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Thread: Like A Good Neighbor, Bear Is There

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio

    Like A Good Neighbor, Bear Is There

    Browsing michaelskis latest question of the day (all about "neighbors") I thought that a nice thread would explore some of our collective adventures with our neighbors......good and bad.

    When I was young my Dad taught me a good lesson in religious tolerance. Our neighbors all around us were Jewish, and my Dad constantly belittled them. Thank you, Pops, for teaching me how NOT to act.

    Living in the area along the Ottawa River, we spent a lot of time swimming in that polluted stream. We had a nosy neighbor who would always call the police and tell them we were swimming in the river. Was she being "nosy" or just trying to be a good neighbor and keep us from life-threatening diseases caused by the industrial pollutants? We all know the answer.....she also called the police when we played baseball in the field across from her house.

    When I was first married we lived in a 2nd floor duplex. The duplex had a huge wrap-around porch and we would sit on the porch, grill dogs and burgers, and drink massive quantities of beer. Across the street was a drug house. We loved watching the steady parade of pimps, hustlers, ne'r'do'wells, rich kids, and overweight white guys who frequented the place.

    My neighbor in south Toledo was an ex-Marine who spent all of his time sitting in a chair in his garage, drinking heavy liquor, and complaining about anything and everything. He hated the world.....and the world didn't seem real fond of him.

    When I lived on Berdan Avenue, in west Toledo, my neighbor was a quite stunning young blonde, with a motorcycle. She would wear a teeny bikini and wash her bike, in the front yard, when traffic was heaviest. She also would leave her drapes wide open and run the carpet sweeper sans top. I hated that.

    Living in rural Henry County we had few neighbors. Joan, down the road "a piece", always worried that the juvenile delinquents from the State of Ohio Youth Camp (a mile away) would ravage her and her brick ranch home. The kids at that minimum security facility only wanted one (1) thing.....to get out of the country and back to "the hood".

    Here in Swanton we have a group home next door. In our nine (9) years here we have seen and met about thirty (30) to forty (40) different teenage girls, as they come and go, year by year. Once in a while the ole' black and white police car shows up and takes one (1) of the kids away. But, for the most part, they have been friendly and quiet neighbors.

    Some mildly interesting neighbors in my mildly interesting life.

    What say you?

    Good Neighbor Bear

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Ocean to the east, land to the west

    Paved Neighborhood

    Living in the city, we happened upon neighbors who, for some reason, believed that the high point of civilized living involved paving their entire yard and taking down all of the trees. They all seem to have spent the last 20 years removing their dirt inch by inch and paving everything, and lobbying the city to get rid of the street trees. It had something to do with the fact that they all have illegal space in their basements and they somehow thought pavement reduced the changes of their basements flooding... Not that the opposite isn't generally true.

    We show up with a house where the whole side/rear yard is paved and, on hot days, I would go out with a pick axe to remove the pavement and reclaim at least a small yard. The hottest days were best because the pavement was softer. We were too cheap and/or too poor to pay someone to do this.

    So one hot hot day I am out there toiling away, and my 86 year old neighbor comes over to me. He doesn't speak much English -
    but he manages to tell me: "What you are doing is wrong. All of our basements will flood!"

    I can see it from their perspective- they spent their whole lives striving for a paved neighborhood and then these young kids come in and ruin it.

    We got excited one year because the trucks showed up two doors down and removed all the pavement. But no, he was just replacing all his old asphalt with NEW asphalt

    Of course, our basement is the only one that doesn't need a sump pump - partially because we have some lawn to absorb water, partially because we didn't dig down deeper to make illegal bedrooms down there...

    Then there were our battles recently when the city repaved the street and everyone wanted their street trees taken down, while we wanted one (and, as luck would have it, can't get one because of city water pipes in the sidewalk...)

