Dear Annie: My next-door neighbor has made my husband and me feel like prisoners in our own home.
The day we moved into our house, she stood in our front yard and asked where each piece of furniture was going to be placed in the home. When we have family and friends over for a backyard barbecue, she walks right over to the grill and interrupts our meal. Anytime one of us is outside, she immediately comes by to ask what we are doing or to gossip about other neighbors.
Her children are rude, as well. Her oldest daughter leaned into my daughter's face and deliberately belched. I don't even want my daughter to play with her children, which is too bad because they live so close. I encourage play dates with children I know are raised with similar manners and values as ours.
I have wanted to put up a fence since we moved in, but my husband doesn't think that's a good idea. He's concerned that these people will say, "We are good neighbors. Why do they need to put up a fence?" and that it will reflect poorly on us. My idea of being a neighbor is saying hello with a wave and then going about my business.
We now have to open the door and look around before going anywhere. We end up spending the majority of our outdoor time in the side yard opposite these neighbors so they can't see us. We are considering moving. Should I say something to this neighbor? I'm pretty sure the outcome won't be helpful if I do. How do I deal with this situation? — Trapped By Nosy Nellie
Dear Trapped: By all means, put up a fence. You are entitled to your privacy, and if your neighbor doesn't like it, too bad. She is holding you prisoner because you allow it. Stop worrying about what she will think. Always be polite to her, but do what you need to do in order to enjoy your home.
Dear Annie: I'm responding to "Played for a Fool" and others who have loaned money. I've learned the hard way about the need to document financial transactions.
If I loan money to a friend or family member, or sell something requiring payment, I type up a simple loan agreement, date it and state the amount borrowed and the repayment terms. All parties must sign it. I keep the original and make a copy for the borrower. When a payment is made, I write a receipt for the borrower and keep the copy for my records.
If anyone refuses to sign a loan agreement, I won't loan them money. It may seem hardhearted to family members, but people tend to "forget" a loan and regard it as a gift. One of my sons lives with me and pays rent. For every payment he makes, he gets a receipt. I do this so that his siblings cannot say he is taking advantage of me.
It is such a simple thing to do, and documentation avoids stress and hard feelings. Also, if a large amount of money is involved, and you need to go to court, you have evidence to present to the judge. — Spokane, Wash.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.