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Neighborly Lovin’

Unlike my mom, Babs, whose neighbors string up deer carcasses 30 feet from her back porch, Peppermeister (Husband #1) and I have a decidedly pleasant rapport with all of our neighbors.

We’re pretty spread out here in western New Jersey, and there’s a kick-ass balance between “what you do is your business” and “but I am curious about that package, so I’ll help you carry it inside.”  Our next door neighbors, Dave and Judy, threw us a welcome party when we first moved in, complete with a homemade banner, and, more importantly, Sangria.


Our neighbor around the corner, Linda, dropped off a bushel of apples from her orchard this fall, while the ones across the street gave us a discount on our Christmas tree (yes, there’s a Christmas tree farm across the street! It’s amazeballs out here, Chipmunks, I’m telling you…even if you do lose power every time an owl sneezes).


As if that wasn’t enough, then there’s our neighbor, Jeff. He’s close to our age, and lives behind us in a gorgeous house. He’s the quintessential neighbor: He owns every power tool under the sun and knows how to use them all, helped us clear trees post Hurricane-Sandy, and leaves delicious food in the mailbox. Peppermeister doesn’t even mind the pepper-growing competition, with Jeff’s garden in plain sight.

This Valentine’s Day, I thought it was time to show Jeff how I really felt. It started with my famous homemade double-chocolate cookies:

My BFF, Jenn, gave me those sweet-ass Ziploc bags.
My BFF, Jenn, gave me those sweet-ass Ziploc bags.

And ended with this note:

Dearest Jeff,

I must be quick, for Peppermeister does not know of this!

Jeff-cookies-bagYour seafood sauce was the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted. Bestill my heart!

I’m slowly poisoning Peppermeister.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Go Jules Go

Psst…between you and me, Peppermeister is looking a little worse for the wear. It’s only a matter of time, Jeff.

What’s the nicest and/or creepiest thing a neighbor has ever done for you?

50 thoughts on “Neighborly Lovin’”

  1. Our neighbor with the meth lab is quite entertaining, thank you very much. When he burns the wrappers for all the pseudoephedrine he mail-orders, the stench of melting plastic is, well, putrid. I have come home from work to find my smoke detector going off because “Willie” has burned stuff all day and the windows were open so all his smoke came into my house. For pure neighborliness, you just can’t beat a meth dealer and his crack head friends, one of whom laid down by our mailbox and “rested” until we called the cops (we couldn’t wake him up to ask him to move on down the road). Good times. Good times, I tell ya.

    1. Oh, Katy. There’s got to be something we, I mean, you can do to score some of that sweet, sweet meth. I know the root of your anger is their selfishness, and that’s understandable. Maybe you can bring over a nice casserole that they won’t eat and will think is made of ghost spiders, and you can suggest they thank you with, you know…

  2. When I was married the couple who lived behind us were bakers for a nearby deli/restaurant. For whatever reason the challah they made fresh every day didn’t sell very well, and so for years, a couple times a week they’d call and say “meet me at the fence” to give us another loaf of that fabulas challah. We were so sad when restaurant management finally decided to discontinue that bread!

    1. How can anyone NOT order challah whenever that’s an option?! Discontinued challah?! Oh, the horror! I will never forget the first time I tried challah bread french toast: Nirvana!

  3. For some reason, I keep picturing you guys living in the city. Apparently, you live in a giant forest like I do. Except we have cows. The cows don’t bring us any neighborly gifts, though.

    Our neighbors are so spread out, we each have about three acres of lawn. So it’s really a hike to leave things at each other’s doors/mailboxes. When we first moved in the sweet old lady across the street brought Jim some fresh tomatoes and cukes from her garden. The next day she brought Jim some strawberries. Then she kept bringing him stuff every day. Eventually it dawned on me: she was courting him. Jim has that effect on women.

