If you've been following my blog for awhile, then you already 'know' these folks. If you want details, you can read my August 25, 2005 and August 2, 2006 posts. Otherwise, here's a brief recap:
June '05, Stay Home Dad (he's collecting disablity) and Working Mom move in the house two doors down from ours with their autistic 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter. January '06, Stay Home Dad's 15 year old son from a previous relationship moves in. Stay Home Dad had no contact with 15 year old since he was two. The 15 year old's mom goes to jail and it's either foster care or moving in with biological Stay Home Dad. The dad initially told me he thought his son would be 'better off' in foster care, but a week later, 15 year old son moved in. A neighbor told me that the state 'strongly encouraged' him to take custody of his son, otherwise they would pursue the issue of, oh 13 years back child support.
Shortly after the 15 year old moves in, the Mom (his stepmom) moves out of the house and into her boyfriend's apartment. Mom and boyfriend are evicted from the apartment so they move into the house with her husband, step son and two kids. How cozy. Mom and boyfriend have since found another place to live - a dump of a hotel, according to the 8 year old daughter. (She didn't say it was a dump, but she did tell me the name of the place.)
So here's the latest. I've tried to be friendly with the 15 year old, in part because 1) I know he's had a tough childhood and 2) I feel really, really sorry for him that he's moved into that house. The 15 year old is on probation for breaking and entering. He likes to dress 'hip hop' - normally I'd say to each his own, but c'mon, we have a lot of little girls on the street who do *not* need to be seeing your drawers, thankyouverymuch. He's taken up smoking, stealing his dad's cigs. (Irony: can't afford to pay for your trash collection, but you can afford beer and cigarettes. Nice example, pops.) Dad's reply: "As long as I don't catch him...." PUH-LEEZE.
As for the 8 year old girl (she's probably 9 now), I've always thought she had severe ADHD or a hearing impairment. You tell her something, she'll say 'okay' and if you remind her later, she acts like she's hearing it for the first time. We've learned from her grandmother, that the girl does have a hole in one eardrum (complete hearing loss) and significant hearing loss in the other ear. This explains why she'll ride her bike in the middle of the street and not flinch when a car honks at her. According to Grandma, Stay Home Dad is supposed to take her to the doctor for this, but isn't. The girl is doing very poorly in school - I'm sure the hearing impairment is part of the problem but apparently the school has been sending notes home, but Stay Home Dad never sees them because he doesn't go over her homework or even check her bookbag. Finally the school called the Grandmother, who would like to take the kids, but has no legal right to do so.
There are some other things we've observed: 15 year old son speeding on a four-wheeler down the street when there were at least 6 kids under the age of 8 playing outside (riding a 4-wheeler on the street is illegal in our area), Dad getting behind the wheel of his car and driving away with an open beer bottle (violation of open container laws, among others), 12-year old autistic son left home alone, etc. Neighbors have called the police and social services. The police have been out a few times, but apparently nothing has come of it.
Grandmother bought the house for her daughter and son-in-law, with the agreement that they'd pay a certain amount in rent each month, but she made one crucial mistake. She listed them on the title as 1% owners, and therefore, she cannot legally evict them. Stay Home Dad knows this so where's his incentive to live up to his end of the bargain (he hasn't been, by the way). So now Grandma has to hire an attorney to see if she can get out of this mess.
Hear that sound? That's the sound of our quality of life and property values going down the toilet. Oy vey!