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When Neighbours Attack

November 29, 2010

It began innocently enough: the single, older lady (let’s call her M) from a few doors down offered to help me pick out paint chips for an upcoming home improvement project. Although slightly kooky, M’s taste is impeccable, whereas I have no patience – or talent – for anything reno-related, so I gratefully accepted her offer.

M hooked us up with a semi-retired handyman whom she’d accosted met when he’d worked on another house up the street. She arranged everything with Mr. Handyman and even had him hire her when his regular partner fell ill.

The weekend prior I moved everything to the basement, leaving our main level looking like Whoville after the Grinch stole Christmas. Mr. Handyman and M worked all day Monday and Tuesday without any issues. It was Wednesday morning when everything went down the toilet.

I was frantically trying to leave for school with the kids before Mr. Handyman arrived when I noticed a message on my phone. It was M from night before imploring that I call her right away. “It’s about your house,” she added in an ominous tone.

When I called her back, M informed me that they were falling very far behind schedule and that I’d have to scrub the walls and trim before painting could continue. I reminded her that it was the painters’ job to prepare the walls for painting.

“That’s true,” she said. “But this goes way beyond painting. This is about the filth and lack of general cleanliness in your home.”

Oh. Yes. She. Did.

I replied in calm and mature manner that working with young kids at home left little time for scrubbing baseboards to her standards. Then I hung up on her.

After crying it out on the phone with the Serb, I decided to just get the job done and get M out of my house. Returning home, I found Mr. Handyman working alone; apparently M had called him and declared that she wouldn’t be coming over in order to teach me a lesson.

Luckily, Mr. Handyman’s regular partner was on his way over and he suspected things would go a lot faster without M’s obsessive cleaning (she’d scoured under my fridge for half an hour). I offered to finish preparing the walls but he assured me that my home was not something from How Clean Is Your House and sent me on my way.

That afternoon, M left me a five-minute message reciting the ways in which I had wronged her in months prior. She ended by detailing the money I owed her for Home Depot purchases and telling me that once I paid her I would never have to speak to her again.

The whole thing was surreal – like being in grade school, only on acid – and totally worth it: my place might not be the cleanest on the block, but it looks f***ing fantastic. thanks.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 9:58 am

    dude…are you kidding me?!?!??! You should have thrown her down in a headlock, and rubbed her face in your ‘filth’….I’m driving out to the ‘burbs and kicking her mojo ass….stat.

    • November 29, 2010 1:54 pm

      Luckily my friend talked me off the ledge by showing me her baseboards which were equally “dirty”.

  2. November 29, 2010 12:12 pm

    O.M.G. Content baby, it’s ALL content!!!! Next time Lori, you come to ME about paint chips. Can’t wait to see the new look.

    • November 29, 2010 1:50 pm

      It’s still being finished! BUT it will definitely be done by our mtg…

  3. November 29, 2010 12:17 pm

    Holy crap!! I will come over and throw a flaming bag of chicken poo at her front door if you want! Or, and I think this is the better option, I could box up a whole load of chicken poo and mail it to her. She’ll see the fancy blue airmail sticker on it and think she’s won the international package lottery and open up a giant box of chicken poo. Think about it.

    • November 29, 2010 1:49 pm

      I like how you think, lady! Chicken poo trumps psycho hag every time…

  4. November 29, 2010 12:41 pm

    Wow! Really? And you didn’t even shoot her or anything? You have a buttload of self control lady!

  5. November 29, 2010 4:39 pm

    Damn … some people don’t get it when they are being intrusive and rude. They need a HANDY DANDY Gus. Thats my husband. He is always reminding me when I was just rude to a person or not to say things in a certain way.
    WTF I am never rude! So I need to find a HANDY DANDY Gus for my husband!

  6. November 30, 2010 1:33 pm

    I’m down with throwing chicken poo! We’re putting our house on the market and will be moving into a neighborhood I suspect that will be chocked full of neighbors like yours.

    I’m afraid, very afraid.

    • December 1, 2010 6:54 am

      Hee – on your new street, if you see a frazzled looking lady with massive hair running late to the car every morning dragging 2 kids, we might just be neighbours!
      ps it’s probably good to be a lot little afraid…

  7. November 30, 2010 6:03 pm

    I’m sorry, but what the frak?!?

    I probably would not have been able to hold my temper and begun Neighbor Wars.

    I’m also not sure if I’ve ever really scrubbed my baseboards. Dusted, yes. Scrubbed… um, are we supposed to do that? Really?

    I’m about to hire someone to clean my house, because I can’t keep up. Mommy fail for me.

    I’d just rather play with my kids than clean every “free” minute.

    At least she gave you good blogging material…

    I’ll help you plot revenge, just as soon as I can scrape two brain cells together. Maybe in about 4 years..

    • December 1, 2010 6:52 am

      I spent yesterday looking up cleaning services! And don’t you find that having ridiculous/horrendous things happen to you isn’t so bad because there’s always a blog coming out of it?

  8. December 1, 2010 1:41 am

    Wow, she sounds like a treat! When you give her the money for Home Depot, you may want to include a list of suggested activities for her to complete since she is a self-appointed neighborhood cleanliness committee, I’ll start it for you:

    Weeding the cracks in the sidewalk
    Sweeping the gutters
    Cleaning the street signs
    Climbing each tree and removing dead or dying leaves – they crumble and make a mess you know

    I would add more, but like you, I have a few other things to do. 😉

    By the way, I would have cried too and I have dried ketchup on one of my kitchen cabinets, I think it’s ketchup…

    • December 1, 2010 6:51 am

      I like your list – the worst is when the messes are made by nature (i.e. leaves)… 🙂

  9. ryoko861 permalink
    December 1, 2010 7:42 am

    Pfft, this is why I don’t socialize with my neighbors. It’s bad enough I’m an “outsider”. If they saw the inside of my house, they’d probably say “oh, is that how you people from NEW JERSEY decorate?”. Yeah, they’re that obnoxious!

    I’ve painted not only every room in my own house, but others as well and let me tell you, paint covers EVERYTHING including dust bunnies, chocolate milk and soot. Prep walls my ass. Take a bloody rag and wipe the shit away as you go. Give me a break.

    • December 1, 2010 9:13 am

      Won’t YOU be my neighbour? Please???

      • ryoko861 permalink
        December 1, 2010 9:26 am

        LMAO! Sure! We’d have a hell of alot of fun, that’s for sure! Not like the drips that live here!

      • December 1, 2010 10:08 pm

        Perhaps we should ditch our respective communities and start our own little commune…

  10. December 1, 2010 10:54 am

    I can’t stand people like M! They befriend you, then they try to get dirt on you. And if they can’t find any, they’ll make some up. She’s probably anxious to tell everyone else about you too. What a trouble maker she is!

    • December 1, 2010 10:03 pm

      She is a piece of work in many ways. I should’ve listened to my instincts about her!

  11. December 4, 2010 12:22 pm

    Don’t you love crazy neighbors? Mine is an ultra conservative (i.e Palin supporter) Ultra Christian who begs me to let him take my son to church (not letting my kid get in his car!). I am a liberal who stands for everything opposite he does (other than church-i do believe in that)…yet he keeps pushing! at least yours is willing to go away with compensation!

  12. February 2, 2011 12:47 pm

    So this is the neighbor! Well- ding dong the witch is dead.


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