Picture a metal box with four levers on top. They are labeled as follows: price, location, size, safety. Move one of the levers up to 10, the others go down. When you’re buying a home, this is the game you play.
Live close to the city? Congratulations, here’s your “lawn.” One child may bounce one ball at a time. Say, here’s a nice one! It’s big, it’s cheap, the schools are great…and it’s 45 minutes outside of town.
And so on. Soon after we had Aaron and decided to move to the suburbs, Cathy and I began “adjusting the levers.” This one is a decent size but this is a weird neighborhood. These schools are great but we can’t fit into that house. Finally, we found one that was just right. Not too far from town, a sizable yard and room to grow on. The price felt right so we pounced. And as we’re reading the closing docs we see some notes down toward the bottom: “had some trouble with the neighbors.”
No matter, this is the one!
And then we found out what “some trouble with the neighbors” means around here. Below is an excerpt of the email I sent to the owner of the property next door. I wanted him to know what life was like next to the property he owned. Enjoy.
“The presence of people in the backyard of that house is constant. Without hyperbole, I can tell you that every night, every single night there are anywhere from 2-10 people in the backyard. They smoke weed constantly, they listen to awful music loudly, all the time. They cough, they drink, they burp, they fight, they yell, and they say f*** more than I thought possible.
And that’s before Jimmy gets home.
When the man of the house gets home, the whole thing gets turned up a notch. Jimmy is louder, swears more, and listens to louder, more awful music than any of the kids that hang out there while he’s gone. He’s a loud, lousy drunk who says terrible things to his son, and he says it all at the top of his lungs.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent conversation:
Jimmy, speaking to (his son) Jesse: “You must be the stupidest f***in’ piece of shit I’ve ever seen in my life. What are you, queer?”
My wife and I have met Jimmy on one or two occasions. He stumbled over one night to tell us that they were going to be going “late into the night” because it was his son’s birthday. We appreciated it. I only had to go over there twice last year to tell him to turn the music down because it was after 11:00 p.m. And the thing is, they pretty much respect the 11:00 curfew.
That’s what’s so frustrating. None of this is illegal. None of this warrants a trip from the Sheriff or a call to Child Protective Services. (Maybe the weed, but whatever.) I’ve called the Sheriff’s office twice, only because I was in bed and didn’t feel like going over there in my robe. Again. It’s not against the law to be an a**hole, and it’s clear that Jimmy is keenly aware of this.
This neighborhood we live in is beautiful and quiet. It’s filled with older couples and young families with young children. When it gets dark, everyone gets quiet. And then there’s Jimmy. I can’t fathom how someone could be so oblivious to his surroundings. I don’t understand why anyone would BLAST music outside at 10:00 p.m. in a neighborhood like this. Simply put, this neighborhood is great, and then there’s Jimmy.
We can’t keep our windows open at night. You know how beautiful Sacramento is at night. All we want is a nice cross-breeze on our second floor, but we can’t because it smells like weed and it sounds like a god damn Sammy Hagar concert.
I’m no prude. My language isn’t pristine. A little crass talk, a little partying from time to time is more than welcome. But it’s CONSTANT. I can’t stress that enough. It’s 7 days a week. For real.
The house is beautiful and the neighborhood is wonderful. It’s just…these people are the worst, and it SUCKS having to close up the house and turn up the TV every night.
Like I said, there’s not really anything actionable here. We’re not going to move, we’re not threatening anything here. I just wanted to let you know what it’s like to live next to them.”
It got better after that. The message was relayed. Jimmy and the boys still live there and there’s still some activity from time to time. But we don’t complain.