A word in support of public schools and minimum standards...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Our next door neighbor is a sweet woman, but not terribly socially adept. She has six children and home schools them all. Well, the two oldest boys are grown and graduated and have their own homes on the other side of town. Except for on weekends when they come home to live with mom and dad for the weekend. The kids are isolated. They are nice enough, but they just have no clue whatsoever as to how to interact with anyone other than themselves.

    Rachel, the mom, does all of the yard work. But only in the back. And she mows the front. The boys don't do anything. They play in the back yard. Even the grown ones. Even now that she has colo-rectal cancer. The daughters wait on the boys and the father hand and foot. Dad doesn't really work, per se, although he is gone to the middle east selling a certain book to people who aren't at all interested in this book about 8 months out of the year. They cook everything - including bread - from scratch, and members of "their community" (not us or anyone living near us - we don't count) bring them food.

    So, between the 8 of them, they have 6 cars and no garage, because the garage has been turned into a bedroom. And they have an arborvitae hedge out front that they have never trimmed, so it was about 4 feet into the street. So, their family and friends always parked either in front of our house or out in the middle of the street. I was so embarrassed by it that last weekend I finally called and told them we were "doing work anyway and would take care of it." Well, all the better that she was coming home from surgery that day so I could make it seem more charitable than "I've had enough of this", if you know what I mean. But where the heck are her kids? No one was home all day long. No one offered any help as we loaded an entire pickup truck full of cuttings into the truck and hauled it off and paid to dump it... But it's done. My benefit is I don't have to look at it anymore.

    So, Rachel calls yesterday to thank me. "It was an answer to my prayers." Why does she not pray (or just ask) for her children or husband to do this for her? I have muscular dystrophy for crying out loud, and we have our own home to take care of!

    Then she asks if we ever got rid of the rats that were under our home last winter? (They showed up when it froze, and it cost us over $500 to take care of.) Yes, we thought so. But, Oscar has been sniffing around the foundation by the back of the house so we're hoping they're not back. Well, she tells me, she wonders if we "may have missed one" because she's seen a rat under their woodpile, which is built on top of a 4" base (plywood on pallets with a lean-to and blue tarp right outside our kitchen window - ugly) and now she's seen it go into our yard. I explained that we could not put out traps in the yard because there's no place to hide them and we won't use poison because of the dogs. We really didn't want to crawl into the crawl space to try to trap them if she knows that they are living under her wood pile and has a convenient 4" access under it she should set traps and get rid of them.

    Rachel wonders if we might have "an extra rat trap around that they could use". We don't but of course I tell her we do, because the woman won't do it on her own. Then she tells me about the rat that they "enjoyed watching all last summer" going from her yard and into ours. They watched it all day long. They named it Mr. Templeton. My response was mild compared to what I wanted to say. I said "Rachel! You nut!" She says, "Well, you'd understand why we named it Mr. Templeton if you had read Charlotte's Web. We used it as a learning tool for our lessons." I said "Rachel, I try to not give names to anything that I intend to kill."

    I feel like Amy Poehler on SNL. "Really? Really? REALLY?" Is it just me or am I presuming too much that somewhere along the line that a standardized education might explain that you don't EVER have wild rats running around your house and yard. And especially you don't let them run from your yard into the neighbor's yard without telling the neighbor and decide that "it's a learning opportunity for the children." Heck yes, it's a learning opportunity! It's time to learn about the plague, and germs, and that there's no such thing as "one rat".

    For crying out loud! I swear to god I could smack her and everyone else who thinks I'm a Liberal Socialist because I think our kids should learn certain things about life and living in society. If that makes me Socialist, then give me a bumper sticker, 'cuz I'm there.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    You socialist you!!!!
    I will keep my soapbox available if you would like to borrow it. LOL. I have probably worn it out talking to
    friends and family about my own personal observations of crazy.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Fran. I don't ever want to offend anyone, but letting rats run through my yard?!?!?!?! I'm just appalled!
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    I'm sorry... did I just laugh out loud?! O.M.G. What a lovely Brady Bunch you live next to, Witz! I'm soooo sorry -- wouldn't it be great if we could pick our neighbors?! :tongue:

    Reminds me of my sister in law#3... she had a gopher or two in her yard that they treated the same way your neighbors treated "Mr. Templeton." They thought he was "cute." Then again, they were living in a rental, and they don't really do any kind of yardwork, so maybe they could care less about the mounds and the holes and dead grass it left behind. :hammer: Some people are definitely in the shallow end of the gene pool...
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I really don't think they "homeschooled" those children. They "homeskoolt" them. Boy is there a difference!

    That situation might have me at the gun club for a few days and then sitting in my backyard with a rifle. Just waiting for Mr. Templeton. Or any other idjit from next door.

    I am sorry that they did not help in removal of the debris or trimming of the arborvitae.

    Sometimes you have to watch people like this from the viewpoint that they are a strange reality tv show. It helps pass the time, if nothing else.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I'm with Susie.

    A beer and a lawn chair pointed in their direction is likely about the best you'll be able to do with this situation.

  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    All last summer as they were watching Mr. Templeton, the middle son was shooting his sniper (with scope) pellet rifle at a piece of cardboard leaned upon the Other Neighbor's fence. The "ON" had had their daughter playing with the youngest girl for a while a few years back, but the Dad next door and told ON dad that they couldn't play anymore because their family "wasn't Christian enough for them". ON is SOOOOO much more churchy than us. Needless to say ON called the police when they wouldn't stop shooting the BB rifle. Why the heck did it never occur to him to turn the pellet rifle on the rat? Could it be because they'd named it? GAWD!

    I remember my older brother running through our very urban neighborhood with his 22 to shoot a possum that had been in our garage. Times have changed in all kinds of ways!
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm right there with you- I've been called the same thing before.

    I wonder if there are some deep-rooted (maybe old-fashioned) religious beliefs behind this family's decisions. I used to have neighbors like that and it was due to extreme, almost fanatical, religious and conservative beliefs.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, since you're a socialist, at least you were able to maintain calm and continue to be a good polite neighbor. Good for you!

    I don't think I would have been able to tolerate watching the colo-rectal mom doing everything while the men sat on their haunches all day. Ugh, makes me ill.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I mean, I'm sorry. The "We can't do this today because Rachel is coming home from the hospital" seemed like a valid excuse for that day. Until I realized that none of them were going to be there. And yes, K, there are some issues there.