WE NEED YOUR HELP! How Should We Deal with Our Neighbor, Nosy Nancy?

WE NEED YOUR HELP! How Should We Deal with Our Neighbor, Nosy Nancy?

Last week, I wrote: Right now, we are living in the townhouse we rented after the funnel cloud. Mason LOVES it here. Compared to his room on the boat, his room here is ginormous! However, we’re having a BIG problem with our next door neighbor, Nosy Nancy.

Once nice thing about living on a boat in a marina was that people pretty much kept to themselves. There was very little drama. Boat people just want to live and let live. I miss that a LOT!

When the protests started downtown, we moved into a townhouse about 10 minutes from the marina. Lots of people here own. We weren’t interested in buying and a really nice one was available for rent. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, wood floors, and a great, open layout. And, the rent was affordable. That was important because we were (and still are) paying rent at the marina.

When we moved in, we noticed that the previous tenant had left his or her hose on the right side of our porch. Cool! Just to be safe, we checked with the neighbor to our right because the hose ran all the way to a spigot by his door. He assured us it wasn’t his. So, we later used it to rinse off the truck, to water the bushes when it got really hot this summer, and for a few other things. Recently, we moved the hose to the back of the townhouse because there’s a water spigot out there, too. We needed to water some seedlings we were growing.

A couple of weeks ago, somebody knocked on the door. It was the “helper” for Nancy, who lives on the left side of us (nowhere near the hose!). She asked if we had “taken” Nancy’s hose. I apologized profusely, and explained we thought the previous tenant had left it because it was rolled up ON our front porch. I went to the back, got the hose, and gave it to the helper. And, she promptly turned around, dropped the hose once again on the right side of our porch, and walked away. I was puzzled but…whatever. I was too busy to start asking questions like, you know, why isn’t Nancy using her OWN porch for her OWN hose? I honestly couldn’t have cared less. If she wanted to use our porch, that was fine with me. I’m a GOOD neighbor.

I thought that was the end of it but, two days later, the helper showed up again. She said, “I just need to tell you that Nancy is EXTREMELY upset that you STOLE her hose! She won’t stop talking about it and she is very, very angry! She doesn’t know what she’s going to do about it!”

I couldn’t help myself. I started laughing out loud, imagining all of us being carted away in handcuffs over a garden hose.

We explained to the helper once again, so she could relay the message to Nancy, that, since the hose was left ON our front porch that we assumed it belonged to the previous tenants. And, we’d checked with our neighbor to the right (since the hose was on the right side of our porch) and he’d assured us it wasn’t his. I added that I’d given the hose right back to her when asked so, if I truly wanted to steal something, why would I have done that?

The helper said Nancy wasn’t believing any of it. She had it “set in her head” that we’re THIEVES. I offered to go next door to talk to Nancy but the helper responded, “Oh no! She much too angry for that!”

I started to get a bit miffed and I escorted the helper to the door, telling her that I’d be very happy to talk to the police if Nancy wanted to make a phone call. Silently, I was thinking: Seriously??? Doesn’t this old broad have anything better to do with her life and thoughts???

Two days later, Capt. Brian was getting out of his truck and Nosy Nancy confronted him. She proceeded to shout at him and, unfortunately, I was inside and our air conditioner was running so I missed it. Darn!!

Nancy chastised Brian for not reading the townhouse association “bylaws” and he asked what part of the bylaws mentioned keeping your items on somebody else’s porch? She got a distasteful look on her face, and spat that we would know the rules if we were owners, not “renters!” And, then it all made sense. We are lowly renters, not worthy of living near people who OWN. Ha ha ha ha ha!

When we first moved into the townhouse, we hung up some chimes that Nancy had actually said she liked (before “Hose Gate” began). When she was yelling at Brian about “common areas,” she threatened to report us to the homeowner’s association for having chimes. Brian told her to go right ahead. She said we’d get “fined.” Brian said we would not and that he looked forward to receiving the letter. This went on and on and she finally stomped off into her townhouse. (We never did receive a letter, by the way.)

A few days after that, we were out of town and I texted our right-side neighbor, asking him if he would watch for package deliveries. He said he would and I told him, “You’re the best neighbor EVER!”

He wrote back with a laughing emoji, and said, “Better than Nancy?”

After a few more texts with the nice neighbor, I learned that Nosy Nancy had been telling everyone at the complex that we’re THIEVES! So, we now have quite the outlaw reputation going on here and we think it’s HILARIOUS!!!

