When moving, people are given the option of choosing what location they would like to live in. Unfortunately, that choice does not extend to the neighbors!
"When we first moved to this new place, I was six months pregnant. Our neighborhood welcomed us to the neighborhood very nicely. Then, my fiancé switched jobs and had to travel for three weeks to another state. He was worried about leaving me alone in a new neighborhood at six months pregnant, so we decided to talk to our next-door neighbor.
We talked to them. They were very nice. The husband was in the Army for 20 years and then became a deputy sheriff. The wife was a stay-at-home mom.
Then my fiancé asked them if it'd be too much to ask for their number in case I needed it for an emergency or whatnot. My fiancé told them he was going to be traveling and he was worried about leaving me home alone (Even with a home alarm system, my fiancé worried so much about me).
Anyway, the neighbors came over a couple of times to our house before my fiancé had to travel. We noticed the wife was overly nice. You know, the type who's way too nice to be true?
So my fiancé leaves out of state and during one of those days, my younger brother called me and told me he will be around the area. He asked if he could hang out with me and have lunch with me. I said sure, and we went out for lunch. It had been a very long time since I'd seen my brother, so when we met at the restaurant he was being very sweet.
He would put his arm around my shoulder and we were just having a great time.
From the corner of my eye, I feel someone just looking my way. I turn around and there she was- my neighbor with her phone out. It seemed like she was taking a picture of us.
When she saw me, she quickly put the phone down and waved at me.
I told my brother she was our neighbor and we went on with our day.
My fiancé then texts me about an hour later, 'The neighbor just sent me these pictures. She thinks you're cheating on me with someone, but I haven't told her that's your brother. Should I play along?'
To this day, she cannot look me in the eye."
"When we bought our very first home, we weren’t prepared for the crazy that comes with living in a homeowner’s association (HOA) development. Our houses were townhouses, and part of the HOA fee included all lawn care. Great! One less thing to worry about.
The townhouse we were buying didn’t have a front lawn, though. It was all bushes and flowers.
We showed up to closing for the house and learned the current (soon to be previous) owners had taken out the grass and put in bushes and flowers without permission of the HOA. As such, they presented us with a check for $1500 to redo the postage stamp size lawn in exchange for them being able to just walk away.
So, as soon as we moved in, we met our neighbors, Mario and Mrs. Mario. Mario loved his lawn. He loved his lawn so, so, so much. He was out working on his lawn every single day—this lawn was maybe ten feet by five feet. But it was green and lush and perfect.
Mario hated that our 'lawn area' was covered in bushes, and he was the one who had ratted out the previous owners.
We learned the only reason the previous owners had put in bushes was to get Mario to stop harassing them about the state of their lawn. The previous owners were happy to let the HOA take care of the lawn, and that was unacceptable to Mario.
Mario’s dream was we make our lawn identical to his, and we spend the same amount of time on this patch of green as he did.
Our dream was to let the HOA take care of it and never have to worry about it.
Mario let us know, in no uncertain terms, the only acceptable result was his dream, and bushes and flowers were certainly of the devil.
So, after living there for about a month, we went to lawn court. Turns out the HOA board had no love for Mario. They were tired of his constant complaining. However, the HOA rules were clear; there must be a strip of grass between the bushes and the sidewalk to keep mulch from getting onto the sidewalk.
We asked if we could just put in a small amount of grass and keep 75 percent of the bushes. They said, of course!
So we spent about $200 on dirt and grass to come into compliance, and came out ahead on the professional landscaping money we’d received in closing.
Mario was furious. He complained to the HOA again. They informed him we had their permission.
He made it his mission to spy on us. Any time we were outside, he or Mrs. Mario would open their front door and then stand flat against the wall, thinking we couldn’t see them, so they could hear what we were saying.
We talked loudly about our plans for our yard. Pirate flags, flamingos, bigger, more obnoxious bushes. In reality, we watered our bushes and let the HOA mow and fertilize the grass.
It was fun watching them get so angry at not being able to control us or our lawn. They moved a couple of years later, and we were not sorry to see them go."
"When we bought our house, we knew there was an asterisk attached to it: the owner previous to the previous owner had done a non-licensed, non-inspected room addition to our house. By room addition, I mean he doubled the size of the house and put on a second story.
He did everything right, though: the construction is solid, he built it in a way where it’s not that noticeable, especially from the front yard.
We knew that this was an illegal room addition, but we bought the house anyway because it’s in a great cul-de-sac in North Phoenix, it was cheap, I could fix it up, and it was pretty big.
