Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor?

I've blogged about this family once before, on August 25, 2005. They moved to our neighborhood - two houses down - in June 2005. To recap, there was a stay-home dad (he collects disability), the Potty Mouth Mom, a 12 year old autistic son, and an 8 year old girl. Stay-Home Dad and Potty Mouth Mom would frequently argue outside their home - every other word was a expletive. Well, one day last fall, Potty Mouth Mom decided to move out of the house and into an apartment with her boyfriend who works at the same grocery store she does. Stay Home Dad lives in the house with the kids. Potty Mouth Mom and the Boyfriend visit occasionally. (The house was purchased by Potty Mouth Mom's mother and a few other folks - I don't believe that Potty Mouth Mom and Stay Home Dad are listed on the title.)

In December, Stay Home Dad's 14 year old son from a previous relationship moved in with them. Apparently when this child was around 3 years old, his mother decided not to let Stay Home Dad visit anymore, so Stay Home Dad discontinued paying child support. The 14 year old's mother went to jail for something and the kid was put in a group foster home. Stay Home Dad told me about it previously, and one day I asked how it was working out getting to know his son. Stay Home Dad told me outright that they're taking their time to get to know one another but that he (Stay Home Dad) told the 14 year old that he was 'better off where he is' (meaning the foster care system).

Part of me wonders what I would do if it were me: what would it be like bringing a 14 year old stranger who has his own issues into a home with a 12 year old autistic boy and an 8 year old girl. Then the other part of me thinks, geez, this is your SON. Grow a set and step up, will ya? Apparently the state threatened to hit Stay Home Dad up for 11 years back child support (don't know how they'd collect). I don't know whether this had any bearing on Stay Home Dad's decision to have the 14 year old move in, but I suspect it did.

Meanwhile, the trash piles up outside this home. Stay Home Dad leaves the garbage can by the curb all the time. It's overflowing and there are trash bags lined up along side. This tells me two things: 1) he apparently hasn't paid for his trash pickup service, and 2) racoons are going to rip open the bags and I'll end up picking up the trash that blows into the street.

Recently, a neighbor hosted a birthday party at another community's pool house. Stay Home Dad brings the daughter but says that the autistic child isn't feeling well and that if he's not back to pick up the girl when the party ends, would I mind driving her home? (sigh, okaaaayyyyy) I tell Stay Home Dad that I have to stop by KMart to exchange an toy that Son #2 received for his birthday but that never worked properly. I tell him his daughter can ride with us to KMart then we'll be home. No problem, he says. No problem until it's time for us to leave the party. His Daughter can't find her towel so I loan her one of my boys' towels. She changes into her clothes, but guess what? She didn't wear shoes to the party. Now, I won't bring her to KMart barefoot. Some people may not have a problem with it. I'm not one of those people. I have a big problem with it. So I end up driving the daughter back to her house and then back tracking to KMart. What a PITA.

According to the neighbor who lives between us, Stay Home Dad knocked on his door and asked to borrow $10 to put gas in his car. When Neighbor said he didn't have any cash, Stay Home Dad asked, "well, could you write me a check?" Uh no.

On one hand, I want to be a good Christian (love thy neighbor and all) but on the other hand, these people just drive me nuts.


Anonymous said...

Wow. that's a lot of drama. I don't think I'd have anything to do with stay-at-home dad. But I would feel sorry for the kids. I don't think you're allowed to walk around in stores without shoes on! In illinois you're not anyway.

Farm Girl said...

I think that is over-the-line of being a good Christian. I think you have met your quota. You won't have to worry about me asking to borrow your neighbors :-)

Lala's world said...

I have no idea what you should do??!! that is bizarre. guess pray for them ask God what He wants you to do for them, if anything? sometimes we feel we have to because we are Christians but if God hasn't specifically asked you to do something, then don't!! better to be obedient than do something out of false guilt

Elle*Bee said...

I'm fortunate, I guess, in that my relationship with them seems to be cordial yet more formal than the other folks on the block. As a result, I don't get taken advantage of nearly as often (except the no shoes incident, but I don't know whether the dad realized it or if he was that clueless). I do feel badly for the kids, though. The 14 yr old stops by sometimes. He's into hip hop music and clothes, but he's otherwise pretty respectful. He asked to use my phone once and I told him he could come in as soon as he pulled those baggy pants up to his waist, thank you very much...(he did).

Elle*Bee said...

oh, and flip flop mamma, that's not even all of it! I could start a separate blog with daily posts about these folks (but I won't). sigh... We can't afford to move, plus I like our neighborhood.