Guest blogger Michelle Kemper Brownlow: I don't know about you, but as long as my neighbors are not picnicking with lawn chairs and a badminton net in my front yard, I could care less what they are doing on their property. I really just don't have the time to be that concerned with other people's lives.
We live in a pretty tight-knit neighborhood. Most of us built our houses and moved in just under 10 years ago. Our children got to know each other in playgroups, they took that first school-bus ride together and some are even starting to date each other.
I think it is safe to say that there are different unwritten laws in different developments. But buried somewhere by the playground is the "Book of Law" written by those who first inhabited the properties. Our development has some of these laws; for the most part, they are rooted in common sense, like, "To each his own," "Keep your comments to yourself" and "Don't invade my space."
Well, all three of these laws have been broken over the years we have been here.
I try not to let it bother me, but I have to be honest: Sometimes I stew about it.
We had some landscaping done not too long ago, and apparently this ticked off someone down the street so badly that he was venting to another neighbor, "Where do they get all this money? Do you know his wife has not worked a day since they moved here?" My work allows me to sit in my PJs with a cup of coffee in front of my computer screen. Maybe if he was just a bit nosier, he could peek in my windows and see that I actually DO work.
Just last month, I was the subject of someone's Facebook status. Kind of flattering, right? Nope -- not when Grumpy Gertie lives across the street from you. Apparently, the fact that I don't decorate for Halloween
really gets under her skin. (Honestly, I don't love the ghost-and-ghoul theme, so we do harvest-style decor in October.) Now, this neighbor has had Brownlow issues before, so that is how I was sure she was talking about us. Her status said something like, "Don't you hate religious extremists who feel the need to put a damper on your Halloween
fun and make us feel like we are Satan worshippers if we celebrate it?" Wow. There are more issues there than I'd like to have living across the street from me.
And lastly: A couple of Christmases ago, my husband and I decided that our gifts to each other would be to turn our playroom into an actual office. We spent days over the holiday break putting furniture together and decorating while we waited for our wooden blinds to arrive and complete our new grown-up space. When school resumed in the new year, I ran into a neighbor who said, "Where did you get your new office furniture? It is really nice!" Now, let me explain, this man has NEVER been in my house! He is apparently a closet drive-by peeping Tom! Eww.
I just take some deep breaths, complain a little to my husband and remind myself of the number-one rule on my list: "To each his own." Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go peek through my neighbors' windows to get some ideas for dinner.