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Old 04-09-2010, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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On Monday my very very pregnant next door neighbor screamed at my yard guy and me. She's since had her baby, and I'm trying to figure out how to proceed. Wow – this turned into a book.

During her pregnancy, she's done some wild nesting - mostly inside, but right at the end she was doing yard stuff. Before that (for nearly a year?) their yard was not in great shape (dead plants, dead grass, etc), but it was never terribly objectionable either. They bought and put down sod to replace dead grass. She trimmed some stuff back and bagged up anything resembling leaves in her flower beds. We have a bed on the property line between us that is mostly hers. I have another like that on the other side too. I HATE how it's never really clear who's responsible for what. Anyway, when she was doing the wild bagging (into the middle of the night), she also bagged up some of the leaves in a bed that is undoubtedly MINE. Over a week or so when she was doing the crazy yard stuff, she made a few odd snide remarks about my yard - about weeds in the grass and such. I'm home 12+ hours a day with my 7 month old and 3 year old. I'm doing well to do the laundry, clean the dishes and keep the kids fed and myself half way sane. We have a crew that mows regularly. My DH does some in spurts as needed too, but he's been working long hours and unable to find the time off to do it and we've just had a really really really emotional and difficult several months. We had an unusually cold winter and I some of my things didn't make it and needed to be dug up (a much bigger job than what I have the ability to do solo with kids even if I really wanted to). FWIW, my yard was far from one of the worst on our street, but the two houses directly across from me keep their yards super nice.

Anyway, in large part because she seemed bothered and I know how hard the end of a pregnancy can be, and also because it's spring and needed to happen, I scheduled to have my yard guy come do some big stuff for us (which cost us real money). He dug up everything that was dead, trimmed back dead parts of plants, and cleaned up some overgrowth. He dug up a whole area in the back of messy Asian jasmine and replaced it with sod, which I’m THRILLED with as well. After a big discussion about water and hot spots and where grass will really grow well, he redefined two front beds into one much larger bed with a very nice rock border around it, and pulled leaves we’ve been mulching in the backyard to fill the beds and prep the soil. I personally am quite happy with this. I love my yard guy. He’s very mindful. When he put down the rocks to define the beds, I asked him to do rocks between our yards clearly defining a hers versus mine space because she seemed to much prefer NO leaves in her beds.

So, during all of the work, she came out and left for an ob appointment, and her 2.5 year old and my 3 year old played out front with her MIL, her DH, and me with my baby in front with them. It was all civil and fine. Just as I was wrapping things up with my yard guy, she came home. She approached me and asked that we move the rocks at least a foot from her yard (they were already on my property, she just wanted them further from hers). She was speaking to me (I was holding a fussy baby ready for a nap and trying to keep up with my 3 year old who I had told we were heading in). My yard guy was standing with me, and asked her what she wanted moved, and we all went over to the area she seemed upset with. I had no issue with moving the rocks over further, and my yard guy was happy to do it. As we tried to clarify her request, she just started to RANT and SCREAM. Saying, “leaves are disgusting and gross…. Just buy mulch. It looks good.” My yard guy was quite shocked, and said something calm and mild about leaves, to which she replied “If you like leaves so much, bag them up and take them with YOU.” She was also ranting about my yard guys blowing the disgusting leaves into her yard, which she’s NEVER mentioned at all, and I suspect was really into the bed on our property line. Had she ever mentioned it, I would have asked him to blow the leaves just into the beds completely in my yard. She also said something about buying a town house that I totally didn’t follow, but seemed to be about us not keeping up our yard. While I dealt with redefining the rock line with my yard guy (with a fussying baby in arms), she stormed into her house and slammed a window shut. After the scene, DH and I discussed covering our leaf mulch up with mulch, but we can’t afford to do that until next month at the earliest, and don’t really need to do it until close to fall.

I have not seen her since. This afternoon I saw her DH holding a newborn. We have never been friends, but we’ve always been friendly. We’ve been in each other’s homes a handful of times in the 2.5 years we’ve been neighbors, but mostly just see each other out front. We’ll go weeks (even months) without seeing each other during winter and around holidays when we both tend to travel.

