I don’t know them well enough.

    Our across the street neighbor is nice, but I could live without his kids’ friends. Think 7th Heaven’s Camdens but without the religion. They are the types of neighbors old bitties (and young bitties like me) spy on. Fisticuffs on the lawn, cops in the middle of the night, unwed mothers… it’s enough to make the Dowager fan herself. The parents are very nice though, and must have a heart of gold to deal with everything their kids and the kids’ friends throw at them.

    We know by name a number of neighbors. The newer ones are foreign to us, mostly becuase we were the DINKs and they all had kids. I think some of them thought we hated kids. It’s all good though. We have kids on either side, and think they are wonderful. We are having lunch with one set next weekend. Kids and all (lord help us, 3 boys under 4). Our dog is quite popular in the neighborhood, and now that we’ve been out with DS, the stroller is attracting attention. Our next set of favorite neighbors share out back fence. They smoke pot and do not invite us… so sad.

    We have one old lady across the street who’s a bit loony. During the Great Flood of 2014, she brought over dinner for me. She thought that I lived alone in the house. She still thinks I live alone even though I’ve spoken to her multiple times and she’s met my husband. She even gave DS a present. Again, I think she thought I had him on my own. I’d love to know who she thinks my husband is, or why I have 2 cars in the driveway. She’s harmless… just loony.

  44. As long as we’re talking about crazy politics, and remember that, as Sheep Farmer and I have discussed, I have absolutely no affection for the Confederate flag, but THIS is going too far:

    http://www.abcnews4.com/story/29411843/north-charleston-police-chief-fires-officer-for-confederate-flag-display-found-on-facebook

    associated both you and the Department with an image that symbolizes hate and oppression to a significant portion of the citizens we are sworn to serve,”

    Aren’t we talking about the exact same symbol that is flying on the grounds of the state house in Columbia (about 90 minutes up I-26) at this very moment???

  45. Rhett – reality TV family who’s kept it together, so far? I’d say the Willis’. They are the new Duggers on TLC. And I like them. They are adorable and fun. And the girls can wear pants.

  46. Just realized I never answered the original topic. We are apartment dwellers, and interact very little with our neighbors, most of whom seem to cycle in and out of the building within months. I am pretty annoyed with some unknown neighbor who must have reported us to apartment management for having a few “non-furniture items” on our balcony. Virtually everyone violates this rule, so annoying to get called out on it under penalty of heavy fines. I know someone complained because these things were invisible from anywhere other than a couple neighboring units.

    We had some pretty interesting neighbors growing up. The people across the street were new immigrants from an impoverished country, but from the elite class back home. They were constantly complaining about things in the neighborhood that seemed “like low-class from back home” to them- like kids running around in sprinklers and such. But generally everyone got along pretty well. The other surprising thing (given that this was an upper-middle class subdivision in middle America) was that my best neighborhood friend when I was a preschooler turned out to have drug dealers for parents. Which eventually led to arson in a deal gone bad and at least one of the parents in jail, and the kid moving away of course. Very sad in hindsight; I was too young to understand what happened at the time. Last I heard he had become a teen dad and had already been to prison at least once.

  47. Milo – I thought they removed it? Or did I get a sound byte wrong? But yes, too far. For some people the Confederate Flag is a religious symbol… would they fire an officer for having a cross or Star of David? Granted the analogy isn’t exact, and is completely unfair, but personal freedom has to come in somewhere.

  48. For some people the Confederate Flag is a religious symbol… would they fire an officer for having a cross or Star of David?

    Well, for racist nuts.. yes. I don’t think that helps the case any though.

  49. “I thought they removed it?”

    No!!! Governor Haley has called for it to be removed, and good for her! But the Legislature still has to decide. (Haley might be vying to be on the VP short list.)

    Now, if in 10 years, it goes the way of the swastika, fine. (Although you can still buy that on Amazon, interestingly enough. Maybe their corporate values only go so far?) It could absolutely be a termination-worthy offense then. But it’s been flying over the state house since 1962, when the Democrats hauled up as a sort of protest against the Civil Rights Movement. That’s really hypocritical to fire this guy at this point in time over his boxer shorts.

