Is There Such A Thing As Neighbor Etiquette?

It’s probably the lack of sleep I got last night — thanks to a hungry and wide-awake baby — but I got up today and resolved to do something about the “neighbor situation.”

Let me give you a little background: We’ve been living in our home almost 2 years now, and for all of that time, the neighbors to our left continually park their cars in front of our house. Now that I’ve been home these past 2 1/2 months, I see that this happens all day and, sometimes, all night. The wife’s car will be in front of our house all day, from early morning on, unless she goes out, and the husband comes home and parks in front of our house until he moves it into their driveway for the evening (you can’t park your cars overnight on the streets in our town). No neighbor etiquette going on here!

The second thing that drives me nuts is that they put their garbage and recycling out in front of our house, too. Well, it’s not smack-dab in front of it — technically, it’s on the property line in front of our two houses. The bins almost always wind up in the middle of our property after they’ve been emptied, making it look like we’re what we Italians slangily call “cavones” — pigs. Both of our fathers have even attempted to bring in “our” garbage can when they’ve been visiting. And the recycling isn’t always just cans, bottles and papers — the husband is a mechanic, and there’s always boxes from motor oil and the like.

Granted, since I’ve been home with Baby Frugalista, they’ve been ‘nice’ enough to only take up ONE spot in front of our house, instead of BOTH. But what my newshound nose needs to sniff out is the WHY of the situation.

WHY don’t they put their “stuff” in front of their own property? They’re obviously long-ingrained actions. I suppose the old man who owned our home before us didn’t really care. It’s what I’m going to call a lack of “neighbor etiquette.” It doesn’t make sense to me, and the fact that no one else on our block does it makes me even more worked up about it.

Two courses of action

1. Say something to the neighbors, either directly or by leaving a note on the car; or

2. Move my car from our driveway to the front of our house each morning, taking up the two spots, until they get the message.

My spiteful side says move the car every morning, a pretty (and petty) passive-aggressive tactic. It also takes effort and I’m not confident that they would even get the picture.

Saying something would make ME feel better, but could also cause a rift with neighbors who we have to live with for possibly decades to come. We don’t even have a fence or a hedge separating our backyards, so it could be awkward.

Of course, Mr. NSF will say there’s a third option: Don’t say anything at all. But that’s not my nature. If there’s a problem, I want to confront it head-on, not ignore it. I can be diplomatic and ‘blame’ myself about it — either admit that it’s an OCD thing or say I need to park my own car there so I can get the baby in and out more easily (both true!).

Then again, what do I care about a neighbor who, in one of our first interactions, saw me using a soil rake on our front lawn and said, “Hey, look, there’s a new hoe on the block?”

What would you do? Do you have any interesting ‘neighbor etiquette’ issues?