      1. Oh, totally because you both are so ultra hip and cool. Was there ever any doubt?

        Jim loves macadamia white chocolate chip. Just be sure to put them in our mailbox. Otherwise the cows might get to them. (I’m talking about myself here, I like to graze)

  4. A neighbor brought over a plateful of homemade cookies, once. She told us they were burnt and didn’t taste very good. She wanted us to eat them and see if we could figure out where she went wrong!

  5. My neighbors were super, duper nice. They invited us over for meals. We toasted marshmallows. Their daughter babysat our son.

    And then one day, she snapped.

    {for reals.}

    She called and left me a creepy phone call using every obscenity in the book and threatened to run over TechSupport if his ball rolled in their yard again.

    {they never talked to us again.}

  6. Let’s see…I have a deer slayer on one side and a child porn/peeping Tom on the other. Thankfully, the drug dealer who liked to cut holes in his house was finally arrested. Who wouldn’t want to move to the country, huh Jules?

    1. Not only do we have a meth lab/dealer, a feral hog has been seen in our neighborhood, as well as a rattlesnake…and I don’t even live out in the country.

      My husband claims he saw “walking catfish” but he was drinking at the time, and Willie (meth head neighbor – see comment above) was his only corroborating witness.

  7. I have the Hunting Outfitters on one side with a herd of 20 plus horses, the brewery behind me (yes, really), The Gardeners, The Ex-Army Contractor, the fellow chicken raisers and then… the neighbors that everyone dislikes who have at least 3 families under one roof, 9 or more dogs and visits from the Sheriff at least once a month for loose animals or children. Mostly I really like my neighbors 😀

    1. Ha! Okay, THOSE are the ones everyone hates. I wasn’t sure if that’s where you were going here. Do they have a name? “The Cop Magnets” or something (yeah, I’ll keep working on it)?

  8. I had you at first bite, GJG.

    I couldn’t ask for better neighbors and friends on the other side of the fence.

    Peppermiester can drool over my peppers anytime. Your cookies are fantastic.

    My hot tub opens after dark 🙂

  9. Wait wait wait. So, I’m confused. What number husband will that make Jeff? Because by my calculations, Pep is #1, Glee boy is #2, there was a #3 somewhere along there I believe . . . so does that mean you are already up to #4? Or are you just gonna use Jeff for his hot peppers as your squeeze on the side once you dispatch Pep with arsenic guacamole?

    I kinda live in the country, too, and we all keep to ourselves, mostly. When we first moved in, we got some pleasant welcome-type gestures (one neighbor stopped by with a neighborhood directory, another’s teenaged daughter baked us cookies), but now we only see them every so often if someone has a neighborhood party or if we run into them up at the school for some event. Everyone is on an email directory, so we at least have that way to reach out to each other if needed. All in all a pleasant if mind your own business type community.

    1. Misty, I’m offended. You think I would spoil a batch of guacamole to poison Peppermeister? No, he gets a mixture of two-day old mashed potatoes and crumbs from the toaster.

      And you’re right. Husband #3 is Adam Levine. I’m thinking of making it official. I’m surprised I’m only at 4.

      Your neighborhood sounds perfect. That’s exactly the way we like it: I’m here if you need me, otherwise, I’m minding my own business.

      1. I don’t know what I was thinking. But perhaps it was Quacamole? 😉

        Oh, and I forgot to mention one very important downside to my neighborhood . . . teenagers who keep smashing very expensive to replace mailboxes, tagging other mailboxes with spraypaint, and the most recent crime wave: plowing down street signs with their vehicles. Punk kids.

  10. My former neighbor’s daughter once poured gasoline in our driveway. That was…um…special? Or is “really fucked up” more appropriate in this case?

  11. So jealous. I want you to move next to me and give ME kick-ass double chocolate brownies in kick-ass mustache glasses baggies and slowly poison Peppermeister…well, you don’t have to do that last part. Peppermeister can just give me peppers, and I’ll give you guys my special…hmmm, I don’t garden. Don’t cook. I’ll think of something.

