Our neighbors are often our best friends, although sometimes they can become a gigantic pain in our rear ends. How do you walk the fine line between your adjacent lots? Ask the Neighborly Advisor!
Dear Neighborly Advisor:
Recently my husband Ed and I went on vacation, and I asked our neighbors Phyllis and Jim Wheatley to watch our house. We no more than pulled onto Interstate 70 in Marshall when I realized I had forgotten to pack my underwear, I left a neatly-folded stack of clean panties right in the middle of our bed!
There was no use turning back, we were already twenty-five miles from home, so I just bought new underwear when we got to Bagnell Dam, Lake of the Ozarks. We had a great time–Ed broke his personal record, catching 142 crappie in a single day!
We got back home and I took Phyllis a little thank-you gift I bought at a Stuckey’s down at the lake–a large box of fudge and divinity. When I hauled my suitcase up to our bedroom, however, I noticed that something was awry. My underwear, which as I mentioned above had been neatly stacked in the middle of my bed, had been moved to the top of my dresser. Further, somebody had been sashaying around the room in at least one pair of panties, which I found over by my nightstand.
Neighborly Advisor, I do not think it is very “neighborly” for a neighbor to try on one’s underpants while one is away on one’s once-a-year vacation. I can see maybe finishing off the last of the rocky road ice cream or borrowing some sugar, but I consider underwear to be a very “personal” item. Do you think I am over-reacting?
Donna Sue Verplanck, Smithton, MO
Dear Donna Sue:
Yes, I believe you are taking this too hard. I know it can be frustrating when you wash a load of underwear and someone wears it before you, but you did invite Phyllis and Jim into your home, so what did you expect? Here’s a time-saving laundry tip: Turn the underwear inside out and you will be able to wear it again without running another load.
Plant of which he is manager of.
Dear Neighborly Advisor:
We recently had a backyard party to celebrate my husband’s promotion to plant manager out at the MarTag Fastener factory on North 65. As part of our preparations, and in celebration of my husband’s raise, we had “Invisible Fence” installed along our property line so our schnauzer Fritzi would not run off during the party as she gets skittish around strangers.
We had just lit the Tiki lamps that lent a festive South Pacific theme to our little luau when Clint McElvey, the State Farm insurance agent who lives next door, started to come up the driveway with his wife Marjene. He hit the “Invisible Fence” zone and I guess it tripped his pacemaker as he stumbled back like he was hit by lightning and had to be taken to the hospital for observation.
Marjene came over the next day and said we should have warned them about the Invisible Fence, and I said how were we supposed to know Clint had a pacemaker. She said “You’ve seen him eat before, you must have known he had high cholesterol.” Neighborly Advisor, what is the rule here? I don’t think we should be liable.
Veronique Masterson, Grand Junction, Colorado
What a festive party idea, and how nice of you to share your success with your neighbors! I consulted with Hank van der Meer, an attorney-at-law who specializes in disputes between neighbors, and was told the following: If the neighbor fell back onto his own property when the shock of Invisible Fence rippled through his system, you are not liable. If, on the other hand, he fell face down into a punch bowl, you should offer to pay his dry cleaning bill.
Dear Mr./Ms. Neighborly Advisor:
Recently the people who lived next door to us for many years sold their house to a couple from Queens, New York, who got transferred here. We were sorry to see our friends go, but we welcomed our new neighbors with open arms. They were nice enough, but they never let us forget that they were from New York and thus very cultured while we have never been to a Broadway show. I didn’t mind, but I could tell that my wife was embarrassed.
Anyway, being a worldly sophisticate is one thing, but these new people sit out on their back porch ’til all hours of the night singing “Tomorrow” from Annie and “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from Evita. If this is how you live in the big city, I don’t need it.
I have tried in a subtle way to let these people know that they do not live on the Great White Way anymore, but nothing seems to register they are so full of themselves. Any suggestions?
Verne Gearan, Between City, Illinois
You have apparently tried the diplomatic approach, so I would forget an appeal to the United Nations and fight fire with fire. If you have some old George Jones and Tammy Wynette or other “classic country” albums you can blast over at your new neighbors until they shut the damn show tunes off, this will help acclimate them to their new home.
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”