Love Thy Neighbour?


As I shovelled snow this morning from our roof-top deck, enjoying the white nothingness of the sky overhead while I struggled with load after load of what, if I’m being honest, was pretty light snow, I noticed that our neighbour’s deck has not been shovelled.

Not once this winter.

Now, normally I’d be unconcerned. Whatever they want to do with their piles of snow doesn’t really concern me.

Except that up there on the deck, it does.

We live in the middle of a row of five attached houses. Each set of two houses shares a drain from the rooftop deck, and that drain goes down through one of the two houses and out into the underground pipe system. Not a great way to organize things but for reasons beyond my comprehension, the pipe can’t go down the outside of the house.

And guess what? We’re the lucky ones with the pipe going through their house.

Last year, we had a leak in our second storey ceiling, right under the drain that both roofs drain into. What a surprise.

We let our neighbours know, by email, that we would be getting a roofer to come and take a look and that, since the other set of two in the row had to have their roofs replaced a few years ago for the same reason, we should probably talk about doing the same.

No answer.

Seriously; nothing.

So as I was shovelling off our deck, I was wondering what will happen when the full season’s worth of snow from their deck melts during the thaw we’re expecting this week.

I hate crappy neighbours. I’ve come to realize that if you’re going to live in a row house, you need to be a certain kind of person. Or at least, you need to be a certain kind of person if you want to live peacefully, happily and cooperatively in a row house. You can’t live like you’re in the countryside on an acre of land, cut off from your neighbours.

These same neighbours have also ignored our attempts to discuss our shared disaster of a crumbling chimney – and, I might add, said chimney has been dropping brick chunks onto both our back gardens for a year now. I’m sure if a brick (or the whole chimney) falls on their little Dick or Jane, we will hear about it. But what if it falls on one of us?

They are the same neighbours who yelled at us for painting our trim and stairs black, instead of the ugly puke-brown the previous owners of their house convinced threatened everyone in the row to coordinate on (I think there’s something going on in that house…maybe it’s the ghost of uncooperativeness). They didn’t yell at us because we chose a different colour, but because it made their house look bad. And because it looked like a dividing line and obviously the neighbours would interpret it to mean that we don’t get along.

Um, what?

They make tons of noise, against our shared wall. Their kids run up and down up and down up and down like a herd of elephants along the shared wall from the moment they get home in the afternoon until they go to bed. They play indoor hockey against the shared wall. And god knows what else. But whatever it is, it’s loud.

I’m sure we’re not the best neighbours. But we’re quiet. We keep to ourselves. And we try to do our part towards the upkeep of the shared property.

You can’t pick your neighbours and you can only say so much to neighbours who alternate between yelling at you and ignoring you.

So what else can you do but vent about their vices?

Oh, wait, I think I have some AC/DC somewhere…


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