You and your newlywed wife have saved enough money to move out of an apartment and become first time homebuyers. Admittedly you are not very handy, so you convince your beloved to buy a house that’s move in ready, new construction. It takes a little time, but you eventually find an affordable development that accommodates two main requirements. It’s located close to the train station, since you both commute a far distance to work, and it’s in a good school district for when kids enter the picture.
The new house is a twin design. It has a decent sized patch of grass for a front yard but practically no backyard. It also has a one car driveway but no garage. So, in terms of storage space, there’s just enough room behind the house for a small shed to house a lawn mower, snow shovel, and basic landscape essentials.
You make settlement, move in, and are completely satisfied. Life is good. But there’s one caveat. You are waiting for the house nextdoor to get its finishing touches and be sold, and you’re particularly anxious to see who you’ll be linked to. So after three months of no connected neighbors, the contractors have completed the job and the house settles. The big day has come, and the new people arrive, not bright and early as expected, but rather more like late afternoon.
They are in their late twenties and have a whopping five kids, and all are under ten. You and your wife quickly run out to greet them before they start unloading the truck. And as hoped, they are friendly and down to earth. Actually, it’s their calmness that comes as a surprise. Basically, five of anything is a lot nowadays, especially dependent little human beings. And just watching the excited youngsters run around in every direction, in and out of the house and up and down the truck ramp, you whisper to your wife, “I’d be gray by now.” She just smiles back, no agreeable comment. Oh boy, you imagine what your dinner table will someday look like.
Anyhow, you and your wife don’t want to bother them with pleasantries on such a hectic day, so you say goodbye and promise to talk later. While walking up your driveway, your wife’s head is on a swivel, looking up and down the street and back again at the truck. She stops in her tracks. You say, “What’s up?” She replies, “It’s just them. It’s a rental truck. No moving guys. And nobody is helping them.” You don’t even get a chance to reply, when she abruptly turns to the couple and shouts, “Can we give you a hand?” They gasp, “Oh thank goodness, would you?”
You later discover, in order to save money, which is completely understandable with such a big family, they had decided against hiring professional movers. And unfortunately, since they’d come from another state to follow the husband’s job, explaining the late arrival, there were no friends or relatives nearby to help with the move.
The rest of that Saturday was exhausting but lots of fun. Your wife was in her glory playing with the youngest kids and especially when holding the baby. Also, a neighbor from across the street saw you tackling the job and offered a hand, but first he ran to the beer store for refreshments. And another neighbor treated everyone to pizza. It was a great opportunity for multiple families to become acquainted.
What a great place to live. And going forward, this details the fortune of having genuinely nice neighbors, especially the ones you are joined with. You have barbecues together. You celebrate the kids’ birthdays. You have drinks late in the evening on holidays while the children sleep. Your wives become best friends, and you have a football buddy every Sunday.
So what’s the problem you ask? Well, it’s just one thing, and you’re not even sure if it’s a big deal. In a nutshell, your new neighbors don’t clean up after their children. It looks like a tornado has picked up a toy store and dropped it on both of your properties. It was cute for the first week or so, returning a red wagon full of action figures or punting a football over their van. But now you and your wife are weary of the eyesore, and frustrated with straightening up the mess which overlaps onto your side. Bikes, tricycles, scooters, bats, balls, hockey sticks, you name it, and it ends up on your adjoined driveway. These toys have even found their way to your section of front lawn. You manicure your 400 square feet of earth with pride, and the effort is camouflaged with primary colors.
The whole toy situation has become a confusing topic in your house. One moment you appear fine with it, saying, “Honey, did you see me playing soccer with little Jack last night…” But then you act disappointed when you look outside in the morning, spotting the ball in your tulips.
And likewise, your wife sometimes seems understanding, saying, “That Suzie has such an imagination. I was coloring with her, and she told a precious story for every picture we did.” Of course later, she grumbles when she finds crayons in the mailbox and stuck in the storm drain.
On multiple occasions, Callemonit was seriously considered. Perfect opportunities would have been when your wife got out of the car to move a skateboard when you were pulling in the driveway. The new couple was just sitting there on lounge chairs, in limited space, drinking cocktails, and waving hello with honest enthusiasm. Or possibly when the husband walked over to greet you through the sidewalk chalk pictures of flowers and fury monsters drawn on your walkway. However, they had two glasses all ready for you, and he was eager to reflect on the game. You love hashing out sports with him.
But wait. Even if you’re having a drink or talking sports, why can’t you also mention the toys? Meaning, since you are such close friends, what’s the real roadblock to Callemonit? Well, as is often the case with Callemonit, the fact you are “close friends” is actually the conundrum. Expressing hidden feelings can be difficult when you fear negative repercussions.
Essentially, you and your wife are apprehensive about confronting people you genuinely like. You don’t want to make a 180 degree turn around in the dynamic of your relationship. What if the neighbors think you’re overreacting about the placement of kids toys, the very same toys that belong to children you think are awesome, children you relish playing with? You feel the parents are being irresponsible about where the toys are left or in not instructing their kids about cleaning up, but do they even realize it bothers you? It obviously doesn’t bother them.
Finally, it just happens. You are sitting on the front stoop with the husband critiquing quarterback styles, and your wife is in their kitchen helping to make potato salad. It’s one of the five’s birthday party and everyone is in a good mood. There’s a feeling in the air of nothing could spoil this day.
So coincidentally, at two separate parts of the house and at exactly the same time, you and your wife both choose Callemonit. And later that evening, when back home, you recount the details of your individual Callemonits. You start to chuckle and shake your head, asking, “Why did we wait so long? All this time deliberating over what to say, when to say it, and all the unnecessary stress…crazy huh?”
Because this is how the neighbors reacted to Callemonit. They were remarkably cool about the whole situation. They patiently listened to long drawn out depictions of toys everywhere, the most awesome kids in the world, the best friends and neighbors ever, etc. And when you were finally done babbling, they simply apologized and promised things were going to change. That’s it. They owned their behavior, no excuses.
Even at the end of the Callemonit, the husband’s next comment was, “Oh, and how about that freshman from state college?” And the wife asked, “Do you like celery seed in your potato salad?” There wasn’t even a hiccup in the bonds you’ve built. If anything, Callemonit strengthened the foundation of your friendship.
Still, on occasion, there’s a basketball in your driveway or a paper airplane wedged in your rose bush, but for the most part, your side is toy free. This was definitely a Callemonit success. Goodbye stress!
Have you ever had a neighbor whose behavior has become an annoyance, and you’re not even sure they’re aware you’re bothered? Do you want to Callemonit, but feel you might just opt to live with the inconvenience, afraid of making the future awkward?