  50. Milo – I thought they removed it? Or did I get a sound byte wrong?

    It will take a vote by the state legislature to remove it. I think it’s a 2/3 majority needed to do it.

  51. The one thing my neighbors pay the most attention to is any house for sale in close proximity. They will tell their house hunting friends to come on down and take a look, watch potential buyers and try to see if they have kids etc. I get told who bought the house long before people move in. Even a detective would be put to shame by the grapevine. There is one couple with a kid that really stands out because they don’t talk to or acknowledge anyone. They are the right profile but seem very introverted.

  52. Louise – I’ve got a neighbor lady who can (and will) tell you exactly what every single person paid for their house, and she is obsessed with the neighborhood and property values, and constantly drops the figures in conversation. And it’s not like they’re hurting; her husband’s a retired colonel and he’s working for a contractor, they’re doing fine, the kids are grown. But she can’t let it go. I’ve never had a conversation with her that didn’t include property values, even if we also talked about other things.

  53. @Milo – in our neighborhood people who live here are a little shocked by how much more houses are going for than they were say 7 to 10 years ago and there are buyers – average families willing to pay that much.

  54. on topic – at our old house we bought the property across the street and fixed it up and flipped it. I wouldn’t due it again, relatives of the person who lived at this property still lived next door, they were always stopping by, at one point they actually dug up the rose bushes at this investment property and took them, it was madness

  55. Milo – I agree. it’s a little hypocritical at this very moment to fire someone for something that is still flown above the state house. On another note, I’m pretty sure a good chunk of the people who fly that flag are not racist nuts, as Rhett put it. They probably do it out of some weird Southern pride. Should they? No. But when has that stopped anyone.

  56. All this talk of neighbors taking fruits and flowers from yards makes me want to install a camera on my garden. It’s in the front yard of my home, and now I want to know how many dishonest people I live near. Seriously, just ask and you can have.

  57. I am not a fan of firing people because of things they post on social media, but I do question the judgment of the officer posting that, especially given recent tensions between the police and African Americans. Not that I think he should lose his job, but very stupid and insensitive of him IMO.

  58. Rhode,

    We have friends who came home to find someone had stolen all their planters and flower boxes. Who would do something like that?

  59. Someone in our neighborhood set up an old bookshelf next to the walking trail with a sign that says “free vegetables” and regularly restocks it with garden overflow.

  60. “I’m optimistic about whomever decides to buy it.”

    I think you’re optimistic about life in general.

  61. “The husband is a huge Bush fan and asked for an autograph through the SS. So my neighbors were allowed a short audience and my neighbor (the wife) says George Bush managed to grab her butt during their very short conversation.”

    Was the husband still a Bush fan after that?

  62. “They smoke pot and do not invite us… so sad.”

    Perhaps you need to take the first step.

  63. “I’m pretty sure a good chunk of the people who fly that flag are not racist nuts, as Rhett put it. They probably do it out of some weird Southern pride. Should they? No. But when has that stopped anyone.”

    You’re right. Most are not. For most, it’s just a regional pride thing, even like a particular flavor of patriotism. There will be the U.S. flag above the confederate flag above that POW/MIA flag. The juxtaposition has never made sense to me.

    Whatever. Live and let live.

    Still, you guys know world affairs and world history better than I do. Can you think of anything analogous where some sort of armed and violent insurrection was defeated, the occupied group was brought back in, and 150 years later some still fly the flag, license plates are issued with the flag, statues stand and streets are named after leaders of the failed rebellion, and (I just realized this morning) military bases of the victorious country still hold the names of some of the rebellion’s generals?

