Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Falling leaves and neighborly love?

How weird is this?

I take the two dogs for a quick walk before dinner. After the walk we entered our house through the back door. I walked into the kitchen to feed Abby and I see the strangest site. (Our kitchen looks out over our front yard.)

My new neighbor (that I've only spoken to twice) along with some lady I've never seen before and about eight kids are running around my front yard, playing football, making leaf piles in my yard, jumping in the piles, throwing the leaves around, and hanging on my young tree. All the while the two women are busy snapping photographs.

As I'm trying to make sense of what I'm seeing, I notice that the kids are not only raking my leaves into a big pile, but they are bringing leaves from another neighbors' yard into my yard! Believe me, when you have a lot of leaves to rake the last thing you want is more leaves added to your yard.

What? Why in the world did these two women decide to have a photo shoot in my yard? Almost all the yards in this neighborhood are filled with big trees...trees that are much bigger than my little two-year-old tree. Not only that, but the entire neighborhood backs up to a city park that is filled with trees!

"Okay, they must be planning on raking and bagging the leaves for us in return for using our yard for a photo shoot. It's weird that they didn't ask for permission, but if they rake and bag the leaves I'm okay with them using the yard." I think to myself.

After awhile I realize they only plan on throwing leaves around, not raking them up and bagging them, so I opened the front door to ask what they are doing. Opening the front door means both dogs run to the door to look outside.

The dogs begin barking and jumping at the front door because of the frantic activity going on in the front yard. I can't get out because I can't get the dogs under control. If I open the door I'll have two dogs running outside chasing kids. Plus I have a puppy who has not yet mastered the "come" command - no way am I going to risk having her run into the street.

Neighbor lady finally notices me and does she come to door to explain what they're doing? NO! All she does is wave. Like I said weird. There's no way I would have allowed my children to play in a neighbor's yard unless 1) they had received permission from the neighbor or 2) they were such good friends with the neighbor that permission wasn't needed. I taught my kids to respect other people's property (that doesn't mean they always did).

I know, I know. I sound like a cranky old lady and it's just a yard. The thing is - I LOVE kids! I'm a clown remember? I make balloon animals and do funny things to make them smile. I paint their faces. I teach Sunday School and put on puppet shows. I play duck, duck, gray duck (or goose if you're not from Minnesota) to keep them entertained when parents are busy.

As I write this I'm trying to analyze why it bothered me so much. I'm not sure. Lack of respect? Lack of common courtesy? Maybe. I think I just wanted them to ask permission first. Pin It


  1. I'm with you, I don't think it's a matter of not liking children, I think it's a matter of teaching children to respect other people's property. I insist that my kids are polite and respectful. I see so many parents setting a bad example. This could turn into a huge rant. I'll stop now!

  2. Lack of respect is exactly right!

  3. That's just rude to create extra work for other people. Not to mention teaching her kids to disrespect others too.

  4. I vote that you keep your rakes on the front porch and the next time you see them do this, point to the rakes and mimic raking until they get the idea! :)

  5. I would have the same reaction as you. Those women should know better and regretfully that's the example they're setting for the kids (or maybe the new neighbor is confused about the property line!).

  6. Whoa! Talk about boundary issues! (hers, not yours) I just can't imagine having to deal with such neighbors. I'd try to have a talk with her the next time you see her. If that doesn't work, perhaps get your own group together to do the same thing on her lawn? Weird!

  7. Just adding another vote of agreement! If what they were doing was so harmless that they didn't need to ask you first, why didn't they go do it in their own yard??!!

  8. that IS weird. we have neighbors that have played in our yard when we weren't home and even though it was kids and fairly innocent it was still strangely invasive.

    halloween huburus? maybe. if they build snowmen in your yard though... you'll just have to say something.

  9. I have been thinking about this and the conclusion is that you must talk to her about this right away. Because you were not able to get out the front door to ask her what she was doing, she may take your silence as permission.

    To avoid animosity, take over some fresh baked cookies (brownine, etc.) and talk to her about the value of respecting other people's boundries. She may come from a neighborhood where this behavior was taken for granted, or this may be the first time she has ever owned a home. When neighbor kids are playing in one child's yard or the other's, but this is not the case here. It is still hard to imagine why she and the kids did not play in their own yard--do they have one?

    I would avoid payback activities, even though they may seem to satisfy the need to show her what it is like to have someone invade your space, you will regret it. She may not take the hint or it might start a neighborhhood bruhaha.

  10. Leaf blower, my friend. Just get yourself a leaf blower! These things get under my skin big time, I work on it, I really do. But it's a boundary thing and a courtesy thing. It's kind of funny, the way you wrote it, though. Just a little? xoxo

  11. I'm another saying boundary issues - and courtesy issues. You could even leave the cookies on her steps with a note saying you need to know if they are there because you have a new puppy who is still learning, and you'd hate to have issues with injuring the kids. The good cop, bad cop thing!

  12. marty9:44 AM

    We had the same problem of sorts. I finally called the vacant lot owner and had a heart-to-heart with him. In his culture, he thought it was a sign of respect to trim what he thought were weeds when in fact it was new plantings. He did reimburse me for my loss but the second plantings did not take. It is definitely a sign of disrespect and not understanding common courtesy.



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