Monday, July 25, 2011


My mother died last year and I've been trying to sell her house. It's a pain; the housing market in this area is incredibly depressed and mine is one of a dozen for sale in this neighborhood. I do what I can on a nursing assistant salary to maintain it. Spending hours weekly landscaping in the yard and tinkering in the house, I've become very handy. I've taught myself how to put up drywall, repair cupboards, fix burst pipes and paint/stain with the masters.

My neighbors are the same as when I was a child. I grew up with Krissy. We caught critters, played softball together and fantasized about pooling our money for a horse. The horse was to go in my backyard which I mistakenly convinced myself was zoned for farm animals. I think my father let me believe that, hoping that I would save money instead of spending it.

Krissy had a baby when she was a teenager and her parents, who live next door, often watch over him while she's at work. Over the years, particularly through my mom's extensive illness, Jack, Krissy's dad, has helped us tremendously. He mowed my mom's lawn, shoveled her drive, carried her groceries and brought in her mail when she was too weak to stand.

He was the very best neighbor anyone could have. Now he'll yell at me to be careful when I'm on the roof replacing shingles or painting ducts. He's always available in a pinch if I run out of gas or need an extra pair of hands.

His grandson, though, is a punk. Jerome is 12 now and the most disrespectful, destructive little brat I've ever had the misfortune to meet. We used to have a basketball hoop over our garage. I took it down after Jerome and his friends broke windows and cracked and shattered the vinyl siding along the garage wall.

I've come home to find shingles missing from the garage roof where they dive into the ground pool. The deck/pool is surrounded by lattice. I spent days painstakingly staining it only to find my efforts damaged from their rambunctious antics in the pool.

I've told Jack that I prefer the boys not come over without supervision. I've mentioned the damage but it has had no affect on curbing more wreckage.

I don't know what to do. Jack has been an amazing friend and neighbor over the years and I want to be able to extend open invitations to my parents' amenities. I just can't afford repairing all the destruction his grandson causes though. I've hinted that Jerome isn't welcome but it doesn't make any difference to his indulgent, doting grandparents.

This situation sucks. Any ideas out in blogland?


  1. Kate, just be honest. It's all you can do.

  2. I know. I've become more frank with them. I just don't want to cross that threshold into brutality and I have no control over what they do when I'm not at home.

    I know that they are taking advantage of me. I just hesitate to say/do something (like call the police or sue for damages) that will damage a 20+ year relationship when it could be easily resolved if the house sells.

  3. It's a tough situation, but it isn't fair for the family to be allowing their grandson to damage your mother's home - no matter how good they were to your mother when she was alive. I agree with Gradydoctor about being honest. Hopefully your neighbour will acknowledge the problem and take steps to stop it from happening again.