The woman who lives across the street from me has 4 children ranging in ages of 7 years to 16 years old. She is separated from her husband but he is there practically every afternoon hanging out with the kids. Her and I will occasionally talk on my porch while drinking a beer or glass of wine. She is very sweet but has low self esteem and takes practically everything personally.
She has a cape cod style house with a full front porch. Her porch is always cluttered with kid stuff, which is fine, but it has also housed a broken kitchen stove for the past year. I havenít said anything about the stove because it barely comes above the porch railing so itís hard to see unless you are looking for it. But the fact that I know it is there, I see it all the time! But the other day I came home from work and backed into my driveway. When I looked across the street I noticed more shit has been dumped on the porch. A stained mattress, some miscellaneous pieces of wood, an interior door and cardboard boxes. All of this is literally up against the windows and looks freaking terrible! Oh, and letís not even discuss the ONE shutter that is painted a completely different color from the others.
But just like the stove, I am afraid this new crap wonít be leaving the front porch anytime soon. If ever!
I know she has financial problems but Iím SOOOO pissed off this crap is piling up. Iím even embarrassed to have family and friends over because it makes it look as if I am living in some ďwrong side of the tracksĒ community. I know that sounds terrible but thatís how I feel.
I, and all my other neighbors, work hard to keep our homes looking nice but that one person Ė who lives directly across the street Ė has to ruin it. I like to sit on my front porch sometimes but I donít anymore because I just get pissed off.
I need to say something but not sure how to put it eloquently enough without hurting her fragile feelings. Also, I do want to keep things friendly between us.
As a last resort, I am willing to rent a van or trailer if she is willing to get help discarding this crap but Iíd rather not. My mom is coming to visit in September and I just donít want her to see this stuff.
Anyone else have to deal with something like this?
In my area, if you call a "junk man", they'll come and haul stoves away at no charge. I would casually mention that you're having some stuff hauled away, and ask if she would like to have the stove removed.
If that works, you can approach the other stuff.
[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 2:39 PM, July 28th (Monday)]
I wish I had large stuff in my house that needed to be hauled away because that would be the perfect cover by asking if she wants to piggy back on my dump run.
I just went to my county ordinance website and there is a form I can fill out that will allow me to input her address and what ordinance she is violating. Even though these things are "stored" on her porch, I have to believe this can be considered trash. Right?
My only fear is that the county will not consider it a violation which will leave me having to talk to her. Then she will know I am the one who filed the complaint. Grrrrr!
I know she is very overwhelmed with life and that is why I don't want to make this contentious. And I really do like her. She's good people. However, her estranged husband seems to have a lot of time on his hands and has family/friends that can help. Honestly, all this stuff can fit into one pick up and the county dump is not that far away.
I'm going to give it another day or two to think about. But something needs to be done. Every day that passes I get more and more resentful.
Why don't you say this to her: Neighbor, I see you have some old stuff on the porch. Can I help you move it? I have a pickup / have a friend with a pickup / other neighbor has a pickup.
Instead of getting all shivery about the one shutter painted a different color.
I know this sounds snarky, but I feel angry for *her*, being in such a wretched position, which is only being made worse by neighbors looking down their nose at her. Give her a hand instead of a slap.
If my neighbors have that much of a problem with it that they want to report me (Seriously? They have much bigger issues to deal with than front porch clutter and mismatched shutters) then they are more than welcome to take it upon themselves and dispose of it.
It probably bugs your neighbor too. But the reasons why it stays are most likely not so black and white. She probably doesn't feel comfortable asking her stbx to move it. Maybe she has and he's a douche. Maybe she's asked others to help and they stiff her. Who knows. Maybe when she reaches for the phone to call someone to help her, one of the kids has a crisis, thus side lining the issue.
If you're that bent out of shape about it, why don't you move it yourself? But be aware. She is already stressed and overwhelmed. You could embarrass or insult her.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?
I agree on showing helpfulness, kindness and empathy to a neighbor, but no one forced her to get married to a lazy man who "hangs out" but doesn't take responsibility for their house and no one forced her to have 4 children. Those were personal choices.
By the way, it may come as a surprise to some, but children aged 7-16 can actually do these things around a house called "chores" but the prerequisite is something called "good parenting," which along with personal responsibility appears to be some kind of lost archaic art today.
She can choose any lifestyle she wants for the interior of her house, subject to health department rules, which by the way WILL step in and condemn the house if they go below a certain standard and involve rodents.
The community has a reasonable interest in her keeping a certain minimum standard with regard to exterior appearance. In your case it's not "looking down your nose" but rather what you have to look at across the street.
[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 3:32 PM, July 28th (Monday)]
It could be depression that is playing a part in this too.
I chose a husband that didn't care, my choice and that choice I made along with others on this journey, has placed my children and I in some very tough situations, but I'd like to think if I was having a hard time someone would offer help or have compassion for me. When people have done this rather than judging - even if I haven't accepted the help - the compassion has helped me to carry on.
Divorced 2009, Closing on house Nov 2011 -
No longer waiting for the other "she" to drop.