I have a pretty home in a nice neighborhood close enough to town to be convenient but far enough out to be quiet. The houses are attractive, owner-occupied, with well-kept yards.
Except for two houses.
The two houses on either side of my little piece of heaven.
They are shitheaps.
They are shitheaps owned by absentee landlords who don’t give a shit as long as the rent comes in. Both yards are overgrown with noxious weeds as high as my waist. These weeds blow and crawl down from the uphill shitheap, and they creep over and under the fence from the downhill shitheap.
Living here, it’s a constant battle against their blackberry vines, thistles and dandelions that migrate into my yard. It also reflects badly on home values in the neighborhood – most especially MINE.
The uphill shitheap (US, for short) situation may improve, because the landlord had a stroke and his business partner plans to clean it up and sell it (one dumpster load gone so far…).
The downhill shitheap (DS) was owned by a sweet retired schoolteacher when I moved in seven years ago, and she took great pride in her garden. But within that first year she died and her daughter and son-in-law, who live in 3 hours away in Seattle, turned it over to their two adult children.
When I stopped by and asked the older daughter if they could please deal with the weeds, she snapped, “Talk to the landlord… that’s his job”. So last night I called Dad in Seattle, who was extremely rude. When I suggested that they hire someone to take care of the weeds, he snapped, “I’ve got better things to do with my money…
Perhaps if Mom and Dad lived next door they’d insist the kids “pick up their rooms”, but they’re Christian missionaries – too busy evangelizing to notice that Jesus’ neighborliness message isn’t getting through.
My own house has lots of curb appeal. The question is how can I enhance the curb appeal of my neighbors’ homes? Either I distribute blinkers to potential buyers, so they don’t notice the slobs that surround me, or I fork out some of my own money to help them clean up their yards (and I’m not even a Christian). Grrrrrrr.