  3. #3
    Apr 2005
    Section 14-12-7, 3rd PM
    My next door neighboors are swingers and nudists. While that may peak a lot of peoples fantasies, let me tell you it ain't pretty
    They are loud, flamboyant and downright disgusting. They parade around in their backyard naked in the middle of the day. We (and other neighbors) can see over their fence. The police are called several times a year.

    The neighbors on the other side are very religous. We like to think we bring balance to the neighboorhood.

  4. #4

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    My neighbors are mostly working class and middle class folks-a lot of government workers (I count four in my nine unit compound) and a realtor and a airman at the Air Force Base. The neighbors across the alley are a somewhat loud family who believe in "traditional" chil;d rearing (i.e., screaming at the top of their lungs, including profanity). Then, there is The Shack. It's been vastly cleaned up, I have to admit, the homemade wrestling ring is history. Finally, there is the contractor who bought the biggest house in town. Not very friendly, paved m,ost of his backyard, has tow big mastiffs that love to run up to the fence and bark at my dogs.

    Not a real close neighborhood, actually. People keep to themselves, but you do recognize them at city events and such.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    In my first apartment, I had a next-door neighbor who was very shy, would never make eye contact or speak with anyone. Every Sunday morning, year round, she played Christmas carols from 9 to noon.

    Growing up, our next door neighbors were very into "image". They had a lot of backyard bar-b-ques with their snooty friends. Just for fun, during their soirees, my dad would open our windows and sing at the top of his lungs. My mom was mortified.

    My current next door neighbors seem to be unable to understand that we live in a residentially-zoned neighborhood. So far, they've had chickens and a rooster, ducks, and an enormous pig. Other than that, they're very nice folks.

  6. #6
    Mod Gedunker's avatar
    Aug 2003
    The Wonderland Way
    The folks with the longest history on the block are really sweet, but now that the missus has alzheimers they don't get out so much. We try to check up on them from time to time, but their kids and grandkids are there quite a bit. Mrs G brought some homemade chicken noodle soup over there the last time she made some.

    Our next-door neighbors to the west are very nice and we always talk with them. They are a little older than us and have no kids. We don't move in the same social circles. (I have kids = no social circles)

    We have a duplex next-door to the east. She's lived in the downstairs unit since it was built in 1965, he's been in the upstairs unit since about '75. She's 85, spry and a tremendous gardener. He's a bit of an oddball, with Star Wars curtains on one bedroom window. We spend a lot of time looking out for her, watching out for him.

    There's a tri-plex next with a young fellow that owns it living there beside the duplex. He's gone through a series of girlfriends over the 11 years we've lived on the street, but seems to have met a keeper this time. His mom just moved out, back to Florida and there's a vacancy. Next to that is a six-plex that is being converted to either single-family or a duplex. No one's quite sure what her plans are. She tends to keep to herself.

    Across the street is the only person I don't get along with, mostly because she has this little white ratdog that barks it's fool head off day and night at anything that walks by.
    Not valid without corporate seal

  7. #7
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break
    At the apartment we lived at when we first got married there was a guy called Chuck who lived across from us and Chuck would stay up at nights worrying about people breaking in and worrying about people stealing things and worrying about people vandalizing and worrying about people doing/selling drugs within a two mile radius of him and worrying about people spying on him and....I think you get the idea. Chuck had multiple security systems in his apartment. If someone merely pulled into the parking lot at 2 a.m. you could be certain you would see a light go on and Chuck's little bald head peering out a window from behind a curtain. He used to call the police maybe three or four times a week to report 'suspicious individuals' in the area (so what was it last night Chuck, gangs of roving arsonists?). If you ran into him in the hallway he would frequently strike up conversations but did he want to talk about politics, the economy or the Lions game? - no, conversation would typically begin with "So, did you hear that big booming noise last night? No, well I went to check it out and found that a family of racoons had opened the dumpster lid, you'd think the building management would anticipate this sort of disturbance........"
    Worst part about it was this guy had a freakin' arsenal in his apartment. He collected weapons of all sorts: guns, swords, grenades, you name it. If it could kill or maim someone Chuck had one. Guys like Chuck are among the best arguments against the 2nd Amendment I know
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
    Jun 2004
    near the edge
    I moved in to my home about a year ago and i love my neighbors. I like and get along with all my neighbors.

