Written in Ink

I Just Might Have to Kill my Neighbor

Let me start off by saying that the title is hyperbolic. Just in case, you know, she has a heart condition and dies of natural causes or something. Also, she's not my neighbor exactly. When I think of neighbors, I think of people next door. She is on an adjacent street. But I have to pass by every day and this is what I see.

My boyfriend and I live in what is basically a middle class neighborhood. He unfortunately bought our home during the seller's market of 2007 and paid about a hundred grand more than what it is now worth. It makes me cry when I think about it, because for what he paid, we could move into my dream house now (a lakefront property) somewhere else. I am okay where we live, but I am not enamored by any means. Regardless, we're stuck for now.


Anyway, back to the neighbor. She is a renter in this duplex hovel. Her son apparently rents the other unit. Her house looks like no other on that street and really no other in the area. People around here keep their shit pretty tight. They make repairs when they are warranted. They plant pretty gardens. They decorate lightly and tastefully for the most part. They don't park cars on the lawn sort of thing around here. But these people do. They have four—two sedans, one tow truck, and a camper.

So, I dealt with the town building inspector on an anonymous basis for nearly a year about these people before it finally dawned on me that I was getting nowhere at all. He would show up, tell them to clean up, and they would say they would and not do it. Oh, and did I mention that they run a perpetual yard sale out of their makeshift junkyard? They do. Every weekend. For years.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I had a breakdown and then a breakthrough. I had friends come to visit from California and when I brought them to the house, that was what they commented upon when we drove by. I wrote the mayor and told him that this was unacceptable. One neighbor is single-handedly lowering our property value. I sent him pictures. And then...action. The police went by and issued a citation for the unauthorized garage sales. (You apparently get only a single permit per year and they had none.) They also have given them thirty days to get all vehicles on the property registered or removed. Victory. Except that...

Blight. They do not handle blight. The junk in the front can remain forever. They have no jurisdiction. The health department, they said, cannot go onto the property unless there is a specific health concern and they saw nothing to warrant it.


And so, I am at a loss as to how to proceed. The yard sales were obnoxious and I am glad they are over, but the JUNK! I want it gone.

Peanut gallery suggestions are welcome, because I am out of ideas that do not involve violence.

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