Un­neigh­borly be­hav­ior

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions for Amy Dick­in­son to askamy@ amy­dick­in­son.com.

My wife and I re­cently pur­chased our first home. The pre­vi­ous res­i­dents were an el­derly cou­ple who passed away.

When we bought the house we did not know that the cou­ple’s daugh­ter and her hus­band and two teenage daugh­ters were our neigh­bors across the street. (An­other neigh­bor told us this.)

We had never seen them out­side, and they never in­tro­duced them­selves.

We made a lot of ex­te­rior changes to the house, as it was pretty old and dated. We painted, put in new win­dows and doors and land­scaped.

As we started mak­ing changes, we no­ticed the daugh­ter and her fam­ily tak­ing no­tice. We’d see them stand­ing out­side look­ing at our house, or look­ing out their win­dows. I’d wave to them, and they’d never wave back.

A few months ago, we got an anony­mous note in our mail­box, say­ing that the changes were “ugly,” “too mod­ern” and that it looked “cheap.”

My wife was of­fended. We both as­sumed it was au­thored by the daugh­ter or some­one else in her fam­ily but de­cided to ig­nore it.

Now we’re the vic­tims of more petty ha­rass­ment. Some­one keeps throw­ing eggs at our win­dows, our trash cans are al­most al­ways tipped over, and it’s pretty com­mon to have our mail­box filled with rocks or dirt.

I can’t prove that it’s any­one in this house­hold, but I don’t think any­one else in the neigh­bor­hood would do this.

I want to go talk to them, but I don’t know what to say.

What do you think? Ner­vous Neigh­bor

Dear Ner­vous: From your ac­count, this does not seem to be petty van­dal­ism, but an es­ca­lat­ing course of ha­rass­ment. (By the way, van­dal­iz­ing mail boxes is a crime.)

You should in­stall an out­door se­cu­rity cam­era to record any van­dal­ism. Take pho­tos of any prop­erty dam­age, and keep notes.

You should also call the po­lice (non-emer­gency num­ber) ev­ery sin­gle time this hap­pens, to build a case.

Don’t con­front these neigh­bors in per­son.

Dear Amy: A group of us is won­der­ing how to han­dle a sit­u­a­tion with a co­worker.

Our co­worker, “Kris,” is get­ting mar­ried soon, and she has been talk­ing about her wed­ding for a year now.

Now that the in­vites have been mailed, we’ve no­ticed that they are ad­dressed only to each co­worker and not to the spouses or “plus ones” of sin­gle peo­ple.

Through one of the co­work­ers, we’ve been told that no one ex­cept the co­work­ers are in­vited!

Many are no longer plan­ning to at­tend, and feel that this is not proper eti­quette for a wed­ding.

What to do? Up­set Co­work­ers

Dear Co­work­ers: It sounds as if “Kris” is try­ing to put to­gether a ta­ble of co­work­ers, as a way to in­clude you all in a wed­ding she has been talk­ing about for the last year.

Yes, spouses should be in­cluded in an in­vi­ta­tion, but hosts are un­der no obli­ga­tion to in­clude a “plus one” for sin­gle peo­ple, un­less they have live-in or longterm part­ners.

The way to han­dle this is not to con­front “Kris” over her gaffe, but — if you don’t want to at­tend with­out a spouse — to sim­ply RSVP your re­grets to her in­vi­ta­tion, while also con­grat­u­lat­ing her and wish­ing her a very happy wed­ding day.

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