  64. We have a nice neighborhood, mostly sane, not without its quirks. My mom’s block is pretty tight — around 10 years ago, a developer came in, bought the two houses closest to the main drag, turned them into offices, and razed and paved the two backyards to turn it into a giant parking lot. All legal, but totally out of character with the neighborhood, so the neighbors banded together to intercede with the zoning folks to make sure he didn’t flatten the houses and to force some sort of landscaping buffer from the rest of the neighborhood (because, of course, he also flattened the trees that ringed the backyards to squeeze out more parking spaces). Now one of those houses has been off and on the market for years and is going up for auction soon, so I have to admit to a little schadenfreude (although the next guy could always be worse). But the end result is that they all got to know each other really well, and they have some good friendships out of it — my mom and her one neighbor now go out for a drink every Friday.

    We’re a little more introverted and busy with our own thing, so our friends tend to be work and kid friends. But we’re friendly with everyone. I’d say our biggest weirdo is one neighbor to the rear who, we have just discovered, periodically tosses trash into our yard — I found a tennis shoe and old school binder that had obviously been there for years. And then we have our other redneck neighbors to the back, who fly the confederate flag and have their man cave with the lit beer signs on it up against our fence. They are totally decent and friendly people, but a couple of times a year they throw parties with drunken amplified karaoke that I can hear through my windows (think your worst stereotype of DIY “Freebird”). But, you know, in terms of “neighbor issues,” it doesn’t even make the list — that’s just part of life when you don’t live on 100 acres of your very own. And at least when I go out back to pick my berries, I don’t have to feel guilty about bringing my iPhone speakers with me. :-)

    Meanwhile, my mom is thrilled, because the house on her other side recently sold. It’s sad, because the family had been there long before we moved in (in 1978), but after the dad died, one of the grown kids stayed home with mom and raised and “trained” Dobermans and German Shepherds (yes, for “self-protection” purposes). He stayed on after she died and was a decent neighbor (searched me out once when he saw my mom’s basement door was open and she wasn’t home), but I don’t think he was quite all there, and he didn’t have the means or ability to keep the property up. Now I guess the kids finally all decided to sell the house, and a retired contractor has moved in who is fixing it up as his “retirement project.” Judging by the amount of crap that has come out of the windows of the house, it was long overdue, so I’m sure that will do good things for the other homes nearby.

  65. The link Milo posted on yesterday’s thread, about the tearing down of old homes and replacing them with McMansions, seems more relevant to today’s.

  66. You’re right. Most are not.

    Having worked in the rural deep south – I’m going to go ahead and disagree.

  67. Can you think of anything analogous where some sort of armed and violent insurrection was defeated, the occupied group was brought back in, and 150 years later some still fly the flag, license plates are issued with the flag, statues stand and streets are named after leaders of the failed rebellion, and (I just realized this morning) military bases of the victorious country still hold the names of some of the rebellion’s generals?

    The Scotts and the Welsh?

  68. On what grounds?

    On the grounds that you’re wrong. A venn diagram – one circle is all the people who proudly display the confederate flag, the other circle contains racists. You’ll see a lot of overlap.

  69. @Milo – Huh, it never occurred to me to question the name of Fort Lee. I just had to look it up to confirm who it is named for. Robert E. Lee has always just been a part of Virginia history to me and I’ve never thought of him as “the enemy.” Of course, I grew up in a place with Jefferson Davis Highway and an avenue full of monuments to Confederate soldiers. I just thought it was really weird when they decided to add a statue of Arthur Ashe because everyone else on Monument Ave. was from the Civil War.

  70. Did you talk to them?

    Yes, like my boss slamming the phone down and saying of the CNO – “That fucking uppity n*****.”

  71. Rhett – Did your boss fly the Confederate flag in his yard?

    SWVA – Yep, there are quite a few:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/politics/confederate-army-bases-names/

    He also said that “Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history. Accordingly, these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.”

    So where’s the Fort Rommel, or Camp Yamamoto?

    You know I’m the total opposite of the overly-PC, but it seems really crazy when you think about it. How many U.S. servicemembers were killed by Bragg and Hood, etc.?

  72. Did your boss fly the Confederate flag in his yard?

    Decal in the back window of his pickup.

  73. I agree with Rhett, Milo. Not so much in South Florida– we’re not part of America nor a part of the south. But as one moves north in the state, oh boy! There’s a lot of racism up there. Back when I had my real estate empire up there, it was amazing what I’d see and hear on a daily basis. Of course, there was great concern over who I would sell my properties to.