After several years, we’d met all of our neighbors in the cul-de-sac, but nobody on the next street over. So, one day, I was cutting some pine branches back when I hear a voice from the other side of the wall:
'Oh, hey there, I’m so glad you’re cutting some of those back. Listen, can you cut these back as well that are hanging into my yard?'
Now, I had never interacted with this woman before. The only thing I knew about her is that she listened to Christian music a lot, and she sang opera sometimes when she was in her backyard. She wasn’t bad.
I figure that it’s my tree, intruding in her yard, why not help her out and be a good neighbor?
'Sure!' I proceed to cut a few branches, making sure to pull them back into my yard.
As I’m doing so, I keep talking, 'Yeah, I keep wanting to cut these trees down to get rid of the needles falling and stuff, but it’d be so expensive, and I love the shade.'
'Oh, don’t you ever cut those trees down,' she said, in a playful voice.
'Ah, you like the morning shade?' I asked.
Her voice changed. 'No, I don’t like some freaking creep watching me from your windows.'
At this point, I should point out: I’m the only male in my house. Did she just accuse me of watching her? Oh, stuff just got reals, yo. But, I keep it civil, knowing that she could call the city and have an inspector out to my house in a jiffy.
'Um, what?' I asked.
'You heard me.' Her voice was just dripping venom. It was very clear that this woman absolutely hated me for some reason. 'I made it clear I didn’t want a two-story house in this neighborhood. It's not zoned, it’s not legal, and just so you know, if your house ever burns down, I may very well be the one holding the lighter, and I’ll be darn sure you don’t ever rebuild that house.'
What the heck is happening?
I realize she’s holding pretty much all the cards, so I said, 'Um, okay, I’m going to go now. Have a nice day!' and head inside to tell my wife.
I’ve never had any other interaction with this woman, but I did notice one thing that she did, very oddly. Many of the homes in our neighborhood have citrus trees or plum trees or other things like that. In cases where the tree crosses over a wall, everybody just says, 'Go ahead, pick some fruit if you want.' There’s PLENTY to go around.
Not this lady. Her tangerine tree is not only cut back so that it’s not hanging over the wall into my yard, she actually cut the tree back from the wall so if I’d wanted to, but I also couldn’t even reach the fruit. Just a sheer trimming, making the tree totally lopsided about two feet away from the wall.
I don’t know what I did to make this woman so angry, but darn!"
"Several years ago, not long after my wife and I bought our first townhouse, I had a ‘cup of sugar’ neighbor. Now, my neighbor never asked to borrow a cup of sugar, but they would drop by and ask for a sheet of aluminum foil or if we had an extra light bulb we could spare. Just odd little things that you sometimes unexpectedly run out of. My wife and I were always happy to oblige.
No big deal, right? Then, one warm summer day, I lost power in the office while I was gaming. No big deal, stuff happens. So I wandered downstairs to the breaker panel and sure enough, a breaker had been tripped. The part where the crazy starts were why the breaker tripped. Outside my back window, I could see an extension cord plugged into our wall on the back porch. When I wandered outside, I found the extension cord snaking its way over to the neighbor’s unit and up into a second story window.
My cup of sugar neighbor had graduated to a 'Hey, can I use your electricity?' neighbor, except they didn’t ask. I unplugged the extension cord, tossed it onto their back porch, and didn’t think about it much until I noticed a really putrid smell a few days later from my side yard.
Cool, great, my neighbors aren’t just trying to steal power, they’re using my rhododendrons as a bathroom, leaving piles of feces in the bushes outside my kitchen window.
On a human level, I feel for these guys. Their power had been cut off, their water had been cut off and their landlord was evicting them. Man, that sucks. It was clearly pretty stressful for them, one of them (boyfriend, girlfriend, I don’t know) poured acid on the other one’s car, and splashed some of it on the cars in the adjoining parking spaces.
Ultimately, I came home late one night, around eleven after wrapping up a sparring session with my training partner, and found them executing the fastest bug-out into a U-Haul I’ve ever seen. Not an organized move with stuff in neatly stacked boxes, not a disorganized move like you see from people who have maybe only moved once or twice in their life (I was a Navy brat, I know how to move), but a 'hurry up, grab everything as quick as you can and just git it in the truck' move.
The next day the police showed up, but my cup of sugar neighbor was long gone."