While we were out of town, our security system motion sensor activated and my phone beeped. I opened the app on my phone, and found Nancy standing on our front porch. She was staring down at her hose but she left it there. She then turned around, looked up at the chimes, and shook her head. She then took a few steps closer to the chimes, looked up again, and shook her head again. I was watching this live and I called Ali over to watch it with me. We were cracking up!! Our security cameras have speakers on them and I could have very easily pushed one button, and scared the bejeezus out of Nosy Nancy…but I didn’t want to kill the broad. It was soooo very tempting, though!!

Here’s the thing. Nosy Nancy has a small dog that barks 24/7. I’m serious. That dog NEVER SHUTS UP. But, I would never report her because I don’t want anything to happen to the doggy. She’s loud but she’s so cute! When she gets to barking, we just turn on our white noise maker and, voila, no more barking sounds.

While we would never report the dog to anyone, we HAVE been thinking of ways to get back at Nosy Nancy (though I don’t think I’d ever have the balls to follow through with the ideas).

They include:

  1. Going to her porch after dark, and rearranging all of her hanging plants…every week.
  2. Parking too close to her vehicle so she can’t open her door.
  3. Putting a sign on her door, printed on old parchment paper, and burned around the edges, that says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
  4. Getting some really BIG, “GONG” chimes!!! Like ones that are 5 feet tall!!
  5. Painting brown stripes on her hose to make it look like a snake.

Heh…. 😉

Anybody else have any ideas?? Please share them in the comments box below! 🙂

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Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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27 Responses to "WE NEED YOUR HELP! How Should We Deal with Our Neighbor, Nosy Nancy?"

  1. jedidiah manowitz  December 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Two things: First invite Nancy to go to church with you. And do be aware that chimes are very annoying to others and they dont want to use white noise machines instead of having peace and quiet.

  2. Marianna Busching  November 28, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Hi, Angela,

    Good grief, what a story! This isn’t nice at all, but I laughed so hard at Solutions No. 1 and 5. Maybe she’ll think the Devil is after her. But really….the poor thing does seem confused and angling in and out of craziness and/or dementia. Some of your other folks have great ideas; they are all sensible and reasonable. I hope they work with someone who is obviously UNreasonalbe.

  3. Karen C  November 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Angela,
    I enjoy reading WritersWeekly.com and this item just enhanced that!

    Seriously, Nancy appears to be BSC and I would definitely ignore her. Anyone who has met her must realize she has a problem and the problem isn’t you! The comment by your neighbor to the right points to this theory. Probably, there are others in the neighborhood who’ve had unpleasant encounters with her. My advice would be, continue speaking to friendly neighbors and completely ignore Nancy, then get the heck out of there.

  4. Lynn Duke  November 28, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    I keep smiling throughout this article because there is a Nosy Nancy in this world that each of us has run into during our lives at one time or another. She already has a snotty attitude towards you, and that will not change. Unfortunately, she likes to make everyone around her miserable because she has NO, did I say NO life. She thinks she is better than everyone, and her lot in life is to try to control, manipulate, dominate and be one lousy human being. Ignore her. She hates that. Like a child throwing a temper tantrum all she wants is attention regardless if it is contentious or not. She lives for this! Really. Keep an eye out, she obviously does not want her garden hose back, because it is a useful tool to keep things a rolling around again and again! The little doggie isn’t even happy with Nosy Nancy, that is why it keeps barking. Poor thing, but you could report it, and maybe someone would take it away and find it a better home after all. Good luck, and I know you will be very happy once you move away far away from miserable, rotten Nosy Nancy!!!

  5. Richard Atwood/McHenry  November 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Further, forgot to mention it. When I moved in, I had a neighbor lady with a tiny dog, which was quiet in general, but whenever she left the apt. the dog would bark constantly — driving me crazy. As it was her only old-age solace, I was reluctant to complain, but could not live with the noise. She consulted her vet — and there are dog collars available to curb a yapping dog, gives them a shock when they get unruly. So we compromised. They are expensive. So I paid for half of the collar cost, so she wouldn’t have to give up her pet.

    I don’t go with the Christian thing. Takes too long for God to usually settle something like that, if ever… (what did he do about Hitler? Or Nero?), and especially if the person is not willing to listen to human reason. But don’t do anything overtly mean. God didn’t help me with all the noisy neighbors I had before — people are people, and will be as nasty as they want. Hah! Consider the last election. I now understand we have a country full of anti-American socialist nutcases, who choose to exalt lawless criminals as martyrs, and tear down our history. What can you do? Just a prelude for the anti-Christ, way I see it…. Tend your own garden, and hope for the best.

  6. Mary Stephenson  November 28, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Next time get your husband to use the speaker when she enters your porch and say “God is watching you. Now go home and be a good person to your neighbors.” Maybe she might buy it, worth a try.