    The guy that lives to the right of me is a nice guy and is married and has a child a few years younger then me. He has the perfect yard and his house is immaculant. He mows his grass often but higher then initially started mowing, i have since raised the height of my mower and calibrated with his so that i have uniform height. He always offers to loan me tools and such if i need them and such, great guy.

    My neighbor on the left is a neat lady she is married to the Local School board's attorney, i rarely see him. She does all the mowing and yard care herself. I have cleaned her gutters and such. She is all the time baking sweets and such and bringing them over. She leaves presents on the back porch for lil' owl on occassion. Lil' Owl just loves her and we occassionaly walk with her in the mornings before school. She grew up in the neighborhood and moved in next door when she got married... she knows everybody... i use her as resource to find background information.

    Now the nieghbor behind me he is a nice guy, he works for a funneral home and he is willing to anything for anybody but lacks doing a whole lot for him self . He has had a tree down in his back yard for 8 months, i went last saturday morning and cut it up for him and dragged the limbs to curb. I got a thankyou card tuesday, so i guess it is all good in the hood.

    The neighbor across the street is my best friend from middle school to present, good guy he and his wife have us over from time to time and vice-versa. I like the cookies that she sends over. I call her "Martha" as in Martha Stewart, everything is just so elegantly done.

    The other across the street neighbor is in a nursing home and her house is vacant, supposely it is going to be auctioned off here soon. My fingers are crossed that someone good buys it.

    Recently me neighborhood formed a loose association and is in the process of becoming a non-profit. They are wanting do improvements and social functions, it should be benifical.

  9. #9
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    right now we are in a mid-large 1920s apartment building. We have one of the 6 2 bed units out the total 30 units, so most of the building's residents are either single or just couples.

    Our immedaite nieghbors (above, below, and across the hall) are all quite decent. Our most immediate neighbors (across the hall) are a great couple (they're about 20 years older than us, with no kids). They have a different work schedule than us, so they actually walk our dog for us in the early afternoon, so that she doesn't exlpode when we get home at 6pm, plus the dog absolutely adores them. We've had dinner with them a couple times and are really happy to have them as neighbors.

    The people above us are our least favorite, though perfectly fine. They are probably the only family in the building and consequently make significantly more noise, than us. But they are nice.

    Ourt neighbor below is a single older lady with a very old giant Huskie dog. She makes no noise and is quite pleasant. I sometimes worry about making too much noise in my apartment and distrubing her.

    Lastly, I find it very wierd that I live in a 30 unit building, am in and out of the building at least 3 times a day, and I barely ever see the other 80% of my neighbors. There's actually one 2 bed unit that I actually have no idea if there is really anyone living there.
    Last edited by mendelman; 08 Dec 2005 at 10:06 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Nov 2002
    I've got to say I really appreciate my neighbors. No trouble-makers. No snobs. A good mix of incomes. No people who borrow your tools for too long. I especially appreciate it working in this field where you often see neighborliness gone wrong.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Apr 2004
    Tri-Cities, Washington
    Blog entries
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Guys like Chuck are among the best arguments against the 2nd Amendment I know
    You mean, you didn't feel safe with a concerned 'Merican like Chuck living near you?

    Growing up in suburban Denver we had a neighbor that, if the temp dropped below 40 degrees, would burn trash or painted wood or hazardous waste in his fireplace. This would layer our part of the neighborhood in a dense acrid smoke.

    When I got my first apartment in a REALLY BAD area of Greeley, CO we had older neighbors that would buy us beer and were pretty cool. When the weather got warm, you had to open the windows. It was then when we would hear our upstairs neighbors...ummm... having "fun"... They had "fun" a lot... In between we would hear near nightly gun shots in the area.

