Friday, May 6, 2011
Well, first a little background. DH and I moved to our 15 acres in 2000, and one of the main reasons that we selected that particular run-down shack was that it was very much in the "middle of nowhere" and that was my dream. Woods and cornfields surrounded us, with one neighbor a quarter of a mile away and that was the entire neighborhood.
Then, in 2003, the farmer that owned the cornfields sold 10 acres to this guy and his wife. Lucky us, the 10 acres that were sold butt right up to our property. Not only that, but the guy chose to put his double wide etc just as close to our property as could be imagined. Several people stopped by during the excavation just to say "I can't believe this!"
Being as the land had already been sold by the time we learned about it, we really had no choice but to grin and bear it. We've tried to be good neighbors. But they have clearly moved to the wrong place, because they don't like anything we do! Some of their complaints are justified, like the time I left our dog outside (warm summer night) and didn't realize that I couldn't hear her barking outside when I was in the bedroom. But they have also complained about the roosters crowing, the length of the grass, and the guineas (in another attempt to try to be good neighbors, when the guineas were eaten by a predator, we opted not to get more because we knew they disturbed the neighbor). It appears that the more we try to make them happy, the more they complain. They called one night at 9:30pm and asked us to put the dogs inside because they (the neighbors) were out in their yard and the dogs were barking at them (remember they are only feet away from our house now)--ok, we put the dogs away. Then the next night they called at 8pm and asked us to put the dogs away for the same reason. It's gotten to where we are afraid to leave the dogs outside unsupervised, for fear of being bad neighbors.
We now chain up our dogs because they have asked us to. We are afraid to complain about their cat that comes into our yard at will because we are afraid the cat would be killed if we did.
Last fall they complained to the county about (I'm not even sure) the way rain water ran off from our driveway into the street(?) (I'm still not even sure what the exact problem was). The county told us that it was the neighbors that "suggested" an "improvement" and that it would make things better for everyone at no cost to us. The county came and made a holy mess out of the bottom of our driveway in an effort to please these people....now there's a big mudhole there that extends 1/3 of the way into the road....that really fixed the "erosion" problem. Oh--and I didn't mention that they did not opt to discuss the "erosion" with us before going to the county. Oh--and did I mention that the wife works for the county?
I still want to be as good a neighbor as I am able. But frankly, I'm getting fed up with trying to please them. We have never complained about anything to them, as we prefer to "live and let live". Not even the fact that we believed that their driveway was way too close to our property line--why make a big deal out of something......
About a month ago, he (the husband) notified me that he was going to have his land surveyed so that he could put up a better fence than the one we had put up. (The fence we had put up was just T posts & chicken wire, and we made sure it was quite a ways away from where we thought the property line was, in order to avoid any type of dispute or complaint...) Fine, whatever.....put up your fence....I have a few other things to worry about....
Now. Surprisingly (or not), his efforts have led him to an embarrassing conclusion: the property line is not where he thought it was. His tool shed is sitting smack dab on the property line. His propane tank is on our property, as is his electric service. The distance between the edge of his driveway and the property line is about 1 inch. Really.
So they called me out tonite to "talk" about this. I really didn't know what to say, since they were the ones wanting to be precise about the boundaries....I told them that I/we wanted to be good neighbors. So right away they suggested that we do something called a "line adjustment" where the property line(s) are redrawn but no money changes hands. But the fast way they suggested that made me instantly cautious, because of the driveway thing--"Oh yeah, it's going to be better for everyone...." and really....nobody can even drive down the road without worrying now.....
I want to be a good neighbor (despite my frustration it's not my nature to be very spiteful), but I feel like they're asking me/us to give them some land because they messed up. And they haven't exactly made me feel excited about doing that. On the other hand...."do unto others as you would have them do unto you...." And I know we aren't the best neighbors. DH has struggled with his mental illness during this time and I have been working the two jobs to make ends meet. I have not told the neighbors why our yard is a mess or why we can't afford to fix (whatever), because DH's issues are private, so I'm sure they just think we've turned into the trashy people that nobody wants to live next to....and maybe we have, I don't know......I'm not sure I'd really want to live smack dab next to us either.....but of course I wouldn't move next to us to begin with. I don't like having neighbors and moved to a place without them for a reason.
I'm sure some of you have thoughts on this or similar experiences....We don't have the money to get an attorney, and I don't like to make waves anyhow....but I don't want make a bad decision in an effort to be a good neighbor, either..... __________________