Thursday, December 16, 2010

The haunted house next door

Maybe we're really not fun neighbors.
Judging by the turnover at the house next door, it's occurred to us that perhaps we're a problem.
In the 20 years we've lived at this address, we've gone from living next to a vacant lot to living next to a slightly crazy person who routinely shook up the applecart around her (she once called the police on our six-year-old daughter's dog who got out once too often) to living next to a lady who had three husbands (one in an asylum, one AWOL and another in jail) who eventually went a little crackers herself.
Then the house sold and we had a fairly stable family move in or so we thought.
We didn't bother them much other than to say hello now and then and teach their children in primary.
But one day they announced they were moving — not selling the house — but leaving for another state and letting the bank figure out they were gone.
The next thing we knew there was a lady on the porch asking us to help her move in her refrigerator.
We tried to do the decent thing and welcome them with some homemade salsa and chips.
When I took over my little gift, the guy answering the door seemed a bit taken aback at my appearance which was followed by the Girl Scouts and the Young Women leaders.
He was distinctly reserved, closing the door quickly.
And now, a couple of weeks later, they're gone too.
Seems they really didn't have any rights to be moving in since the previous neighbors hadn't given them any keys or even knew they were "renting" the place.
Apparently, the new thing is to squat in empty homes.
(I did wonder about the heavy-duty cable TV cord swinging from the porch light and over the garage door and into the back yard.)
The neighbors who had lived there knew nothing about this arrangement.
The bank didn't agree to the squatting and the police who came to say hello weren't impressed with their credentials.
They're gone now after taking their own sweet time moving. (Every day for a week they put one thing an hour in the moving truck.)
We're left once more with an empty house next door in spite of the salsa.
Now we do have neighbors straight across the street that have been there as long as we have.
We have a cordial relationship with them. Two or three times a year we converse at church or when we meet them in the grocery store.
At least once a year we ask them to bring in our mail and newspapers and water the lawn and plants when we vacation.
Other than that, we aren't much bother.
We mow our lawn, spray down our weeds, plow the driveway.
We keep our grandkids in check and the partying to a minimum.
I just don't what the problem is with everyone else.

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