So, do I go over with a small gift or food and congratulate them and not mention the yard stuff? Do I leave them alone? Do I spend the money on the yard that I don’t want to spend yet? I don’t want things to be hostile between us. I don’t want to stress them out during such an important time with their new baby. I’m at a loss.

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Old 04-09-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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the nice thing to do would to bring ove r a small gift. I would not do the yard stuff if you don't want to.
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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I'd say congratulate her DH when you see him out again, but give her some space. And don't worry about the yard stuff. I was an emotional disaster (ranting, raving, sometimes psychotic) when I was pregnant, and it could be that she's the same way and you had to deal with it. With a newborn, she's bound to still have tons of hormones messing with her head. Give her space and time and go about your life and your yard as you like.

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Old 04-09-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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I'd say give her space. I may be alone in this thinking but hormones don't give anyone the right to behave that way. Yea I have them too and I know I've been witchy at home but to scream at a neighbor for seemingly nothing?

Leave her be, do what you want with YOUR property. I'd certainly congratulate them if you happen to run into them outside but I wouldn't even discuss the yard issue.

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Old 04-09-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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Sounds like her OB appt. might not have went the way she wanted and it came out with her jumping you over it. Just a guess of course but it would explain what happened. I would just forget it happened and bring her a baby gift.

 
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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Looks like I'm in the minority so far, but I'd not want to go anywhere near this woman's house for a good long while. I'd be way hurt and offended and put off by the whole thing and pregnancy hormones can only excuse so much (and I get WAY emotional while pregnant, so that's saying something).

I also wouldn't do any yard stuff I wouldn't otherwise have done. Make extra sure the leaves don't end up in her yard, but other than that... as long as you're following the laws of your community, I say just do what you'd have otherwise done.

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Old 04-10-2010, 02:04 AM
 
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She was totally out of line, but I can see where she is coming from. Cranky pregnant lady couldnt hold it in any longer.

One of my neighbors won't keep the kudzu on their property maintained. It is their property, so we cant do anything about that. But kudzu grows, and we get to spend ALL of our outdoor time removing it from our property instead of doing the other outside work that needs to be done. I could see in a weak moment going crazy on them. If they just took care of it properly one time, I wouldnt have to battle it on my property.

I have never heard of leaves as mulch, so I dont know if it looks good, but I do like reg mulch. They use pine straw where I live, and it looks horrible, imo.

I hate blowers. I edge my grass and make it all nice and all it takes is some hired grass guy who blows because that is easier for him. But it gets in my nice edging. It is my property and I want it to look a certain way but how the neighbors do theirs affects mine and it is hard not to let it get to you.

I am not defending her at all though!!!
I agree with blizzard babe, I would leave her alone.
You get major karma points for maintaining your yard. Sounds like it cost quite a bit.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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I'd do what I wanted on my own property, congratulate them on the baby if I saw them outside and otherwise avoid them like crazy.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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Its not up to her how your yard looks regardless of her sense of entitlement about it. I think that you have been overly kind thus far and she has thrown it into your face. So proceed accordingly. Don't try to make ammends for her craziness...pregnant or not what she did is not acceptable.

Did her DH and MIL just stand there and watch this happen...and then not offer you an apology? I find that completely bizarre as well.

It is time for her to extend the olive brance to you...not vice versa.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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Its not up to her how your yard looks regardless of her sense of entitlement about it. I think that you have been overly kind thus far and she has thrown it into your face. So proceed accordingly. Don't try to make ammends for her craziness...pregnant or not what she did is not acceptable.

Did her DH and MIL just stand there and watch this happen...and then not offer you an apology? I find that completely bizarre as well.

It is time for her to extend the olive brance to you...not vice versa.
I agree with this. I'd not do anything to your yard that you don't want to do, and I'd do in on your own timeline. Not her business what you do with your yard. (Our neighbor gets snippy with us about dandelions, but we just ignore her. She doesn't clean up her dog poop that is all over her backyard, and it stinks in the summer. I think we're even!) I'm sure there is something she does with her yard or her house that you are not thrilled with, but you are too polite to mention it and know it's not really your business.

