The Triumph of Trash Day

I came home Friday after a long day at The Young Human Factory and saw something beautiful – an empty garbage can on my neighbor’s lawn. Oh, happy day! All but one garbage bag and various loose debris have been cleared.

I haven’t blogged about him because, frankly, it’s a depressing situation. The family next door let their house let the bank foreclose. The bank removed the wood stove and put on a new roof, then sold it fast and cheap. ( So fast that when my parents called the bank, it was already a done deal.)

For the past two years, the “new” neighbor has been letting it fall apart.

He* hired someone to mow the lawn from time to time, but he does nothing else. Saplings sprouted near the house, including one growing in the crack between the driveway and the house. The fecundity of our soil means those saplings thrive, breaking up the driveway (as they did mine), clogging the gutter, and putting pressure on the house’s foundation.

On the bright side, the wild growth hid the accumulation of trash flowing from his porch and into the garden. It was only this winter when I saw the full array of trash and the window screens blowing like ragged streamers in the breeze. It was staggering. It looks like a drug house – albeit with a good roof and a vanity mailbox.

You may ask, “Did you call your local government?”

Not right away. First I tried talking to him. It worked two winters ago – perhaps because it was embarrassing for a healthy young adult when a woman on crutches offered help taking out garbage.

His excuse was that he was lazy.

Yes, indeed. And it’s so pointless.

The last time I talked to the neighbor, I told him what a  great investment the house was. If he took care of it, he’d already have a $30k increase in value. On the flip side I said I couldn’t sell my house for its assessed value** and the other neighbors can’t rent their house*** if his house deteriorates. I even offered my tools and help.

“Go away,” he said.

That’s the week I called the blight inspector.

*Or his father, who reportedly bought a house for him and another for his sister.

**I replaced the driveway in the fall; the spring tax assessment leaped in value. When I questioned it, I got a report explaining “inflation.” I don’t believe it. Down the street, a larger house with a bigger yard and a two-car garage is on the market for only $20K more than mine, and it’s not moving.

***The last renters moved out Fourth of July weekend, during the fireworks display that the drunken neighbor put on.