Saturday, April 25

Please Won't You Be My Neighbor

potential neighbors?
My neighbors next door just moved out, and I am looking for a responsible family to move in. Here's what I'm looking for in my new neighbor, even though it's not my rental property and I don't have any real say in who lives there.

Keep the yard looking good, but not too good. My yard is just there, and I'm not great at keeping it alive all the time. Or keeping weeds dead. If my neighbor's yard looks amazing while mine looks like mine, then it's a problem. My neighbor on the other side of me lets his yard go just a bit more than I do, so I'm good with him. However, the renters who just moved out did stuff like mow the lawn twice a week. That's too much yard maintenance, and I don't want to get singled out by the HOA because my yard looks so much worse. On the other hand, I don't want someone to just move in and let the whole yard go to hell. 

Keep the cars off the sidewalk. If you've read some of my other posts about this, it's a real pet peeve. If you're looking at renting the house next door to me and you think that a two-car garage and a driveway that can fit two cars isn't enough and that you'd have to stack a third car in the driveway, then rent a bigger house. Or a smaller house with a bigger garage or driveway.

Keep the marijuana in the house. Whether it's medicinal or recreational, your neighbors should not smell your marijuana. Or meth, if that makes a smell. I don't like cigarette smoke, either, but I guess that's still legal, so whatever. Honestly, I know some neighbors smoke tobacco and legalized drugs in the their garages, but since our block has a nice pond in the back, just go walk down by the pond instead. I don't mind if you play some music in the garage, but I'm not really sold on having an actual garage band practicing. I've seen one neighbor garage a few blocks away with a drum kit and other band equipment ready to drive the neighbors crazy, and I'm thinking I'd rather that not be my neighbor. 

Keep the kids out of my yard. I know, I sound like an old man. Plus, I don't care about the grass. I just don't want your kids getting hurt on my property. In fact, I have instructed my kids to drag neighbor kids off our property if they get hurt here. The last neighbors had kids who liked to play right on the property line, which made me a little nervous. The rental house has a front yard suitable for little ones, but these kids loved climbing on the electrical box between the houses. They always asked before using our swing set, which was a good thing, so I would expect any new neighbors to do the same. And don't set up a trampoline and invite my kids over, since we have one saying about trampolines in our house: somebody always gets hurt. Yes, they are insanely fun, and my kids would love it, but a trampoline is a terrible idea. In fact, there isn't a landlord on earth who would allow one.

Keep teenage boys away. Teenage boys are the worst anywhere, but it seems like they are a whole new level of bad in Jacksonville. Tell your freshman daughter she can only date college boys, and send any teen boys of your own off to Bolles to board them. If a teenage boy does move in next door, I'll probably have to install another camera just to watch that house. My dad was probably right when he encouraged me to just get a girlfriend back in high school instead of hanging out with my friends, so if you have a teenage son with a girlfriend, that's probably fine, unless they fight all the time.

Keep your in-home businesses legal. One neighbor seemed to be running a used tire store out of his garage, while another was caught running a dental office in his dining room. I don't care if you watch someone else's kid, but if you invite 20 kids over daily to watch them, then that's a day care that will likely spill onto my swing set.

Keep your dogs and toddlers on a leash. Dogs bother people when they aren't tied to something, just as long as it's not the 30" rims you're selling. Really little kids will venture down to the pond, and I really don't want to have to jump in that water to pull your kid out of it.

That's about all. If you can agree to all these rules, we'll get along just fine.

We got our new neighbors. Navy guys. In fact, it's basically a Navy dormitory. They leave the garbage can out for days and don't recycle at all. And every single one of them and their friends drive cars with broken mufflers. And they park all their vehicles everywhere but in the garage. Maybe they are expecting a commanding officer to stop by and tell them how to be civilized. Actually, allow me to suggest that the admiral of Mayport remind the men that they represent the base when they are out in Jacksonville. We currently have two Navy houses on our block, and while I'd say we're safe from a North Korean naval invasion, they really do detract from the value of the neighborhood. So when the place goes up for rent again, let me add "No Navy dorms" to the list. 

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