01 June 2010

"Just walk away" --Kelly Clarkson

[Who doesn't want helpful advice?*]

It is a long holiday weekend and we are lazy for 90% of it but on Sunday we decide to take a run at Holly GoHeavy, the two-story holly in our front yard. We decide that we will prune her two feet in in all directions. Well, all but the roots. They can stay.

We get the ladder out. We get the loppers out. We get the shears out. We get the heavy duty gloves out. And we go to town. Which is to say, the Hubs gets down to work and I do my usual impeccable job of supervising and picking up debris.

All goes well for 15 minutes. But, alas, we are in the front yard. Read: in clear view of the neighbors. And they are helpful neighbors. Very helpful neighbors. They all have tools to help, which is great! And they can't bring them over fast enough, which is great, I guess... And they all want to stick around... and supervise... which is terrible. How many obnoxious overseers does one job need?**

How does one say, politely, "Please, just go away!"? I wouldn't dream of going into someone's yard and telling them how they should prune their shrubs, much less taking tools out of someone's hand to do it. Oh, yes. It was like that. I finally went inside and left the menfolk to sort out just how fluffy Holly should be. This was totally unfair to the Hubs but necessary in order to avoid a neighbor having a terrible accident with a lopper, if you catch my drift.

Which brings us to the question du jour: What do you do when your neighbors are TOO helpful?

* That would be me.

** That would be one. Yup, still me.


froggy said...

Around here it is the unholy alliance between The Engineer and The Fireman over their shared love of power tools. The Fireman has a leaf blower and a snow blower. The Engineer added a propane flame thrower (for weeds) and a chipper (to get rid of the evidence). The Fireman has introduced a metal sander which he uses to rebuilt a classic Mustang. The Engineer is looking around for something along the same lines of gloriously noisy.

Kate said...

This would be why I am so, so grateful that my garden is in the back yard. Completely surrounded by bushes. Although, I feel Mrs. T sneaking peeks at me out of her second story window on occasion. I'm certain that she's judging me.

blueviolet said...

I've never had neighbors intrude to quite that degree! You poor thing!

Bowie Mike said...

My neighbors just come over to talk, and then the job doesn't get finished.

The Bug said...

Yeah - we're more like Bowie Mike. Although one set of neighbors is really good about loaning us things we need (like lopper - & we really need to use them now!) they don't hang around to make sure we use them "properly." He is a bit like a dad & likes to give advice, but in a VERY laid back way. Which works, because we often need advice!

Mike said...

Never had that problem. Everybody around here just does their own thing.

Alice said...

oh man, that's.... obnoxious. i would have had to go inside too. poor hubs :-)

LiLu said...

City living, man. The air ain't as fresh, but at least it's private. :-)

Barbara said...

I have only one neighbor who would even dare to be helpful (and we need a lot of help over here). He's polite about offering and I am careful not to abuse his knowledge of how to do everything we are so lacking in. He was the one who came up with an ingenious way to suspend our May pole when I hosted a Blogger May Day party two years ago. So I say "Bring it on" when help is offered. My husband is more likely to bristle at the idea that we are such nitwits when it comes to home repairs.

But in the meantime we have found Jim the Handyman, who charges next to nothing to do just about anything. I keep a running list and Jim comes over about once a month. Life is good.

Hope the holly tree survived all the group effort. Trees are like hair. They grow back even when badly cut.

Looking forward to lunch at Momo.

brad said...

Smile and dodge; smile and dodge. But that doesn't happen much to us; not much helping at all.

Kate said...

Lately, I just thank my lucky stars that all my neighbors aren't as crazy as the guy who lives behind us. You know, the one who called the cops on my husband because he mowed the tiniest patch of lawn in our easement, much to the chagrin of said crazy neighbor. I'll take overly helpful to that bullshit any day of the week.

spleeness said...

I would just nod and say "oh yeah?" and "hmm, good point, I'll think about that." to their suggestions, all the while cutting it my own way and ignoring every last one of them!

Mac and Cheese said...

Don't you just love how others need to put their 'scent' on anything and everything. You were probably right to go inside.

Pauline said...

Turn to them and say: "Hey thanks for all the advice. Can we tell you about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?"

That should send them packing! LOL

Toe said...

All my neighbors are retired and very bored. I expect at least one to come and tell the Hubs and I what we are doing wrong but since I'm lazy I just hand over the tools and supervise usually with a margarita in hand.

Alex said...

Thankfully this does not happen to me... I can't imagine how annoyed I'd be...

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have a system, due to our own helpful neighbors.
When we notice them 'helping' we go out and retrieve the other with an imaginary phone call.

lacochran said...

froggy: This sounds like an episode of Tool Time.

Kate: They're all so judgy!

blueviolet: Pity? I'll take it.

Bowie Mike: Oh, there's a whole lot of that, too. Often with beer bottles in hand. It's like our yard becomes the alley in King of the Hill.

The Bug, Mike, Barbara: Can we swap neighbors?

Alice: It IS obnoxious.

LiLu: We wouldn't have to worry about trimming our bushes (TWSS).

brad: Maybe if you plant holly?

Kate: I will NOT be asking to swap neighbors with you.

spleeness: I tried. How I tried.

Mac and Cheese: You mean like dogs peeing on stuff? Yeah.

Pauline: Ha!

Toe: That's definitely part of the issue. This neighbor is retired and perhaps lacks a lot of opportunities to provide expertise.

Alex: Plenty annoyed, I'll tell ya. Plenty.

kansasmediocrity: Good thought. I fear this neighbor might "surprise" us by finishing the job for us out of "kindness". Oy!