  7. Jana Joujan  November 28, 2020 at 10:09 am

    I agree with one of the other commenters that you might be dealing with a mental health case. If not, the one thing that has always worked for me when dealing with an angry bully is to quote Bible verses and offer to do a Bible study with them (I am a Christian). Fortunately, or unfortunately, whichever way you look at it, It always works as a repellant. They give me wide berth after that.

  8. Nan Bauroth  November 28, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Angela, if you are a Christian, the right thing to do – and the toughest, I admit – is to kill her with kindness. She is obviously very unhappy inside herself. God tells us to never stop praying for someone, no matter what. Maybe since Christmas is coming up, leave her a lovely card and a box of fruit or cookies. The goal is to have God soften her heart and you can be a part of that process. Then you would be doing everyone in the neighborhood a favor and lead by example for both your children and others who do not like her. I did this once with a nasty person and it worked. Christ’s final and new commandment to his disciples was “Love one another as I have loved you” and he said that right after he had been crucified and they had all denied him. It truly was a moment of amazing grace!

  9. Robert De Filippis  November 28, 2020 at 8:45 am

    I suffered a similar person in FL when I lived in Ft Myers. She roamed the neighborhood looking for violations. In that case, she was an HOA board member and took her role very seriously. Even though I was in the high exalted position of “owner,” she felt it was her obligation to keep the “peace” in the development by not letting anyone have any peace. I ignored her because she had earned a pretty clean reputation over the years and no one paid much attention to what she said.

  10. Richard Atwood aka McHenry  November 28, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Nancy should be reported to the Association for “harassing” you. Also, her hose should not be allowed to be stored on your porch — give her seven days to remove it, or it will disappear, or be deposited in several pieces on her doorstep. If you need a hose, buy one of those that folds up into nothing, and use when you want, even if each time you must attach and detach the thing. No other way to handle that. The dog should be reported for being a nuisance, as you are certainly not the only ones hearing it. Nothing worse than a yapping dog, loud music/tv-playing neighbors, or those who must thump their damn basketballs or drums where you can hear them — including Mr. Fix-it, who constantly has to entertain the neighborhood with his banging. People are generally awful and inconsiderate: apt. living is a pure hell. Most of my life I lived in apartments, and the neighbors have been absolutely a curse to humanity.

    (In fact, one of them eventually caused me to have a nervous breakdown, since they were friends of the manager who would do nothing about it, causing me to lose my job and move out of state. Even in the new state it was a continual hell on earth — imagine being able to hear your neighbors brushing their teeth, as the bathrooms were right against each other. Now I live in Mennonite low-cost housing as a senior, in a cabin-cruiser cramped apt., but it is a God-send because I don’t have close to me neighbors with yapping dogs or blaring tvs.)

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  November 28, 2020 at 9:59 am

      We bought a hose the very next day. 😉

  11. Marlene Morphew  November 28, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Just keep being “nice” but I would think about shocking her next with the security kismo. She has cultivated a nasty character reference and it reaks of loneliness.

  12. Wendy Jones  November 28, 2020 at 12:00 am

    This sounds like a classic townhouse association nut! I know there are a number of gentle ways to address the problem (and I read a few above) but frankly, after dealing with a couple of these people myself, you have your own life and issues to deal with and can’t be bothered to coddle someone. My advice is to:

    1). First address the issues to the association — in detail and ask if there is a person designated to address this issue with this person.

    2) Okay, the polite crap has been done, now it is time for action. Walk up to her door and pound on it like a drunken sailor. When she opens it, even just a crack, speak loudly and forcefully — list all your grievances and demand she never bother you again! That should make her think her life is in danger and cause her to back off or call the police. Either way, you will have her off your back for a while.

    3). Now here is the fun one – the next time she is on your porch, make sure the volume is up as high as it can go then start shrieking at her and make sure it is abusive. It won’t take more than 15 seconds and she will be off your porch, or drop over with a heart attack.

    I could go on and on inventing wilder things to do, but to tell you the truth, I have a very short tolerance for this crap. When it happened to me an my mother, I simply called the police and presented the damages (there was pre-teen boy involved in doing the dirty work). The parent was held responsible and they were required to move.

    When I built a house, as crazy as this may sound, we had an even worse neighbor. He threatened to shoot all my cement workers. My response to them was, “Come to work tomorrow wearing your 45.”

    He made a point of meeting me in the street once. After that, he learned quickly enough not to come near me.
    I think ‘Nosy Nancy’ would learn faster if she had someone toxically aggressive face her down.

