A shrub, a smile

I posted some time ago about my dismay regarding the hole in the ground or “fire pit” the neighbor kid dug partially on my property.  After contacting the fire department and expressing our concerns to them and to the neighbor, we got the kid and his friend to stop burning pallets – at least when we’re home – but the hole remains.

It is an ugly site to behold. The teens that hang out over there have destroyed the grass and with the wet winter plaguing our part of Virginia, I’ve spent the better part of the last two months gazing at a mud pit.  The view depressed me so much, I stopped opening the blinds.

But not anymore.  During a seventy-two hour rain free period, I snuck out and added a shrub.  My husband feared a border war, but I planted it well onto our property.  If it hangs over to theirs, they can trim away without destroying the trunk. The digging was hard and the hole flooded with water once I dug past eight inches. I don’t recommend digging on a breezy forty degree day normally, but my effort was worth it.

The rain returned and the back portion of the yard is more puddle than grass, but now when I look out, I see my shrub. I see peace and privacy. I smile.

A hole lot of trouble to be a good neighbor

My neighbor’s son got it in his head that he needed to dig a hole over the weekend.  I have no idea why.  I do know that in the process, he found a troublesome wire. He promptly removed a four-foot section of it thus plunging my house into internet, phone and cable silence.

Trust me, I have many good ideas where to put that shovel, but I’ll suppress my anger and frustration in the effort to be a “good neighbor.”

I seem to do that a lot.  I want to ask the kid, a fourteen or fifteen year old boy to stop hanging out with his friends in his side yard, swearing and setting things aflame when my eight-year old and four-year old want to play in our adjacent back yard. (FYI – We have a corner lot.) Instead, I take the kids inside and we talk about why it might not be such a good idea to make a fire that reaches the eaves.  When the boy and his friends break out the B-B gun for target practice, the kids and I go inside, close the blinds and hope the birds and squirrels find safety.  When he takes the riding lawnmower for a daily joy-ride – his habit of the last six years – I cry for the noise and air pollution it creates.  When the kids start coughing and cover their ears we go inside.

I don’t know what to do.  The pre-kid me would have confronted the parents and the son about the repeated infringements onto my property line since their side yard is rather narrow.  The hole straddles the line and utility easement. I would be within my rights to lodge a formal complaint, but over the years, I’ve learned such confrontations rarely end well.

Besides I like our neighbors. The same kid who cut the internet line is also known to hop on the riding mower and help pick up leaves in the fall or mow the back yard when it is over 100 degrees and hubby is toiling in the front yard with the push mower.  The situation is maddening, especially when I couldn’t find solace in Pintrist, Tap Fish  or News of the Weird.  I’m glad Verizon installed a temporary line so our outage lasted only forty-eight hours.

A fence seems so…. aggressive, so final.  Besides, he could still dig a hole on the other side and unleash just as much chaos.  So I ask you, dear readers, what, if anything, would you do if these were your neighbors?