And I Don't Know What to Do with My Anger

I'm very angry. And by that I mean I've made snarky comments to my husband and he's now sick of them so I'm going to blog about my anger. It takes a lot to get my blood boiling. And it takes a special kind of asshole for me to publicly acknowledge that assholishness. I'll take a lot of shit from someone. But I can't stand a person who lowers my property values.

If you've read any of my blogs, you're familiar with the woman who took up residence in the beautiful, well-maintained home next door. You're also familiar with the 4-6 grandchildren living with her at any given moment, the revolving door of pets, and the daughter(s) in and out of rehab/prison. You know that she converted the two-car garage into bedrooms and allowed the above-ground pool to congeal into a cesspool that eventually broke free of its walls and killed the grass and beautiful ornamental bushes in the backyard. You know there's the constant smell of dog shit wafting from the yard. For reasons unknown, she's never bothered to use the sprinkler system on the grass and has let the crape myrtle trees and hedges grow willy-nilly. The doorbell is missing. Only two wires remain, poking through a dark hole near the front door. The front bedroom window has been boarded up for two years, ever since one of the ragged teens broke the glass with a baseball bat.

Earlier this summer, the teens were all been shipped off to their respective fathers. Then, my neighbor's brother suddenly died, and she has been left to care for her elderly mother. She stays with her mother for days at a time and the house has been empty, quiet.

But last month, she took in a woman with three children. The youngest child, and only girl, is a year ahead of our daughter in school. They have been attached to each other all summer, often playing until it's dark outside. She is a sweet little girl, well mannered. I like her. And that's saying something. Because I hate kids.

So I allowed myself to think that perhaps I was being too hard on my neighbor. If my daughter enjoyed playing at the house, and I enjoyed having one of its residents as a guest, I really shouldn't get upset when the sturdy wooden mailbox post suddenly disappeared and was replaced by a rickety bent pole held up by three landscape pavers. It was a price I was willing to pay for my daughter's happiness.

I was even a bit awed--and jealous--this weekend when a whirlwind of activity began outside of the house. A parade of lawn care dudes and pressure washing dudes and shirtless dudes, marched around repairing, cleaning, pruning, and sprucing. I thought perhaps the young woman and her three children were making some sort of positive influence on my neighbor. Perhaps with the other teens gone to their daddies, my neighbor could finally make the house a home. She was even out in the yard cutting away dead limbs on the once-lush knockout roses.

Then, the unthinkable happened. They put down pine straw.

Mulching is a commitment. It says, "See, I care if my trees and shrubs and flowers live through the harsh weather."

I thought, Holy shit, they've actually started to take pride in the place now that they've completely fucked it up. Even with the enclosed garage and still-boarded window, the yard maintenance was enough to make me think that the property value had risen a bit.

I bragged to my neighbor on the fantastic job.

I should have known.

I came home from work today and a "For Sale" sign was in the yard. And not the half-assed yeah-we-may-sell sort of "By Owner" shit. This is the real deal. A Coldwell Banker sign.

Great. I think we all know the kind of people who buy homes with converted garages. I hate those people. They have a slew of lonely pets. Their garbage cans are constantly over-filled. There are strange smells seeping through the cracked windows. That's right. I'm talking about large families. Families with hoards of kids. Knock-on-your-door-all-the-time kids. Kids with snotty noses and scraped knees and sticky hands. Kids like mine.

Now that my neighbor has done so much ugly damage that a pressure wash and a layer of pine straw won't cover it, she's abandoning ship. She's going to allow a huge family to move in and terrorize me. I can see it now: the mother who will home-school the entire brood. And the husband who will shake his head because I work. They'll take "stay-cations."

And they'll lower my property value with the 10,000 plastic sand buckets and ride-on toys strewn about the front lawn.

I just can't wait. Can't. Wait.