    Come on over to Illinois!

  12. Our neighbors starve their livestock and cook meth. I’m not joking. YOUR neighbors seem awesome and I’m moving in with Jeff.

  13. We used to live in a Jersey duplex- we had the top two floors and there was an apartment underneath. A single lady lawyer moved in below us AFTER being informed that there were five children above her. This was the first year we had them, the oldest was 13. Our neighbor spent a lot of time being nasty and not understanding why they couldn’t walk more quietly. The landlord put down the most hideous, cheap-ass carpet over our beautiful hardwood floors to try to appease her. Finally CC snapped at one of her tirades and said, “Ma’am, they’re CHILDREN, they’re not little adults! I will not have any more conversations with you about this!”

    I saged her door when she wasn’t there. Then she got the flu and had the landlord call us to ask us to turn the heat up because we had the thermostat and she was sick and freezing to death. Then she moved out.
    I’m powerful. The end.
    PS: let me know if you need me to sage anything.

  14. I’ve had to ask the neighbor to tell her kids to stop throwing their cigarette butts into our yard. I think that sums them up. If we decide to sell the house I’m going to board up the doors & windows so they can’t get out until the house is sold.

  15. My neighbor suffers from IBS and Crohn’s Disease, bless his heart. He told us that the first time we met and asked if we could hear him in the bathroom through the townhouse walls.

    Is Jeff single and is there room for three in that hot tub?

  16. I had a neighbor that every time I let the dogs out he was there soliciting me for sex. His wife was bed ridden and he told me he just needs some relief. He was like 30 years older then me. I told him that’s what hands are for, he said why use his hands when he had a nice neighbor? Needless to say I moved ….eventually.

  17. My jackass neighbor is like the weirdo family on “The ‘Burbs” with Tom Hanks. The guy cuts down my trees from over the fence and then chucks them back over the fence and into my backyard. So I pulled up some of my carrots and fed them to his Rottweilers through the fence. I hope they shat all over his backyard. (I like the dogs and I think they like me more than they like him because every time I am outside they try to dig under the fence to come and live with me. Or maybe they just want to eat my face.)

  18. My neighbors are very nice and caring people who are gun-toting, Jesus freaks. It’s a delicate balance. They will watch your house diligently for you while you are on vacation–awesome. They go for walks around the neighborhood wearing sidearms and snooping on everyone–not so awesome. They are very nice and polite–awesome. But, turned into anti-gay preachers after a glass of wine at our Christmas party–not so awesome. Oh, and, they have a fucking 50 foot lighted cross in their yard, all year long (not just at Christmas or whatever). Lucky for us, we can’t see it unless we go to the top of the driveway. Wanna trade neighbors?

  19. Jules, you’re so very lucky. I only have one set of neighbors in my neighborhood that we’re real friends with. They’re my daughter’s future in-laws and they feel like family to us. My other next-door-neighbor, who moved here three years ago, is on the sex offender’s registry for 10 (yes, 10!) counts of sex with a minor, mentally handicapped male. He got only 3 months in jail for this. I’m super, super creeped out by him and hope he moves or dies soon. So if you’re really looking to poison someone…

  20. Wait, does that say “97” after your names in the banner, whaaaat? Did you move in there when you were 12? I’m not getting this at all and maybe if I help you take it down and bring it in the house I can learn more about your business.

    I love my neighbors about as much as I love those Ziplock bags. There’s Martha down the street who calls to ask if we need stamps before she goes to the post office. There’s Mark down the street who brought us over a crusty loaf of bread for New Year’s Eve. There’s Mike and Ann next door who are coolio and who I get to have dinner out with once a month. And we had a great block of Obama signs in ’08 and ’12, despite that I live in a red state. We rock!

  21. I love that note.

    We just had new neighbors move in next door. I guess I should do something for them? The only awkward part will be admitting that, while I’m about their age, I’m nowhere near buying a house, and just living with my dad for the foreseeable future.

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