I'd skip a baby gift or anything to do with her for a long while, unless you have some other motivation to do it. A verbal congrats when you see them again is plenty in this case. Just my opinion though.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have never heard of leaves as mulch, so I dont know if it looks good, but I do like reg mulch. They use pine straw where I live, and it looks horrible, imo.
So, this is my general fear. I'm happy with how it looks. It's leaves we've been piling in our back yard for years. They're very good for the soil, and they were free. It seems crazy to me to put leaves in plastic bags to be taken to landfills and then buy mulch and put it where the leaves were However, it does look like leaves, not like dark mulch. They're inside a defined bed, but it's pretty large. We do plan to cover with purchased mulch in the summer, then let leaves cover in fall, etc.

My horrible guilty conscience coupled with my awful emotional state has left me feeling like I did something rude here, and that all of my neighbors secretly hate me

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Old 04-10-2010, 03:52 AM
 
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You've done nothing wrong and you don't need to fix your yard up for the neighbors oppinions. It's YOUR yard.

I'd chalk it up to a bad day and maybe bring over a little something for the baby/family (personally, I'd probably bring it by while they were out and leave it with a note). Nothing fancy or a big deal and not with the intent to appease- just a small neighborly guesture. Whatever you would have done before the crazy screaming fit

Then leave it at that.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:11 AM
 
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I'd go over and take a gift to the new mother...like a book about the importance of leaf mulching and grasscycling.

No, I'd probably leave her alone for now.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:11 AM
 
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While its true hormones provide NO EXCUSE for that kind of behavior, it happens. its happened to me. When I was myself again, I was mortified at my actions. And embarrassed. Its quite possible when you see her, she might apologize.

I would not say anything more, not DO anything more with your yard unless YOU want it done. Youve done nothing wrong, and Im quite sure none of your neighbors secretly hate you.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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Grumpy, stressy pregnant lady. You did nothing wrong...in fact, it sounds like you did a whole lot of right.

I've used leaves as mulch before. A totally great free garden resource! My helpful hint is to pile the leaves in the yard and run them over with your lawnmower. The smaller pieces breakdown much easier and it looks more like "real" mulch.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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If you would have gotten her a baby gift/made a meal before this happened I would still do that, she could have had a really bad day and maybe she is feeling bad about it as well. Maybe she feels like a doof for her outburst and is too embarrassed and busy with a newborn to come apologize.

As for your yard, I would do as you want, it you were planning to put mulch down anyways she will be happy when that day comes, but unless she wants to pay to have it the way she likes it she has no say in it.

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Old 04-10-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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If you would have gotten her a baby gift/made a meal before this happened I would still do that, she could have had a really bad day and maybe she is feeling bad about it as well. Maybe she feels like a doof for her outburst and is too embarrassed and busy with a newborn to come apologize.

As for your yard, I would do as you want, it you were planning to put mulch down anyways she will be happy when that day comes, but unless she wants to pay to have it the way she likes it she has no say in it.
This. Pregnant or not I know I've had the occasional off day where I totally lost it (thankfully very few and far between). Add in it just being a few days before delivery, and while it's certainly not an excuse, I'd cut her some slack and just let it blow over. If it's actually an issue for her, she'll let you know, but I wouldn't take it personally right now. Doesn't make her actions right and I'm not defending them, but it happens. If you were planning on taking a small gift, I'd still do so and never mention the incident. As for what to do with your yard, it's YOUR yard and you do whatever you do or don't want to do with it. I think using the leaves as mulch is a wonderful thing personally.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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we use leaves as mulch as well ...we just mow them with a mower and then empty the mower bag out .....I would rather use the leaves than buy something and have the leaves in a landfill.....
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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the nice thing to do would to bring ove r a small gift. I would not do the yard stuff if you don't want to.
I agree with this. You should not have to put out money for things that please her, not you.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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OP, you're a SAINT.

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Old 04-11-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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I'd say give her space. I may be alone in this thinking but hormones don't give anyone the right to behave that way. Yea I have them too and I know I've been witchy at home but to scream at a neighbor for seemingly nothing?