    I know your situation is different and you will end up moving (if she doesn’t die first) and she will be able to check another ‘victim’ off her hit list.

  13. Alicia  November 27, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    Hi, Angela,
    You are planning on moving to the mountains of Tennessee this spring, after the snow melts?

    Your family is only temporarily staying in this townhouse, but as renters you have “constructive possession of the property” and could post a no trespassing sign.

    Are you moving Booklocker to Tennessee, because we love and need the encouragement you’ve provided for so many years.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Alicia 🙂

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  November 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Yes, we are moving BookLocker as well. 😉 And, all of our Florida employees are moving as well. They must REALLY like us!! Ha ha ha. 🙂

  14. Debra Holland  November 27, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    You might be dealing with someone with a mental illness and/or the beginning stage of dementia. Perhaps even alcoholism. As much as possible, ignore her, although I’d move the hose to her porch.

    My mom had to deal with a crazy, mean downstairs neighbor for about the last six years. The woman wasn’t so bad at first, but then seemed to focus her ire on my mom–spying on her and turning her outdoor chair away from the ocean view to stare up at my mom’s balcony. (But she’d stop if she saw us there.)

    She’d say mean things, with a lot of profanity, which my poor mom has never experienced before. (We do NOT use profanity in our family.) My mom would avoid the woman and not talk to her. The neighbor called the police on my mom several times for no reason.

    Once while my mom’s housekeeper was outside cleaning the deck, the neighbor turned her hose on her. My mom did call the police for that. Each time, the police officer was very nice and would have a talk with the neighbor, who would behave for a few months–until the next incident.

    Even though my mom was the woman’s primary target, the neighbors all disliked her and had their own “crazy” stories. So if something happened with the woman and my mom told them, they absolutely believed her.

    Both my sister-in-law (a social worker for the elderly) and me (a psychotherapist) would keep telling my mom the neighbor was mentally ill and probably alcoholic (she’d sneak bags of bottles into other neighbors’ trash) and to not take things personally. But she sure was a negative energy drain, to the point when after my step-dad died, my mom wanted to move. (Then Covid happened.)

    The woman became very sick and was dying. She had hospice, and the nurses confided to my mom that she was the most difficult patient they’d ever had. I could only feel grateful that awful woman would soon be out of my mom’s life and pondered on how dying can reflect one’s life. Any other person would have had my mom and the other neighbors visiting and bringing food, flowers and offering personal comfort. This woman died alone with only a nurse–one whom she’d alienated.

    When I visited my mom yesterday for Thanksgiving, I noticed the huge negative energy in the woman’s condo was gone. What a relief to walk up the steps and not feel her peering out the window to see who was going to my mom’s home. But what a waste of a life!

    So your neighbors probably already know or suspect your neighbor is difficult. Or they will as time goes on. Good luck!!!

    • Alicia  November 27, 2020 at 9:58 pm

      Yes, mental issues are definitely present in Nosy Nancy’s conduct. Nobody in their right mind would place a hose or whatever possession they intend for themselves on somebody else’s property.

      A senior neighbor (83yo) in my neighborhood imposed herself upon other neighbors nearly every single day after her husband died and continued malicious gossip. She is not an alcoholic, rather anti-alcohol; So, her own doctor said that she drove her husband to drinking and gave her Lorazapam (a benzodiazapine medication) to mellow her out.

      The neighbors (the one partner is 78 and has had 5 strokes and a seizure in 3 years) have since told her that she is no longer welcome at their house nearly every single day. It’s horrible to see it, but she is on her way out, too blind to go to her own mail box and now requests that we all call her once a day to make sure she’s okay, but cannot work her mobile phone because she is getting so vision impaired that she has to feel her way around the house and cannot see who is in front of her.

      There is hospice for people who are aging, not just terminally ill or at risk of imminent death. Geriatric specialists can help disturbed and disturbing people quit harassing their neighbors.

    • Wendy Jones  November 28, 2020 at 12:10 am

      Debra,
      You may be right in this case. Even so, a very aggressive (yet legal) response can go a long way to instilling fear in even the most basic demented person.

      I too have watched as two mothers of good friends, lost what was left of themselves to dementia. Their bad behavior was hidden by the husband as ‘woman complaints’ as they were afraid to ask for medical help.

      Those women tortured their husbands and children unmercifully. I know it is not the person’s fault that they have dementia, but you have to control there almost constant aggressive behavior. If anti-depressants are not given, then loud and forceful language it the only thing that I saw that work to control negative outbursts.

  15. Christine  November 27, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I might type up a friendly apology, carefully re-explaining what took place and how sorry I am about the misunderstanding. And I might deliver the note in person, along with a spectacular flowering plant as a gift.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  November 27, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      I’d have been willing to do that, as I offered to do in person first, but then she lied about us to the other neighbors so that’s off the table.

