I’m lucky to live on a street with friendly, kind neighbors. The folks directly next door are the nicest people, but their house is in terrible condition: peeling paint, dry-rotted windows, and a roof that needs redoing. They are aware it looks terrible and have been claiming for years that a painter is coming to spruce the place up at any moment. Sometimes they start an improvement, but it never gets finished. For instance, they took down their shutters (in preparation for the phantom painters), so now everyone sees the dirty outline of missing shutters on their house. Then they needed to do some drainage work, so they ripped up the side yard that adjoins mine. (The drainage work was completed, but they never replanted, so we’ve got a weed patch between our homes.) They also did some window work, but that resulted in a large window being boarded up with plywood for the better part of a year. They did eventually take the plywood down, thank goodness, but they also stopped fixing the rest of the windows.
I thought maybe it was a financial issue that could be stopping them from fixing the house. Yet they go on vacation regularly, have newer vehicles than most of the people on our street, and buy extravagant gifts for their adult children. They also hire a gardener for their yard. (It looks wonderful … but is unfortunately behind a privacy fence, so not something that benefits the neighborhood.) Every other neighbor has privately expressed frustration at the way the house looks, but none of us really knows how to bring it up with them. They keep talking about their upcoming trip to Europe, and I find myself feeling really resentful! Is there some way to bring this up with them that won’t result in neighborhood strife? Or should I just count my blessings and avert my eyes?