Have you ever lived near a hoarder? It seems like they’re everywhere. On just my block, there are at least three. Well, there were three until one miraculously moved away recently. I honestly never thought it would happen. I thought he’d outlast me easily. But I think he got tired of all the visits and subsequent fines from the City and finally gave up. I’d heard rumors from my neighbor that I like to call ‘Mrs. Kravitz’ that he was going to be moving and I thought surely that would never happen, unless Hell were to freeze over. And then it did! Not long after the rumors started up, I noticed that a moving van was parked out front and getting filled with boxes and then a ‘For Sale’ sign went up and then within a matter of days, ‘Sold’ just like that! Did Hell freeze over and nobody told me?
This ‘character’ (who looked a lot like Homer Simpson) moved into our neighborhood just a month after my husband and I bought our home. The house he purchased wasn’t exactly a ‘looker’ but the yard had been kept up and it was far from an eyesore. Once he moved in, he immediately cut down several mature trees, leaving the stumps, and then let all the grass die. I think he removed the trees so he could fit more stuff in the yard, which he eventually did. It started out with an enormous neglected sailboat, and then he got a smaller neglected sailboat to keep the other one company. That was followed by old trailers and trucks and an RV and some engines and I think even a bulldozer at one point. He also loved to collect large, wooden ‘apple crates’. They were scattered and stacked throughout the property to hold miscellaneous junk.
There were two structures on the property which was a third of an acre, the house itself (which was two levels) and a HUGE shop. Both ended up getting filled to capacity. And then once they were filled up, the stuff started ending up under the carport. Once the carport got filled up, enough people must have complained because it wasn’t long before I noticed that it was wrapped in several large blue tarps. He then parked an enormous tractor trailer on his property and proceeded to fill that up, too. And I guess along with all of his other collectibles, he also couldn’t get enough of outdoor barbeque grills. He had three rather sad examples sitting directly outside his front door, along with a toilet. Yes, you heard me right, a toilet! I thought it’d be funny to dress it up with a big red bow over the Christmas holidays but then I realized it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do as this guy didn’t seem to have a sense of humor.
It wasn’t long after the trees came down and the grass dried up and nearly every square inch of the property was covered in ‘stuff’ that the neighborhood became overrun with rats. They seemed to feel quite at home on his property and started breeding like mad and it wasn’t long before the rats had overtaken his yard and decided to look for other accommodations. The hoarder’s next door neighbor had a pool and I think they really made themselves at home there. I used to see the exterminator there on a regular basis. Of course, they pretty much invaded everybody’s property at that point, even ours. The thing was, they were really obnoxious, they started throwing block parties and getting out of hand and didn’t care one iota about disturbing the peace. My neighbor, Mrs. Kravitz, actually called me up one day and asked if my husband would come over to her yard and ‘take care of them’ because they were so wild and unruly.
I thought my neighbor must have been experiencing a moment of temporary insanity when she asked if my husband would come over and ‘take care of the the rats on HER property’ especially since she was a capable person and she also was married. My husband thought her request was a bit absurd, too. And if you met her, you would totally understand. She has no problem with letting us know when our hedges need trimming or other matters related to the upkeep of the yard, OUR yard. She actually got into a physical confrontation with another neighbor because she kept telling her that she knew her Aunt and was going to tell her Aunt that she was neglecting the property and letting it get overrun with noxious weeds. I think she’s got too much time on her hands.
Anyhow, back to the ‘hoarder’. I have to tell you, despite his property looking like a junkyard, I left him alone. Why? He wasn’t pleasant or cordial. And whenever I walked by and waved or said ‘hi’ he completely ignored me. He never once smiled. But he also didn’t do anything to draw my ire. He didn’t blast his music or park his heaps of junk next to my house or behave in such a way that made me feel threatened. He just was a miserable, unhappy person that couldn’t resist bringing a bunch of broken, rusty crap back to his property and dumping it there. It doesn’t mean I liked it, but I try to keep things in perspective. I’ve seen people behave really awful in really beautiful neighborhoods over stupid, petty differences. Sometimes you have to choose your battles and I just felt this wasn’t one I wanted to get involved in. I left him alone, he left me alone.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t ‘over the moon’ when he moved away! I just kept thinking it was all a dream so it didn’t really sink in immediately. I was certain the sale was going to fall through and then he’d end up staying and whatever stuff he had cleared out, he’d just move it all back. But over a period of several weeks, little by little, the stuff started to disappear. And then one day I drove by on my way home and the realtor’s sign was gone and a new car was parked in the driveway. The evidence was all there but I did have to check one more source to make sure it had actually happened, that the house had actually sold and that he wasn’t coming back. As soon as I got home, I pulled up ‘Zillow’ and what-do-you-know? The house had sold! All I have to say is, THANK GOODNESS FOR SMALL MIRACLES! Hip hip hooray, the hoarder’s moved away!!
One last thing, just in case you’re wondering. I did send a telegram down to Hell and asked about the current situation. The telegram I received in response said as follows: “There have been signs of a decrease in temperature recently. On a couple of days, a few of the residents woke up to discover frost on their cacti. All of the stores have sold out their cardigan and windbreaker collections but it’s nothing to write home about. And, no, Hell has not frozen over.”