"We live on a quiet cul-de-sac that backs up to conservation land and a national wildlife refuge - the closest thing you can get to living in the woods without actually living in the woods. Our house and our neighbors’ house were up for sale at the same time, and we purchased and moved in within a few months of the couple next door. As you might expect, moving from an apartment to a house, we needed to have some furniture delivered. One day, I had a delivery scheduled early in the afternoon for a couch. That’s all, just one couch. The entire delivery operation took maybe ten minutes.
Because we live on a cul-de-sac, the six driveways of the houses on the circle are all fairly close together. Our furniture delivery truck couldn’t pull all the way into the driveway and still have room to get the couch maneuvered into the house, so the front end stuck out into the street and made for tight quarters for the driveways on either side, but was not blocking either one. The lady of the house next door came out dressed to go out or to work, saw the delivery truck, and initiated the encounter by screaming at the delivery guys and me, saying we were all unacceptable human beings.
Not wanting to incur the Wrath of the Neighbor in perpetuity, I tried to apologize and explain they were just delivering one piece of furniture and would be on their way in a very few minutes. No effect. She escalated in both volume and pitch, shrieking she would see to it that the delivery guys were fired, they were blacklisted, they would never be able to work again, and they and their families would be made destitute. She was going to call the police on me, and she was going to have me thrown in jail for bringing this truck into the neighborhood, and she was going to make sure we were thrown out of our house and banned from the town. Then she started swinging her purse at the sides of the truck, screeching she wanted it away from her driveway right now.
The delivery guys and I just looked at each other in shock.
'Let’s just do this quick,' one of them said.
They hustled the couch up the stairs, into the house, plonked it in the family room, and unwrapped it in record time. I signed the clipboard, and they ran for the truck and roared out of the neighborhood. Neighbor Lady was still outside, hissing and spitting and screaming at me for blocking her driveway, for trespassing, for being a menace, and she came at me with her giant purse, so I beat it into the house and locked the door. She screamed herself hoarse on my porch, and then stormed back to her car and left tire marks squealing out of the neighborhood. I don’t know what she was late for that day, but she clearly decided my couch and I were everything wrong with the universe. I called the delivery company and explained what happened, gave the delivery guys huge props for dealing with all of that, and stressed to the manager under no circumstances was he to believe my neighbor if she called with a complaint. His guys had been professional, polite, and had not blocked any driveways, despite the close quarters.
I haven’t seen her in person since then, so there haven’t been any further eruptions. I was really nervous when we had to have a washer and dryer delivered, but she wasn’t at home on that day. Her husband is a nice enough guy and helped me fix my snowblower when my husband was out of town. He has awful taste in women, though."
"At my previous home, my neighbor directly across the street was director of an environmental nonprofit organization. Their primary mission was reporting on populations and taking a census of indigenous species.
One of their 'celebrity' ecosystems was the longleaf pine scrub. Longleaf pine and wiregrass require fire to germinate. My neighbor had been landscaping with the intent of creating a patch of scrub in our neighborhood. It's probably the native ecosystem for our area, but when I lived on that side of town, it was urban, single-family homes, generally on half acres or less, with established oak hammock, magnolia, and dogwood.
So as I was making breakfast one morning, I looked across my vegetable garden and saw my neighbor, Gary, burning his yard. Since I had done some graphics work for him, I had a fair idea of what he was doing, but still, the city doesn't generally condone open fires in front yards. As a matter of course, burning yard trash and similar activities are expressly forbidden by local ordinance.
So I walked across the street and made some small talk while Gary set his yard ablaze. In his other hand, he held his garden hose. For about half an hour, Gary and I chatted, taking the occasional break to watch native wildlife moving into the burned areas as the flames moved ahead of them.
Every time a fire or ambulance siren passed by, on the main road a couple streets over, Gary nervously clenched his garden hose, ready to put out the small flames he nurtured. He has a great yard. He should. He's a botanist.
I've never had a neighbor burn his yard intentionally before or since that day."
"I was going through a divorce, and needed to get the house listed. During my lunch hour, I arranged to meet a real estate agent, for the first time, at the house. I got there on time and an attractive woman pulled into my driveway right behind me. We spent about 45 minutes inside as she assessed the house, agreeing to call me the next day to discuss the listing price and the recommendations she had in order for the house to sell quickly.
The next day, she called me and said that she would have to do something she has never done in her 10-year professional career - resign a listing. My soon-to-be ex-wife had just left her office, where she proceeded to scream at the agent, quite loudly for everyone to hear. She accused the agent of having an affair with a married man, me, right in our house at lunchtime.
