Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nosy Neighbors

I need advice. Stat!

Spring has arrived and that means lots of time running around the backyard and heading out of our fence gate to the park behind us. Sounds great but it's NOT!

You see, everytime I venture outside with Cole, "they appear"

"They" being my nosy neighbors 5 houses down.

Some background on my situation..

We purchased the house 3 years ago in May, it did NOT have a fence. The house has a lovely bike path next to it which leads to a soccer field and park, right behind the house. Finances were tight that summer and we decided to hold off on the fence. I remember playing with Cole in the backyard and people staring at us as they walked by on their way to the park. The previous owners "loved" the open feel (I personally think they were just too cheap, why else do you not put up a fence in 20 years with 3 kids in the house??).

The worst came when the nosy neighbor came by with her 7 year old daughter. She wanted her to play with my then 2 year old. Seemed a bit odd, but what the heck, I was new to this area! The next night a knock on my door from the mom bearing muffins (nice, thank you) and also a request for Cole to come out and play? The mom was asking me this?? I noted the 8pm time and that my 2 year old was headed to bed.

Night 3, Cole and I are hanging in the house, and a knock at the door. I look to see the neighbor AT MY PATIO DOOR! She was looking into my family room at the back of the house, creepy!!! Her daughter also told me that we have a nice house as her and her mom look in our windows when we are not home (ahhh kids say the greatest things don't they!) I then started to close the drapes in my house.

So it was starting to feel like I was a prisoner in my own home. Not fun.

Last summer we built the fence, a nice tall one, no big spaces in between boards to ensure some privacy. You would think this would keep the neighbor out........wrong again!!! She simply let herself and her daughter into the backyard by unlatching the lock..... The blowout came last summer when a good friend was in from out of town with her 2 kids. It was 8pm, the kids were playing nicely and we were sharing a bottle of wine, catching up. Next thing we know the neighbor and her daughter are in the yard playing with the kids. I admit it, I was rude, I went into the house and called the kids in for bed. I am not one for confrontation. If I am made, I tend to just ignore you.

She's been hibernating all winter. So have we. Last night was beautiful and we were outside after dinner. The voice appeared from over the fence, not directed towards Tim or myself, but towards Cole. " Hi Cole, do you want to come play with Jamie?" She is asking my 4 year old to come play with her 9 year old.

I need help, how do I manage this situation. I cannot go through another summer of dealing with her. Is it wrong that a nine year old should have some friends her own age? Is it wrong of me to feel that a fence in your yard should ensure some level of privacy, unless you are invited in?

Am I the one being a bad neighbor or has she crossed the boundary of acceptable neighborly behaviour?


  1. oh, she's overstepped for sure.

    i have no good advise, cause I would probably hide in my house forever just avoid her.

  2. How annoying!! Maybe a BEWARE OF DOG sign and fake dog barks a.k.a. "Home Alone"! ;-) But seriously, maybe the sign might work. When she asks if you now have a dog, just say "no, but we decided to put it up to make sure people don't come into our yard uninvited." It's non confrontational, but still delivers your message. To be a little more assertive, you could say that while both you and Cole enjoy visiting with them (little white lie never hurts) your family time is so important, especially as your lives will be getting busier, and it would be so much better if she would call first to see if they can come over. Then, after you say no a few (dozen!) times, she'll stop trying I'm sure! Hey, if you hurt her feelings, at least you won't have to worry about her "pop-ins" anymore!! Good luck!

  3. Oh man, you have one of those crazy neighbors! I'm not sure what I would do. I hate confrontation also. I would probably ignore her and hope she evetually goes away!
    We have the opposite problem in our neighborhood. We never see our neighbors and we don't know anyone that lives nearby. I'm hoping to meet some people around the neighborhood this summer. I just hope they are not crazy!!
    Good luck!

  4. Is there a way to put a lock on your gate? If she asks, let her know that someone has been coming in and has left the gate open and that you are simply worried about Cole's safety. You can then say something like "afterall, he is only 4. Not a big 9 year old like you have".
    I like the Beware Of Dog sign idea as well. It is hard but you may have to be blunt with her if she doesn't get your subtle hints.

  5. She would make me crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y. I like the beware of dog sign and the lock ideas. And yes, her 9 year old needs some friends her own age... does Cole even like playing with her?

    good luck! And maybe when I am there in July I could, you know, be mean to her. I am pretty good at it since I don't really hide my feelings well. She might get the message :)

  6. Ha ha ha ha ha! What happened to the stick in the gate? I hope it's still there. Do you need me to come and visit again? Maybe some barbed wire on top?

    Do NOT tell her you are pregnant! She'll never leave!

  7. Too funny. Kinda like an episode of Desperate Housewives in Winnipeg. I like the lock on the fence idea. Trevor and I put them on our chain link just to keep our monkeys in our yard. So you could always say that if she asks...

  8. Oh my. I'd go INSANE. I'd definitely use the lock idea. 100%. But I guess then they could just come to the front door ... oh boy. That's a tough one - to go about it in the right way, but to also protect your family and your sanity - I'm sorry, I have no advice besides the lock!

  9. How about sending her a link to your blog lol ;-) If you don't want to be that direct I like the lock on the gate idea.

    I would go crazy but I must admit I did laugh reading about it. I sounds like a seinfeld episode.

    Good Luck!

  10. you so need to lock that fence gate!!!

    wow, i can't imagine. how frustrating. although, i have to say that i am more blunt and would probably have already said something to make my opinion very clear.... so if you don't go with the dog sign idea i would say sick Kami on her this summer!!!