    I moved to a different apratment after that, student housing, and didn't really know the other residents. We were loud, had loud drinking buddies over and then I met my current GF, and stayed at her place the rest of the year.

    My last college house we were good friends with the girls next door. We would buy beer for them and they would let us drink beer for free. They were fun to prank too, and they set up a kiddie pool in the back and cool off. We liked that-- the perfect backdrop for our wiffleball field. (I kind of miss that place).

    My house now.
    -To the north, the neighbors don't really say much. Even if you are out in the yard when they are out. They are nice folks though and do not cause trouble.
    -Across the street there is a cul-de-sac which includes to vacant houses, two families that close the garage before they get out of their cars (that way you don't have to talk to the neighbors), and two families that are best friends. (They were nieghbors before and moved to neighboring house. They are also always outside (when it is warm) drinking beer, listening to tunes and being good neighbors. I love it in the summer passing the time with them when the sun sets. We call them the "Driveway Drinkers"
    -To the south is a couple who is about 5 years older than us. they have a little girl and also hang out with the "Driveway Drinkers"
    -We also have down the street a couple that is our age. They had HUGE credit lines when they built their house and have established themselves as the "Joneses" its just the rest of the neighbors don't really care.

    Quote Originally posted by seabishop
    I've got to say I really appreciate my neighbors. No trouble-makers. No snobs. A good mix of incomes. No people who borrow your tools for too long. I especially appreciate it working in this field where you often see neighborliness gone wrong.
    I had to add this, this is a good description of my neighborhood.
    Last edited by zman; 08 Dec 2005 at 12:20 PM.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone

  12. #12
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Jul 2003
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Blog entries
    Like most of you I had a few interesting neighbors. I lived in the upstairs of a two story duplex in Missoula and the downstairs negihbors were a pain in the ass. The husband used to get in fights with his wife, get locked out then pound on my door at 2 a.m. to call the police. Needless to say, this did not go over well with me because I had to get up at six to go to work. They had constant money troubles, because she was an alcoholic 'ho, so their power or phone got turned off a few times. They had two kids and the husband found out later that it turns out child two wasn't his!

    He ended up going to Alaska to work on a fishing boat, in order to pay off their debts. While he was gone, she was out catting around, bringing home men and spending his money like crazy, without paying any bills. When he got home after six months, there were warrants on him for bad checks she had written, plus unpaid bills. He ended up going to jail for a few days until things got worked out.

    She moved out and he stayed in the apartment for a few months. After she was gone, he and I became friends. Besides having bad taste in women and not being really bright, he wasn't a bad dude.

    Those were my worst neighbors. The people who moved in after him tried to patch into my cable to get free cable and took out mine. The cable guy said he actually did an okay job right up to the end.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  13. #13
    Feb 2004
    One of my current neighbors is a jackass. he has a serious hording disorder. He thinks that he owns the world, most frustrating, is that he thinks he owns my yard. the City is about to get a phone call from us and the other neighbors. We are being neighborly about it and waiting until after Christmas.

    My other neighbors are great. On Halloween, the adults got goodies too. My other immediate neighbor gave out home brew to the adults who were interested. The couple across the street handed out TRUE warm cider.

    Some of the more interesting:

    The girl who lived next door to me when I was growing up. She was about 5 years older than me. It was the classic setup, out windows were about 20 feet apart. She knew that I had a huge crush on her during the junior high and high school days. I think I had a lot of friends who would use me for my view, which was exceptional. The night before we moved when I waas 18, well, lets just say that some dreams do come true.

    In college, we had the "Michigan" house next door. It was a huge party house. Everyone who lived in the house (8-9 people) were college students from Michigan who came here to ski. Game day would have made Bear proud. I became good friends with some of them, and got to attend the Michigan-Utah game in the Big House in 2002 with a one of them. Luckily the Utes did not get embarassed that year, but still lost.

    We had a meth house across the street a few homes ago. The police raided it one night by knocking down the doors, breaking the windows, and tear gassing the hell out of the place.