    I think the Confederate flag is something that should be forgotten. Forever. Period.

  74. Scalia burn

    One would think that Lindsay’s beliefs are somersaults of statutory interpretation. Huh

  75. On the Confederate flag issue, I have to say that I think there’s a little overkill going on right now. No, it absolutely should not be flown over a state capitol, but we should not be stereotyping everyone who respects the flag as racist white trash. (There are plenty of those who don’t fly the flag.) And we should not be taking down statues of Confederate heroes or ending the practice of holding battle reenactments or renaming military bases. The whole point of remembering history is to learn from it, not to rewrite it to some PC version. (Although that certainly happens a lot anyway.)

  76. down statues of Confederate heroes

    Can you be considered a hero when you’re fighting in large part for the right to continue to own people?

  77. Rhett – alright, fair enough on that point. But if you had to guess, do you think he would vote for Ben Carson or Martin O’Malley?

  78. from what I understand, slavery was one of many issues that led to the civil war

  79. Our neighborhood is varied, older, pretty conservative and live-and-let-live. When the veterinarian needed extra space for horses he was trying to home, other neighbors with unused acreage let him use their grassy areas. The houses were built over a period of 50 years. In the 15 years we’ve lived here, only three homes have turned over, though I expect more turnover in the next decade as our 70-something neighbors become unable to maintain their properties.

    Our closest neighbor is actively interested in our family now and I think she’s finally started to like us. She was a child in Austria during Kristallnacht and hates government so I’m pretty sure she’ll never turn me in to CPS, despite the fact that I think she supervises our kids in the yard better than I do. She has fixed up her house a lot lately- I suspect she got some life insurance when her husband died. I leave berries for her sometimes when I pick.

    Another neighbor is a retired business professor. She has lent me eggs at least 3 or 4 times when I needed an egg and forgot I didn’t have any, and she doesn’t want me to pay her back. (It’s 20 min to the grocery store.) I try to make it up to her by leaving fresh berries by her door when I pick.

    A third neighbor is a shy, 50-something bachelor with several graduate degrees. I suspect he has a trust fund, because to my knowledge he’s never held a job. He currently has an LDS roommate, a Dad whose high school kids are back in Utah with Mom and who moved here for a job. The two were good friends back in graduate school. They started giving our dog occasional treats because she would always bark at them, and now our dog likes them.

    The last close neighbors are retired industrial contractors. They are nice and the people whose yard I told my kids to ride their bike into when a car comes. (We live on a single lane road with no sidewalks.) They have about 10 acres and the “forested” corner of their yard is where my twins peed when they couldn’t make it to and from the bus stop without a potty break. I once asked her for ripe bananas when my twins needed some (and she gave me what she had) and for salt when I was canning tuna and realized I didn’t have enough. She watched my twins when I had to go to the doctor for an urgent test last fall.

    I wish we had some kids but the retired people are very nice. They seem to like our family and are unbothered by the one-sidedness of our occasional interactions.

  80. “the South argued that each state had the right to secede–leave the Union–at any time, that the Constitution was a “compact” or agreement among the states. Northerners (including President Buchanan) rejected that notion as opposed to the will of the Founding Fathers who said they were setting up a perpetual union.[46] Historian James McPherson writes concerning states’ rights and other non-slavery explanations:

    While one or more of these interpretations remain popular among the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other Southern heritage groups, few professional historians now subscribe to them. Of all these interpretations, the states’-rights argument is perhaps the weakest. It fails to ask the question, states’ rights for what purpose? States’ rights, or sovereignty, was always more a means than an end, an instrument to achieve a certain goal more than a principle.[47]

  81. The only place that I think it is acceptable to fly the Confederate flag in on the grave on a Confederate veteran. There is a small cemetery about a mile from my house. Buried there is a man was killed fighting at Gettysburg. I don’t have a problem with the small flag that someone makes sure is always flying at his marker. I do have a problem with the huge flag that is flying near the interstate just north or Richmond. It is just so tasteless.
    They joys of living in the country are that we have no close neighbors. Sometimes the neighbor’s cows can be a little noisy, but they probably think that same about some of our farm animals.

