Friday, July 04, 2008

Love thy neighbor

I just have to share an email I found this morning when I woke up. Let me start by explaining the history. These neighbors moved in next door a year after we bought our house (we watched their house get built). The have family in neighboring states and often leave town over the summer and at holidays. They've asked us to bring in mail and water plants in the past, and we even had them cat sit once or twice. More recently, they have just asked us to bring their trash can after the garbage is picked up. This is not a big deal. We live next door and it's just not a big chore. HOWEVER, the way that they ask us for favors is really obnoxious. They stop by first thing in the morning, as they are leaving, to ask us to take them in. One time, they left a note on our front door- which blew off and D found on the ground. They needed help moving a piano a few weeks ago and emailed H, then called, and even stopped by, so H felt he couldn't refuse. So this morning, I find this little gem:

Timestamp: July 3, 11:41 PM

Subject: (no subject)

(sent to both mine and H's email addresses)

Dear H and Addy:

I am writing to let you know that we are heading out of town for vacation early Friday morning (July 4).  Would you be willing to take our trash can and recycling bin around to the back of our house in the afternoon? 

We’ll be away until July 20 and would also appreciate your keeping a casual eye on our place.  I should also let you know that we’ve cancelled our landline and can now be reached at either (xxx) xxx-xxxx (wife’s cell) or (xxx) xxx-xxxx (my cell).

Hope you have a happy Fourth of July and look forward to seeing you.



I keep wondering what would happen if we were already out of town (since they never bother to check). Also- they NEVER thank us when they return.


Mario Pineda-Krch said...

Throw social grace out with the bath water and say no I say (simple enough and emotionally detached when using email). ;-)

Anastasia said...

If I lived next door to you and I asked you to do something regarding my house while we were out of town, I would totally bake you a pie when we got home. every. time. unless, of course, you were diabetic. Or you hated pie. In that case, I'd come up with some other suitable thank you gift. I mean geez, people. A thank you *note* would be something.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'd make sure I asked in advance and recieved an answer...

I'd also bring you somehting nice, mow your lawn and do other things to express gratitude.

Since is it is just the trash cans, why not see what they say if you say -- "sorry, we're out of town"...

Psych Post Doc said...

That is ridiculous. I'd probably do it but I'd want to pretend I was out of town.

In grad school town we traded favors with our next door neighbors. But it was always asked ahead of time and dinners/gifts/food/cards were always exchanged for favors.

Super Babe said...

I agree, it seems the chores are not a big deal... but gratitude is key... thanks would be nice. I'd probably do the "we were out of town" drill once and see what they say... hope you're doing well!

science cog said...

Neighbors helping neighbors is what community is all about. The problem is the people who take, take, take and don't bother to give. I had some neighbors who I helped. They offered to help us to. Funny thing was their help was always on their terms, when they felt like helping, not when I needed it.

Geeka said...

Just curious: do they bring you a 'gift' from their travels when you do watch their house?

My best friend and I live across the street from each other, and I still try to bring her something when I go out of town and she brings my mail in or something.

CAE said...

They don't say thankyou? That's ridiculous. You don't need to be too effusive but even the smallest gift is a lovely gesture. We just got back from a short trip and brought back some local cherries and some beer for the friends who looked after our cats. No biggie, it's just the NORMAL thing to do. Other friends have given us wine or flowers when we've taken care of their cats or they've borrowed our camping gear.