I feel like I should give equal time to the neighbor on our left. It is a house with a floor plan close to ours, except that theirs is one story and ours has a full basement that makes it two stories. The house is freshly painted and even landscaped. The couple that lives there with two young children not only maintain it, every few months they do a major project like add on a patio. They are both college graduates (geology and archeology) but she manages a restaurant and he is a chef at a different restaurant. They are pleasant, polite and incredibly tolerant of our children. When they were moving in our children went over, stared in the window and then asked if their little girl could come over to play. At that time she was 3-years-old. I felt like my children were baby snatchers.

The house itself does have a bit of history. the previous owners were a family of four who seemed average enough. Then things started disappearing like our lawnmower. Then, we learned that the husband had gotten in a car chase with the police (in his company car – a pest control vehicle) when they caught him smoking crack. He wrecked the truck, lost his job and had charges pending against him. Then, we start hearing from people that the husband looks just like the man who robbed the bank right around the corner from us. By that point I was chatting with the wife daily and she all but admitted that it was her husband who had done it. So now all the neighbors start getting questioned by the police. The single mother had child support checks stolen, the other neighbors gym bag matched the one used in the robbery, etc. etc. So the man checks into rehab and his wife starts lying to the police about everything. The house gets repossessed by the bank but the woman says she won’t leave until the police throw her out. Then the man disappears from rehab and appears at the house threatening to kill the entire family. We call the police and they come out. Shortly after, the wife moves with the kids into public housing, but not before she sells everything not nailed down (doorknobs, light fixtures, everything) and then proceeds to trash the house (dirty diapers left open, trash bags dumped on the carpet, cigarettes put out on the linoleum, etc.). We are SO lucky that the family decided to buy it anyway instead of a yucky slum-lord like our neighbors on the right.

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