  82. Rhett, They were on the wrong side of history, just as all the people who still want to deny same-sex couples the right to marry will be. They didn’t know any better, and slavery was even in the constitution. They fought for their State, which at the time was often considered a higher authority than the federal government. Thank God they lost, and maybe I used the wrong word by calling them “heroes.” (Give me a break, I am Virginian.) Let’s call them Confederate Historical Figures but still remember their role in history, in making the United States a stronger union.

  83. I do have a problem with the huge flag that is flying near the interstate just north or Richmond. It is just so tasteless.
    Yes, ITA! As a Virginian, I am embarrassed every time I see that.

  84. “Is it me or did her post have a lot of God in it for someone who will have born two bastard children with two different guys?” @ Rhett- Oh no you didn’t! (grasping my pearls)

    “I’d say the Willis’. They are the new Duggers on TLC. And I like them. They are adorable and fun. And the girls can wear pants.” @Rhode – oh pants – is that the new line for these folks. Sheesh before you know it they will be smoking on the street!

    So awesome! My Scalia burn –
    “One would think that Moxiemom’s silly extravagances are a threat to American democracy. This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation.”

    On topic – great neighbors who are also friends. We have large lots so that helps keep the friendships manageable. I consider my next door neighbor my friend but I haven’t seen her in two weeks. We host an annual end of summer BBQ and there isn’t a soul who won’t help out in a time of crisis. I have at least 15 people I feel like I could call in the middle of the night is something happened and I needed help. Very lucky!

    On the flag, I think people should be able to fly it if they want to. I like knowing who they are. But I don’t think anything state sanctioned should display it. At some point the South is going to have to accept that they lost. More than anything it just looks silly.

  85. They didn’t know any better

    They didn’t know there was anything peculiar about their peculiar institution? To hell they didn’t.

  86. Just got video of Obama’s brief eulogy and rendition of Amazing Grace on my Facebook feed. Choked me up. I am the first to catalog his faults and my disappointment in his overall achievements, but even those who dislike him have to admit he has had a very good week.

  87. Meme, I agree with you. I think the President was at his best today– in his element. He is a very good speaker. Junior and I both watched the whole eulogy, very moved. I might be disappointed in Obama as president, but I think he is a fine man.

  88. @Mémé – i loved it! I was thinking about how much I like politicians when they have nothing to lose OR gain.

  89. wine:

    “Examiner: All right, here’s your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?
    Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter…
    Examiner: Wait, wait… just say slavery.
    Apu: Slavery it is, sir.”

  90. Can someone explain to me why the right to deny cake to gays is inalienable, but the right to marry is non-existent? I really think Scalia is just intellectually dishonest.

  91. I felt the same way when I watched Obama speak at the funeral for Joe Biden’s son. I wish these glimpses of this Obama were not so rare.

    I just spent the afternoon with many of my neighbors at the pool. I really like some of them, but I miss my next door neighbor. I mentioned on prior posts that they moved to northern CA last year. My other neighbors are nice, but it’s really not the same. It’s been a long year without them.

  92. “Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say.)”

    Ball-n-chain jokes! Good one! Henny Youngman is on the USSC. Yay.

    I think I need to stop reading this dissent.

  93. His snarky dissent got a little crazy for a while. I loved the part where he criticizes his fellow justices for being well-educated, Catholic high-brow east coasters. Because that is what is wrong with America. Whut?! He should have stopped after he declared democracy destroyed. Thomas’s wasn’t even intelligible. All I got out of it is that slavery and internment camps were dignified, ergo, so is denying gay marriage to people.

  94. Regarding the discussion of being fired for unpopular and/or inappropriate opinions on a variety of topics, this quote from the Magna Carta comes to mind: “No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

  95. I love the Scalia insult generator! “One would think that L’s mind is a genetic cocktail. This wolf comes as a wolf.” LOL.

