I hate renting but buying at this point in my career is a bad idea because I just finished my doctorate this year and am open to new possibilities far away from here. We also JUST sold my husband’s house a year ago. What a fucking nightmare selling a home is! So, we have a great little 3 bedroom rental with a utility room, a garage. It’s cheap, it’s located out of town (it’s a college town and when you have kids and rent, it is hard to find a good place), and it’s incredibly convenient for both of our commutes that go in different directions. Here is my long neighbor story... (WARNING some of this is kind of gross)

We moved here to get away from a really bad set of neighbors. Where we had lived before, we’d had annoying neighbors and neighbors who we were scared for (I’m pretty sure when we lived in town the renter next door was either selling drugs, owed money for drugs, or had a relentlessly bad john who I called the cops on like 100 times). But these neighbors were worse. They threatened to kill me once as they chopped up a car in our driveway (yes, OURS), they chopped a bunch of cars at like 3 AM after going on a drug bender). They brought bed bugs to our duplex. We got rid of EVERYTHING, paid an arm and a leg not to fuck my credit, and moved here to this place. Which was fine. This neighborhood is safe as hell. But then our neighbors moved in.

The first day they moved in, we were headed out to go on a mini honeymoon (the only one we had time built up for on a long weekend). I was running around our living room (blinds closed) putting clothing in a suitcase wearing just my robe. In walks their 8 year old son - like straight up comes in our door - because he hears our dog barking. Their son hears my husband who is outside packing the car shouting “hey, kid, that’s not your house” but keeps on coming and then proceeds to ask me a million questions while I explain to him I’m not sure whose child he is but this is not appropriate and I need him to leave. Husband runs in, asks him who he belongs to, and he announces he’s our new neighbor and his Dad and his Dad’s partner told him to get lost. I load our dogs in the car so they can go to the boarding place and then husband takes the kid back to his dad and dad’s partner and explains to him that we have a dog that runs out of doors and has no recall we just adopted (our terrier) and that we don’t like guests showing up unannounced. He also says we have two children who are occasionally here but they live out of state and maybe they can play sometime but we are headed out for the weekend and his parents are house-sitting (sans kiddos). They seem confused. We leave for the weekend. We did our best to try not to be assholes and hope things get off on a better foot when we return.

Our neighbors are odd people but, again, just annoying. My bonus kids think their kid is “the worst” despite him being the same age as bonus son. They think he is rude as hell and they avoid playing with him/ He seems unsually obsessed with my bonus daughter’s need to wear a bra which makes her, understandably, uncomfortable. The kid walks into our garage ALL THE TIME - one time he even climbs up to get an axe over my husband’s work bench. Husband tells him to put it down and not touch other people’s things but kid throws a fit and his dad and stepdad think we are big meanies. Odder still, these guys belong to some sort of gay bike group (which is odd for where we live which isn’t too gay friendly, sadly). At first we find this kind of cool until we realize this just means they have parties at their house every god damn saturday until 2-4 AM (kid or no kid) and will leave their bikes idling for days. Bonus annoyance, they have a purse dog that they dress up who is, again, rude and yappy, and wants to attack our purse dogs, but we just ignore it. I’m more concerned about hitting their little dog when I leave the house at the crack of dawn because they put him out unleashed and unattended. Poor dog. My husband also thinks they are just “off”. They use the small bit of room outside their house to sit and have arguments that is right in front of our front door. Some woman friend of theirs comes over regularly and they always end up running her off. It’s so weird. They also don’t ever put trash out my husband notes. It’s so weird.

A few months later, we start noticing bugs. I freak out and call the landlord after trapping one. Yeah, we have roaches now. We, the people who don’t leave food out or counters unclean or dishes in the sink, and who do two sprays a year to prevent ants and the like have roaches. And I have to tell my landlord on top of all people that I’m pregnant because of pesticides. I suffer a miscarriage after the first spray (I don’t think it’s related but I feel stupid since we had to bother the landlord) as well. Then, we have a resurgence of the buggers and am pregnant the next cycle post-MC and all the while we have repeated attempts to stop them. I call this the period of disgust and vomiting. I actually end up keeping this baby (I’m now overdue as of today) and have HG but the first few months are a blur of me not feeling okay using my kitchen and vomiting for days after seeing one roach. What caused them? I claim it’s the neighbors due to the timeline. We lived here a year before they showed up pest free. The landlord inspects their house and finds they have been piling garbage in the garage and not paying for trash service. So, landlord brings them a dumpster and pest control sprays and puts bait ALL OVER their house. Within a day, we never see another bug alive or dead.