    I think everyone lived near a house with a grumpy, scary, old man living in it. They were the kind of place that you would run past because you were afraid you would get sucked in and never come out. My mom used to make me shovel the guys driveway. he would yell at me everytime to get off of his property.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
    Mar 2005
    the verge of Stan-dom
    Quote Originally posted by cololi
    We are being neighborly about it and waiting until after Christmas.
    So you know they're christian?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Nov 2004
    Austin, TX
    - In my very first apartment in my hometown, we had this cop living directly below us. He was this HUGE black guy and seemed to hate the entire world. He would come up to our door about 4 to 5 times every night and tell us to "hold it down". Eventually he wouldn't even say anything when he came to the door, he'd just point at us, then turn around and go back downstairs... lol! The guy was nuts... he carried his gun with him all the time, even when he went to use the treadmill at the little fitness center in the complex.

    - When I first moved to the Central Texas area, I lived in a college apartment complex in San Marcos. In our particular area, there was a concrete slab in a sort of "courtyard" area between the buildings. I found out during my first weekend there that that area is where the keg parties took place. They were literally right outside our door... literally! I would just open our front door and there I was, right in an extremely crowded keg party. It was great, though. I got free beer all weekend long and the people throwing the parties always cleaned up after themselves. We eventually became the public restroom for any hot girls who needed one. We would gather them all up and take them into our apartment since we had three bathrooms. A lot of times they would hang out for awhile before going back to the party It was a fun place but it got old after awhile.

    - Second apartment was in Austin. Our apartment manager was completely insane. She ran the complex as if it were a military base and was always snooping around, peeking in your windows and stuff to make sure you were following the rules. One time my friend and I were sitting on the back porch, having a cigarette and talking, then here she comes around the corner going, "SHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" as loud as she could (ironic huh). She lectured us about being too noisy and that other people had to get up and work in the morning. She was in her nightgown during this. It was 3:00 in the morning. When we moved out they hit us with this bill for $50 saying that our deposit didn't cover all the damage to the apartment. One of the items was for "dirty blinds in the kitchen". There were no windows or blinds in the kitchen.

    - Third apartment in Austin wasn't too bad except for all the gunshots. My truck was also broken into twice and my roommate's Mustang as well. We had this one neighbor who was pretty hot but a total slut. She had a different guy there with her every night. One time she came over to ask us if we had "rolling papers" for joints. We said no, but we had cigarettes. Took one to take the tobacco out of it and during that time told us that she was a stripper and that we should come see her, lol.

    - Fourth apartment in Austin was one of my favorites, though the idiots above us made it suck. They were really loud all the time and stomped around constantly. They also had really bad taste in music and would play it loudly all the time. The final straw, though, was when they bought this little puppy and kept it out on the porch all the time. As you can probably guess, it peed and crapped down onto our porch all the time (there were gaps in the floor boards of each porch). Apartment management wouldn't do anything about it.

    - Sixth apartment was the one Jenny and I lived in when she moved here from Florida (skipping 5th apartment because nothing interesting happened there). We had these two people down the hall who were swingers and tried to get us to "come inside for awhile" every time we saw them in the hall. There was also this older lady who lived by herself and had this tiny little poodle. She always flirted with any young guy who walked by and even tried to get one of my friends to come in (while making seductive faces)! I'm not sure where she was from but she was definitely foreign and extremely weird. Toward the end of our lease, some college guys moved in above us and they were extremely annoying. Usually every night at about 3:00 a.m. they would play a game that I liked to call, "Refrigerator Toss". It literally sounded like they were picking up a refrigerator and throwing it across the room.

    - Now we're in an actual house in a newer neighborhood. It's quiet and wonderful. Don't know many of our neighbors yet except for the old lady across the street from us. She's probably 70 and is always out in her garden..... with a vodka drink. She drinks all day and is constantly trashed... it's hilarious! She's got a great sense of humor and is always coming by to see us/bring us a gift of some sort. She's my favorite neighbor, ever!

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