Apparently, my nosy next-door neighbor reported to my ex-wife I spent almost an hour with 'some floozy' inside the house at lunchtime. My wife, eager to catch me in a non-existent affair in order to increase the divorce settlement, jumped to way too many conclusions. And that was just one of the many reasons it was time to get out of that marriage."
"While I was living in Minnesota, I had a neighbor who did not understand this is my property, not his. I love lilac bushes. I had several massive lilac bushes on my property in the back corner. They were my pride and joy. They were just on the property line. I was coming home from church one Sunday, and my neighbor met me as I was coming out of the garage ready to enter my house.
He said, 'It took a bit of doing, but I was able to get it all down before you got home.'
I asked what he had done.
'I was able to get every last lilac bush out of your yard. And you’re welcome. It was a tough job,' he told me.
My mind couldn't move fast enough. I walked back to the back corner of my yard and sure enough, all my beautiful lilac bushes were gone.
I turned to him and said, 'Why? Why would you take them out?'
He answered that he thought it was getting in the way. Tears filled my eyes and I told him I loved them and that he had no right to come on my property and remove things. I would have been more forceful about it, but my husband calmed me down. It was done and there was nothing I could do.
A few weeks before I moved to Florida years later, I came home from work to find the same neighborhood with his big truck in my driveway with a chain wrapped around my basketball standard trying to pull it out of the ground. It was halfway out. He felt since I was moving, I didn't need it anymore and he didn't want the noise of the basketball with the new people moving in. So he pulled the basketball standard down the street to my other neighbors. It seems he had visited them and found they would be willing to take it. All this without my knowledge. The standard being pulled down the street caused a groove in the road. So even if I had not gotten home before it was actually out of my yard, I could have followed the groove in the road to its new home.
No, I never called the police. I could have, but what was the use. I moved and now live in Florida, you hardly ever know who your neighbors are, it's too hot. And if you have a pool you have a fence."
"I had just divorced and with the settlement, I bought a house in a nice neighborhood. I’m not much of a social animal, so I didn’t bother to make the acquaintance of my neighbors on either side; besides, I had a group of my own friends from a group that recreates the medieval/Renaissance periods (yes, costumes and all). Not long after I moved in, I began finding odd notes on my front door, accusing me of being a witch or suggesting I was deliberately breeding mosquitoes in my shrubbery. I had no clue whence these notes came. I also had two dogs, who stayed in the backyard while I was at work.
The first clue about the source of the notes was when the man next door started shooting at my dogs! This was not a rural area, but a neighborhood in southwest Houston, Texas. I rang the police, even went to the local station, but they told me they could do nothing unless he was caught in the act, which I was never able to do (I could hear him shooting but never was able to observe him doing it). One day I came home after work and found my back gate open and my two sweet dogs were gone. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find them again, and it broke my heart (one was a Borzoi, a dog I had wanted for years and had finally been able to afford a non-show grade dog).
I didn’t connect the neighbor to their escape just then. I got another dog from the shelter and we settled in again, but one day when I returned from work, she had gotten out, as well. I found her body a few blocks away, where she had been hit by a car. I knew I couldn’t prove it, but I was sure this time the neighbor was the culprit. I don’t recall how I found out that he was the sender of the notes, but it did come to light eventually. He died while I still lived there, and afterward, his wife proved to be a really nice woman, giving my kids homemade cookies and generally being a good neighbor. She must have been living in a nightmare for years with that old bully."
"My neighbor is very enthusiastic about garden decoration and stuff.'
One day, she just marched into our house and asked us whether we had a wagon.
When we asked her why, the only reply she gave us was: 'My garden can’t be the same as everyone else’s.'
Then she got to work, with everyone puzzled. Since she lived alone, there wasn’t even anyone to question her about it. After a week, her specimen was done.
She called over all the people on the street, for an outdoor meetup. Her garden looked amazing. She had constructed a waterfall in her garden, all by herself! It wasn’t something she had paid someone else to do, it was something she did on her own, painstakingly at the age of 63.
Half a decade later, the waterfall still stands, but she is battling cancer and is slowly recovering. All of us in the surrounding houses take turns to clean her waterfall because we all know how hard it was to build it.
If she had told us that she was going to build a waterfall in her garden, we would have all laughed at her. But she proved that age is just a number, and you can do what ever you want, whenever you want. However absurd it may seem."