All is quiet again until recently when our trash service stops picking up our trash. Me with my HG, this is not okay. Husband is so sick of me having to puke every time I go in the garage. Because, after all, it was 90 degrees here until about the first week of November and we had no trash pickup for two weeks despite being paid up. Husband bitches repeatedly to someone, demanding an answer of why and is told “your neighbors never pay you bill and the trash dudes were super confused about it. They owe us over $200.00 in fines and non-payment”. For the record, our trash service is about $15.00 a month and a late fee is only $30.00 per our contract. This means they haven’t paid their trash bill in MONTHS - basically since they were forced to pay for the dumpster and to pay up the last bill. WTF?! Husband tips off the landlord and says “if we get bugs again, you better take care of it”. Landlord says they claim they are doing “self disposal”. Bullshit, we say.

What happens next? Well, we get mice. They all appear to be coming in from the neighbors. Our baby’s room is a place they want to live. They LOVE my lovingly-washed and organized cloth diaper stash. In my last few weeks of pregnancy, I get to hear the glee of my terrier who gets to chase them out and kill them. I get to listen to them scare my demented old man dog who we had PTS while this is ongoing. We call the neighbors and pest control treats our unit. We put out good traps. Overall, they appear to have gone away. For like 2 weeks. Then, this week, I get to work from home because I’m on bedrest. I hear them in the shared walls. I hear them in the ceiling. We start catching them again. It’s clear the neighbors can hear them too but don’t care. We call the landlord. Husband, the diplomatic softy who runs a customer service call center, is too nice. I get on the horn and explain to them that within the next week, we need to bring home a newborn. I can’t live like this and our neighbors think this is A-OK. Also, our furnace is broken. It’s 58 fucking degrees in my house. I’m being induced on monday. Please fucking fix the heater and take care of the mice or I swear to fucking god. The guy argues with me and says he doesn’t think 58 degrees is cold. I tell him that can make a newborn baby seriously ill and to fix it. He finally appears to care.

Furnace guy comes first because pest guy has to inspect the other side. I hear the pest guy show up and argue with them to get in the door as furnace guy is here. Pest dude and landlord are clearly doing an inspection. The people have to open their garage. It’s hysterical because they clearly are stockpiling their trash and I hear the landlord yelling back at them about it. The furnace guy gives us a new thermostat and I tell him it’s not fixed but he doesn’t care. He goes home. Our furnace now has to be shut off from the breaker otherwise the house heats up above 86. It can’t be turned on at all. I call landlord again the next day. Another HVAC dude comes back. He calls and I explain this needs to be done today because I’m about to give birth. He has a soul and feels bad and shows right up. He takes apart my damn living room (including the drywall). There is a short in the wiring. I’m responding to legislation while they are destroying my living space, moving our pack and play and what have you. Because, yes, this is my life. They say that something is chewing the wiring. I laugh and laugh at this and say “It’s probably the mice the neighbors gave us”. The guys say “yeah, well, we will install new wiring but the mice will just eat it again if your landlord doesn’t get someone out here”.

I explain we’ve notified them but they don’t seem to care that much. The HVAC dude tells me he will go to the office physically and SHOW the landlord what the mice did to our wiring. I say “thank you”. They patch up our walls and show me where the mice are coming in at (exactly where we thought) and the office suddenly makes pest guy show up the same afternoon. Pest guy lays bait in the utility panel opening, our closet (on the wall they just patched), and pretty much anywhere our dog can’t get to. He says they baited the neighbors but confirms the neighbors don’t care. He warns us if they don’t get that situation under control, our problem could get worse but that the landlord IS trying.

Today, we catch a mice in a glue trap that was behind our stove. I hear it screaming and beg my husband to put it out of its misery. Husband chooses to do it out in front of our house in the driveway. It was apparently really gross but the most humane thing we could do for it since the dog can’t just kill it now that there is poison in the walls (we used to let her kill any mice we caught in these glue traps pest control placed because it was easy and quick and ended them). He said the neighbors and their kid saw the whole thing. I felt bad but he said, “they brought this all upon themselves”. They were on OUR lawn screaming at their kid. We’d already gotten into it with them today about their kid climbing on my husband’s car and running around on our porch while screaming into our window and knocking on the door to set our dog off. Seriously, the kid is a nightmare but I think it’s because his dad doesn’t want to parent and his partner flat out hates the kid.

Oh well. Fuck our neighbors. Fuck their filthy gross living. I hate this. I’m about to bring a baby home to a house full of mice, people. Fuck everything. And I refuse to move because apart from this, the other neighbors are awesome. Moving with a newborn is a nightmare. And anywhere else we can reasonably afford would either be in a dangerous place, a student-like place, or would have even WORSE neighbors.