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Rejection and unreasonable neighbors advice

August 2nd, 2016 at 02:29 pm

I started sending out query letters for my YA novel. I've sent two versions to 20 agents total. It's only been one week. I've received my first three rejections. Which is okay (I'm just happy they at least emailed me back to say no. Most agents never write back.)

Still. I see why people self publish. The rejection combined with the unknown no call back thing is driving me crazy already and I just started!

As for the neighbors. We have this one pair of neighbors. About 64, no kids. every time we've tried to be friendly, they look at us like they're scared of us or with thinly-veiled contempt and run inside. I don't get it. We're generally very open and friendly. it's like they decided they didn't like us before they even met us.

Anyway, last year, the man neighbor told us we "needed" to cut down our 60 foot honey locust tree because it was "dropping leaves in his pool."

Hah. We're not the kind of people to cut down a beautiful, healthy tree because it's dropping leaves in someone's pool. That's ridiculous.

Apparently, he didn't like our no. So, we got a certified letter from the city on friday. He filed a property maintenance complaint about the tree, saying it was a hazard that would fall on his house. We have 30 days to remove the tree. (according to the letter).

I was so angry. First, it'd cost $5000 to remove this tree. At my expense. And, it's healthy.

So, I called the city, and the arborist said if we trim out any dead branches and our arborist says it's healthy, we don't have to cut it down. Apparently, there are some laws to protect me from unreasonable complaints from neighbors.

That made me feel a little better. Still, I'm pretty upset knowing I live next door to people who are passive aggressive enough to file complaints with the city instead of having a real conversation with their neighbor.

We aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so how do I keep this civil?

13 Responses to “Rejection and unreasonable neighbors advice”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I would attempt another direct conversation, you and your husband together. Maybe offer some produce as the reason. Worse case a letter taped to their door. Indicate a hello, an understanding of their complaint, and your position and contact with the city in the nicest way. Hopefully a conversation can help heal some 'wounds'. Otherwise, leave each other alone if it doesn't work out! I know I've had neighbors that don't seem easily approachable, and it's frustrating.

  2. Sherry Says:

    Even tho you haven't intentionally harmed them, they obviously feel aggrieved by your decision to preserve the tree and thus, the continue the inconvenience to them of removing leaves from their pool. If you want to "go the extra mile" in the interest of neighborly peace, you might try a variation of the 6 steps to an effective apology:

    Expression of regret
    Explanation of what went wrong
    Acknowledgement of responsibility
    Declaration of repentance
    Offer of repair
    Request for forgiveness

    This might seem like overkill for this situation, so you could tone it down accordingly. But the two most important steps are the acknowledgement of responsibility and an offer to repair. I suggest doing it in person, with the four of you present. And maybe take a batch of fudge!

  3. klarose Says:

    A couple years ago I had several complaints from a neighbor about the care of my animals. What a joke, my animals are more spoiled then any other animals I know of. I knew I took good care of them, but it bothered me greatly. Especially since the neighbor wasn't man enough to come talk to me about it, just passive aggressive. Thankfully, that neighbor is now in a nursing home and had to sell his house.

    Ugh. Good luck!

  4. ThriftoRama Says:

    As background, let me say that every Christmas, we bake bread and take it to every neighbor with a card and a poinsettia. This last year, they wouldn't even open the door to take it from us. They stood inside looking terrified.

    I don't think I owe them an apology for not honoring an unreasonable demand. When the tree trimmer comes, I will give them advance notice and I will go over there while the arborist is working and tell them that hey, if there is something that needs trimmed, we can't always see it from our side of the fence and you can always come talk to us. I have debated also saying, look, we're going to live next door to you for at least another 15 years. We don't know why you don't like us. It doesn't matter, but can we agree to be civil and have an open line of communication??

  5. Sherry Says:

    Clarification: Apology for leaves in their pool, not apology for refusing to cut down the tree.

    BTW, the "terrified" description of their response to your overtures is puzzling. Sounds like something else may be up with them?

  6. ThriftoRama Says:

    It puzzles me too. We're really very nice!

  7. scfr Says:

    I hope I get to read your novel some day!

    As for the neighbors, you may just need to accept that the relationship is not going to be a cordial one - and that's THEIR loss!

  8. ceejay74 Says:

    Hopefully this will be the one and only issue they have with sharing a property line. You may want to just get the required trimming/inspection work done, not say anything about it to them, and stop trying to reach out to them.

    If more issues come up of course you may have to try and reason with them, but it might just be that they're shy/unfriendly people that you don't have to have anything to do with. They don't really sound like people I'd want to try and be neighborly with anyway!

  9. SecretarySaving Says:

    I would not communicate with the neighbors and instead keep everything in writing. Have the Aborist follow up with you via email regarding the conversation on the phone. Forward that to the city and let them know that within 30days you will have the work done on the tree. Have the city Arborist give you an estimate or refer a company then follow up with pictures after it has been completed.

  10. SecretarySaving Says:

    I have a fruit tree in my backyard but I get a lot of leaves from my neighbors tree and that is why I keep my yard service all year long. I was told that if any of their tree is on my property line then I can trim/remove that portion.

  11. Jenn Says:

    I'm with Ceejay and SecSaving on this one. They aren't worth trying over and over and over again to befriend. Even the story they've given to the city isn't true: they aren't concerned about the tree falling on their house. They said that because they knew the city wouldn't take action on their annoyance about leaves in their pool.

    Some pool owners build a large screen structure to keep leaves out - they certainly have that option. Also, when you have your tree trimmed, I would only trim branches that are dead or are over your property line. Document, communicate cooperatively with the city, and let the city communicate with the neighbors.

  12. creditcardfree Says:

    I say this in jest...maybe they got ill soon after eating your bread and thought you were poisoning them! Again, I'm joking, but one never knows what is really going on unless there is communication. I think the main thing is to do what you feel comfortable with. If you are done, then be done and forget the communicating. If you are trying to work things out and be cordial then try again. Have you asked any other neighbors about these neighbors?

  13. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm with those saying to not try to pursue a relationship with these neighbors, and to document, document, document. I really should be doing that with our neighbors - documenting every time we see their German Shepherd outside without a leash and unsupervised...

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