    On neighbors – our next door neighbors are crazy, older Russian couple with a bunch of junk in their yard. They went without a roof for TWO WINTERS (just the typar house wrap) when they were “in the middle” of the roof project. They similarly have been without a master bathroom window for 2 years! (just tarp) This does bring down the neighborhood, but if they are ever done with the place it will be nice! Our other neighbors are a couple of 90-year-olds (never leave the house), and then a couple with kids that are older (10-12) who we NEVER see, a couple with kids the same age as our 2 younger ones who we NEVER see, and a couple with kids that are older (10-14) who we, guess what, NEVER see. Those kids we do see playing out in the yard sometimes, and our kids try to climb the fence to get over there. So no super-close neighbor relationships, no borrowing eggs or watching the kids for an hour or taking in the trash bins.

  96. I hesitated last night to address Rhett’s objection to any honoring of the Confederate rank and file. Then we ended up going out to dinner and other things. But I found a response in one of Charles Krauthammer’s unusually reasonable columns this morning. But first, I liked his interpretation of the sudden rush to act against the flag:

    there’s a deeper reason for this rush to banish Confederate symbols, to move them from the public square to the museum. The trigger was not just the massacre itself, but even more tellingly the breathtaking display of nobility and spiritual generosity by the victims’ relatives. Within 48 hours of the murder of their loved ones, they spoke of redemption and reconciliation and even forgiveness of the killer himself. It was an astonishingly moving expression of Christian charity.

    Such grace demands a response. In a fascinating dynamic, it created a feeling of moral obligation to reciprocate in some way. The flag was not material to the crime itself, but its connection to the underlying race history behind the crime suggested that its removal from the statehouse grounds — whatever the endlessly debated merits of the case — could serve as a reciprocal gesture of reconciliation.

    But on the topic of the Confederate dead:

    We will probably overshoot, as we are wont to do, in the stampede to eliminate every relic of the Confederacy. Not every statue has to be smashed, not every memory banished. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from Arlington National Cemetery, founded by the victorious Union to bury its dead. There you will find Section 16. It contains the remains of hundreds of Confederate soldiers grouped around a modest, moving monument to their devotion to “duty as they understood it” — a gesture by the Union of soldierly respect, without any concession regarding the taintedness of their cause.

    Or shall we uproot them as well?

  97. L – I want to say – come on down to the Louise neighborhood. The average family has three kids and your three could play/roam outside for hours – even younger kids 4 and up are outside. Summers are quiet though because everyone spends time at the beach, lake or grand parent homes. When that happens, my kids are at camp. So, I do have to schedule camp weeks and our vacation end June/July.

  98. Assuming the guy who was fired was an at-will employee or they followed whatever due process requirements that they are required to follow, I have no problem with his firing. I thought the consensus was to let the market sort this stuff out? People have been terminated for a lot less.

  99. Yeah – the article didn’t say much but it did say they sent him a letter and he has 10 days to appeal. I assume they are following their due process requirements. Beyond that, I don’t really care. Free speech isn’t absolute and a the government (when acting as an employer) can certainly have standards. As far as I can tell, this isn’t something that would allow him some heightened standard, but I trust the process and the courts to sort it out. It doesn’t really matter if we think what he said was a fireable offense.

  100. Since the story hasn’t gained national traction, I’m thinking there might be more to it, possibly including prior warnings.

  101. We have a mixed neighborhood. Some original families with kids that have aged out of the house. Some with school aged kids. Some just starting a family. We have one set of great friends with kids of similar ages. We have several acquaintances. We have some undesirables, including a registered sex offender. Our immediate neighbors are grandparents with boomer rang children and their young families. The family across the street owns a restaurant and we never see them.

  102. I like our neighborhood. Very eclectic. We have some old people who have been around forever, some renters, and some families with kids. More families with kids are moving here, given the amazing local elementary school. However, as my kids have grown older, they are of less interest to me. I do like that we are in the middle of things.

    Louise’s and MBT’s neighborhoods sound amazing. We don’t have a real sense of community here, which I wish we had. That said, having lived here 15 years, we know the neighbors and would get or give help if needed.

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