  16. Pamela Allegretto  November 27, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Next time she is on your porch, I would absolutely let her know she is being watch. If she collapses from fright, so be it. As for the dog, I would report it to the homeowners association, and let them know if something isn’t done, you will report it to the authorities. Don’t allow that woman to dictate your life.

  17. Archy Edward Wiseman  November 27, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Realize that you are dealing with crazy and trying to have a rational conversation with this type of person will only drive you crazy. Regardless, keep your guard up, she’s not to be trusted and don’t rule out a defamation of character lawsuit. It may be your only way of establishing some control over this situation until it can be resolved by more permanent means.

  18. Linda G  November 26, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Angie you sound like me with the hag downstairs. She decided over 20 years ago that she is jealous of me (my hair is better plus I have friends and a place in the community oh yeah those friends drive beautiful cars and dress beautifully too). It didn’t help that her boyfriend the manager at the time decided he liked me better and I asked HER what time they want me down to their suite. She did everything from try to bump me down the stairs to putting things in my way and then she settled on tissue in the wash. I thought of all the scenarios but my favourite was smashing her face into the wall and dragging the ugly thing across the stucco. I went to Confession over that one even though I knew I would never do it.

    I complained constantly and even got the police involved (unfortunately ma’am you have no proof). She had decided that since her bf was manager that made her Landlord so she used his master key and came into my suite whenever she felt like it. Made my antique mirror fall (it is fine) and the pictures crooked.

    Finally they got sick and tired of me complaining and gave her a Warning (along with the guy downstairs whom I busted for smoking). She hasn’t done it again but she does make sure she comes in to touch a dryer or to stand there just so I can see her.

    Now get this one. This is scary. The last two times she came in to bug me with her ugly presence she smiled at me. A tentative smile.

    I wonder how much time I would get in the slammer…

    As for Nancy her dog yapping is against City bylaws. Call the Bylaws Enforcement Officer at City Hall. As for dumping stuff on your porch tell the Landlord. We have those here too. They are stupid so there is no use talking to them. In fact do what I do to hag. I ignore her like she is not there. She canNOT stand it.

    Even the priest said that’s probably a good idea, ignoring her, and then he said, “unless she needs help.”

    Of course he said that.

    Hey I have an idea. Let’s get those two together. On your boat. Give it a little push….

  19. Jim  November 26, 2020 at 9:02 am

    In was an HOA president for 12 years and in most cases people like Nancy have a running history of antics and bad behaviour. They aren’t taken seriously whether they are owners or not really doesn’t matter.
    That said I would set the cameras to record and I would keep a diary of everything she does. Next time she is on your porch you should say something through the speakers just so she knows that you can see everything, in case she tries to escalate. You should let her know that you can see ALL of the property, even if you can’t she won’t know.
    Get a copy of the bylaws and the local animal control regs. In most cases the bylaws and the R&Rs are an exact copy of the local ordinances. I don’t know about FL but in CA any dog barking for spans greater than 1 minute is considered a nuisance. As her if SHE has read the rules and offer to report her yapping dog. Even if you have no intention to she doesn’t know that.
    Telling anyone that you are thieves is slander; get proof, and tell her that the next time she opens her sad old yap you will sue her and you will be the NEW OWNERS of HER unit.
    Take care
    Jim

  20. Erika  November 26, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like Nosy Nancy’s helper is just as weird. Maybe you should wrap the hose all over her front door so she cant get out and then report her to the HOA for having an eyesore front door.

  21. Brad Phillips  November 25, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    I would ask the neighbor that you text how best to contact the townhome association. Perhaps there is a particular association person who is very helpful in such matters. Perhaps someone has already complained about that dog and there’s a “fix in the mix”.
    As for the hose, I would take a picture of it where it lies. I would then write a history of said hose from the time you moved in until now, including all dialogue with Nancy’s helper and his hearsay about lies that Nancy is spreading in the community. Also, ask your texting neighbor if he has contact info for the previous owner. There may be some delightful, hose-related anecdotes that you can future-share with the association or just other neighbors who like a good story if push comes to shove.
    After all that, I would definitely follow through on your idea of hanging the parchment sign after taking a photo of the sign for your history.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  November 26, 2020 at 12:19 am

      All great ideas! Thanks, Brett! The nice neighbor told us that Nosy Nancy talks about everyone here to everyone else. We were “lucky” enough to move in right next door to the town gossip. However, she doesn’t tell us any stories. When she sees us now, she runs inside. 😉