Being a good neighbor…

I often think about what it is to be a good neighbor. This week is one of those times because I’ve got a bit of a neighbor dilemma. Here’s a hint…

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I really do try to be a good neighbor in that I work to not annoy our neighbors. I suspect I don’t always succeed. In fact, I suspect I started annoying our neighbors the day I moved in – unintentionally.

When we first moved in, we shared a driveway with our neighbors. It wasn’t a common driveway. It was two driveways right next to each other.

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The neighbors wanted us to park in a specific spot on our driveway so as to not get in the way of them parking in a specifically desired spot in their own driveway. I didn’t know that they wanted to park in a specific spot in their own driveway every time. They eventually said something to me when we had friends staying with us. Our neighbors said that our friends were parking too far over – on their property – and they wanted it to stop. I was all apologetic and nervous about where I parked for the next decade. I even asked friends, family, and service people to not park in the driveway for fear of annoying the neighbors. Come to find out our property line was actually 2-3 feet over into the neighbor’s yard/driveway. So – all those years they were the ones parking on our property.

These same neighbors were very accommodating when we had our house addition and garage built. It was a major inconvenience for them during this construction project with all the construction equipment, concrete pumper trucks, noise, mess, etc.

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In exchange we had our contractor clean up a fallen apple tree that had been in their yard for years.

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We also offered to pour a new concrete driveway and front sidewalk. They turned down the offer of the new driveway, but accepted the front sidewalk redo. We also had our contractor remove some of their yard to expand the width of their driveway  – with their approval of course – since taking back our 2-3 feet of property shrunk their driveway significantly.

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Things were going well – I thought. Then, I put up a fence around my vegetable garden – which borders their driveway.

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The neighbor woman now refuses to speak with me – or even make eye contact with me – it’s a bummer. I only know it is about the fence because the welder who installed the fence told me that she made a comment to him when they were installing it. It sounded like she wanted me to get her approval prior to installing the fence. I feel bad. I was just trying to keep the neighborhood animals out of the vegetable garden.

During construction, I was greeted one morning by a cupful of nails left on the front porch. I wasn’t sure what that was all about. Though, I figured it was probably the neighbors. I sent Tad over to see if the nails had caused them a flat tire or something. If so, I wanted to pay them for the repairs. The nails hadn’t caused them any trouble or a flat tire. They just wanted to let us know that we were shedding nails onto their driveway. So, for the next several months I was totally paranoid about nails. I was out there day and night searching for stray nails. Weirdly, I never found another nail anywhere near their driveway.

So, this brings me to my current neighbor dilemma.

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Their garage roof (which is now right on the property line because we took back 2-3 feet of our property) is shedding massive amounts of old shingles and rusty nails into our yard. The roof also now has holes in it. The place is sort of a haven for rodents, wasps, and other creatures I would probably freak out about if I knew what was in there. With the rusty nails, aggressive wasps, and rodents the place has become more than an eyesore. I am feeling like it might be bordering on being a health hazard. I would like to do something about this garage roof sooner than later. Actually, I would like to do something now because it has become a bunch of work for me to clean up shingles and nails constantly. My dilemma – what do I do?  I don’t want to be the kind of neighbor who collects the shingles and nails in a box and just puts them on their front porch hoping they get the hint. I could turn them into the code people and hope that they are ordered to get the roof fixed – that doesn’t feel very neighborly though. I am unsure of their financial situation so I don’t want to ask them to fix the roof and suffer a financial hardship. I am willing to put up the money to get the roof fixed, but that is a little awkward to suggest. I don’t want to be bumptious. Bumptious? You wonder what that means? It’s my word of the day. It means offensively assertive or pushy.

I want to be a good neighbor.

I don’t want to be mean or get to the point where I am annoyed – or bumptious.

I don’t want to annoy other people.

What to do?