Thursday, September 13, 2007

Horror Neighbors

Edited to add: I have received much angry mail lately about people who obviously did not read this post in its entirety to notice that it is a SPOOF on our own family. I wrote this from the perspective of a fictional neighbor and how they must feel about us. - Jan. 16, 2009
We once knew these people with a bunch of kids, and they were SO WILD!! Not sure how many kids there were, but there seemed to always be at least a couple in diapers. The Mom looked friendly, but usually tired. I heard her yelling at the kids occasionally, but mostly she ignored their acting like little monkeys – she seemed to think it was normal, like some form of exercise or something. One day I went outside to find that the kids had marked up all the outside walls of our building with sidewalk chalk. Now, I HATE sidewalk chalk in the street, but on the walls was just TOO much. I tried to rebuke the kids, but their mother must have taught them never to talk to strangers, much less take orders from them, because they just scowled at me and ran the other way. Later in the day they had this idea to hose the chalk off, which made the problem A LOT worse. I could go on about this incident, but I’d rather not think about it too much. It almost made me wish they would be sitting around the TV all day long like other kids instead of always playing outside loudly. Seriously, I could hear them from several buildings away every time I drove home. There are more horror stories than I care to recount. On any given morning, the kids seemed to just barely roll out of bed by the time the school bus came by at 8:00 AM.

The Dad wasn’t around much, supposedly “out of town on business”. Actually, maybe that was a good thing since he was more ridiculous than all of the kids put together. I even saw him jumping off the roof on more than one occasion, much to the delight of the kids. I was very upset about him possibly damaging the roof tiles. I also couldn’t stand it when he would change the oil in his car, because he would spill the oil all over the ground – I hate dirty driveways. I understand that with that many kids, they couldn’t afford to go to Jiffy Lube every 3,000 miles (which must have been monthly guessing by how many errands that poor woman had to run every day), but still – maybe they should have changed it at a friend’s house instead, or something.

Speaking of their cars – disgusting is what comes to mind. Not that I was snoopy, but I couldn't help but notice all the dirty messes in the family vehicle. They’d clean it up when they had company, but it never lasted long. The guy’s work vehicle was always cluttered with parts, trash, paperwork, leftovers – you name it, it was there. Their home didn’t seem too clean, either – occasionally when I walked by and the door was open I could see toys scattered all over the floor. Of course, they also had a dog, and it barked.

My guess is that they were some kind of church-goers because on Sunday mornings there would always be a mad dash to the car, kids half dressed with breakfast in hand, the guy with his (not ironed) shirt not buttoned all the way, tie in hand, woman with no make-up and uncombed hair… you get the picture. Not sure if they were Christians though, I never asked them about that. I was trying to stay away from them as much as possible and hoping (even praying) for some nice, new Christian neighbors to replace them. Looking back, I wonder whether the Lord put those people in my path so I could give them the gospel. But then again, I don’t think anything good could ever become of those kids. I know they say that today’s kids are tomorrow’s future, that they will be paying all of our Social Security and Medicaid benefits in a few years, yaddy yadda…, but not those kids – they’ll probably just have a bunch of wild kids themselves and live off welfare when they grow up.

It was an awful situation. I guess the only way it could have been worse if we had sodomites living there instead. Thankfully, the family did eventually move away, and a nice elderly couple moved in. I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference it made. Best of all, they must have never had kids, because nobody ever came to visit them, especially no wild grandkids. A couple of times I caught myself almost missing the laughter of children at play, but I quickly reminded myself that it came at the price of dirt and noise. Oh, the family? They moved out of state, I think to Arizona. If I remember right, their name was Anderson.
Am I advocating having unruly children and a messy house? Not at all. As a matter of fact, I am somewhat of a "neat freak" and like to think that my house looks mostly clean and tidy most of the time. True, you can't eat off the floors, but why would you want to when there always are clean dishes in the cupboards? At night, I cannot go to sleep until the kitchen is clean (no dishes in the sink, clutter cleared and counters cleaned), the living and dining room are straightened up, and the floors are swept. It's so much nicer to wake up to a tidy house.

That being said, when you add children to the picture you add chaos, messes, dirt, clutter, toys, etc. Now I could see myself as a full-time maid who spends her life making sure every morsel is caught before it ever touches the ground, just in case someone might come by (like that ever happens?). Or I could relax and plan on cleaning up during nap time and after the kids are in bed at night. Yes, the lady who delivers the mail has seen toys on the floor when she brought a package to the door. But she is still delivering our mail every day!

And as far as discipline goes - there is a big difference between doing wrong and being wild. They are both irritating, but the latter is perfectly normal and healthy. Kids are LOUD, and Moms tend to go deaf (at least I am starting to). My husband likes to say that our kids have two volumes: off and loud. I guess that's why TV is such a popular (albeit terrible) baby-sitter. To tell the truth, if we had one in the house I would probably put the kids in front of it, too.

Because children are not adults they do not have the courtesy and common sense of adults, and can be obnoxious because of their selfish thoughtlessness. On the other side, they will come up and hug you out of the blue, and say: "I love you, Mommy, because you always dress and talk nice!" I have never heard an adult say that to his Mom, so I guess I better cherish it now - even if it is spoken by a half-pint who has his shirt on inside out and his hands and face covered in some unidentified sticky substance.

Conclusion: Adults need to lighten up, and kids need to be taught to mind their manners. And until they do, love them anyway, and have more!
P.S.: And just for the record: the kids are not allowed to eat in our van, and it is very clean and nice inside.


  1. Jasmine's Journey said...

    hahaha I hate to know what the neighbours think of us.
    October 22, 2007 11:34 AM

  2. haha I thought u were talking about us!!!!

  3. I had neighbors growing up that thought we were quite the unkept family just because we had four (or more) kids running around all the time...of course those neighbors were also an older couple who went to the church my dad pastored.

    After about two years of being their neighbor and being super nice (bringing them baked goods, inviting them to Christmas parties, raking of their leaves out of shear kindness, etc.) the couple did apologize and say that we were some of the most well-behaved children on our street!

  4. Are you the person leaving those angry notes on our door about the sidewalk chalk??
    Just kidding...but I still shudder to think of what you would think of my family in the mornings. ;)
    Keep up the blogging, it's a really interesting read.

  5. I have received much angry mail lately about people who obviously did not read this post in its entirety to notice that it is a SPOOF on our own family. I wrote this from the perspective of a fictional neighbor and how they must feel about us.

  6. Whew! We are a family with 5 children so far, and now I feel completely normal after reading this! LOL

    Yes, I know this post is a year and a half old, but I couldn't resist to comment.

    Thanks for the entertainmet, and I've been enjoying reading your blog.


  7. I know this is an old post, but I'm new to your blog and enjoying many of your posts, old and new.

    I appreciate the way you are able to laugh at yourself, and this funny story shows your readers.

    I believe a healthy sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at ourselve's is a fine attribute and it speaks well of one's self-esteem.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    God bless you and your sweet family.

  8. you blogged about my family! lol lol

  9. Just read this today!
    Very funny & sweet!

  10. Wow

    I'm so very happy to read this is a spoof. The entire time, I was thinking, "Well, she would hate our family." hah!


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