Leave her be, do what you want with YOUR property. I'd certainly congratulate them if you happen to run into them outside but I wouldn't even discuss the yard issue.
^^^
I totally wouldn't spend $ you don't have right now to make a raving lunatic happy. No way, no how.
If you feel bad not acknowledging the baby send over a card. If you're feeling really nice maybe some cookies, but only ones you were going to bake for yourself anyway.
Frankly, hormones or not, she had no right to scream at you like that. I don't think hormones or bad days make behavior like that OK- but if it does happen it doesn't mean you can just sweep it under the rug. She should totally apologize.

If someone screamed at me like that I would be tempted to NEVER mulch with anything but leaves.

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Old 04-11-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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Sounds like a one time thing that I'd let go. I made a terrible spectacle of myself when 8 months pregnant & moving in front of a crew of moving men. I'm sure they all think I am absolute crazy woman but it was just the culmination of a lot of stress & hormones that turned me that way temporarily.

Now, if she did it again I'd stay far, far away.

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Old 04-11-2010, 01:17 AM
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Related only to the leaves and not the volatile neighbour, you need to make some lovely leaf mold to mulch your flower beds.

Start this Autumn, I've gotten great batches in a year storing the (wet) leaves in black trash bags somewhere discrete in the garden.

One year seagulls pecked holes in the bags and all the acorns I managed to include in the leaf piles sprouted out and I ended up with 50 baby oak trees but that's not the point!

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Old 04-11-2010, 11:24 AM
 
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I use leaves,straw,and even shredded paper mixed in.I love being able to do whatever I want on land I pay for.

Sounds like your neighbor had issues with you before she blew her top.You did nothing wrong.You were so kind to even offer to move the rocks.If it were me I would be putting a fence right inside the property line.Maybe even put in a front yard garden,lol.

Seriously I would just ignore them.The ball is in her court so to speak,and she needs to apologize for her actions.In the least her dh should have said sorry.

We had a falling out with a neighbor.It is not to hard to ignore them while outside.Yours however sounds like she could burn holes in you with a stare!
Put in some tall ornamental grasses,and in a year you won't see them.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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I'd stay as far away as possible. If you see them, congratulate them on the baby, and that's it. Definitely no gift. I'd just be polite and do whatever I wanted with my own yard.

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Old 04-11-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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With the town house thing added in the rant, I think it was definitely just all her emotional baggage that got too big for the suitcase that was her head and came flying out of her mouth! It doesn't make it okay for anyone to treat you that way, but as others have mentioned, I know I've had my crazy pregnant lady moments.

I would extend her the grace that I would want if I had lost my head. I would be touched to the core if my neighbor came bustling over to wish me a happy birth day after I'd embarassed myself and her in front of everyone, and would feel so grateful. Be the bigger person! And yeah, if she puts on her crazy pants again, then you know she's just nuts, and from then on I would avoid like crazy.

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Old 04-13-2010, 12:09 AM
 
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So, do I go over with a small gift or food and congratulate them and not mention the yard stuff? Do I leave them alone? Do I spend the money on the yard that I don’t want to spend yet? I don’t want things to be hostile between us. I don’t want to stress them out during such an important time with their new baby. I’m at a loss.
Send them a gift with a nice note but do not mention the yard. Do not spend any money that you do not want to spend on your yard. I have had some really emotionally unstable and/or mean neighbors. I wish I just had a hormonal one with a new baby. Give her time but in the meantime, do not worry about it. Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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Personally, I would do whatever I had already planned on doing...gift or food or whatever.

I'd chalk it up to hormones...being on the verge of having a baby, nesting like crazy, and then seeing things changed by your house that you didn't expect (even if it looks really really nice) would make me flip. You don't really know the story behind it all, and assuming anything isn't fair to either of you. Good news is that a few weeks with a newborn and she'll find herself closer to walking in your shoes

Also, with leaves. My mom uses leaf mulch, but we do break it down because to most people it just looks unkempt. In addition, having that much space between whole leaves doesn't really retain moisture and it doesn't break down very well to fertilize. We pull it all out, run it over with the mulcher, and put it back. In my yard, we put it all in the compost in the back and pull it out next year. Black gold

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