Confessions of a Bad Neighbor
By Ashlee Gadd
I am not an etiquette guru by any means, but I do pride myself on occasional acts of thoughtfulness. I am a great gift-giver, and I love doing things to help others.
Sick? You can expect me to drop off soup. Getting hitched? I’m already planning your bridal shower. Need a ride to the airport? Done and done.
So believe me when I say—I dropped the ball. Big time.
We know our neighbors fairly well, although some definitely better than others. In the past year or so, we have had two new neighbors move in across the street. When the first neighbors moved in, I baked cookies (in a basket—just call me Betty Crocker) and welcomed them to the neighborhood. The sweet young couple returned the favor a few weeks later by bringing us German beer and candy back from a recent trip. We discussed the notion of getting together for dinner although we did not set a date, which was the first mistake. Before I knew it, days/weeks/months were flying by and we still hadn’t invited our new neighbors over for a shared meal.
Fast forward to a few months ago, when neighbor #2 moved in. I baked a lovely combination of apple and banana bread, served on a plate this time (I ran out of baskets). My husband and I walked across the street, introduced ourselves, and asked our new single male neighbor if he had met anyone else.
“Sure have,” he replied, “I met the pregnant couple next door.”
But alas, it was true—the sweet young couple was expecting. My husband and I, living just across the street, had no idea.
My heart sank.
But wait, it gets worse. Upon finding out about the pregnancy in November, I was immediately ashamed and made a mental note to send a card ASAP. And once again, life happened—including planning a surprise trip for my husband’s birthday, Thanksgiving, last minute Christmas shopping, please insert excuse here ______. Bottom line: I never got around to sending the card.
But wait, it gets worse, yet again. Three days after Christmas, we received a card from THEM, the sweet young couple, wishing us a Merry Christmas. Starbucks gift card carefully tucked inside, the card was signed with not two, but three names.
To summarize: I am officially the worst neighbor ever.
Damage control immediately ensued in the form of baked banana bread and a jar of homemade hot cocoa, but I still felt awful. And once I saw that precious baby’s face, I felt even worse. She deserves a better neighbor than that.
All being said, life goes on and I have learned my lesson. In the spirit of new beginnings and new decades, I would like to propose one more resolution to my already lengthy list—be the best neighbor that I can be. First step? Finally invite that sweet couple and their adorable baby over for dinner. Better late than never, right?
Guest blogger Ashlee Gadd is a fellow Sacramento dweller who is currently trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. In her spare time, Ashlee enjoys writing, running, baking, reading, and consuming a ridiculous amount of frozen yogurt. You can read more of Ashlee’s musings at her blog: www.wheremyheartresides.com.
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